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Colorlines

Protesters and Bystanders Describe Tension and Terror at Thursday’s #AlfredOlango Demonstration

https://www.colorlines.com/articles/protesters-and-bystanders-describe-tension-and-terror-thursdays-alfredolango-demonstration

“Last night’s crowd was also much smaller than those at earlier protests, according to Jeff Provenzano, who was filming the scene on behalf of the anti-police violence organization United Against Police Terror San Diego. Up to 300 people showed up on previous nights, but only about 50 to 75 people showed up last night.”

Officers entered the scene around 6:30 p.m. and shot pepper balls and beanbag rounds at protesters. Pepper-ball pellets contain a powdered chemical similar to the one in pepper spray, and in several bystander videos posted on Facebook you can see people coughing and in obvious pain. Police also threw at least five tear gas canisters in the area to disperse protestors who wouldn’t move when the police formation began closing in on them.

Though the El Cajon Police Department statement didn’t mention beanbag rounds, Provenzano says he recovered some from the scene after police left.

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#AlfredOlango: El Cajon, Calif., Police Aware Unarmed Black Man Was in Mental Distress Before They Fatally Shot Him

#AlfredOlango: El Cajon, Calif., Police Aware Unarmed Black Man Was in Mental Distress Before They Fatally Shot Him

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2:17 a.m. EDT: According to activists on the ground in El Cajon, the police department informed media that they were aware they were responding to a 5150 call when Olango was killed.

A “5150” call is defined as:

When a person, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled, a peace officer, a member of the attending staff, or another professional person designated by the county may with probable cause take the person into custody and place him or her in a facility for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation.

This information appears to be confirmed by police scanner audio shared by United Against Police Terror – San Diego Copwatch & Campaign for Justice. Calls to El Cajon PD to confirm authenticity of audio have not been returned.

Listen below:

Queer-Inclusive Black Lives Chapter Debuts After ‘Antigay’ Group Shutters

Mendonca, who identifies as a queer woman of color, is also founder of United Against Police Terror San Diego (UAPTSD). She says she came to anti-brutality activism after having been the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a police officer in Los Angeles.

“That experience changed my life forever,” she tells LGBT Weekly. “The way to end victimization by the state and by police is to take action and to give voice to victims.”

According to UAPTSD, there have been 593 deaths caused by police in San Diego County in the past three-and-a-half decades. Mendonca and many in the Black Lives Matter movement are dubious about police descriptions of the circumstances surrounding officer-involved shootings and other types of suspect-deaths.

Case in point, the July 8 shooting of Jose Armando Garcia (47) of Fallbrook. Mendonca points to the fact that the sheriff’s report acknowledges that Garcia was likely suicidal. Activists like Mendonca protest against what they see as a de facto position among law enforcement officials that gunning down mental health patients is a legitimate way to deal with suicidal behavior.

“How is filling someone with bullets acceptable as a way of dealing with a mental health issue?” Mendonca asks.

She, like many in the local civil liberties community, was particularly troubled by the fact that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis vowed to keep secret police body camera footage of the police shooting-death — as many as 40 shots may have been fired — of Thongsoune Vilaysane says in May of this year.

“In fall of last year, three black men were murdered [by law enforcement officers] in San Diego in one month,” says Mendonca, referring to the October, 2015 killings of Lamontez Jones (39), Anthony Ashford (29) and Rayshaun Cole (30). To be clear, none of those deaths have officially been deemed murders.

Mendonca was not at the All Star Game protest, but organized another demonstration the following Friday under the auspices of a project called Overpass Light Brigade. As the name implies, OLB uses southern California’s ubiquitous and high-traffic freeways — or, more accurately overpasses above them — as communication platforms aimed squarely at the region’s commuters and at ending what activists call police brutality.

Former Guard Launches Hunger Strike to Protest Private Prison Company

Activists want San Diego County to cancel its contracts with the Corrections Corporation of America.

” Catherine Mendonca, a women’s rights activist who will fast alongside Bartlett, wonders whether CCA’s San Diego facilities are fulfilling their promise to help inmates prepare for freedom. “If they’re getting proper nutrition, if they’re getting opportunities to actually get a job—all of these are actually questionable,” Mendonca says. “Is this actual rehabilitation? Or is this something to profit off the backs of those incarcerated?”

The Free Thought Project

San Diego Cop Makes Instagram Post Begging for a Riot So She Can Hurt People at Trump Protest

San Diego, CA — When considering how riots start, it is important to note who comes dressed for a riot. All too often, police tactics ostensibly designed to protect and calm citizens end up having the opposite effect. Tactics such as “kettling” push non-violent peaceful protesters to their limits by forcing them into tight spaces where they are surrounded by storm troopers in body armor banging on their shields with batons.

Who wouldn’t take this tactic as an aggressive move meant to provoke?

Many officers know that this response to protests has a stressful, intimidating, and provoking effect on those it’s employed against and this was recently evidenced by a San Diego cop’s Instagram post during the Donald Trump protests over the weekend.

The cop posted an image of herself in riot gear, with the caption: “Waiting waiting waiting!! Just riot already people!!! #waitingsucks.”

View image on Twitter

The officer, whose name is being protected by NBC San Diego, was policing Friday during Donald Trump’s rally at the San Diego convention center.

“It sends a really bad image for the San Diego Police Department and we want answers,” Trump protester Michaela Glover said.

“It looks like they were taking that as a joke, and our lives are not a joke. Our safety is not a joke,” exclaimed Glover.

Three hours after she made the post, around 5 pm, the officer got what she wanted as supporters began to mix and fights broke out. Police then declared an unlawful assembly and began to drive out the crowds.

“They post ‘come on riot already so we can use this equipment against you,’” said Cathy Mendonca of United Against Police Terror. “That’s pretty much what the message was.”

San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl said the department was made aware of the photograph and assures the public that they “are looking into this matter.”

Capt. Ray Lewis, who retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2004 after serving 24 years and was present during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests, said undercover provocateurs frequently engage in inciting violence.

“That’s the easiest way to destroy a movement,” he stated. “Let’s say you have Occupy. Either the police, Homeland Security or corporate America – Wall Street – will hire one of their security officers to go out there and burn the American flag, so now you have one of these guys burning an American flag and he’s not an Occupier, he’s not with the protestors, but guess what gets shown all across America?”

“All mainstream America, sitting at home in their middle-class neighborhoods, see this one guy burning an American flag or another one urinating on a police car who is also an undercover agent and then think ‘oh my God, that whole protest – that whole movement – is corrupt and I don’t want anything to do with it.’”

“So they never learn anything about it,” he added. “You can kill a movement that fast with provocateurs.”

The government can also use provocateurs to stir up violence at otherwise peaceful demonstrations to justify a draconian response to the protest and the militarization of local law enforcement. And now, thanks to this San Diego cop’s honesty about her intentions to want violence, the people know exactly what to expect during demonstrations.

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/san-diego-cop-instagram-post-begging-riot-hurt-people-trump-protest/#ljAhDVjwTftkt6VQ.99

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San Diego Cop Can’t Wait to Riot at Donald Trump Protest

San Diego, CA — When considering how riots start, it is important to note who comes dressed for a riot. All too often, police tactics ostensibly designed to protect and calm citizens end up having the opposite effect. Tactics such as “kettling” push non-violent peaceful protesters to their limits by forcing them into tight spaces where they are surrounded by storm troopers in body armor banging on their shields with batons.

Who wouldn’t take this tactic as an aggressive move meant to provoke?

Many officers know that this response to protests has a stressful, intimidating, and provoking effect on those it’s employed against and this was recently evidenced by a San Diego cop’s Instagram post during the Donald Trump protests over the weekend.

The cop posted an image of herself in riot gear, with the caption: “Waiting waiting waiting!! Just riot already people!!! #waitingsucks.”

The officer, whose name is being protected by NBC San Diego, was policing Friday during Donald Trump’s rally at the San Diego convention center.

“It sends a really bad image for the San Diego Police Department and we want answers,” Trump protester Michaela Glover said.

“It looks like they were taking that as a joke, and our lives are not a joke. Our safety is not a joke,” exclaimed Glover.

Three hours after she made the post, around 5 pm, the officer got what she wanted as supporters began to mix and fights broke out. Police then declared an unlawful assembly and began to drive out the crowds.

“They post ‘come on riot already so we can use this equipment against you,’” said Cathy Mendonca of United Against Police Terror. “That’s pretty much what the message was.”

San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl said the department was made aware of the photograph and assures the public that they “are looking into this matter.”

Capt. Ray Lewis, who retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2004 after serving 24 years and was present during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests, said undercover provocateurs frequently engage in inciting violence.

“That’s the easiest way to destroy a movement,” he stated. “Let’s say you have Occupy. Either the police, Homeland Security or corporate America – Wall Street – will hire one of their security officers to go out there and burn the American flag, so now you have one of these guys burning an American flag and he’s not an Occupier, he’s not with the protestors, but guess what gets shown all across America?”

“All mainstream America, sitting at home in their middle-class neighborhoods, see this one guy burning an American flag or another one urinating on a police car who is also an undercover agent and then think ‘oh my God, that whole protest – that whole movement – is corrupt and I don’t want anything to do with it.’”

“So they never learn anything about it,” he added. “You can kill a movement that fast with provocateurs.”

The government can also use provocateurs to stir up violence at otherwise peaceful demonstrations to justify a draconian response to the protest and the militarization of local law enforcement. And now, thanks to this San Diego cop’s honesty about her intentions to want violence, the people know exactly what to expect during demonstrations.

PINAC News

Photography Is NOT A Crime (website)

Southern California Security Guards Order Man to Stop Recording as They Place Man in Chokehold

Security guards from a Southern California hospital ordered a man to stop recording as one of them wrapped his arm around a man’s neck and wrestled him to the street.

The videographer, who maintains the YouTube channel, IRATE Productions, was standing on a sidewalk outside UC Medical Center in San Diego, but was told he was standing on private property.

While it is doubtful the sidewalk in front of the hospital in private property, the man then moved onto the street to continue recording.

Meanwhile, the mother of the man being restrained pleaded with him to stop recording, telling him, “my son is bad.”

Her son apparently struck his “abusive father,” according to the YouTube description:

UC Medical Center Security stop a vehicle after man allegedly hit his abusive father. Security pulls man out of the vehicle, ruff him up on the ground and handcuff him.

Family and Security harass me saying I am not allowed to film on private property, so i move to the street, which is public property. SDPD show up and take man in custody. While security still harasses me, even after I explain myself and told them to ask the officers if Im allowed to film.

(*Not Caught on Film)
After one security guard recognized me as an employee, he asks me why Im recording, while the aggressive security guard claims Im violating HIPPA laws (Health Information Privacy) which is false as I do work for UCSD however not affiliated with the hospital, and not under any HIPPA contract. Also there are several security cameras that film not only this location, but many other areas, If I cant film them, why can they film me anytime i walk past.

The SDPD officers had no care that I was filming, even after security claimed I was filming on private property. After explaining to a lot cooler security guard that I am an independent journalist, and I film everything, always, and I was not causing trouble, he advised me that I was good and have not broken any laws, As I already knew.

This video was filmed as a safety precaution to not only the family but also security as well as the police, In no way am I claiming any parties involved are guilty of committing a crime or violating anyone’s rights. I am simply reporting public information on breaking news in my community.

The videographer, who makes an effort to keep his name from being publicized, also runs a police accountability page called United Against Police Terror San Diego.

Long-Awaited Footage Released of San Diego Officer Killing Unarmed Man With Mental Illness

Someone in the San Diego sheriff’s office thinks police protesters are drug-addicted ‘animals’ by Travis Gettys (Sept. 24)

The San Diego sheriff’s department launched an investigation after someone sent obscenity-riddled hate mail to an activist group protesting police brutality.

But investigators soon learned, like the babysitter in the urban legend, the calls are coming from inside the house.

The activist group United Against Police Terror discovered the blog comment was posted from a computer, with a unique Internet Protocol address, within the sheriff’s department, and authorities launched an internal affairs probe of the case, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The comment, posted using a Gmail address belonging to “Sisckokid1560,” described the activist group’s website as “a bunch of stupid bullsh*t” and used racial slurs against black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

“F*ck you, You stupid pieces of sh*t,” the writer says to start the comment, which triggered an email notification after it was posted.

“The email said ‘real citizens’ do their job, and that the (Ferguson) protesters were looting, were animals,” said Cat Mendonca, a spokeswoman for the group. “There was a lot of racial stuff. But we are the community, we’re taxpayers — we never incited any violence.”

The blog comment, which was typed in all caps and littered with spelling and grammar errors, claims anyone who questions police is likely a drug-addicted criminal who receives government assistance.

“The good people of this county and country will always prevail over scum like you,” the emailer warns. “Good luck. Your going to need it.”

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the comments were being taken seriously, although multiple employees said their computers automatically correct spelling errors.

Activists urged investigators to publicly identify the sender.

“The sheriff has two choices: to reveal the prankster who got through their IP address or reveal the employee and terminate their employment,” said Jeff Olson, an activist with Socialist Alternative.

The group — which opposes harassment, violence, and abuse of power by law enforcement officers — filed a complaint with the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board.

Daily Kos's Profile Photo

San Diego activists get threatening email from Sheriff’s Department

Crossposted from Unspoken Politics

Warning: the hate mail is pretty profane.

The toxic atmosphere between San Diego law enforcement and the activists looking to hold police accountable for unjust and illegal actions took another hit Wednesday, as an organization received a threatening email that appears to come from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

United Against Police Terror San Diego (UAPTSD) received an email through the contact page of their website at 6:19 PST on September 16. Post

Fusion's Profile Photo

Angry, cuss-filled rant sent to activists apparently came from local police station

In a sign of tensions between local law enforcement and police-reform activists, a San Diego group says it has traced a furious, ALL CAPS, expletive-laden message sent through its website to the county sheriff’s office.

“THIS WEBSITE IS A BUNCH OF STUPID BULLSHIT,” the message read. “COUNTRY WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL OVER SCUM LIKE YOU.”

Check out the “Name”:

The group that received the message, United Against Police Terror, used an IP tracker to track the message to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office. It was delivered through the Contact page of the group’s website.

IMG_20150917_161120

The group that received the message, United Against Police Terror, used an IP tracker to track the message to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office. It was delivered through the Contact page of the group’s website.

In a statement issued to Fusion, the San Diego Sheriff’s Office said:

It appears the email came from a Sheriff’s Department IP address. We are taking this very seriously and an internal investigation is underway to determine where, how and who it came from. As such, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but we are taking this matter very seriously.

In a statement issued to Fusion, the San Diego Sheriff’s Office said:

It appears the email came from a Sheriff’s Department IP address. We are taking this very seriously and an internal investigation is underway to determine where, how and who it came from. As such, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but we are taking this matter very seriously.

United Against Police Terror has helped organize marches anddemonstrations, sometimes blocking traffic and standing off with police, according to local press. Its Tumblr page says it’s “dedicated to Intersectionally educating and organizing the community to fight back in San Diego.”

It’s not the only recent case of an officer making an unwise decision to let out some frustration online…

LOCAL 

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Profile Photo

Victoria Jones said she did not trust the police investigation into the death of her son, #LamontezJones. He was shot and killed by San Diego police in October 2015 when he brandished a fake handgun during an encounter with two officers downtown.

“The painting they used, I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t the complete picture,” Jones told the crowd.

Scores of protests, some violent, have been staged after police killings across the nation, especially after unarmed black men were shot.

Locally, an El Cajon police officer shot and killed 38-year-old #AlfredOlangoon Sept. 27. He pulled a vaping device out of his pocket and aimed it at the officer from a short distance away.

Olango’s sister, who watched the fatal encounter, had called police because he wasn’t acting normally. His mother later said Olango was highly distraught over the recent death of his best friend.

“Alfred Olango was just one victim. … Many more families have been affected,” said Catherine Mendonca, the event’s organizer with United Against Police Terror – San Diego.

Some of those families shared their experiences with the crowd Saturday.

Jenny Badua‘s nephew, #SimonHubble, was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputy after he left a treatment program, showed up suicidal at his parents’ Alpine home and armed himself with a screwdriver in May 2015.

“A social worker called the sheriffs because he was suicidal,” Badua said. “They came out and killed him.”

Maria Hoyt of San Diego said her nephew, #SergioWeick, was killed by sheriff’s deputies in Vista in August after a pursuit and foot chase. Hoyt said the official versions of the event were inconsistent.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-protest-day-20161021-story.html

KPBS Logo

City Heights Groups Take Different Approaches To Driving Social Change

“Catherine Mendonça with the organizing group United Against Police Terror said the event is a time to honor all those who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

“This event is going to be centering around almost a dozen families who have lost somebody by the hands of San Diego law enforcement officers in the county of San Diego,” Mendonça said in a phone interview.”

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/oct/21/city-heights-groups-take-different-approaches-driv/

KPBS Logo

Activists Hope To Spotlight Local Police And Community Relations

Evening Edition

Aired 7/11/16 on KPBS News.

Law enforcement’s treatment of minorities is again dominating the national conversation. In San Diego, activists say they appreciate the renewed focus on the issue. But they question how it will make a difference.

After the fatal police shootings earlier this week of two African American men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, law enforcement’s treatment of minorities is again dominating the national conversation.

More violence followed when a man opened fireon law enforcement at a Dallas protest on Thursday, killing five police officers and wounding seven others.

RELATED: San Diego Police Chief, Local Activists Respond To Dallas Police Attack

Here in San Diego, community activists say they appreciate the renewed focus on the issue. But they question how it will make a difference.

Catherine Mendonca of the group United Against Police Terror hopes the series of horrific events will bring attention to local incidents.

“This has already happened in San Diego, and I want people to focus on local lives that have been killed here,” Mendonca said.

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 The artist and United Against Police Terror activist creates stirring protest portraits

Activist and artist Aaron Leaf has been relentlessly organizing the community since 38-year-old Ugandan refugee Alfred Olango was shot and killed by El Cajon Police. It’s Sunday afternoon and protests haven’t started yet, but he and fellow United Against Police Terror(UAPT) activist Catherine Mendonça, who is also Leaf’s girlfriend, are working away in their City Heights apartment. Leaf is editing video footage from Saturday’s protests while Mendonça updates the organization’s social media. They expect more protests later on especially since 12 protestors—including a member of UAPT—were arrested earlier that morning.

“This should be happening every time someone is killed by police,” Leaf says of the community uproar.

For years, Leaf has been using art to document the lives of Olango and others killed by San Diego police with various graphic designs, including a series of portraits he calls “San Diego Stolen Lives.” The 37-year-old Leaf started UAPT with Mendonça about five years ago. They met through the Occupy City Heights movement and bonded over activism.

“We noticed there isn’t a lot of people involved in police accountability,” says Leaf. “There are organizations that are doing other things in San Diego but police accountability is something that is definitely lacking.”

Leaf and Mendonça decided on a mission for their grassroots watchdog organization: Document police and support families of individuals killed by law enforcement. Besides filming police interactions for their Copwatch YouTube series, UAPT’s documentation includes an ongoing list of San Diegans killed by law enforcement called San Diego Stolen Lives: Killed by San Diego Law Enforcement. The list includes details of 602 police-related deaths dating back to 1980. Inspired by the Stolen Lives Project created by the anti-police brutality group October 22nd Coalition, Leaf and Mendonça gathered information for their own list by reading relevant news articles and speaking with families of victims. Leaf began creating graphic designs of some of the victims on the San Diego Stolen Lives list. “To get the names and pictures out there and let them know that they’re human beings,” says Leaf of the project’s purpose. “They’re normal people. Just because they got shot by a cop—guilty or not—they have a life, they have a family, they have kids. We think about the other side.”

Aaron Leaf
Photo by Lara McCaffrey

The designs look like a stencil with the victim’s face shaped out of bold white lines against a black background. They’re each labeled with the person’s name, the date they died and the San Diego police department involved with the death. To create the portrait, Leaf finds photographs for his portraits through his research for the San Diego Stolen Lives list. News articles, online obituaries and sometimes families will provide a photograph he can use.

He then uploads the victim’s photograph into a program similar to Photoshop and changes the threshold until the image looks like a black-and-white photocopy. Leaf then uses a paintbrush tool to smooth out lines and highlight details until he has a clear image of the person’s face. The simplicity of the design allows for the portraits to be easily printed onto various mediums, such as t-shirts and banners.

“We have also done fundraisers with those designs,” says Leaf. UAPT sometimes sets up an online campaign where people can buy the t-shirts and have the profits sent to a victim’s family. Leaf created such a campaign for his late friend, Victor Ortega. Before making a portrait he usually gets permission from the family of the victim.

“Some of them are from back in the day, so we don’t have contact with all the family,” says Leaf. “We actually have families that don’t mind the work that we do, but they just kind of want to be left alone because it’s a touchy topic.”

The portraits are bold, upfront, raw and unforgiving about their political message, much like Leaf’s other artwork. Creating under the name IRATE Productions, there’s images of cops with scythes à la the Grim Reaper, police clashing with protestors, revolutionaries and portraits of people killed by police. All are done in black, red and white—UAPT’s colors. Leaf draws influences from graffiti artists such as Shepard Fairey and Banksy, as well as propaganda art.

Looking at Leaf’s artwork hung in their apartment, Mendonça describes his style as dark. “The edges are hard and it’s very raw,” she says. “It highlights what is necessary. It’s not soft. When you look at these pieces you don’t say it’s just a soft photo, you see the action happening. He emphasizes what you need to see, what is the injustice.”

His artistic style, color choices and subject matter reflect Leaf and Mendonça’s activism style: upfront, confrontational and anarcho-syndicalist. Leaf, Mendonça and the handful of activists that make up UAPT are often on the ground filming police interactions for accountability purposes, and they are unrepentant about the harsh language they use regarding the San Diego Police Department (e.g. see their “San Diego Killer Cop” list) and they don’t look to bigger organizations for direction.

This type of aggressive messaging has provoked many a response—some good and some bad. Last year, UAPT received hate mail sent from the office of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. UAPT was able to trace the IP address used to send the email to the sheriff’s office. The department launched an internal investigation into the email, but did not report on taking any action. With the “San Diego Stolen Lives” portraits and all his designs, Leaf has enough material for an art show but he isn’t interested in that. At this moment and into the future, he reiterates that all his creative endeavors will be devoted to activism and that the best use for his art is to communicate the desire for more police accountability.

“I think it’s a way to really get it out there and to burn an image into somebody’s brain,” says Leaf.

Olango is only the most recent portrait. Leaf has created more than 50 portraits of victims and plans to make as many as he can.

“The more that we show, the bigger message it makes.”

LGBT Weekly

Pro-LGBT Black Lives Chapter debuts after ‘antigay’ group shutters

“Mendonca, who identifies as a queer woman of color, is also founder of United Against Police Terror San Diego (UAPTSD). She says she came to anti-brutality activism after having been the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a police officer in Los Angeles.

“That experience changed my life forever,” she tells LGBT Weekly. “The way to end victimization by the state and by police is to take action and to give voice to victims.”

According to UAPTSD, there have been 593 deaths caused by police in San Diego County in the past three-and-a-half decades. Mendonca and many in the Black Lives Matter movement are dubious about police descriptions of the circumstances surrounding officer-involved shootings and other types of suspect-deaths.

Case in point, the July 8 shooting of Jose Armando Garcia (47) of Fallbrook. Mendonca points to the fact that the sheriff’s report acknowledges that Garcia was likely suicidal. Activists like Mendonca protest against what they see as a de facto position among law enforcement officials that gunning down mental health patients is a legitimate way to deal with suicidal behavior.

“How is filling someone with bullets acceptable as a way of dealing with a mental health issue?” Mendonca asks.

She, like many in the local civil liberties community, was particularly troubled by the fact that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis vowed to keep secret police body camera footage of the police shooting-death – as many as 40 shots may have been fired – of Thongsoune Vilaysanesays in May of this year.

“In fall of last year, three black men were murdered [by law enforcement officers] in San Diego in one month,” says Mendonca, referring to the October, 2015 killings of Lamontez Jones (39), Anthony Ashford (29) and Rayshaun Cole (30). To be clear, none of those deaths have officially been deemed murders.

Mendonca was not at Tuesday’s protest, but is organizing another demonstration Friday, July 15 under the auspices of a project called Overpass Light Brigade. As the name implies, OLB uses southern California’s ubiquitous and high-traffic freeways – or, more accurately overpasses above them – as communication platforms aimed squarely at the region’s commuters and at ending what activists call police brutality.

More information can be found at this link, at UAPTSD.org, and on Facebook at Black Lives Matter San Diego.”

Wrongful death claim filed in San Diego police shooting of man with fake gun

Pauline Repard

About a dozen people gathered in front of San Diego police headquarters Tuesday morning to denounce a fatal Gaslamp Quarter shooting and announce the filing of a wrongful death claim against the city and the officers involved.

Protesters with United Against Police Terror San Diego rallied for Lamontez Jones, 39, who was shot several times by Officers Scott Thompson and Gregory Lindstrom in a confrontation Oct. 20.

Police said Jones aimed a replica handgun at the officers and, after being shot, fell to the pavement and aimed the gun again — prompting them to fire.

The officers did not turn on their body cameras before the shooting because events unfolded too swiftly and the officers’ priority was to protect their own safety and that of the public, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

The district attorney’s office found that the shooting was legally justified, as both officers believed the handgun Jones aimed at Thompson was real and that he was about to fire. Thompson fired two rounds at Jones and Lindstrom fired seven.

“I would just like to know what initiated them to go after my son,” Victoria Jones said in a telephone interview from her home in Virginia on Tuesday. “My biggest concern is, they didn’t have their body cameras [turned] on…. They want me to accept what they want to tell me.”

San Diego police have given her reports on the shooting, and she said they told her they had pulled security video from businesses overlooking the spot where the incident occurred. “They told me the only way I could see them is if I hire a lawyer and file a complaint. So that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

She said that her son had served time after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of his roommate in Virginia, adding that he had acted in self-defense and been pressured into accepting a plea deal. San Diego police said Jones was wanted on a Virginia warrant for robbery at the time of his death.

According to police, the officers saw Jones run into traffic and he refused to stop and identify himself. As they were following him down the street, they said, he turned toward Thompson suddenly with a handgun apparently pulled from his backpack.

“I know my son pulled out a fake gun, and he answered for that,” his mother said. Now, she said, she wants the officers to answer for their actions.

pauline.repard@sduniontribune.com

Repard writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Profile Photo

— About a dozen people gathered in front of San Diego police headquarters Tuesday morning to denounce a fatal Gaslamp Quarter shooting by police and announce the filing of a wrongful death claim against the city and the officers involved.

Protestors with United Against Police Terror San Diego and representatives of a law firm rallied for Lamontez Jones, 39, who was shot several times by San Diego police motorcycle Officers Scott Thompson and Gregory Lindstrom in a confrontation in the middle of Sixth Avenue at F Street on Oct. 20.

Police said Jones aimed a replica handgun at the officers, and after being shot he fell to the pavement and aimed the gun at them again, prompting them to fire again. He died at a hospital.

The officers did not turn on their body-worn cameras before the shooting. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman defended their oversight, saying events unfolded too swiftly and the officers had to focus on safety for themselves and the public first.

The District Attorney’s Office found the shooting legally justified, as both officers believed the handgun Jones aimed at Thompson was real and that he was about to fire it at the officer. Thompson fired two rounds at Jones and Lindstrom fired seven rounds.

The claim, a legal step required before filing a lawsuit against the government, was filed by the Los Angeles law firm of James P. Segall-Gutierrez on behalf of Jones’ mother, Victoria Jones, of Virginia. It alleges wrongful death, negligence, infliction of emotional distress and other violations by the city, the Police Department and the two officers. The amount of damages was not specified, but the claim said “the totals will exceed several million dollars.”

“I would just like to know what initiated them to go after my son,” Victoria Jones said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “My biggest concern is, they didn’t have their body cameras (turned) on. … They want me to accept what they want to tell me.”

She said an officer’s first instinct when contacting the public or getting out of a patrol car should be to activate the camera, and that police agencies should use technology that turns them on automatically.

San Diego police have given her reports on the shooting, and she said they told her they pulled security video from businesses overlooking the spot where it happened.

“They told me the only way I could see them is if I hire a lawyer and file a complaint. So that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

She said a number of witnesses sent her emails about the encounter between her son and police, and some said officers knew before the shooting that Jones’ gun was not real. Police said the officers saw Jones run into traffic, refusing to stop and identify himself, and they were following him as he ran down the street. They said he turned toward Thompson suddenly with a handgun apparently pulled from his backpack.

“I know my son pulled out a fake gun, and he answered for that,” his mother said. She said she now wants the officers to answer for their actions.

She said he served time after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of his roommate in Virginia, but said he acted in self-defense and was pressured into accepting a plea deal. San Diego police said Jones was wanted on a Virginia warrant for robbery at the time of his death.

pauline.repard@sduniontribune.com

VIDEOS

United Against Police Terror – San Diego‘s video of Lamontez Jones including witness statement ‪#‎Justice4LamontezJones‬

#‎RiseinPowerLAMONTEZJONES‬

L. Jones Claim for Damages

L. Jones Claim for Damages pg 2

UAPTSD Serves SDPD Wrongful Death Claim for LaMontez Jones

SDPD Served w/ Wrongful Death Claim for LaMontez Jones – 10 News Footage

Family of Man Shot by Police Files Claim Against SDPD, City of San Diego

Justice Demanded for “Stolen Lives”

Bryan Kim, right, addresses media

Bryan Kim, right, addresses media

United Against Police Terror San Diego group stages protest

A police watchdog group gathered in front of the San Diego Police Department’s downtown headquarters on Monday (January 4) to demand a thorough accounting of what they say are hundreds of deaths at the hands of police in cases dating back three decades or more.

“In San Diego County, we have no comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, but we believe such an accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force,” says Catherine Mendonca, an organizer for United Against Police Terror San Diego. “The mission of our campaign is to demand justice for stolen lives. We’re publishing this list to let the public know that we are keeping track.

“We demand a full investigation of every person documented as having been killed by police or having died in police custody, and for full transparency into the involved officers’ status, including any discipline that followed,” Mendonca continued. “We also demand that law-enforcement agencies establish an ‘early warning’ system to identify officers that have been involved in an inordinate number of physical force incidents.”

Such early-warning systems are not new. A recent report estimated that up to 39 percent of law-enforcement organizations already use them, though poor implementation of the programs has led to few disciplinary actions even in agencies where they’re currently deployed.

Activist Bryan Kim used the April 2014 police shooting death of Fridoon Nehad, and the subsequent resistance by police in releasing video of the incident to illustrate what he called a “dramatic need for our police departments to find non-lethal solutions.” Nehad was mentally ill and living on the streets in the Midway District when the shooting occurred. He was also unarmed at the time of the conflict.

“Mr. Nehad suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, as many of our homeless population do. When over one quarter of our homeless population throughout the country suffer from some form of mental health issue, it seems clear that police need training on non-lethal solutions when handling the mentally ill,” said Kim. “Anyone who’s done work with someone with post-traumatic stress can tell you that rolling up with your sirens blaring and jumping out with a gun pointed while screaming to get on the ground is almost absolutely going to trigger that person, make them non-compliant and make it highly likely that the situation will escalate.”

Mendonca said the names on her group’s banner — and the more than 400 dead listed on the group’s website — included those killed by officers both on and off duty (some were retired), along with border protection and highway patrol officers and security guards with “police grade weapons.”

Citizens demanding transparency in police shootings

Posted: Jan 04, 2016 6:39 PM PSTUpdated: Jan 10, 2016 6:39 PM PST

Citizens demanding transparency in police shootings
Citizens demanding transparency in police shootings

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – About a dozen people got together to demand justice for those who they say had their lives stolen at the hands of San Diego Law Enforcement.

The group – which consisted of community activists and lawyers – said it’s asking for transparency and for independent reviews of officer-involved shootings.

“We believe any institution that investigates itself has a built in conflict of interest … This must change,” said Martha Sullivan of Women Occupy San Diego.

The group said they intend to file a ballot proposal Tuesday of a charter amendment to make a citizen review board on police practices truly independent.

Meanwhile the police department released a statement in response to Monday’s gathering:

“The San Diego Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality police services to America’s Finest City.  We respect every person’s first amendment right to freedom of speech and to assemble peacefully to express their views.”

The group said it’s hoping to build community pressure for a release of the full list of names from shooting deaths at the hands of San Diego Law Enforcement.

Rally against police brutality blocks freeway entrance

SAN DIEGO — A group of nearly 100 protesters rallied against police brutality in City Heights Thursday, forcing the closure of University Avenue entrances to Interstate 15.The United Against Police Terror – San Diego and Af3irm San Diego groups organized the 20th annual “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality” held nationwide.

Organizers said Thursday night’s protest was timely because of Tuesday’s deadly Gaslamp Quarter shooting involving two San Diego police officers.

The rally began and ended at the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park. Before the march, the memorial was covered with boxes and the sign could not be seen.

San Diego police traveled close with the group on motorcycles, SUVs and patrol cars, directing traffic and blocking off roads for the protesters’ safety.

Entrance to I-15 freeway from University Ave is closed off due to police brutality protest @fox5sandiego

Cars exiting Onto Univ Ave from I-15 completely stopped because of police brutality rally @fox5sandiego

Protest heading east on Univ Ave. Streets reopening as they pass with police escort @fox5sandiego

Sheriff Launches Internal Investigation Into Hate Mail Sent to Activist Group

You can imagine how the email went from there.

It’s not surprising a group critical of the police got the note. The apparent source of the email is. The note came from an IP address that, according to an address locater, is attached to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The group tweeted a picture of the note and the IP address to me.

Sheriff Looks into Hate Message Sent from His Department

I asked the Sheriff’s Department and spokeswoman Melissa Aquino told me they have launched an investigation:

“It appears the email came from a Sheriff’s Department IP address. We are taking this very seriously and an internal investigation is underway to determine where, how and who it came from. As such, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but we are taking this matter very seriously.”

Sheriff’s Dept. Launches Internal Investigation After Activist Group Receives Hate Email
Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Sheriffs-Dept-Internal-Investigation-Hate-Email–328745481.html#ixzz3zWB195Mu

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has launched an internal investigation after the United Against Police Terror San Diego group received a hate email that appears to be from an sheriff’s employee’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.

The group, which has been an outspoken critic of police brutality, said they were sent an email that contained multiple profanities in the subject line and called Ferguson protesters “animals.”

SDSO Lt. Marco Garmo said the department is investigating what his agency calls a personnel matter.

“It appears an email came from a sheriff’s IP address. We are taking this very seriously, and an internal investigation is underway to determine where, how and who the email came from,” Garmo said. “As such, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but we are taking this matter very seriously.”

Garmo clarified that he is not confirming the email definitely came from someone within the law enforcement agency, but said he can confirm SDSO understands the allegation being made against it.

United Against Police Terror San Diego member Catherine Mendonça read some of the offensive email aloud at a news conference Tuesday and announced the group is filing a complaint against the sheriff’s department.

The email says, in part, “The police aren’t the problem. It’s the criminals out there victimizing the real citizens of the country that are the problem.”

Much of the email is too profane to broadcast on TV or copy in an article.

Mendonça said perhaps the most troubling part of the email was where the writer described Ferguson protesters as “animals.”

“It just perpetuates that ‘lesser of a being’ (stereotype), and it highlights how much racism is still present to this day,” Mendonça said. “There’s still hundreds of years of racism that we still need to overcome.”

United Against Police Terror San Diego filed its complaint Tuesday under penalty of perjury.

NBC 7 verified that the email pictured in the complaint was sent to the group’s Gmail account.

Internal and consultant IT experts told NBC 7 that Ip-address spoofing is a possibility, but it is less likely in this case, given the format of how the email was generated from a WordPress blog comment section.

When pressed on whether the SDSO was considering the possibility that the IP address was impersonated, a spokeswoman said, “Once we were made aware of the complaint, an internal investigation was opened. As such, we cannot comment on the specifics and we also cannot comment on personnel matters.”

Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Sheriffs-Dept-Internal-Investigation-Hate-Email–328745481.html#ixzz3zWBD31uy

— The Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether someone in its own office sent an obscenity-riddled hate email to an activist group critical of law enforcement.

The email rant that referred to Ferguson, Mo. protesters as animals and said “real citizens” of the county love the police was sent Sept. 16 to the website of United Against Police Terror San Diego, its spokeswoman, Cat Mendonca said.

Mendonca held a news conference outside the sheriff’s Kearny Mesa headquarters on Tuesday to say her organization had filed a complaint with the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, which handles complaints against sheriff’s deputies.

She said a trace of the email’s origins showed that it apparently came from a specific computer with a unique IP, or Internet Protocol, address within the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s Lt. Marco Garmo also spoke, saying the department is investigating and taking the matter seriously. Mendonca gave him a copy of the complaint.

The sheriff’s Internal Affairs unit is handling the probe, spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said.

The group United Against Police Terror states on its literature that its mission, in part, is to denounce harassment, violence, and abuse of power by police.

“The email said ‘real citizens’ do their job, and that the (Ferguson) protesters were looting, were animals. There was a lot of racial stuff,” Mendonca said in an interview. “But we are the community. We’re taxpayers. We never incited any violence.”

The email opens with profanities and says the police aren’t the problem, criminals are. “And thank God for gang injunctions and gang documenting procedures,” it continues.

It ends saying, “The good people of this county and country will always prevail over scum like you. Good luck. Your going to need it.” It sent from an email address Sisckokid1560.

Also at the news conference was Jeff Olson with Socialist Alternative, to support Mendonca’s organization.

“The sheriff has two choices,” Olson said, “to reveal the prankster who got through their IP address, or reveal the employee and terminate their employment.

“The email’s really disturbing. It’s in all caps, full of spelling mistakes and bad grammar.”

 Univision San Diego

Organización recibe correo amenazante y lo rastrean hasta el Departamento del Alguacil (Organization receives threatening mail tracked to the Sheriff’s Department)

En un comunicado de prensa señalaron que el mensaje fue recibido el miércoles 16 de septiembre con insultos, defendiendo a la policía y llamando a los protestantes de policías de Ferguson “animales”.

Mencionaron que en esta era de anonimato en internet, el recibir este tipo de correos es algo común para la organización, lo que no fue común, fue que supuestamente lo recibieron del Departamento del Alguacil.

Group wants justice for victim of officer-involved shooting

SAN DIEGO – A protest Saturday against police using excessive force got a bit heated when a woman walked up and ridiculed the group.

Members of United Against Police Terror gathered in front of the alley near Hancock and Riley streets where San Diego police officer Neal Browder shot and killed Fridoon Rawshannehad on April 30.

“Killing someone is not, should not be a part of the equation when we’re talking about police interaction,” Catherine Mendonca said.

Officer Browder’s body camera was not on, but surveillance cameras in the area were.

Justice for Victor Ortega March in City Heights

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March 15, 2015 (San Diego) The march is a monthly affair and it had about 20 people this month. This march is to remember the death of Victor Ortega in 2012, at the hands of Officer Jonathan McCarthy, who is still on patrol, The District Attorney found that shooting justified.

The family has been in the courts trying to reopen the case because they feel the police lied, and San Diego Police (SDPD) covered for one of their own. In November of 2014 a Federal Judge found that there were many inconsistencies in the police report. Reporting San Diego asked Shakina Ortega, his widow, what is the status of this case? It is still an open case. She told us that the city appealed; the case is still open.

This march showed the tensions between the police and the community of City Heights. It started when Captain D. Nisslet walked over from the station to the small gathering, of twenty people or so, including three reporters from two different city of San Diego news outlets, to warn Catherine Mendonca that anything that went wrong was on her. Nisslet told her that she was the organizer, and as such she could be held liable and arrested.

Mendonca countered that it was not her, but the family. The Captain kept on this line and did not allow Aaron Leaf to speak since he was talking with Mendonca.

DSC_1622

Soon after, a group, including Mendonca, walked to the sidewalk, technically outside the park, to smoke. Captain Nisslet, with two of his lieutenants and a sergeant, walked over and warned them that they should not do that. He pointed to the sign and told them that he could arrest them, if he wanted to, for that, but he was being nice and educating them about city ordinances.

A quick search of Smoke Free San Diego does not list smoking in sidewalks as something you can get a ticket for within City limits. It does note you could get a ticket if you do it in a park or beach.

And a further check reveals that the ordinance is just limited to actual parks and actual beaches. This is City of San Diego Municipal Code 4.3.10. The possible ticket for the first offense is $250.00

Some of the conversation was telling. The protesters, including Aaron leaf, objected, and told Captain Nisslet that he did not respect them. To which the Captain answered “If I did not respect you guys, I would have arrested you guys for jay walking.” (The marches have many a times taken to the streets).

The Event Itself

DSC_1631

When the event started, the small group of protesters and media gathered around Shakina Ortega. She told the crowd: “Thank you everybody that supports this, and everybody making a difference in everybody’s lives, not just ours.” She added, “we really appreciate for people standing up because they know it’s not right.”

“Thank you for helping spread the word, We love you guys for that. Thank you for everybody that comes.”

Michelle Ortega then took the bullhorn. While Shakina lost a husband, she lost a brother. Michelle said that “this police brutality thing is a world wide thing. My goal is to get Victor’s name out there, and get the awareness, and get Jonathan McCarthy (the officer) to go to jail, which he will eventually.”

She, like Shakina, added “it means a lot when you guys come out, especially on a hot day like this.” (The temperature was hovering around 90.)

According to Michelle, “this is actually putting pressure on them, even though it might be 20 or 30 people out here. It does really make a difference.”

She was emphatic, “they don’t want us out here. Every time we come out here just for Victor Ortega, they are mad about that. They don’t want the media, they don’t want the attention of the community to know what they really did.”

After the short speeches were done, the small group moved on to the corner of University and Fairmont. They kept to the streets and were followed by Captain Nisslet, two of his lieutenants, and a sergeant (who had a gas mask on his thigh) throughout, keeping a distance of at most 10 feet.

Once at the park, two officers stood by the Officer Jeremy Henwood sign. (Formerly the park was called Rosa Parks), guarding it. Ever since Chris McCay put a sign on it, with the name of Victor Ortega on it, using string, officers have protected that sign from any kind of defacing. Except that the temporary sign was just that, temporary and non damaging to the granite.

To the police this is a sign of disorder, not peaceful protest, and under broken windows theory this has to be stooped before we suppose somebody actually, for real, damages the sign. Captain Nisslet told the protesters in emphatic terms, “It is my job to protect the sign.”

DSC_1819

Once the two officers walked away, the demonstrators moved to the sign. One of them sat on it, while another did some dirty dancing on it This lead to the Captain walking back across, with ten officers, 7 of whom walked and surrounded the sign. This did not stop the protest. The family was not taking any of this and the temperature continued to rise.

Untitled 2

At one point the sister of Victor Ortega got on her knees in front of the officers protecting the sign. She put her hands behind her back, and told them to arrest her and shoot her. That way her mother could lose another child. The officers did their level best to ignore it and looked everywhere but at her.

She also asked them if any of them was a good cop? She asked them to stand up and denounce the bad officers in the department. Officers just stood there.

DSC_1850

Captain Nisslet tried to defuse the situation, while both Leaf and McCay told him in no uncertain terms that this looked like police intimation. McKay put his hands behind his back as he talked to the Captain.

As the family walked away, with babies, and children in tow, the officers finally left.
Reporting San Diego asked one of the Lieutenants for a statement, with a business card in hand. We were told that the Captain was the person to ask. I approached to get a statement, and I was told “I’m done talking.” The Captain turned and left.

We are also embedding some of the video, raw as it is of Mendonca, among others, questioning why the plaque is more important than the message.

Editor’s note: The Park is public property, but Mendonca’s point stands.

Twitter: @nadinbrzezinski

Facebook: Reporting San Diego

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Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

San-Diego-4MileMarch-1-19-15-Midway02By Frank Gormlie

It wasn’t a massive turnout here in San Diego Monday for the 4 Mile March – far from it – but you can’t get away from the fact that one hundred San Diegans did march four miles for social justice in an effort to rekindle Martin Luther King’s militancy on his celebrated birthday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASan Diego joined a list of at least 30 other cities nationwide that also had “4MileMarches”. A small crowd of around 140 gathered at the City Heights park next to its library – about a quarter African-Americans – , and listened to a few speeches from the organizers of the different groups that set up the event. The event had been planned by United Against Police Terror – San Diego, Activist San Diego, the local branch of the International Socialist Organization, and the Coalition Against Police Violence.

The speakers spoke of institutional racism, the killings by police of young Black men – and in San Diego – of young Latino men, of the connections between the days of Martin Luther King with today. They spoke of the need to strengthen an independent civilian police review board, of how leaders such as Mayor Faulconer and District Attorney Dumanis have failed the African-American community.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout 2 pm, the crowd marched out of the park and headed for the Malcolm X Library, south of there. As soon as the hit asphalt, it immediately took over one lane of Fairmount Avenue, and as they chanted, began the journey south, escorted by police officers on motorcycles. This scenario remained as the marchers paraded down to the other library, blocking a long line of traffic along Fairmount as they proceeded. The police did nothing to assist those drivers lining up behind the march. The marchers themselves were well-organized, disciplined, not un-ruly, and stayed bunched up the entire length of the march ( a little too bunched up for my tastes).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe route of the march went through quiet residential neighborhoods,along vacant areas, attracting the attention of locals as it plodded along. But there was little if any outpouring of support from the communities as the marchers walked through, and as the march ended there was no one waiting for them.

An African-American woman standing next to me as a few of us waited in the parking lot of a fastfood place, commented upon seeing the marchers, “There’s such a small group of them.” It was true. You couldn’t get away from it. It was a relatively small number of people who had been mobilized by the narrow array of groups that had sponsored it. It was even a smaller turnout then a recent rally and die-in at Balboa Park and smaller than the angry crowds that had gathered in City Heights after Ferguson and who had taken over a nearby freeway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYet it would be safe to say that most African-Americans who were celebrated MLK Day were at the downtown Parade on Sunday. And on Monday, dare say, most of San Diego’s politicized African-American community was over at Balboa Park listening to the NAACP speaker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo the 4 Mile March was a leftist effort to make a statement and to show support for the nation-wide rallies and marches occurring Monday. There’s a variety of factors that could explain why San Diego’s turnout was different from, say, Boston’s, or Minneapolis’. Some of those could be: San Diego’s historic small African-American community relative to other cities of comparable size, the small and usually weak progressive community in San Diego, an historically weak labor movement here, the co-optation of the traditional MLK Parade by establishment groups and government – it goes on.

But despite all of this, you can’t get past the fact that on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, one hundred San Diegans marched four miles between major minority communities for social justice. This – in itself – is historic.

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A lawyer and grassroots activist, I was finally convinced by Patty Jones to start the OB Rag, a blog of citizen journalists, after she got tired of listening to my rants about the news. Way back during the Dinosaurs in 1970, I founded the original Ocean Beach People’s Rag – OB’s famous underground newspaper -, and then later during the early Eighties, published The Whole Damn Pie Shop, a progressive alternative to the Reader.

Protest organizer: Video helps show charges against protester should be dropped

It is hard to see, but amid a chorus of shouts, the video shows police officers moving in, putting a man on the ground and handcuffing him. Video of the man’s arrest was posted online by protest organizers, the group United Against Police Terror.

“I’m calling for all charges to be dropped,” said co-founder Cathy Mendonca.

The lead-up to the arrest was loud and large. Hundreds of protesters marched in City Heights – at certain points walking onto Interstate 15 and blocking traffic.

According to the protesters, after the access to the highway on-ramp was blocked by police, they headed east on University Avenue and met up with a line of officers moving toward them.

Mendonca says police made a beeline for 24-year-old Emmanuel Wimer.

“My understanding from quite a few witnesses: He was backing up to get away from police when four or five cops grabbed him. He wasn’t holding anything. He wasn’t destroying property. He was chanting what everybody else was chanting,” said Mendonca.

Wimer was arrested on two misdemeanors, including inciting a riot.

Mendonca believes police simply picked out a protester to make an example out of. She points out though the video begins when police are going toward Wimer, it shows no aggressive actions by him.

“Possibly to choose a scapegoat … to show us what they’re capable of,” said Mendonca.

Police declined to reveal details, but released this statement:

“The San Diego Police Department completely supports our public’s right to peacefully assemble and express their views. Our role is to ensure everyone’s First Amendment right to express themselves is respected in a safe and peaceful manner. It is our intent to present this case for prosecutorial review.”

In all, six were arrested. Another man was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on an officer. Four protesters were cited and released.

City Heights Residents Protest SDPD After Deadly Shooting

Victor Ortega was killed June 4, 2012 in a confrontation with a San Diego police officer

 NBC 7’s Nicole Gomez reports on the protest held in City Heights in honor of Victor Ortega, a man shot and killed in a confrontation with SDPD in June 2012. (Published Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014)

A group of protesters in City Heights joined people in cities all across the country Wednesday as they marched against police brutality.

More than 100 people chanted ‘Justice for Victor Ortega’ along with ‘Hands up. Don’t shoot’, a reference to the call for action after the death of Michael Brown.

The Ferguson, Missouri teen was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

In City Heights, protesters marched for Victor Ortega, a 31-year-old father and husband who was shot and killed by a San Diego Police Officer in June 2012.

[DGO] Protesters Join City Heights Man's Widow in SDPD Protest
Shakina Ortega was joined by dozens of people Wednesday night in City Heights. Her husband, Victor, was shot in a confrontation with San Diego Police in June 2012. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming reports. (Published Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014)

“It’s been hard,” said Ortega’s widow Shakina. “I can’t see my best friend , my husband anymore.
My kids don’t have a father anymore.”

Shakina was among the group of people rallying through the streets of City Heights calling for an end to what she calls police injustice that she says her husband and others have suffered

“You can’t trust police,” exclaimed Cathy Mendonça of United Against Police Terror. As the rally’s organizer, she urged residents to keep watch over their own communities and hold police accountable.

“ Film them at all times. Encourage everyone it is your right if you’re out in public it is your right to film police,” Mendonça said.

Ortega was shot during a struggle with an officer who was responding to a domestic violence call at the couple’s Mira Mesa home.

Officer Jonathan McCarthy, was attempting to arrest Ortega when a fight began. One of the officer’s guns dropped to the ground according to police spokesperson Lt. Kevin Rooney.

The officer then shot Ortega with a second gun, killing him.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the shooting and found the officer’s actions were justified. No charges were filed.

“Why is he still working and my husband is not here with his kids? “ questioned Ortega’s widow. “For what? That I can’t get over that and that’s why I’m going to be fighting.”

An SDPD spokesperson released a statement saying the department stands behind the people’s right to rally peacefully.

Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/City-Heights-Victor-Ortega-San-Diego-Police-Shooting-Protest-280174722.html#ixzz4HbD9bHzT
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LGBT Weekly

Women on the Wave

Af3rm held its National Summit and 25th anniversary celebration Oct. 11-12 at the Social Justice High School in Los Angeles. Over 400 women-identified participants attended the two-day summit to examine the issues that impact transnational, im/migrant and women of color and to transform, build and lead the next wave of feminism. The summit was unique in that it placed special emphasis on the need for each individual to participate fully and also collectively in the movement for women’s liberation by envisioning and manifesting a new and just world.

The panel on “Transnational Feminism: Our Activism in Action – Insight into the Practical Application of Ideology in Praxis” included Olivia Canlas, Myra Duran, Catherine Mendonca, Ivy Quicho and facilitated by Kristen Jackson. Whereas the previous panels talked about theories, this panel talked about activism in action. Cathy has been active in the San Diego community for over four years and is co-founder of United Against Police Terror which will be holding a “National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality Rally and Light Brigade” Oct. 22 at the City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex starting at 6 p.m.

Donovan Prison rally

  • Donovan Prison rally, Image by Aaron Leaf, courtesy of United Against Police Terror

A protest against the proposed expansion of Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility brought over 60 people carrying signs and chanting slogans to a remote corner of Otay Mesa on March 29th.

The new building is planned to be a medical treatment center for prisoners with disabilities and mental health issues.

“These projects demonstrate the state’s commitment to comply with federal court orders to provide adequate inmate health care and reduce overcrowding,” said department of corrections secretary Jeffrey Beard in an announcement last January. The new building will cost taxpayers $168.7 million, employ 180 people and have a total annual operating cost of $5.5 million, according to officials.

Organizers of the demonstration said the expansion is an example of wasteful government spending and called for the money to go to education and alternatives to incarceration.

It is an “unnecessary waste of land and money on San Diego,” said Dennis Childs, professor at the UCSD. “Who in San Diego wants more prisons? We are going to speak out against this unnecessary use of dollars that can be used to empower the youth of San Diego instead of incarcerating them or their families.

Cathy Mendonca speaks at the rally

Cathy Mendonca of the group United Against Police Terror was at the protest to give attention to the “criminalization of the mentally ill in our society.”

“Half of the issue is that these people are locked up and charged for their illnesses,” she said. Mendonca said the combination of “being stigmatized at an early age” combined with “a lack of community-based programs” leads to arrest, jail and prison for many mentally ill people.

She added that sometimes there is a vicious circle when police brutality causes a mental illness to start and then the mental illness keeps the sick person in prison. “What could tie in with mental illness is that it can be trauma-induced,” Mendoca added. “Not only is the illness criminalized but the trauma that was induced by police is then criminalized.”

James Messer of the organization Black and Pink, which represents LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) prisoners, was also at the protest. He said Black and Pink had joined the Californians United for a Responsible Budget coalition to demonstrate against the new prison construction and “to bring the LGBTQ perspective on this expansion” to the public. Messer said his group supports 14 prisoners in Donovan prison who are LGBTQ.

Black and Pink was at the protest “on behalf of those prisoners, and in solidarity with other affected prisoners,” he said, and to demand investment in such things as education, affordable housing and substance abuse programs. Messer said he was also there “to stand against the prison-industrial complex as a whole.”

“They create a demand for more prisoners by building more prisons,” he said. “The LGBTQ population is vulnerable to prison because of the school to prison pipeline. They get bullied or kicked out of school, which obstructs their education, which leads to survival crimes or substance abuse.” Survival crimes are crimes like drug dealing and prostitution that people are “forced to do or coerced to do” due to lack of opportunities or unfair treatment. According to Messer, transgender people suffer from extraordinarily higher rates of incarceration than average — 16% of transgender people overall, 47% for transgender African-Americans and 30% of transgender Native Americans. This all amounts to “institutional violence,” Messer said.

Messer was also there to point out that “law enforcement is inherently racist.”

“Over 50% of prison population is there for drug-related offences,” he said, “and though all racial groups use drugs at about the same percentage, it’s mostly African Americans in prison for drugs.”

Construction of the new facility is set to begin sometime this spring.

INDEPENDENT 

Reporting San Diego

United Against Police Terror San Diego Releases List of People Killed by Law Enforcement Starting in 1980

DSC_6087Jan 4, 2016 (San Diego) According to Catherine Mendonca, of United Against Police Terror San Diego “we have no comprehensive record of the number of people killed by law enforcement.” We might add, that we do not have such a record at the national level either.DSC_6092What United Against Police Terror has done locally, is what other organizations are doing nationally, and that is to build that record. Locally they started in 1980 and have scoured media reports, and other sources, to build as comprehensive a list as you can find in the county.Mendonca also quoted from the Guardians, “such accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force by every branch of law enforcement.” She added, “we are publishing this list today to let the public know that we are keeping track.”This list is comprehensive and spans every department at work in the county of San Diego, whether this is the Highway Patrol, federal agencies, or San Diego Police. You can find the list here.

Activists Call for Police Accountability in San Diego

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

This week local activist groups are throwing their cards on the table, demanding accountability for the actions of those tasked with protecting the public. Recent events, both locally and nationally, have demonstrated the threat of and/or use of force is essentially exempt from meaningful review. The checks and balances supposedly built into the system are failing on a regular basis.

A list naming hundreds of persons killed by various agencies of law enforcement in San Diego going back to 1980 shows just how mundane lethal force has become in the city and county. A press conference by United Against Police Terror staged in front of police headquarters hopes to put a human face on those statistics.

Go to Company Name Home

Turning on body-worn cameras

Police discover the obvious: bodycams only work when they’re turned on

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

With strong financial support from the federal government, police body-worn cameras are quickly becoming an essential tool for police accountability across the country. Debates about who should get access to bodycam recordings and when are raging across the country, but what if recordings of the most critical moments don’t even exist in the first place?

Two recent incidents in San Diego prove an obvious rule — bodycams are only worthwhile when they are turned on.

When a 27-year veteran police officer was confronted with a knife-weilding suspect, he says he did not have time to hit the record button on his camera. Thus, the San Diego Police Department doesn’t have bodycam footage of one of the most controversial moments of officer-involved shootings in recent months.

On April 30, Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, 42, was reported to have threatened an adult bookstore employee with a knife and “continued to advance” on Officer Neal N. Browder when he arrived at the scene. When Nehad did not comply with the officer’s verbal command, he was shot and killed.

But further investigation revealed that he was actually holding a pen, not a knife.

“The guy was walking, just normal, lazical (sic), lazy walking,” a witness told a reporter for the NBC affiliate. “If he (the officer) said ‘stop’, that’s all he said. He just opened the door, and said ‘stop’ and shot.”

Nehad’s family told the media he had been suffering PTSD and mental illness from his time in the Afghanistan army.

Without any bodycam footage, the incident lacks its key evidence for investigation to determine if the officer really was facing an imminent danger. His family filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city and the officer for use of excessive and unreasonable deadly force.

A week after the incident, the SDPD announced a revision to its bodycam policies on when to turn on the cameras. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters that officers now have to turn the camera on when they get the radio call or before they arrive at the scene, not right before they make actual contact.

But the latest publicly available bodycam policy, dated July 8, 2015, show no actual wording had changed regarding when to start recording. The policy simply states that body-worn cameras “should be activated prior to actual contact with the citizen, or as soon as safely possible.”

More recently, on Oct. 20, 2015, another man was fatally shot by San Diego officers. Officer Scott Thompson and Officer Gregory Lindstrom were on traffic patrol when they spotted Lamontez Ardelbert Jones disrupting traffic. When the officers attempted to contact the suspect, he turned around and pulled what appeared to be a large caliber handgun and pointed it at the officers.

The police department stated the officers opened fire only after the suspect didn’t comply with the officers’ verbal commands to drop the weapon. Officers fired again when the suspect raised his weapon and pointed it at the officers after falling to the ground.

But investigators later revealed that what seemed like a gun was actually merely a replica.

Again, both of the officers apparently failed to turn on their body-worn cameras, making it difficult to figure out what exactly happened at the scene.

But SDPD Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman defended the officers, saying events transpired so quickly that they were not able to hit the record button.

“When our officers are facing the barrel of a handgun or some other life-threatening situation, we expect their first consideration is protecting themselves and our citizens,” Zimmerman told NBC San Diego.

In light of the recent SDPD officer-involved shootings, more than 100 community members gathered at the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, on Oct. 22, to protest against police violence.

Catherine Mendonça, a spokesperson for rally organizer United Against Police Terror, said without transparency and accountability the body-worn camera program is of no use. She said she is especially alarmed the officers didn’t record the incident even after the revision in the department policies.

“The magic words of ‘officer safety’ give them too much room to wiggle,” Mendonca said. “All we’re asking is to just touch their chest.”

It’s been more than a year since the San Diego Police Department rolled out body cameras on June 30, 2014, after pilot program earlier that year. As of September 2015, 871 officers have been outfitted with the cameras, and the police department plans to increase the number to 1,000 by the end of this year.

Zimmerman said the police department is constantly revising body-worn camera policies and that officers are still trying to get used to activating cameras. Currently, because the department storage does not allow continuous recording of body cameras, officers must manually activate a button to record video when in need.

She also said the SDPD is looking to see if there is any technology that allows automatic activation of a camera when a service weapon is drawn.

“Time is needed to train officers to turn on the camera and develop muscle memory,” Kellen Russoniello, staff attorney with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, said in a statement. “But SDPD should intervene when officers fail to follow policy and discipline officers for repeated or blatant violations of the policy.”

None of the officers involved in both the Rawshan and Jones incidents have faced any consequences for failing to turn the cameras on.

In August, a Tuscaloosa, Ala., officer failed to turn on the camera he was wearing when he fatally shot a mentally ill man who was wielding what turned out to be a spoon. The officer confronted Jeffory Tevis, after getting a call that he had engaged in self destructive behavior and had threatened a neighbor. When Tevis charged at the officer from a distance, the officer fired twice, killing Tevis.

Tuscaloosa Police Department policy on body camera states that officers should have the cameras on at “any time there’s going to be enforcement action taken.”

In Oklahoma, a body-worn camera recording of a Henryetta police officer chasing down and detaining a robbery suspect spread quickly around the Internet, leading to allegations of police brutality.

What drew most attention from the public comes in a minute into the video when an officer apparently whispers “turn it off,” to the officer wearing a bodycam. Instead of turning the camera off, the officer turns away from the scene.

Henryetta Police Chief Steve Norman told KJRH he was at the scene and the officers simply went through the standard procedure.

In Vermont, Vermont Public Radio reported that two Burlington police officers who failed to record a incident involving gun fire in August have been freed of any criminal charges.

Burlington Police Department requires the entire department to be outfitted with bodycams. But the officers turned their cameras off right before confronting James Hemingway, who was drunk and threatening to shoot them.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said in a statement that the officers turned the camera off to stop the red lights and beeping sound that come out during recording mode to approach Hemingway discreetly.

But VPR reported that the users’ manual for the Taser AXON body camera details how to mute the sound and turn the light off.

VPR’s phone conversation with Burlington Deputy Police Chief Bruce Bovat indicated that he did not know about the functions. The Police Chief Brandon del Pozo admitted that officers’ lack of familiarity with the equipment shows a need for additional training and policy changes.

“Apparently we have a lot of work to do to make sure we have a policy that captures the type of footage we need to capture, especially during a firearms discharge,” the police chief told VPR.

At a recent public hearing on new Washington, D.C., police body-worn camera policies, open government advocates and domestic violence victim advocates unanimously voiced concern that body-worn camera itself is not going to be the solution for better relationship between the police and the community.

Adam Marshall, a legal fellow with the Reporters Committee criticized the D.C. government’s secretive attitudes toward building the policies and called for open discussions from various sectors in the community.

The Reporters Committee is tracking bodycam policies nationwide, particularly with regard to public access to the footage.

Black Lives rally chides Black Friday

BY ANDREW DYER ON 02/01/2016

Black Lives

“Black lives matter, not Black Friday,” was the message approximately 100 protesters brought to the streets and shops of downtown San Diego the Friday after Thanksgiving. Activists from United Against Police Terror, Justice or Else, and the University of San Diego’s Black Student Union rallied at the Hall of Justice for a news conference before marching. Several speakers spoke about what they called an epidemic of police violence against people of color, and said this warranted more attention than Black Friday sales.

The action was held at the same time marchers in Chicago continued their protests of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer following the release of video of the incident.

Also present was Alyahe Ali-McCall, cousin of Anthony Ashford, a black man killed by San Diego Harbor police on Oct. 27.
“I never thought my cousin, coming to the San Diego area to visit a family member, would not return,” Ali-McCall said, standing behind a bank of microphones. “I thought the police were here to protect and serve, so why is my cousin dead at 29?”

Police said Ashford attacked a police officer after being seen looking into cars in a parking lot on North Harbor Drive.

Marchers made their way to the corner of F and 5th Street where, on Oct. 20, Lamontez Jones was shot and killed by San Diego police after allegedly pointing a replica handgun at them. The officers did not turn on their body cameras, a matter of contention among many in the community. It was the second police shooting in six months where SDPD officers failed to activate their body cameras.

After a short “die-in” at the intersection, protesters made their way to Westfield Horton Plaza mall, marching through several levels before stopping on the main floor to bring their message to shoppers.

Rayne Ibarra-Brown, a member of the Black Student Union at USD, read a list of demands through a bullhorn.

“We’re in the mall to remind them black lives should be getting more press and attention that Black Friday deals,” Ibarra-Brown said. “But also, where did this consumer culture come from, (and) what foundation was it built on? Slavery.”

Not all bystanders agreed with the message.

Johnny Pantoja, visiting San Diego for the first time, was surprised to see protesters out at the mall.

“I wasn’t expecting anything to get this intense out here for some shopping,” Pantoja said. “I heard like five different chants that had nothing to do with each other. They just annoyed everybody.”

Other shoppers took exception to the notion of “black lives matter.”

“All lives matter,” said shopper Herb Hernandez in response to the protesters’ chant. “They should’ve done all lives matter. That makes more sense to me.”

Ibarra-Brown explained to the significance of the phrase.

“All lives do matter. It’s absolutely true,” she said. “The thing is that hasn’t been the way our society has functioned. ‘Black lives matter’ is not exclusive, it’s inserting ourselves into the narrative. Black lives have mattered significantly less than others, and so to say ‘all lives matter’ is to erase that struggle, and erase our erasure.”

No arrests were made during the protest, and after about 20 minutes, the group left the mall and returned to the Hall of Justice.

UnSpoken Politics 

San Diego Sheriff hate mail III: Media reports, department takes things “very seriously”

Following the press conference by United Against Police Terror and its allies this morning, news coverage is pouring in. The conference was followed by a perfunctory statement by the department stating that they were taking the matter of hate email coming from the Sheriff’s Department IP address “very seriously” and were conducting an internal investigation.

NBC 7 San Diego: “Sheriff’s Dept. Launches Internal Investigation After Activist Group Receives Hate Email”

From NBC 7 San Diego newscast, 9/22/15. Shows excerpt of hate mail.

The email says, in part, “The police aren’t the problem. It’s the criminals out there victimizing the real citizens of the country that are the problem.”

Much of the email is too profane to broadcast on TV or copy in an article.

Mendonça said perhaps the most troubling part of the email was where the writer described Ferguson protesters as “animals.”

“It just perpetuates that ‘lesser of a being’ (stereotype), and it highlights how much racism is still present to this day,” [Catherine] Mendonça said. “There’s still hundreds of years of racism that we still need to overcome.”

San Diego Union-Tribune: “Sheriff’s probe origin of hate email to activist group” by Pauline Repard

The email rant that referred to Ferguson, Mo. protesters as animals and said “real citizens” of the county love the police was sent Sept. 16 to the website of United Against Police Terror San Diego, its spokeswoman, Cat Mendonca said.

Mendonca held a news conference outside the sheriff’s Kearny Mesa headquarters on Tuesday to say her organization had filed a complaint with the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, which handles complaints against sheriff’s deputies.

CBS 8 News: “Sheriff’s Department Investigating Profane Email”

Jeff Olson of Socialist Alternative San Diego speaks at the press conference. 9/22/15

Protesters are calling on Sheriff Bill Gore to take action after a profane email traced back to sheriff’s headquarters was sent to an activist group critical of law enforcement policies.

Univision San Diego: Organización recibe correo amenazante y lo rastrean hasta el Departamento del Alguacil (Organization receives threatening mail tracked to the Sheriff’s Department)”

Press conference at Sheriff's Dept. 9/22/15

En un comunicado de prensa señalaron que el mensaje fue recibido el miércoles 16 de septiembre con insultos, defendiendo a la policía y llamando a los protestantes de policías de Ferguson “animales”.

Mencionaron que en esta era de anonimato en internet, el recibir este tipo de correos es algo común para la organización, lo que no fue común, fue que supuestamente lo recibieron del Departamento del Alguacil.

Frontera San Diego: “Carta de odio enviada a activistas desde oficina del Alguacil” by Ana L. Gómez

A copy of the complaint filed against the Sheriff's Department by United Against Police Terror San Diego. 9/22/15

The Anti-Media

 “Email Traced Back to San Diego Sheriff’s Shows How Cops Really Feel About Protesters” by Derrick Broze

This latest saga between police accountability activists and the police is yet another example of the divisions gripping the country. Without a doubt, individuals who threaten violence against other free humans should be held accountable. However, we should not allow ourselves to be sucked into a false paradigm of the people versus the police.

Any good-hearted police officers remaining within the ranks of the increasingly militarized local police departments should quickly leave as conscientious objectors. Only by making it clear that their intention is to support the community — not defend the state — will officers gain the support of the people. At the same time, the activists in the streets should make it clear they are against violent criminals, not misguided individuals who joined the police force in an effort to serve and protect.

We can find common ground and strengthen our bonds and unity by recognizing the way this system is dividing us along lines of race and profession, among other things. We are one and it’s time we start organizing and acting like it. Let’s not further divide ourselves. Instead, let’s work towards the harmony and unity of all people and focus our energies on our mutual enemies.

The Raw Story: “Someone in the San Diego sheriff’s office thinks police protesters are drug-addicted ‘animals’” by Travis Gettys (Sept. 24)

The San Diego sheriff’s department launched an investigation after someone sent obscenity-riddled hate mail to an activist group protesting police brutality.

But investigators soon learned, like the babysitter in the urban legend, the calls are coming from inside the house.

Mediaite coverage by Ken Meyer (has mistake- this was the county sheriff not the San Diego PD)

spokeswoman Cat Mendonca and Lt. Marco Garmo held a press conference on Tuesday where they said that an internal investigation was underway, acknowledging that the IP address did, indeed, come from their computers.

Copblock: “San Diego Activist Group Tracks Hate Mail to Sheriff’s Department” by Dylan Donnelly

This message isn’t anything new for police or the internet.  The author illustrates a common “Us vs Them” mentality among police officers that dehumanizes the people they claim to serve.  The “thin blue line” culture is intolerant of dissent, drawing a line between the “real citezens [sic]” and those not worthy of police protection, common decency, dignity or life.

Catherine Mendonca of UAPTSD said, “I really do hope that the broader discussion of why we’re a target can happen #SDSTOLENLIVES need #Justice uaptsd.org“.

Fresno People's Media's Profile Photo

San Diego Activist Group Tracks Hate Mail To Sheriff’s Department

uaptsd

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has launched an internal investigation following a message received by United Against Police Terror San Diego.  The message was received via email from the groups website contact form, and sent from a sheriff’s employee’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, particularly the Communication Center located at 5555 Overland Ave, in Building 12.

 

The Telescope

http://www2.palomar.edu/telescope/2014/12/10/protest-at-san-marcos-campus/

Earlier Wednesday, a group of 11 students and staff stood in the Student Union protesting the recent allegations of racially-motivated police crimes against Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. Holding up signs that said “Stop police brutality,” “Black lives matter” and “No justice no peace,” the group reached out to any students and staff walking by.

Natalie, 27, the group’s organizer, came up with the idea while watching the news about the Garner aftermath.

“I spoke with my teacher, and she helped me put it together, and now here it is,” said Natalie, who declined to give her last name. “We’re just hoping to get people to listen.”

Natalie has also been protesting on behalf of the group United Against Police Terror, a San Diego-based grassroots movement formed to educate people about police violence.

The protest consisted of a speech, a four-minute “die-in” on behalf of one of the black males shot by white police officers, Michael Brown, and a march across campus to spread their message. Police officers across the campus were on standby in the event that there was any violence.

Christopher Walker, a 27-year-old African American who is majoring in social work, gave the speech, which was written as a message to inform the school to speak up against police violence.

“People are afraid to speak up,” Walker said. “It goes far beyond just us as individuals.”

Walker, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, spoke about how he fears for his family and how America in general is afraid to speak up against racism.

A Few Bad Apples or A Prejudiced System?

By Brian Myers

Last weekend in City Heights marked two radically different responses to law enforcement in diverse and lower income communities…SDPD has been able to generate good rapport with some of City Heights’ community leaders and business owners. However, racial profiling data, video footage questioning reported police accounts, and national stories of young black men being fatally wounded by police officers has others wondering where the U.S. has left the civil rights movement.

Over two dozen joined a candlelight vigil Sunday evening for Tamir Rice and other young people who have lost their lives when confronted by the police. Part of a nationwide call to rally for the three month anniversary of the death Rice, a 12-year-old black boy that was shot and killed by a white Cleveland, Ohio police officer.

Organized by local community activist DeMilo Young, the rally mourned the loss of the youth and called on participants to take action to prevent further deaths.

“A black man, woman or child are more likely to be shot by police. Why is that? We have to get to the root of that issue,” Young said. “We can’t just say we need law enforcement reform. We need humanity reform.”

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office recently released a study of San Diego County officer involved shootings with 20 years of data. The report shows that 19 percent of the suspects were black. San Diego County has a total black population of 4.59 percent, as of 2011.

At the rally, Cathy Mendonca of United Against Police Terror – San Diego, read out loud the names of the youth that became statistics for that report.

UAPTSD and Women Occupy are petitioning to reform the City of San Diego’s Citizens Review Board on Police Practices to be more reflective of the County of San Diego’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board

Protesters Gather in Mid-City After Ferguson Decision

By Brian Myers

Following a Missouri grand jury announcement not to file criminal charges against white Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, San Diego residents rallied in City Heights Tuesday and Wednesday to express their outrage at what they are calling an epidemic of state violence against people of color.

Young community volunteers Alea and Farah attended the Tuesday rally in support of changing what they believe to be a prejudiced justice system that led to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9.

“I’m a black person and the message that I’m getting everyday is that my life does not matter. The life of my brothers and family members, none of our lives matter. And I just think it’s really important that we come out and that we stand up for justice,” Farah said.

Demonstrators gathered both nights at the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, dubbed the “Michael Brown Memorial Park” Tuesday. Demonstrators draped a banner with Brown’s name over a sign commemorating Jeremy Henwood, who wasshot and killed while on duty in 2011.

Officers and supporters of the police department called the gesture offensive and reclaimed the sign Nov. 26 with flowers and American flags.

IMG_0073

Flags and flowers adorn a sign honoring slain mid-city police officer Jeremy Henwood Nov. 26, 2014. | Photo Credit: Megan Burks

With chants of, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and, “No justice, no peace, no killer police,” protesters circled the mid-city police substation across from the park before heading north on Fairmount Avenue and west on University Avenue. On Tuesday, some marchers briefly shut down Interstate 15 before marching to downtown. Marchers Wednesday circled through North Park before returning to City Heights.

The demonstrations were largely peaceful, though police made six arrests Tuesday because individuals were throwing plastic water bottles and rocks at officers, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

“The majority of them were very cooperative with us, but it ran the entire gamut from protesters that were very much grateful that we were there, thanking us that we were there and helping to facilitate their First Amendment right,” Zimmerman said on KPBS Midday Edition Wednesday. “But it also ran the other gamut, with protesters that were throwing rock sand bottles and spitting on our officers and circling our vehicles, and were very hostile toward our officers.”

IMG_0096

Marchers turn west onto University Avenue from Fairmount Avenue on Nov. 26, 2014. | Photo Credit: Megan Burks

IMG_0122

A California Highway Patrol officer blocks access to Interstate 15 Nov. 26, 2014. | Photo Credit: Megan Burks

Before Wednesday’s march, United Against Police Terror – San Diego organizer Cathy Mendonca reminded demonstrators to remain peaceful. Organizers brought first aid supplies and coordinated volunteers who could provide care if anyone was hurt. Police in riot gear kept their distance, shutting down streets and blocking freeway on and off ramps as the crowd marched through mid-city neighborhoods with signs.

Tina Willis’s sign read, “Black lives matter.” She’s a mother of two teenagers.

“Almost every day, every week, we’re seeing a child, black or brown color, being slain or killed,” Willis said. “I would just like more transparency within the police departments, within law enforcement.”

The San Diego Police Department has been working to improve its relationship with minority communities this year after data showed black and Latino drivers are subject to more traffic stops than other racial and ethnic groups. They also are more likely than white residents to be searched without a resulting arrest.

This year the department changed its policies so officers are less likely to ask everyone they stop whether they’re on probation and less likely to sit those they detain on the curb — practices considered especially offensive in the black community. It’s also rolled out police body cameras in the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, including City Heights.

Though the demonstrations were meant to show solidarity with marchers in Ferguson, Mendonca said San Diego demonstrators also wanted to continue the dialogue about local police practices.

“We want to have community meetings regarding police accountability in City Heights. This is only the beginning. We mobilize to make a change,” Mendonca said.

Megan Burks contributed to this report.

KPBS’ Storify

San Diegans Protest Ferguson Decision

Two protests were held Tuesday night, one in City Heights and another in downtown San Diego. A third protest took place Wednesday morning. The protests in San Diego are spurred by the decision Monday to not file charges in Ferguson, Missouri, against a white police officer who killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man in August.

KPBS

Ferguson-Fueled Protests Continue Wednesday Night In San Diego

UPDATE: 9:15 P.M.

Marchers were headed back to City Heights after making a loop around midtown neighborhoods to protest the events in Ferguson.

Earlier in the evening, police closed the onramps to I-805 off El Cajon Boulevard to prevent protesters from blocking the highway.

All on ramps were reopened by 9 p.m.

UPDATE: 8:00 P.M.

A march held to protest the recent events in Ferguson, Mo. has swelled to around 150 people, but thus far remained peaceful. San Diego police officers redirected traffic as the march moved from City Heights to North Park.

Bystanders cheered the protesters as they marched along University Avenue.

Around 8 p.m., protesters were headed north on 30th Street.

UPDATE: 6:50 P.M.

Around 100 San Diegans marched down University Avenue in City Heights to protest the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the lack of charges against the police officer who shot him. Before the marchers set out, organizers reminded them to be peaceful.

San Diego police officers were on the scene but keeping their distance. Officers were, however, blocking the onramp to state Route 15. Protesters twice blocked that freeway Tuesday night.

ORIGINAL POST

After peaceful protests that began Tuesday night in San Diego turned hostile — even violent at times — law enforcement is on high alert as more demonstrations are planned for Wednesday.

Hundreds were drawn to City Heights and downtown San Diego to oppose a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer for shooting and killing a black unarmed teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Overnight, demonstrators twice shut down state Route 15 near University Avenue. Then, early Wednesday morning, student protesters in La Jolla blocked traffic on Interstate 5.

In anticipation of more unrest Wednesday, law enforcement officers are monitoring freeway entrances, exits and overpasses.

RELATED: San Diego Protests Captured In Photos, Videos

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Tuesday night six people were arrested, which included charges of unlawful assembly and assault on an officer.

“We want everybody to know that we respect everyone’s First Amendment right but once you start to go into unlawful activity, we are not going to tolerate that and we will take swift and immediate action,” Zimmerman told KPBS Wednesday.

Zimmerman said officers were pelted with rocks and plastic bottles and a California Highway Patrol officer was spit on, but no injuries were reported. One man was arrested in connection with rock throwing, she said.

San Diego demonstrators protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict an officer for fatally shooting an unarmed teenager, Nov. 25, 2014.

In City Heights, officers followed protesters and directed street traffic around them Tuesday evening as they marched from the Weingart Library and Performance Annex and circled around the department’s Mid-City headquarters. Members of the crowd carried signs, blew whistles and chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” while marching.

Zimmerman said some people were hostile toward officers, but others were respectful.

“The majority of them were very cooperative with us, but it ran the entire gamut from protesters that were very much grateful that we were there, thanking us that we were there and helping to facilitate their First Amendment right,” she said. “But it also ran the other gamut, with protesters that were throwing rock sand bottles and spitting on our officers and circling our vehicles, and were very hostile toward our officers.”

Demonstrators continued toward Fairmount Avenue near Wightman Street and briefly made their way onto the northbound lanes of state Route 15 at University Avenue where they blocked freeway traffic.

The CHP closed the freeway at that location around 8:15 p.m. because of the demonstration but reopened the lanes about half an hour later. Demonstrators blocked traffic again on Route 15 around 10 p.m. near El Cajon Boulevard before police quickly cleared the freeway, U-T San Diego said. A U.S. flag also was set afire.

Demonstrators chant “Whose streets? Our streets!” while protesting a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer for shooting and killing a black unarmed teenager in a St. Louis suburb, Nov. 25, 2014.

Zimmerman said officers made announcements in English and Spanish ordering demonstrators to move off the freeway. One man who called on the crowd to ignore the officers’ requests was arrested, and four others were charged with unlawful assembly, she said.

MORE: Hear Chief Zimmerman Speak About The Protests On KPBS Midday Edition

After midnight, about 75 protesters marched from City Heights to downtown San Diego to the Hall of Justice on Broadway and held a rally before leaving around 1 a.m., according to the U-T.

Across town in La Jolla a few hours later, several dozen UCSD students lined up across Interstate 5 near Nobel Drive around 6:50 a.m., according to the CHP.

Protesters, led by an unidentified man with a bullhorn, held signs objecting to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed but allegedly came at the officer and, at one point, tried to take his service weapon.

Before authorities arrived on the freeway, several stranded motorists exited their vehicles and yelled at the protesters to move. At least one frustrated motorist got into a brief physical confrontation with the man holding the bullhorn.

No arrests were made in that incident, but San Diego police continued to monitor the protesters’ movements as they marched on city streets.

Another demonstration in City Heights is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday As of late Wednesday morning, least 700 people said they are attending, according to the United Against Police Terror – San Diego Facebook page.

The protest is in honor of Brown and for “all stolen lives by law enforcement,” a post on the event page said.

Bringing an End to State Sanctioned Sexual Assault, Rape Culture and Law Enforcement Impunity

united logoBy Cathy Mendonça  / United Against Police Terror

The San Diego police department’s scandal involving officers accused of preying on women who they came in contact with while in uniform and on duty needs to be addressed.

First, former officer Anthony Arevalos is serving an eight year sentence for molesting female drivers during traffic stops in the Gaslamp quarter from 2009 to 2011. As a result, Chief William Lansdowne implemented changes within the department to help uncover the potential for other rogue officers to go unnoticed.

Then, on Feb. 9, Officer Christopher Hays was booked on criminal charges in connection with inappropriate pat downs that prosecutors allege were done for his sexual gratification.

In the process of the Hays investigation, another unidentified officer was accused of exposing himself and inappropriately touching a female in custody.

The department launched a new policy requiring TWO officers to accompany females in custody.

The timeline of events are as follows:

  • Oct. 30, 2013: Woman identified as “Jane Doe 1″ was frisked by Officer Hays. She is later named in a criminal complaint alleging false imprisonment and sexual battery.
  • Nov. 10, 2013: Hays allegedly committed sexual battery in an incident involving a woman identified as “Jane Doe 2”, according to a criminal complaint filed against Hays on February 18.
  • Dec. 23, 2013: Hays is accused of sexual battery involving a woman identified as Jane Doe 3 according to a criminal complaint filed following his arrest.
  • Dec. 24, 2013: A fourth incident allegedly occurred this time involving false imprisonment of a woman identified as Jane Doe 4, prosecutors allege.
  • December 2013: After a woman contacted SDPD complaining about Hays’ behavior during a “pat down,” an internal affairs investigation was launched.
  • January 2014: Case was handed over to the San Diego District Attorney’s Office for investigation.
  • Feb. 6: Chief Lansdowne confirms an officer is under investigation for sexual misconduct involving four women.
  • Feb. 7: Attorney Dan Gilleon claims a fifth woman has come forward with allegations that are more severe than what the victims before her may have alleged. His client claims she was coerced into giving Hays oral sex in exchange for her freedom in October 2012. She claims she contacted SDPD but did not receive a call back.
  • Feb 9: Officer Hays was booked into San Diego County Jail on charges of false imprisonment and sexual battery.
  • Feb. 9: Chief Lansdowne confirms five alleged victims had contacted the police to accuse Hays of improper pat downs and the sixth woman had gone to Gilleon.
  • Feb. 14: Attorney Brian Watkins said he represents a seventh alleged victim who claims Hays touched her breasts, “caressed her crotch, caressed her buttocks and then grabbed her wrist and put her hand on his crotch” during a pat down in October 2013. His client did not report the incident to police.
  • Feb. 18: District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announces two charges of felony false imprisonment and three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery were filed against Hays on behalf of four women.
  • Feb. 19: Hays officially resigns from the department. His attorney said Hays felt betrayed by his colleagues.
  • Feb. 19: San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne announces another officer has been accused of touching a female detainee arrested on suspicion of auto theft. The unidentified officer has not been charged. The alleged victim called to report the incident because she believed he was Hays.
  • Feb. 19: The department also announced a new policy that two officers would accompany every female detainee or arrestee going forward.

In addition, a series of sexually suggestive posters hung in the San Diego Police Department’s sex crimes unit in 2011, as Officer Anthony Arevalos patrolled the streets trading tickets for sexual favors.” Former officer Arevalos is now serving an eight year sentence for molesting female drivers during traffic stops in the Gaslamp quarter from 2009 to 2011. This year, ABC 10 news discovered the posters while investigating San Diego police culture now that another San Diego police officer is under investigation for sexually assaulting women while on duty. The posters’ existence had been reported, but they had never been seen by the public until now.

In addition “NBC 7 learned the identity of a second San Diego Police officer accused of misconduct. Multiple police sources confirm that Officer Donald Moncrief, 39, is accused of touching the woman he was arresting and exposing himself to her.”

We deserve to be safe. The recurrences of sexual assault committed by the above named officers as well as the investigation of San Diego police department’s facility concluded that we are not. Putting a woman or anyone in a position where they are LEGALLY sexually violated UNDER ANY THREAT should never happen. These THREATS are also in the form of entrapment by undercover police officers who are ALLOWED to lie, engage in sexual and illegal activities in an attempt to further incriminate the victim by either to face jail or deportation. The same applies to strip searches, stop and frisk procedures as well as intimate partner violence committed at a rate HIGHER than that of the general public, all while under the impunity protected by law enforcement’s blue code of silence; a brotherhood they hold protecting their own perpetrators who serve in the force.

The SDPD needs to be vigilant in training its officers and ensuring that there are consequences for breaking the law and violating basic ethical rules.

As  members of United Against Police Terror and other allied organizations, we demand The Police Chief and other leadership:

  1. Institute sustained and comprehensive training for EVERY incoming class of officers on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and proper police conduct. A single training session, or a simplistic lecture not to rape, is NOT acceptable.
  2. Institute a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexualized behavior while on the job. While the media has only uncovered some severe cases, it illustrates an extreme example of police officers using their power to abuse women and too many of us have witnessed officers behaving in sexually inappropriate ways while on the job. There is no excuse for that behavior, and the police force must take it seriously. We want an easily-accessible reporting mechanism for sexual assault and harassment at the hands of police officers, and a demonstrated commitment to punishing officers who exploit their position to harass and assault the people they are supposed to protect.
  3. Be accountable to the community of San Diego in a transparent process by hiring an independent community appointed auditor of law enforcement as well as implementing the above two demands. They must keep community leaders and San Diego County residents informed about the initiatives they institute, as well as keeping local politicians accountable and how they are working to make sure this victims shaming culture is not allowed and these uniformed perpetrators are NOT above the law!

Stop the Donovan Prison Expansion

 In San Diego we have been fighting against the proposals to expand Donovan State Prison for people with disabilities and mental health needs.

We also recently heard that our state opened up a new medical facility this year in Stockton and stopped all prison admissions due to issues of medical neglect.

Why build another 792 bed facility in our county after already putting many people with medical needs in these dire circumstances?

Take the first step and join the California Budget Battle!

Today, the Assembly Budget Sub 5 Committee will hear about the issues regarding the Stockton Facility. We, in San Diego, want to let them know to halt all admissions and to stop opening up more prison beds.

Join the Battle in these three ways:

1) Email the Assembly Sub 5 Budget Committee TODAY. We do not want a prison in San Diego and we do not want California to open up more prison beds. We need parole and sentencing reform implementation now.

2) Come out to a Spokesperson Training in San Diego on Sunday, March 23rd at 2pm. For more information please contact Diana@curprisonspending if you are interested.

3) Join us on Saturday, March 29th at the Protest to Stop the Donovan Prison Expansion at 10:30am. RSVP here.

Money should be allocated to programs promoting interdependence for people with disabilities and mentally illness to thrive within the community. It is not a crime to be physically disabled or to have a mental illness.

Prisons are not the answer to our social problems and we need to stop them today.

Thank you for standing with us,

Catherine Mendonca

Black and Pink San Diego and United Against Terror San Diego

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