Federal Lawsuit Charges Sheriff’s Deputy Unconstitutionally Killed
The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.
The killing has also this week led to a federal civil rights lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Lopez family. “There is a practice of using deadly force and covering it up by investigations that are superficial,” attorney Arnoldo Casillas said at a November 4 press conference in San Francisco, according to the daily Press Democrat. Casillas, who filed the suit, contends that the killing was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits police authority.
Casillas interviewed witnesses who dispute law enforcement claims about the shooting. He asserts that the first shot was fired within three seconds of Gelhaus’s command to Lopez to drop what the sheriff's deputy claims he thought was a real gun. Seven bullets hit Lopez. One pierced his heart; at least one him him in the buttocks. Non-lethal alternatives were possible. The second deputy traveling with Gelhaus did not fire a single shot -- and did not even have time to step out of the vehicle before the boy's body lay fatally shot on the street.
Last year, Casillas won a $24 million dollar settlement for the family of a Los Angeles boy who was shot once and paralyzed by police while playing with an airsoft BB gun, similar to the one that Lopez was carrying to return to a friend when he was killed.
In a 2007 killing of African-American high school student Jeremiah Chass in the nearby town of Sebastopol, the Sheriff’s Office was compelled to pay a $1.75 million dollar settlement to the family. In both cases, investigations by outside police departments concluded that the cops were merely following protocol -- which too often seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later.”
But what is officially reported and what actually happens on the street may differ. That's why having next-door-neighbor law enforcement agencies investigate the killings is starting to look more and more like damage control than independent or objective reviews. More bluntly: are they amounting to cover-up investigations by law enforcement departments tasked with investigating each other?
Lopez Family and Others Speak Out
Vallejo PD executes Mario Romero Johnson "Sh8y P. Dot" "Uncle Papaya"
Mario Romero Johnson (Victim), a man who has all the reason to live a clean life, for the sake of his family and friends.
* Has a 3-year-old daughter.
* Had just received a good-paying job after having a clean drug test from the employers he had applied to.
Illegal To Feed Homeless- Man Arrested 2009 [Video]
The "soup wars" continue... If you don't buy it, if you don't sell it- you're a criminal. And not everybody who eats free food is homeless. The State just wants to make sure people who are really hungry and don't have money, can't eat.
In PEOPLE PROJECT, we say "This ain't charity, it's survival!" We know that the only way we'll all make it is through SHARING. Read about Grub-n-Grab's and PEOPLE PROJECT's Good Morning Neighbors Breakfast Program.
Jan 7, 2011
Open Letter to Humboldt County District Attorney, Paul Gallegos:
A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.
Dec 21, 2011 Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.
But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.
Please phone and email the numbers & addresses below!
*Demand Return of All
Property including Signs,
Eureka, CA: The first trial of an arrested Occupier (Eureka) is over. The Humboldt County prosecutor's case revolved around the arrest of the demonstrator for videotaping Eureka police officer, Michael Guy, when he approached the Occupy Eureka site at 4am. After officials jailed the person who was filming for eight days, wasted the impoverished county's money, and spent nearly two weeks in court claiming that the videotaping woman's behavior put the officer in grave danger, a jury voted ten-to-two for acquittal. The case was dismissed.
For Immediate Release Sept. 20, 2011
Closing Arguments on Thursday, Sept 22nd!
Currently, the civil rights trial about the August 9, 2007 police murder of Martin Frederick Cotton II is in its last few days. The Eureka Police beat Martin Cotton brutally- in fact- beat him to death in broad daylight, in front of the Eureka Rescue Mission and many (other) houseless people. The civil trial, brought by Martin Cotton's father, Marty Cotton, and Martin's young daughter, Siehna Cotton.
MEDIA UPDATE & CLARIFICATION*: September 13, 2011
Supreme Court gives police a new entryway into homes
The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision in a Kentucky case, says police officers who loudly knock on a door in search of illegal drugs and then hear sounds suggesting evidence is being destroyed may break down the door and enter without a search warrant.
DA drops 57 cases in San Francisco Cops Scandal
(or "Every Once in a While, Cops Get Busted for Their Common Thug Behavior")
Note: DA Gascon is saying that SF will have a prosecutor to give copsin-the-moment advice as to what they can get away with when busting in to search places... if the cops even call for such guidance....
Jeremy Marks, Black High School Student's Home Raided by L.A. Cops/DA Cooley; [Petition after article]
Jeremy Marks, a black high school student was put in jail last year for videotaping a LAUSD school police officer assaulting another teenager at a bus stop. All Jeremy did was videotape the incident & nothing else yet he was put in jail for approx 7 months, & was bailed out right before XMAS thanks to someone from Google....he was charged with 'Attempted Lynching.' (His bail was $155,000 & he was threatened with 7 yrs prison time)
On Jan 26, 2011, DA Steve Cooley had Jeremy's home raided and 30 + LAPD cops came in and took computers, cell phones etc.....trying to get any evidence they can before his trial!
LA District Attorney orders Gestapo-style police raid on home of Jeremy Marks
Terror tactics in the police war on video
By Doug Kauffman and Ian Thompson January 27, 2011
Center for Constitutional Rights Stands with Copwatch Groups to Ensure Their Right to Monitor Police Activity
Copwatch groups are made up of concerned community members, who take action to lawfully monitor local law enforcement activity in their neighborhoods. Copwatch groups are proactively working to reduce police violence and misconduct in exercising their right to hold the police accountable for their actions. Many Copwatch groups use video recording to document police misconduct, thereby shifting the balance of power between law enforcement agencies and the communities they patrol, and in some cases affecting changes in police practices and policies.
Santa Rosa Cops Killed Richard DeSantis in 2007 and Civil Rights Lawsuit Moves Forward [Audio included after article]
By JULIE JOHNSON THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Monday, January 24, 2011
( page of 2 )
A U.S. Supreme Court judge ruled Monday that the family of a bipolar Santa Rosa man who was shot and killed by police officers during a 2007 confrontation can proceed with their lawsuit against the Santa Rosa Police Department.
KMUD news, May 12, 2008: http://www.box.net/shared/iz6j5tdy3x begin at 6 min, 21 sec
May 24, 2008: Recent County Raids on Houseless People Spawns Forming of Community Group from North and South Humboldt
This letter pertains to my June 2008 California Public Records Request, and follows my last correspondence of August 2008 regarding said Request. (I have included a courtesy copy of the August 2008 letter which was both hand delivered and delivered via certified U.S. Mail to your office.)
Eureka Cops Plan Raids of Houseless People's Sleeping Spots ; Raids Will VIOLATE Human & Constitutional Rights
The word is that raids will begin on Monday, July 19th. Cops hunt down outside-sleeping people every night, but these raids will be broad-sweeping and perhaps more orchestrated.
These raids will violate the rights of the houseless people. There are no legal, free-of-charge places to sleep in Eureka (or Arcata), so there are no options for almost all people who have no shelter except to sleep where they can find a hidden piece of ground. Then ya gotta be able to protect yourself from the rain, wind, cold, dew.
This is not a new situation. But all too often, people who are housed dismiss the reality of the situation by simply saying, "Well, there are homeless shelters for them to go to." That is completely INACCURATE.
Attorney General, Eric Holder will be in Philadelphia on July 4th.
DEMAND that Holder do a Civil Rights Investigation into Mumia's case!
*July 4th, 2010