General Crime

* Jan 26, Oakland Dellums Sets Goal Of Reducing Crime Rate By 10 Percent

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*Jan 26, San Francisco French Investigation May Point To Homicide In 2007 Stabbing Death
*Jan 26, Walnut Creek Chevron Gas Station Robbed By Armed Man With Bulging Eyes
*Jan 26, Oakland Women Stabbed Multiple Times
*Jan 26, UC Students To Protest Fatal Shooting Of Oscar Grant
*Jan 26, Oakland Attorney Asks DA To File Charges Against Second Bart Officer
*Jan 26, Richmond, Coroner Names 14-Year-Old Boy Fatally Shot Friday

Jan 26, 2009 OAKLAND: DELLUMS SETS GOAL OF REDUCING CRIME RATE BY 10 PERCENT

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums set a goal in his state of the city address tonight of reducing the city’s crime rate by at least 10 percent this year. In a 55-minute speech to a packed audience of several hundred people at the City Council’s chambers, Dellums said, “We must stop the killing and the dying in the community.” Dellums said, “We have begun to bring down the crime rate” because the city’s Police Department now has 836 officers and is at full strength for the first time in many years.Dellums, who is beginning his third year as mayor, said that Oakland’s murder rate is down 20 percent, although the city still had more than 100 homicides last year, a number he said is too high.The mayor was interrupted twice by hecklers who said they are upset that Oscar Grant III, an unarmed Hayward man, was shot and killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland early on New Year’s Day.Bakari Olatunji, an organizer for the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement in Oakland, alleged that half of the city’s budget goes to what he described as “the corrupt police department” and told Dellums “that’s a war budget.”After police escorted Olatunji out of the council’s chambers, Dellums said, “We live in an open and free society. I’m not intimidated by that. I’m strengthened by that.” A short while later, Oakland resident Mandingo Afroconus, also known as Mandingo Hayes, told Dellums that the black community in Oakland “is hurting right now” and said police officers “killed seven unarmed citizens last year.”Dellums told Hayes, who was allowed to remain in his seat, “I feel your pain and I hear your rage” and said a commission should be formed to review reforms that were mandated in the settlement of a police abuse lawsuit six years ago.The mayor said, “We need to bring the community and police together” and the Police Department, which is being investigated by the FBI, needs to be more accountable.Police Chief Wayne Tucker listened to Dellums’ speech impassively from a seat in the balcony and hurried away from reporters who pursued him afterward.City Council President Jane Brunner, who was knocked to the ground by a television cameraman who was chasing Tucker, said there was “a very significant rumor” that Tucker will resign but she said she’s been assured by city officials that Tucker hasn’t offered to resign and Dellums hasn’t asked him to resign.”If I could read the tea leaves, he (Tucker) won’t resign,” Brunner said. However, she said she and fellow City Council members Larry Reid, Desley Brooks and Pat Kernighan will hold a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday to talk about their concerns about Tucker and the Police Department. In his address, Dellums said, “I will announce the name of a wonderful woman who will be our next public safety coordinator” and over see the police and fire departments, Brunner said afterward that the council hasn’t been told whom Dellums will name. Dellums didn’t say anything about appointing a new city administrator to replace Deborah Edgerly, whom he fired last July 1 amidst  allegations that she interfered in a police investigation into the city’s worst drug gang.Dan Lindheim has been acting city administrator since then.Many observers thought that former City Manager Robert Bobb, who recently completed a report on how to make Oakland’s government more efficient, was the leading candidate to become city administrator, but Bobb today accepted a one-year appointment to serve as emergency financial manager for the Detroit school system.Aside from public safety issues, Dellums devoted much of his address to financial problems that are plaguing both Oakland and the nation at large.He said Oakland is facing a deficit of at least $50 million this year and could face another $57 million next year.However, Dellums said he’s hopeful of getting a large infusion of federal funds from the new administration of President Barack Obama, whom he said will be friendlier to cities than was former President George Bush. Dellums said he wants the city’s managers and department heads “not to come to work every day to make the trains run on time” but instead to “think creatively and make a difference.” Brunner said she disagrees with those sentiments, saying, “It’s critical that government works” and city officials should focus on basics such as fixing potholes.But she said that she’s hopeful that Dellums will be able to follow through on his commitment to get more federal funds thanks to his many years in Washington, D.C., as a congressman representing Oakland and other nearby communities. “It’s all about relationships and he has the best relationships of any mayor in the country,” Brunner said.

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Jan 26, 2009 SF: FRENCH INVESTIGATION MAY  POINT TO HOMICIDE IN 2007 STABBING DEATH

French investigators have concluded that the 2007 stabbing death of a 36-year-old San Francisco man with dual citizenship was a homicide, the man’s ex-girlfriend said today.Hugues de la Plaza, a dual U.S.-French citizen, was found dead inside his Hayes Valley apartment in the 400 block of Linden Street on June
2, 2007.The San Francisco medical examiner’s office has ruled de la Plaza’s cause of death “undetermined,” classified as neither a homicide nor a suicide, but de la Plaza’s family and friends have asserted he was murdered and have questioned the way San Francisco police investigators have handled the case.Last year, French authorities arrived in San Francisco to conduct their own investigation.Melissa Nix, de la Plaza’s ex-girlfriend, said today that de la Plaza’s parents, Francois and Mireille, met last month in France with those investigators, who “concluded that it was 100 percent homicide, without a doubt.”Police said today they had heard informally about the homicide report, but were waiting to receive it after initiating a formal request. The case is still open, they said.Nix said she was told by de la Plaza’s family that the report shows the three stab wounds found to de la Plaza’s stomach, chest and neck were inconsistent with self-inflicted wounds.Nix, an education reporter for the Sacramento Bee, was in San Francisco today to attempt to speak with police about the case.Nix said she blames the leadership of Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief Heather Fong for delays in the case.”I’ll be damned if they get away with it,” Nix said. She has enlisted the help of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in whose district de la Plaza lived.An aide to Mirkarimi said today the supervisor plans to make a formal request for the report on behalf of the supervisors at their board meeting Tuesday.Nix said Francois and Mireille de la Plaza will come to San Francisco on Feb. 15, and will announce a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of de la Plaza’s killers.

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Jan 26, 2009 WALNUT CREEK: CHEVRON GAS STATION ROBBED BY ARMED MAN WITH BULGING EYES

Police in Walnut Creek are investigating an armed robbery at a Chevron gas station Sunday night. Officers responded around 9:30 p.m. to the gas station at 2329 N. Main St. where, several minutes earlier, a man in a motorcycle helmet and armed with a black semi-automatic handgun had entered the business and demanded the clerk hand over cash from the register, according to the Walnut Creek Police Department.No one was injured in the robbery.Police set up a perimeter around the store and deployed a K-9 unit to track the suspect’s direction of flight. The K-9 was able to follow the suspect’s trail for several blocks but then lost the scent, according to police.The suspect was described as a black man, 6 feet tall with large, bulging eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket, wire-rimmed glasses and a black motorcycle helmet with a clear visor and a sticker on the back bearing the word “Fuel.”Anyone with information on the robbery or suspect is asked to contact the Walnut Creek Police Department at (925) 943-5844.

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Jan 26, 2009 OAKLAND: WOMAN STABBED MULTIPLE TIMES

Police are investigating a stabbing that left a woman seriously injured Sunday evening, according to the Oakland Police Department.Officers responded around 6 p.m. to the 3500 block of 35th Avenue where a woman was found suffering from multiple stab wounds, a police officer said.The victim was transported to a hospital where she was reported to be in stable condition, police said.No arrests had been made in the case as of this morning.

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Jan 26, 2009 REGIONAL: UC STUDENTS TO PROTEST FATAL SHOOTING OF OSCAR GRANT III

Students at five University of California campuses today are planning to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer on New Year’s Day.The rallies are in response to a new video aired Friday on local TV station KTVU that some say shows a second BART officer punching someone in the head right before former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant III in the back.The students are calling for an open, public and independent investigation into the entire incident, which occurred on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station after BART police stopped a train in response to reports of a fight on board. The students will also be asking officials to disarm BART police and drop charges against protesters, among other demands. BART issued a statement over the weekend in response to the footage. “I take this new allegation of police use of unreasonable force extremely seriously,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. “I have directed Police Chief Gary Gee to conduct a rigorous internal affairs investigation into this officer’s actions and to take appropriate action where warranted.”The statement said that BART officials would complete an internal investigation and then present the findings to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.The district attorney’s office said this morning it is not conducting an investigation into the video because it has not yet received a police report.BART officials said that until the video was aired, they hadn’t received any allegations of excessive force by any officers other than Mehserle.Mehserle, 27, has been charged with murder in connection with Grant’s death and has pleaded not guilty. The second officer remains on administrative leave while the investigation continues, according to BART officials. Students at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz have planned to protest this afternoon.

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Jan 26, 2009 OAKLAND: ATTORNEY ASKS DA TO FILE CHARGES AGAINST SECOND BART OFFICER

The attorney for the family of Oscar Grant III said today that he is sending a letter to Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff asking that he consider filing criminal charges against a second Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who allegedly was involved in an incident that led to Grant’s death.John Burris, who on Jan. 6 filed a $25 million claim against BART and former officer Johannes Mehserle for Grant’s shooting death at the Fruitvale station in Oakland early on New Year’s Day, said he will add Officer Tony Pirone to all future litigation in the case based on an enhanced video that’s been shown on local television station KTVU.Burris said the video shows Pirone striking Grant shortly before Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, was shot in the back by Mehserle as he was lying face down on the ground.Burris said the video “is not new, but is an old video that’s been slowed down” so the incident can be seen more clearly.The veteran civil rights lawyer said he believes the video shows that Pirone “very aggressively hits Oscar” and later kneels on Grant’s head when he is shot by Mehserle.Burris said he thinks that Pirone, who was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, was “the instigator of the entire event” and set in motion a chain of events that led to Mehserleshooting Grant.Orloff filed murder charges against Mehserle, 27, on Jan. 13. Mehserle, who resigned the week after the shooting incident, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Friday for a bail motion.Orloff couldn’t be reached for comment today.At a news conference on Jan. 15, Orloff said he didn’t plan to file charges against any other BART police officers who were involved in the Fruitvale station incident, which occurred after officers responded to reports that two groups of young men were fighting on a train.However, Orloff added, “I haven’t ruled anything out.”Burris said he thinks it could be argued that Pirone was an accomplice to Grant’s shooting death at the hands of Mehserle and perhaps should even be prosecuted for felony murder.However, Burris said it’s possible that Orloff could be holding off against filing charges against Pirone in order to encourage Pirone to testify against Mehserle.Burris said Grant’s family wants everyone who was involved in Grant’s death to be prosecuted “but on the other hand they don’t want to take the focus off the murder case against Mehserle.”Burris said BART hasn’t responded to the claim he filed and he doesn’t expect the transit agency to do so. He said if BART doesn’t respond within 45 days he will then file a lawsuit.The claim, which relied on witness accounts as well as videos, stated that an unnamed “Latino officer” grabbed Grant’s upper body, threw him against a nearby wall and kneed him in the face.Burris said today that further investigation revealed that the unnamed officer was Pirone. However, he said it appears that Pirone may not be Latino and may in fact be of Italian descent.Burris said that in addition to asking Orloff to consider filing criminal charges against Pirone, he is asking BART to conduct an internal affairs investigation of Pirone and other officers who were at the scene.BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said in a statement Saturday that she has asked Police Chief Gary Gee to conduct an internal affairs investigation and “take appropriate action where warranted.” About 20 people held a short protest against BART police at the University of California, Berkeley campus today. Organizer Ronald Cruz of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary said similar protests were held at four other UC campuses today in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Riverside.Cruz said, “We’re building a student movement because black and Latino youths are harassed by police all the time.”Cruz said By Any Means Necessary members plan to attend Mehserle’s bail hearing at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland on Friday and also hold a rally in front of the courthouse beforehand.

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Jan 26, 2009 RICHMOND: CORONER NAMES 14-YEAR-OLD BOY FATALLY SHOT FRIDAY

A 14-year-old boy who was fatally shot in a vacant apartment in Richmond Friday has been identified as Cameron Russell, according to the Contra Costa County coroner’s office. The alleged shooter, a 16-year-old Richmond resident, called police shortly before noon to report the shooting, which happened in a building in the 700 block of Carlson Boulevard, Richmond police Sgt. Bisa French said.The boy told police he had shot Russell accidentally, French said.The two boys had allegedly been hanging out in the vacant apartment prior to the shooting.Police arrested the 16-year-old and plan to present the case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office either today or Tuesday, French said.His name is being withheld because he is a juvenile.The shooting is the city’s first homicide this year, French said.

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