Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012-10-17 "Mama's Cry for Resistance in the Killing Fields of Vallejo"

by Al Osorio from "POOR" magazine []:
 Last night's Town Hall in Vallejo drew a large crowd, at least eighty people - almost entirely people of color - filling a room at the North Vallejo community center. Cephus Johnson and his wife sister Beatrice X spearheaded the event, part of plans to specifically help the families of police murder victims in Vallejo while also incorporating them into the struggle of so many other black and brown families who have suffered at the hands of police violence. Needless to say fathers suffer as much as moms, however in so many cases moms have done the majority of the child rearing and thus bear the brunt of the pain of loss as well as the responsibility of seeking justice within a racist system with the odds stacked against them. Uncle Bobby (Cephus) unveiled the term MoM, Mobilization of Mothers. Sister Beatrice shared how she is a mom but can only imagine how much suffering this inflicts on a person. She recalled watching sharing a hotel room with her sister in law Wanda at the time of the Johannes Mehserle trial, observing her so consumed by pain she had difficulty getting up to answer the door.
 Minister Keith Muhammad spoke well, his words resonating with the audience. He related the struggles to get the DA to charge Mehserle, and how video evidence was what enabled them to turn a corner and get a measure of justice. As Uncle Bobby stated often, it was history but not victory. Each mom spoke of their loss, their pain, their fight for justice. Their courage. And not just moms, dads spoke too.
 Some brought us to our feet to clap as we witnessed their defiance in the face of overwhelming loss and pain. After they stood back to allow another mom to talk, we also witnessed what the love and the will for justice costs them. The quiver in the voice, the tears shining in the eyes, the body shaking as she is overcome by the endless agony of her baby stolen from her, dissolving into sobs as she is comforted by clergy and other moms.
 It's never easy to see a mom cry.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Announcement of a Class-Action lawsuit against the City of Vallejo

Announcing a Class Action Law Suit against City of Vallejo
Date: Oct. 15, 2012
Time: 12noon
Location: Vallejo City Hall 555 Santa Clara St, Vallejo, CA ( Steps of City Hall )
Press Contact:
Rev. Floyd D. Harris Jr. (559) 803 - 0286
Vallejo CopWatch []
There will be a Class Action Law Suit file against the Vallejo Police Department for the past Murders citizens of Vallejo (with indications of a systematic cover-up). Many Citizens of Vallejo are saying "enough is enough" of losing their children's future to the Vallejo Police.
Guy Jarreau, jr., who was murdered by the Vallejo Police, had been filming a music video for his college's culture club about non-violence in a Vallejo alleyway along Sonoma blvd., and was shot in the chest by two plains-clothes Vallejo PD Officers for no apparent reason according to the many eye-witnesses on the scene. Andrea Jarreau, Guy Jarreau jr.'s mother, has came from Louisiana to announce the Class Action Law Suit, which will be joined by many families of victims of this grave injustice of street-executions of innocent community Citizens. There has been a large number of African Americans, and members of other nations within our multi-cultural community, who are all supporting this effort.
 We must continue to Educate, Motivate, Energize, Organize and Mobilize and take our community to a higher level.

2012-10-11 "Rev. Harris Stands With The Mother Of Guy Jarreau's!! Family Announces Class Action Law Suit" []:
Aundrea Jarreau's Griffen, the mother of " Guy Jarreau, comes to Vallejo, CA every month from Louisiana to fight for JUSTICE for her son who was murder by the Vallejo Police Department. The family tells the Mayor Osby Davis his time is up. The Vallejo Police Departmetn has not return items to the family that was taken for the crime area. The mother read off a list of name of people who lost there lives to the hands of the Vallejo Police Department. The Vallejo city is getting national and International attention on how the Vallejo Police Department is killing young black men. Since May of 2012 there have been 7 police officers shootings and 5 have been fatal. The families and community around the word is watching the Vallejo City. The community has camera NOW!!!!!!

2012-10-15 "Class action lawsuit" press conference

2012-10-16 "Protest and tears continue over police shootings in Vallejo" from "Vallejo Independent Bulletin"
Yesterday, Rev. Floyd Harris and friends and relatives of Guy Jarreau and Mario Romerro were present for a press conference and protest on the steps of Vallejo City Hall.
Harris, who is president of the National Network in Action and an organizer of Vallejo Copwatch called for the protest. Among other things, he stated that the Nation of Islam has taken up involvement in the issues in Vallejo.
Speakers called for wearable cameras to become mandatory for Vallejo police.
Jarreau's cousin Bernice indicated that involved parties will be pursuing a class action suit.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

2012-10-13 "Civil Right Leader Rev. Floyd D. Harris Jr Does Candlelight Vigil For Guy Jarreau (10-11-12 Part #1)"
Civil Right Leader Revl Floyd D. Harris Jr Does Candlelight Vigil ( 10-11-12 ) Part 1.
Guy Jarreau Was Shot And Killed By Vallejo Police.
This Is His Mom Standing In The Alley Where Guy Was Smoked By The Police!!!
We Will Never For Get How They Took This Brother's "LIFE"

A voice of inspiration...

MALCOLM X: "The Police Are Working With the Criminals", excerpt of  a lecture given during his time with the Nation of Islam, 1960s. As true today as it is in any age. Power corrupts, unaccountable power corrupts absolutely.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vallejo Cop Watch Town Hall Meeting, Oct. 11th

Press Release from
  * National Network In Action
  * Oscar Grant Foundation
  * Vallejo Cop Watch

Town Hall Meeting
Date: 10-11-12
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: North Vallejo Community Center 1121 Whitney Ave Vallejo , CA
Contact: Rev. Floyd D. Harris Jr [559-803-0286]

Mario Romero 23, known by friends as “Papaya,” was shot 30 times by the Vallejo Police on September 2, 2012 in front of his home. The Romero family needs your continued support. Stand with this family and all other families who have lost a loved one to the Vallejo Police Department.
There have been seven police shootings in the past six months; five of the seven have been fatalities. Every 36 hours a black man, black woman or black child will die at the hands of police officers. If you have been a victim of police harassment or brutality, come and learn what you can do to protect yourself.
There will be training on “Cop Watch, Know Your Rights When Confronted by a Police Officer" and how to file a complaint against the Vallejo Police Department. We continue to encourage all Vallejo citizens to arm themselves with cameras to protect themselves.
We must continue to Educate, Motivate, Energize, Organize and Mobilize and take our community to a higher level.

"The Angels are watching over us" photographs taken at 2012-10-11 "Justice for Mario Romero Town Hall Meeting"...
Even though you cannot see me don't ever doubt my presence....
Changes are starting to happen just keep the faith.
There was a whole lot of spirits in the building...
Our loved ones are watching over us guiding us on our journey for justice.

Guy Jarreau, jr.'s Candlelight Vigil

Civil Right Leader Revl Floyd D. Harris Jr presides over Guy Jarreau, jr.'s Candlelight Vigil ( 10-11-12 )
Guy Jarreau Was Shot And Killed By Vallejo Police. This Is His Mom Standing In The Alley Where Guy Was Smoked By The Police.!!!!!!
We Will Never For Get How They Took This Brother " LIFE "


Observations about a Federal investigation into Vallejo Police

2012-10-11 "Police Shootings" by James D. Davis, published by "Vallejo Independent Bulletin"
A recent article on police shootings in New York City during 2011, based on a report published by the Police Department itself, showed officers shooting and killing 9 suspects and injuring 19 more, “the second-lowest annual toll in recent city history” (a city of eight million people with 515 homicides in 2011).  (Five of Vallejo’s 18 homicides so far this year have been officer-involved killings.)
The New York City report concluded that the experiences of the 62 officers who fired at suspects demonstrated that “restraint is the norm” in police shootings.  In those 36 separate encounters, more than two-thirds of the officers involved fired five or fewer shots.  And more than a quarter fired only a single shot.  In none of the episodes did the police officers reload. The 28 suspects wounded or killed by police bullets in 2011 represented a slight increase over the 24 suspects shot by the police in 2010, the lowest number in recent history. (As a point of comparison, in 1971, the police shot 314 suspects.)
According to newspaper accounts I’ve read about the latest Vallejo officer-involved shooting and killing—to wit, one Mario Romero, Sept 2--more than 30 shots were fired at close range into Mr. Romero’s car by two officers.  Reloading was probably required at some point during this orgy.  And they were probably shooting with weapons that required pulling the trigger each time; pretend you have a gun and pull the trigger fifteen times; it took me fifteen seconds.  The police said Mr. Romero had a replica gun and Ecstasy pills.  He made a move for the replica gun and they opened fire, at one point jumping up on the hood of Mr. Romero’s car—to get a good look or a better shot.  Mr. Romero wasn’t shooting then; indeed, Mr. Romero was never shooting.  The police would have you believe Romero reached for his fake gun when confronted by two police officers, headlights and maybe spotlights blazing into his eyes, red lights flashing.  It wasn’t like he thought he could escape or have a gun battle with the officers.
Yes, this whole story is absurd.  But we’re never going to hear what happened.  The police investigate themselves, assisted by the DA.  They’re both police agencies.  There is no independent citizen review.  And the police don’t discuss the results of their investigation; it’s police business.  Mr. Romero and his case have died.  You won’t read about it anymore.  There will be no report.
The only way I know to find out what happened is to have the AG or the U.S. Department of Justice file criminal charges or allegations of civil rights violations against the officers.  Then there would be an open court hearing and we would hear from the officers and witnesses.  A civil action against the officers would probably not succeed because the police have nearly unqualified immunity for actions taken in the course of their duties (a lawyer could argue that the police were “on a lark of their own,” not pursuing lawful duties).
How would we get a Justice investigation?  One or more of the council members could write and request it.  Mayor Davis at least made a feint in this direction; the other council members and the city manager are silent.  They have confidence in the system that exists, even though it remains hidden from us.  They think we should trust them to take care of the police department.  Yes, we’ve had a spate of officer-involved shootings and killings this year, but the council is taking care of it.  You think?
Comments posted by readers at "Vallejo Independant Bulliten":
2012-10-11 from "Anonymous" -
Jim, when did you write this article? Burris has been hired by the daughter, and another lawyer was hired to represent the mother. They are the only 2 who have standing to sue civilly for wrongful death. Excessive force is a violation of civil rights; that will be the focus of the case. Police Governmental Immunity does not apply to violations of civil rights. As long as the family wants to pursue the wrongful death action, there will be at least some limited information available. The court file is open to the public, but depositions are not filed with the court file, so unless one of
the parties made the deposition transcript public, and if there is no protective order stopping someone from purchasing a copy from the court reporter, you could buy a copy. (which would be in the hundreds of dollars or more depending on the length of a transcript). The City Council has already voted unanimously to ask the AG office to investigate. It is up to the AG office to decide if it will investigate. Burris in his public statement said he was submitting a request to the feds (FBI and Justice Dept) to investigate. Again, it is up to the FBI and Justice Dept. to decide if it wants
to investigate. No one can force them. You've identified one of the more serious problems with all CA police departments - the privacy laws, and statutes which protect police officers - identities, claims against them, investigations, recommendations, conclusions. This is not a Vallejo PD issue - it applies throughout the state. Time to talk to Sacramento.
2012-10-11 "Anon, get your facts correct" -
At City Council one of the daughters specifically said she had NOT hired Burris. Osby's invite to the Dept of Justice was ultimate grandstanding as he knows they wont come in for a long time (after the case is closed by VPD and the DA)
2012-10-11 from "Anonymous" -
Got my facts right. On Sept. 21, Burris, said at a news conference that he is representing Joseph Johnson, 21, and Mario Romero's 3-year-old daughter. Since Romero only has 1 daughter, who is 3, I doubt she spoke at city council. The sisters have said they did not hire Burris. That is correct. Under CA wrongful death statute, the mother and daughter have standing to bring a lawsuit, the sisters do not, so they have no reason to hire a lawyer.
2012-10-12 from "Jim Davis" -
Good to know Burns is trying, no matter who hired him and who has standing. The latest development is the city council calling on a Justice mediating program to improve relations with the community. That strikes me as wide of the mark. The problem is the police department, not the community. No one is in control of the department. I hope we get a fuller story one day, but I'm not holding my breath. Love, Jim

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Report on the 2012-10-03 "Vallejo City Ad Hoc Public Safety Review Committee"

2012-10-10 "Ad Hoc Public Safety Review Committee Shows Compassion" by Hatfield McCoy from "Vallejo Independent Bulletin"
The Ad Hoc Public Safety Review Committee was tolerant of many speakers during their last meeting on October 3rd, and despite the constant verbal protests of Assistant City Manager Craig Whittom, the committee, for the most part, showed civility to the speakers, and in some instances, even compassion. Committee members DeJesus and Worel were absent. Both liaison council members Gomes and Davis were also absent.
One of the first speakers spoke angrily about the lack of diversity (color) on the Ad Hoc panel. Chairwoman Joanne Schivley quickly explained that that would be a matter to take up with the City Council as they are the ones who made the initial appointments from the citizenry. Speaker Claudia Stevens asked why the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief are not required to live in Vallejo, and why the City Manager does not hire Vallejoans to hold these posts at all costs. Several speakers from the family of recent police shooting victim Mario Romero, and others who have lost sons at the hands of the police over the last few years, spoke with passion of their pain and frustrations. Chairwoman Schivley (for the first time since Mario Romero’s death) offered her condolences to the family. To that Ms. Mitchell (Romero’s mother) replied: “My son has been dead thirty-one days now; you are thirty-one days too late.” No other committee members offered verbal condolences, in fact at one point during the speaker presentations, Mr. Tweedy was seen rudely and actively engaging on his cell phone.
“All we want are answers,” said one of Romero’s sisters, “we want to know why we do not yet have the police report of my brother’s death, and why it has taken so long for my mother to see her son’s body,” she pleaded. Another speaker spoke of the reprehensible behavior of a Vallejo police officer stating: “He trained his service weapon on my three year old grandson.” Yet another speaker had this to say: “None of us can hide behind thick eight feet high walls in front of our houses, or thick metal gated fences with security guards in front of our homes. We have to live down here among the people.” And yet another woman simply recited names: “Officer Badour, murderer 6/3/10; Officer F. Rodriguez, murderer 6/3/10; Officer Tipoli –murderer 12/11/10; Officer Melville – murderer 12/20/09; Officer R. Greenburg – murderer 6/4/09; Officer Wylie, murderer 6/14/09; Sgt. Bassett Badge number 485 – murderer 6/9/10, and there are many more,” she said before she sat down. (She forgot to mention Officer Chase Calhoun who killed a beloved eleven year old family dog recently).  Chairwoman Joanne Schivley explained that all of these matters were out of the purview of the committee, and asked the speakers to go address the City Council.
Much of the meeting was centered on whether or not the committee would have enough time to bring full and final reports of recommendations to the City Council by mid October. After much debate, it was determined that the fact finding mission of this volunteer committee (De Jesus of Vallejo Police and Dunn of Vallejo Fire are getting paid, but all other members are volunteer citizens) would need additional time to hear from final speakers and to prepare their reports in detail for City Council review. In the end it was determined that they would culminate their fact finding mission on or before December 19th.
One of the things that the City Council had proposed during a recent City Council meeting is their unanimous desire to resurrect the Vallejo City ‘Human Relations Commission’ which serves as a liaison between the public and the city, and offers a means of support and an avenue in which citizens may register concerns. Since she had previously been a stalwart member of this committee, it was determined that Ms. Liat Meitzenheimer would be invited to speak to the group as to how the Human Relations Commission operates, and/or submit suggestions for “giving it more teeth,” as Councilmember Gomes had suggested. According to Committee Vice Chair Bob Schussel, other future speakers to come before this committee will include the Police Chief of Richmond, Chief Magnus who has reputedly done a phenomenal job of lowering the crime rate in the city of Richmond, Ca. Chief Magnus is due to speak on November 7th. (Will someone please tell our City Manager Dan Keen? Keen needs to attend in order to hear how Chief Magnus is turning the city of Richmond around.) On October 17th the committee hopes to entertain the Chair of the San Jose State’s Criminal Justice Dept. who will speak about communication policies. (Many agree that one of the biggest problems surrounding the Vallejo Police Department is a lack of communication). On November 20th, the Ad Hoc committee hopes to host a speaker who will address some aspects of a Citizen Review Committee illuminating models of citizen oversight among other issues.
“After the final speakers, we will make every attempt to distill the information we have gathered and put it into a final, easy to understand report for the City Council’s review,” said Committee Vice Chair Bob Schussel.With the upcoming holiday season encroaching after December 19th, it was understood that the Ad Hoc Public Safety Review Committee culminating reports would not be submitted to the City Council much before the New Year. (But not to worry because past Ad Hoc Public Safety Review meetings are available at the Vallejo City website should you have difficulty sleeping some night).