Crime Beat

PROTEST PLANNED AT LA MESA POLICE STATION ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 1

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – Another  protest against the La Mesa  Police Department  has been announced  for Saturday, August 1, at 3:30 p.m. outside the La Mesa Police Department. The flyer indicates that "civil disobedience" is planned and indicates this event is for adults only. The action comes amid nationwide protests calling for police accountability and racial justice.

The protest comes two months after a May 30 protest over police and racial justice issues dissolved into a riot that ended with police pelted by rocks and bottles, three buildings burned down and dozens of buildings looted. However several protests that remained peaceful have been held since then including a unity rally and Juneteeth rally.


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SHERIFF'S DEPUTY, EX-SANTANA BASEBALL STAR ACCUSED OF MOLESTING THREE MINORS

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  Jaylen Fleer, shown pitching for Santana High School in a March 2011 game against Helix Charter High School, also played football for the Sultans. Photo by Chris Stone

July 23, 2020 (Santee) - A San Diego County sheriff's deputy who once starred for Santana High School in baseball and football was behind bars Thursday on suspicion of a series of child molestation charges in Chula Vista.


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CHRISTIAN YOUTH THEATER IN SPOTLIGHT FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF STUDENTS AND RACIAL BIAS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo, left: CYT’s 2014 performance of Les Miserables on Mt. Helix

July 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – Christian Youth Theater (CYT) a national junior theater organization based in El Cajon, is now in the spotlight over allegations by former students of sexual abuse and racism dating back decades. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: DEPUTY SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO “DEFUND THE POLICE” CALLS

By David Leonhardi

 

President, Deputy Sheriffs Association of San Diego County (DSASD.org)

 

July 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The past six weeks have brought a major change in public safety discussions across the country. The rise of the “defund the police” movement has dominated national attention, sparking a debate over the nature of law enforcement and the scope of their duties. Criminal justice activists throughout the nation have pressured their local cities and counties to cut funding from their respective law enforcement departments due to perceived systemic problems, most notably, that of alleged racial bias in policing.1 Supporters of this movement seek to reallocate this funding to social services surrounding issues related to substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness, to name a few.2 


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TO END 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL NIGHTMARE,' ACLU SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVER USE OF SECRET POLICE IN PORTLAND

"This is a fight to save our democracy."

By Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Photo:  Police confront demonstrators in Portland, Oregon on July 4, 2020. (Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

July 18, 2020 (Portland, Ore.) - The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon sued the Trump administration late Friday over its deployment of federal agents to Portland, where unidentified officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service have been detaining Black Lives Matter protesters without explanation and using indiscriminate force to crush demonstrations.


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SECOND WOMAN FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST LA MESA, ALLEGES OFFICER SHOT HER IN BREAST WITH RUBBER BULLET AT GAS STATION AFTER SHE LEFT PROTEST

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of Horton's injuries, courtesy of Singleton Law Firm

July 17, 2020 (La Mesa) – A woman who claims she was shot one the side of her breast with a rubber bullet or other projectile by a law enforcement officer while waiting at the Chevron gas station for her daughter, after leaving the May 30 protest, has filed a claim against the city of La Mesa seeking unspecified damages for her injuries.

Michelle Horton, 51, a former Navy officer and healthcare administrator, is white. Her attorney, Gerald Singleton, told ECM in an interview that Horton had left the protest after a dispersal order was given. He indicated that according to Horton, the shooting occurred before dark, between 8 and 9 p.m., by an officer who pulled up in a vehicle at the gas station and shot her in the chest with a projectile, without warning.


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WHAT DID THE WHITE HOUSE KNOW ABOUT RABBI GOLDSTEIN'S CRIMINALITY?

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

July 16, 2020 (San Diego) - I have more than a few questions about the conduct of the tax fraud case in which Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is being recommended for probation, rather than a prison sentence, notwithstanding the fact that his pattern of illegal conduct reaches back several decades.


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MURDERED WOMAN LED COUNTY FOSTER PARENT ASSOCIATION IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – Debbie Stolz, President of the San Diego County Foster Parent Association based in El Cajon, was murdered along with her daughter on Sunday at a home in Otay Mesa. The loss of Stolz has sent shockwaves through local communities and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Stolz worked  for over 20 years as a trainer for parents with Grossmont College’s Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Care education program.

“Deb played an integral role in the program through her training and support to countless resource parents for foster youth in San Diego County,” says Sally Cox, CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, in an email to staff.  Stolz Stolz was a long-time employee for the Foundation.


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CHABAD OF POWAY'S WOUNDED RABBI PLEADS GUILTY TO YEARS OF TAX, WIRE FRAUD

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  As Poway Mayor Steve Vaus looks on, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein chats with President Trump in September. Photo by Ken Stone

July 15, 2020 (Poway) - Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the Chabad of Poway leader wounded during an attack last year on his synagogue, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to federal tax and wire fraud charges and could face a maximum five-year prison term.


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DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILES MURDER CHARGE AGAINST SHERIFF’S DEPUTY WHO SHOT MENTALLY ILL SUSPECT IN THE BACK

East County News Service 

 

July 14, 2020 (San Diego) – Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Russell, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Nicholas Bils, 36, on May 1st after the unarmed man escaped from a California State Park vehicle outside the jail downtown.


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LMPD CHIEF RECEIVES REPORT ON AMAURIE JOHNSON INCIDENT NEAR TROLLEY STATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Amaurie Johnson, courtesy of Ken Stone, Times of San Diego

July 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – Today, the city of La Mesa announced that an external investigation has been completed into a controversial incident that occurred May27 involved a La Mesa Police officer and Amaurie Johnson.  The result of the external investigation has been forwarded to LMPD Chief Walt Vasquez for his review and a determination on what action if any will be taken.

No further details were provided and the report has not been made public.


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TIPS SOUGHT IN FATAL CHOLLAS CREEK AREA HIT-RUN

By Debbie L. Sklar, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  A San Diego Police Department patch on an officer’s uniform. Courtesy SDPD

July 9, 2020 (Chollas Creek) - Authorities reached out to the public Thursday for help in identifying a motorist involved in a hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian last week in a Chollas Creek-area neighborhood.


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DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Watch for increased impaired driving patrols this holiday weekend

Source:  San Diego Sheriff's Department

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) - This Fourth of July will be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the changes to Independence Day celebrations, you should always do the responsible thing and not get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


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MEXICO OPIUM NETWORK LAUNCHED TO COMBAT GLOBAL OPIOID EPIDEMIC

UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies among the key partner institutions for the first-of–its kind, international effort

June 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Despite being considered the world’s second largest producer of opium and heroin, little is known about poppy cultivation in Mexico. Yet, the opioid crisis remains a huge problem across much of the U.S. and Mexico and COVID-19 appears to have made matters worse: Recent lockdowns have disrupted the flow of synthetic opioids and have ostensibly increased production of heroin in Mexico.

To address the global opioid crisis, the Mexico Opium Network, a first-of-its kind international effort, was recently launched to examine the socio-political challenges posed by illicit poppy crops in Mexico.


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ILLEGAL POT SHOPS RAIDED NEAR SCHOOLS AND HOMES

East County News Service
 
June 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – More than a thousand pounds of marijuana products, six firearms, and over $221,000 in cash were seized Thursday following search warrants served at six illegal dispensaries and three homes. The raids took place in Lakeside, unincorporated El Cajon and the city of San Diego, conducted by investigators from the county Sheriff’s department and San Diego Police.

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EL CAJON VOTES TO INCREASE FUNDS FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council members received hundreds of comments sent via email on the city’s proposed budget, nearly all weighing in on police funding following a nationwide wave of protests over police violence and racial injustice issues.   

Many of the commenters argued for “defunding” or shifting some funds away from police into investments in the community or alternatives to handle mentally ill and homeless people, though many others voiced support for El Cajon Police and supported raising the department’s budget.

The Council unanimously voted for a $120,000 increase for the police.

“The motivation is to keep all the citizens safe,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM.


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HIT AND RUN DRIVER IN GOLD HONDA CIVIC INJURES PEDESTRIAN IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

June 24, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A 45-year-old man suffered major injuries when he was struck by a gold Honda Civic around 5:52 p.m. yesterday at Troy Street east of Central Avenue in Spring Valley. The driver fled the scene in the vehicle.

The victim was standing in the driveway of the Goodland Acres Park when the vehicle veered off course to the right, striking the pedestrian, says Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.


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DESPITE LOSING BUILDING TO ARSON, RANDALL LAMB ASSOCIATES JOINS EFFORT TO HELP OTHER BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING RIOT

The Phair Company and Lions Club of La Mesa also make major contributions

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Flames engulf Randall Lamb Associates building

June 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – Among the many local companies stepping forward with donations to help businesses damaged by looting, vandalism or arson on May 30-31, one name stands out. The Randall Lamb Associates’  building burned to the ground, yet its owners have generously given $5,000 to help others rebuild their businesses and their lives.


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A PASTOR BRINGS SPIRITUAL SUPPORT TO THOSE IN NEED DURING RIOTS

 

By Briana Gomez

 

Photo by Jake Rose: Pastor Ferguson in La Mesa, as police guard street while firefighters battle flames at the Randall Lamb Building

 

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) -- After being sighted praying amid the La Mesa riots the night of May 30th, Pastor Travis Ferguson has found himself in unexpected limelight as a symbol of hope for La Mesa.


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LESLIE FURCRON SAID SHE WAS ENTERING A “RIOT” AND CALLED TO “BURN” DOWN LA MESA POLICE STATION BEFORE SHE WAS SHOT WITH BEANBAG

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

June 20, 2020 (La Mesa) – The attorney for Leslie Furcron, the woman shot in the head with a beanbag projectile May 30 outside the La Mesa Police station, has characterized her as a “peaceful” protester. A police incident narration claims she threw an object at Sheriff’s officers before she was fired at from 40 yards and struck in the head with the beanbag. While it is unclear on her cell phone video whether she threw an object or not, what is clear is that she, or someone narrating the video taken on her cell phone, advocated burning down the police station while she was in the car driving to the station.


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SANTEE CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2020 (Santee) – A suspect is in custody after reportedly threatening to kill a 77-year-old woman and her family, then forcing the victim out of her car and driving off with her purse and cell phone.  The carjacking occurred shortly before 1 p.m. today in the 9800 block of Mission Gorge Road in Santee.

Sheriff’s deputies and La Mesa Police officers found the suspect, Chris DiSalvo, 30, sitting in the stolen car in the 4600 block of Palm Drive in La Mesa. 

“Upon seeing law enforcement DiSalvo took off, but crashed into a tree,” said Sergeant Michael Tingley with the Sheriff’s Department.“He then ran into an apartment complex."


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INVESTIGATORS SEEKING INFORMATION RELATED TO YELLOW CHEVROLET CAMARO

Source:  San Diego FBI

June 19, 2020 (San Diego) - The FBI is seeking information pertaining to a bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro. Individuals associated with this vehicle may have been a witness to an incident that occurred on May 31, 2020 at the Kenmore Terrace Mini Park located at 4800 Kenmore Terrace, San Diego, California.


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EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DIVERTS GRAFFITI ARTISTS TO CREATE PUBLIC ART

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of Officer Murphy and El Cajon Police

June 19, 2020 (El Cajon) – When El Cajon Police Officer Michael Murphy found three youths spray-painting “peace” and “BLM”, he created a teaching moment.  “I explained to them that by doing that, their message gets lost and destroys another person’s property. So I decided instead of arresting them we would work together to fix the damage and work on an area where they can post their message,” he posted on Facebook.

So he arranged to meet up with them, get plywood and find a place for them to express their views and creativity in a positive way - as well as having them lend a hand to clean up the defaced property. The result is a work of art showing talent and the power of working together for creative solutions to conflicts.


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PHARMACY ROBBERY IN ALPINE MAY BE PART OF SERIES

East County News Service

Photos via CVS

June 18, 2020 (Alpine) – An investigation is underway into a robbery at a CVS in Alpine that may be part of a series of pharmacy robberies across East County. Two juveniles were apprehended.

Shortly before 3 p.m. on June 17, deputies from the Alpine Sheriff’s station responded to the CVS Pharmacy at 1385 Tavern Road after a 9-1-1 call reported a robbery. The caller said one of two suspects, armed with a cane, jumped over the counter demanding drugs and took 13 bottles of narcotics. As he fled, he swung the cane around and smashed the glass countertop. A cell phone of one of the employees was also taken, says Lieutenant Anthony O’Boyle.

The suspects fled the scene, but due to a quick response from a Sheriff's Sergeant, deputies and detectives, the suspects were located behind the Alpine library and detained,” says Lt. O’Boyle.


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CALIFORNIA AG TO PROBE ONE OF TWO HANGINGS OF BLACK MEN

By Ben Christopher, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  activist Najee Ali, center, kneels with weekend demonstrators in front of the Palmdale Sheriff's station as protesters demand an investigation into the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree early Wednesday. On Monday, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra agreed to get the state involved. Photo by Josie Huang/KPCC/LAist via AP

June 18, 2020 (Palmdale, Calif.) - California’s Justice Department will send officers to Palmdale to investigate the hanging death of a black man — one of two similar incidents in the high desert over the last few weeks, Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced this morning.


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LA MESA TASK FORCE ADOPTS AGGRESSIVE SCHEDULE IN HOPES OF GETTING POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD ON BALLOT

By Kendra Sitton

Photo: Jack Shu has proposed a ballot measure to create a police oversight commission for La Mesa.

June 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- In a meeting Wednesday, June 17, the Citizen Oversight Task Force set a plan in motion that could culminate in a November ballot initiative to bring a strong police oversight commission to La Mesa.

After missing several meetings due to the coronavirus, the group resumed meeting in the wake of mass protests and riots over the La Mesa Police Department’s mistreatment of the Black community.


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CHP STEPS UP SAFETY ENFORCEMENT ON SR 67 AKA "SLAUGHTERHOUSE ALLEY," TO PREVENT DEADLY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing
 
June 17, 2020 (El Cajon) – California Highway Patrol (CHP) will deploy additional officers on State Route 67 from Interstate 8 in El Cajon to Ramona between June 21 and September 30. The goal is to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes caused by unsafe speed, following too closely, unsafe lane changes, improper turning, and other primary crash factor violations by motorcyclists and other drivers.
 
Many crashes in California end in death or injury as a result of individuals speeding or driving aggressively. From January-December 2019, provisional statistical data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) El Cajon Area database revealed 230 injury crashes involving motorcycles and 20 fatal crashes involving motorcycles in El Cajon
CHP’s boundaries.

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DEPUTY INVOLVED IN LAKESIDE SHOOTING IDENTIFIED; SUSPECT HAD FIRED MULTIPLE SHOTS AT OFFICERS AFTER ALLEGEDLY BATTERING GIRLFRIEND

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 17, 2020 (Lakeside) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department has identified Andrew Sudbury as the deputy who shot and injured Dustin Banzhof in Lakeside following a domestic violence dispute. Deputy Sudbury has worked for the Sheriff’s department for six years and is stationed at the Lakeside station.

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HELP SOUGHT TO IDENTIFY THOSE WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Dept. is asking for public help to identify suspects caught on surveillance video breaking into and looting Pierre’s Jewelers on La Mesa Blvd. the night of May 30th, when dozens of businesses were looted and others burned following protests.  


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DEPUTY SHOOTS, MAN IN LAKESIDE WHO FIRED SHOTS AMID DOMESTIC DISPUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM  news partner 10 News

June 15, 2020 (Lakeside) – Dustin Banzhof, 39, was shot by a Sheriff’s deputy and arrested last night after Banzhof reportedly fired multiple shots during a domestic dispute.

Deputies responded at 8:30 p.m. to the 11600 block of Hi Ridge Road in Lakeside, where a woman had locked herself in a bedroom with her two children in an effort to hide from the children’s estranged father, who was inside her home.


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