Crime Beat

REV. SHANE HARRIS BRINGS SUPPORT TO FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD IN MINNEAPOLIS AND FIGHTS FOR REFORMS TO HALT POLICE KILLINGS

“The arrest of George Floyd should not have been a death sentence. What you saw when you looked at the video of the killing was a policeman who was the judge, the jury, and the executioner.” – Rev. Shane Harris, People’s Alliance for Justice, in an exclusive interview with ECM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Rev. Shane Harris, shown on Hennepin Bridge in Minneapolis

May 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- The brutal killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis has sparked protests and civil unrest nationwide. The Washington Post has compiled video from multiple sources, documenting that after a store clerk alleged Floyd used counterfeit payment at a store, Officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed Floyd and later knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring gasps of “I can’t breathe!” Three other officers failed to intervene.

Four nights of protests  in Minnesota ensued, including rioting and burning a police station.  Minnesota’s Governor has called in the National Guard, declaring that most protesters are outside agitators. Officer Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter; all four officers were fired. But many believe more must be done for justice to be served.

Reverend Shane Harris, a national civil rights leader and founder of the People’s Alliance for Justice (PAJ) based in San Diego, flew to Minneapolis on Friday and provided an exclusive phone interview to ECM on Friday night.

CALLS FOR PEACE--BUT MOSTLY JUSTICE--AS MINNEAPOLIS ERUPTS IN ANGER OVER POLICE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD

"We share these painful emotions and demand justice, but we also urge everyone who wishes to raise their voice to engage in peaceful protests and observe social distancing," Floyd's family and attorney said in a statement.

Photo:  People look on as a construction site burns in a large fire near the Third Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license

May 28, 2020 (Minneapolis) - Protests over the police killing of George Floyd erupted across Minneapolis Wednesday night as thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets and demanded that the officers responsible be arrested and charged with murder.

DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS' ADVOCATES SEE RISE IN FIRST-TIME COMPLAINTS DURING PANDEMIC

By Kendra Sitton

 

“The quarantine has created a lot of problems…A safety plan is no longer available [for some victims].” – Dilkhwaz Ahmed, License to Freedom

 

May 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) — After weeks of stay-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, two local organizations supporting victims of domestic abuse are seeing a sharp rise in people seeking services for the first time. 

SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE KILLS JONES' PORCH PIRACY SOLUTION

"During the COVID-19 crisis, vulnerable individuals unable to leave their home rely on package delivery for essential items such as medication and food"
 
East County News Service
 
Photo:  Creative Commons by SA-NC
 
May 20, 2020 (Sacramento) - Today, the Senate Public Safety Committee voted down State Senator Brian Jones' (R-Santee) Senate Bill 979, a measure to increase the penalties on persons who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone's home.

SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER IN LAKESIDE STABBING

By Miriam Raftery

May 10, 2020 (Lakeside) – Julia Gonzalez, 23, has been arrested and charged with murder of a man stabbed Friday shortly after midnight following a fight with neighbors at 8200 Jema Way in Lakeside, says Lt. Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s department.

Sheriff deputies were called to the scene and Lakeside Fire Department personnel treated the injured man. He was transported to a hospital but did not survive.

DEPUTIES SAVE OCCUPANT FROM POSSIBLE ARSON FIRE IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 8, 2020 (Lakeside)—Sheriff deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to a fire in the 1100 block of Oro Street yesterday morning shortly before 3 a.m.  After learning that an occupant was still inside the residents and was not responding to calls, deputies entered the home and dragged the occupant to safety.
 
The victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, says Sgt. David Chandroo.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK HELP TO FIND VANDAL AT CHURCH AND CAR DEALER: DAMAGE DELAYED DELIVERY OF PROTECTIVE GEAR TO HOSPITAL WORKERS

East County News Service 

Photos: Surveillance video

 

May 4, 2020 (El Cajon) -  El Cajon Police seek public help to find a vandal who damaged a church and car dealership, also breaking the windshield of a truck set to delivery donations of personal protective equipment to hospital workers, says Officer Sue Stoller.

BEACH SHUT-DOWN PROTESTERS ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 25, 2020 (Encinitas) – The San Diego Sheriff arrested three protesters today for violating county and state orders against public gatherings during the COVID-19 emergency. The action follows several similar rallies around the county.
 
The protest at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas drew 75-100 demonstrators who called for beaches to be opened. 
 
According to Lt. Amber Baggs, “Several protestors walked onto the beach and sat as deputies began speaking to them regarding the County Public Health Order. The people were given multiple opportunities to comply with the state and county orders. Three attendees refused and were arrested.”

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK HELP IN HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION

East County News Service

Photo: Victim Tony Montantes

April 21, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspect(s) responsible for the murder of 41-year-old Tony Montantes. On March 16th at approximately 9:55 p.m., Tony Montantes was standing on the sidewalk in the area of E. Main St. and S. First St. in El Cajon when an unknown suspect fired several gunshots at him. As a result, Montantes was struck multiple times. Despite life saving measures by El Cajon Police officers, paramedics and hospital staff, Montantes was pronounced dead. The suspect(s) were last seen fleeing the area in a vehicle.

SAN DIEGO SHERIFF AND POLICE WARN PROTEST ORGANIZERS AND DEMONSTRATORS CAN BE ARRESTED FOR VIOLATING COVID-19 BANS ON GATHERINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Times of San Diego

April 20, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, hundreds of people held protests locally to call for reopening of parks, beaches and businesses shut down due to county and state health orders to prevent spread of COVID-19.   The protesters gathered in defiance of a county ban on all gatherings and failed even to provide social distancing or wear mask, putting themselves and anyone they come in contact with at risk of catching the highly contagious virus.

Today, the San Diego Sheriff and San Diego Police Department issued a statement which warns, “Although the protests were allowed to take place, we must not forget the public health orders were put in place to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19. While no citations were issued at the protests, that does not mean prosecution will not be sought, especially to the organizers of these events.”

MAN ARRESTED FOR MURDER OF TWIN TEEN GIRLS IN LEMON GROVE, BOTHER ALSO INJURED

Update April 16, 2020:  The suspect has been identified as Dwayne Edward Groves Jr., 38.

By Miriam Raftery

April 15, 2020 (Lemon Grove) –A suspect has been arrested after shooting and killing twin 15-year-old girls and wounding their brother, 23. The mother of the victims was able to save her younger children by fleeing with them after the shooting began around noon today in her residence in the 7400 block of Central Avenue near Buena Vista in Lemon Grove.

The mother told a reporter with OnScene TV that the shooter is her former boyfriend, whom she recently broke up with.

Lt. Thomas Seiver with the San Diego Sheriff’s department confirmed that two female victims were shot and killed, but did not disclose their identities.  He indicated that the third victim was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

MAN DIES, OTHERS INJURED AFTER FIGHT IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
Update April 17, 2020:  The victim has been identified as Alejandro Hernandez Meza, 30, of Spring Valey. Imara Khalil Jones, 19, of San Diego was arrested and booked into San Diego Central Jail for murder. A male juvenile, 17, from Spring Valley was arrested and booked into the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility for assault with a deadly weapon.
 
April 15, 2020 (Spring Valley) -  Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a fight yesterday morning at 10:30 a.m. at 900 Grand Avenue, near the intersection with Jamacha Road in Spring Valley.
 
According to Lieutenant Thomas Siever, “When they arrived, deputies located several adults who are suspected to be involved in the fight. Several people were transported by ambulance to local hospitals with various traumatic injuries sustained in the fight. Unfortunately, one adult male was pronounced deceased shortly after arriving at the hospital.”
 

INMATE AND FOUR SHERIFF EMPLOYEES TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

East County News Service
Photo: Creative commons via Bing
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department announced that yesterday, an inmate tested positive for COVID-19.  Four Sheriff employees have also tested positive.
 
The Sheriff’s department declined to release details on which facilities the inmate and employees were in, citing privacy laws, but says that the employees are thus far “doing fine.”  However, news reports indicate one of the cases is a nurse who works at the Las Colinas detention facility in Santee. 

SCHOOL CLOSINGS DUE TO COVID-19 PRESENT POTENTIAL FOR INCREASED RISK OF CHILD EXPLOITATION

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children will potentially have an increased online presence and/or be in a position that puts them at an inadvertent risk. Due to this newly developing environment, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.

NURSE AT LAS COLINAS WOMEN’S DETENTION FACILITY TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

Two other Sheriff’s employees await test results
 
By Miriam Raftery
Photo credit: Google maps
 
March 26, 2020 (Santee) – A nurse who works at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee tested positive yesterday for COVID-19. She has been isolated at home since March 22, when she began feeling ill.  
 
The Las Colinas facility is the primary point of intake for women prisoners in San Diego County.
 
According to a press statement issued by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, its Detention Services Bureau has identified all inmates and staff who may have come into close contact with this nurse. 
 

SHERIFF GORE: GUN STORES CAN SELL DURING COVID-19, BUT MUST PROVIDE SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo Courtesy: San Diego Sheriff's Dept.
 
March 26, 2020 (San Diego) – The California Governor’s stay-home order during the COVID-19 emergency allows Sheriff’s to determine whether gun stores are essential businesses. San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore announced that local gun stores an remain open, provided they comply with the county’s public health order requirements for social distancing and consider these alternative means of operation. 
 
No groups of 10 or more people are allowed in any space and at least six feet must be maintained between people.  As a result, Sheriff Gore says, “I am asking all retail firearms establishments to look at alternative sales options which might include scheduling appointments” to prevent lines and comply with health requirements.
 

HOMELESS WOMAN CHARGED WITH ARSON IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
March 26, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A 76-year-old transient woman who previously started two fires ruled accidental has been arrested and charged with arson after starting a fire which scorched the exterior of a strip mall building in Spring Valley.
 
Last night shortly before 8 p.m., deputies from the Rancho San Diego Patrol Station responded to assist the San Miguel Fire Department in the 500 Block of Grand Avenue, Spring Valley. 
 
Upon arrival, it was determined that Leona Head, a local transient, had set fire to an electrical box, says Sergeant Curt Cartie with the Sheriff’s Department. “She admitted to starting the fire by attempting to extinguish a lit cigar with a bottle of liquid from a bottle labeled `Clorox,’” he adds. 

WRONG-WAY DRIVER, SUSPECTED OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, CAUSES HEAD-ON CRASH ON I-8 IN LA MESA

By: Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Head On Collision - Wikipedia Commons (generic stock photo)
 
March 26, 2020 (La Mesa) – An SUV traveling the wrong-way on Interstate 8 just east of 70th Street in La Mesa struck a red BMW head-one shortly before midnight last night. Both motorists sustained major life-threatening injuries and were transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.
 
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Travis Garrow, the CHP began getting calls at 11:56 p.m. reporting the SUV traveling west in the eastbound lanes of I-8.  Two minutes later, witnesses reported a head-on collision.

MAN KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 24, 2020 (El Cajon) – Two young men, both 20-year-old El Cajon residents, were shot during a confrontation March 20 shortly before 8 p.m., near the intersection of Applewood Drive and Cedar Street. One man was shot in the torso and died at a hospital. The other was shot in the leg and is expected to survive, according to Lieutenant Jeremiah Larson with El Cajon Police department.
 
Police responded to calls reporting gunshots heard with several people fleeing the area at 7:55 p.m. Witnesses described the confrontation. The names of the victims are not being released at this time pending notification of the families.

COVID-19 PROMPTS PRISONER RELEASES, COURT CLOSURES, SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

 

Update: All jury trials in Calif. Superior courts have been delayed for 60 days, per an order issued today by California's Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Scales of justice, Creative Commons via Bing

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 emergency is having major impacts on the criminal justice system. 

Locally, the Superior Court is shut down for all but emergency procedures.  Trials are suspended. Public defender lawyers are barred from visiting defendants in county jails.  The Sheriff and District Attorney have announced plans to release some prisoners awaiting arraignment and some medically vulnerable inmates.

 At the federal level, the Department of Justice has asked Congress to grant federal judges  sweeping new powers to detain people indefinitely during emergencies even if they have not yet been charged with a crime, halt court proceedings, and prohibit anyone with COVID-19 from seeking asylum in the U.S., among other changes that concern civil liberties experts. The Trump administration has also indicated it will arrest anyone who crosses the border seeking asylum.

EL CAJON RELEASE BODY CAM VIDEOS OF SHOOTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjF2UYCYNcw&feature=youtu.be . Warning: video contains graphic images and language, viewer discretion advised.  

March 23, 2020 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Police have released body camera footage from multiple officers of the non-  lethal shooting of a car theft suspect, Keith Crenshaw, 21, on February 12th. The videos confirm that after waking up the suspect sleeping in the vehicle, officers repeatedly warned him to put his hands up, even after the suspect repeatedly said, “Shoot me!”

The incident began after Phoenix Police called to request that ECPD recover a stolen car identified via an auto-license reader.  Officer Stanley and his trainee, Officer Jabrael, arrived at 544 South Johnson and Officer Sandoval along with a civilian approached from the rear.

After verifying the license, Officer Jabrael approached the driver’s side but the door handle was missing. When the suspect awoke, Officer Stanley repeatedly ordered him to put his hands up and not to reach into his shirt. At one point he asked for a less-lethal weapon. But before he could obtain one, the suspect repeatedly stated, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!”

Officer Stanley and another officer can be hear continuing to try and convince the suspect to put up his hands.  Officer Stanley stated, “No, I do not want to kill you. Let me see your hands.”

7-ELEVEN CLERK KILLED IN EL CAJON ROBBERY

7-Eleven announces stores will temporarily close daily from midnight to 5am to deep clean the stores and keep shelves stocked. 7-Eleven expects needing 20,000 more clerks
 
By Miriam Raftery
Jonathan Goetz also contributed to this report
 
March 21, 2020 (El Cajon) – Three teenagers, all minors, have been arrested for shooting and killing a 7-Eleven clerk early Friday during a robbery.
 
According to El Cajon Police Lt.. Kevin MacArthur, the three masked youths robbed the store in the 300 block of Jamacha Rd. shortly after 2:30 a.m., shooting and gravely wounding clerk Ronald Bailey, 31, of El Cajon.
 

SHERIFFF BUSTS PRICE-GOUGING HOARDERS

Sheriff also warns consumers about virus-related scams

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2020 (San Diego)—The San Diego Sheriff's department has arrested eight local people for selling hoarded toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and protective equipment at price-gouging rates. The suspects, who posted the items for sale online, could be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned.

It is illegal to price gouge during an emergency. After the state emergency declaration due to COVID-19, when consumers found store shelves emptied of much-needed supplies, deputies began checking out online websites. They found local residents offering items at up to 20 times higher than normal. 

Plain-clothes deputies from the Fallbrook station arranged to meet and buy the excessively priced goods, then arrested the suspects including individuals from unicorporated El Cajon, Escondido, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Rainbow, and Vista.

The eight people arrested, who were cited and released pending trial, are:

DEATH IN EL CAJON MAY HAVE BEEN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 17, 2020 (El Cajon)—A man in his 40s was fatally shot last night shortly before 10 p.m. at East Main and First Street in El Cajon.
 
“Witnesses said the suspect/suspects were possibly in a vehicle when they fire at the victim who had been standing on the sidewalk,” says Lt. K. MacArthur in a press statement. 
 

DUNCAN HUNTER SENTENCED TO 11 MONTHS IN PRISON, PLUS ALCOHOL REHAB AND THREE YEARS OF SUPERVISED PROBATION

By Miriam Raftery

File photo at an earlier hearing, courtesy of Ken Stone, Times of San Diego

March 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Disgraced former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter was sentenced today in federal court after pleading guilty in December to a felony count of conspiracy to spend campaign funds for personal use. 

Hunter will have until May 29 to report to federal prison, where he will serve an 11-month term. Known for heavy partying in Washington D.C., Hunter must also undergo and alcohol and drug treatment program. In addition, after his release he will be on three years of supervised probation.

 The location where Hunter will serve his sentence has not yet been announced. Judge Thomas Whelan left open the possibility of a later start to Hunter’s imprisonment if warranted by the COVID-19 emergency.

STABBING IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
March 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – A suspect in a full-face motorcycle helmet reportedly followed a man into an apartment complex at 325 E. Bradley Ave. in unincorporated El Cajon on Sunday morning, then stabbed the victim in the chest. The suspect fled in a gold sedan, traveling east on Bradley.
 
Deputies from the Lakeside Sheriff’s substation responded to a radio call reporting the assault with a deadly weapon at 11:30 a.m.  

DEA-LED OPERATION NETS MORE THAN 600 ARRESTS TARGETING DRUG CÁRTEL; 130 ARRESTED IN SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES

East County News Service
 
Photos via DEA: seized drugs and guns in the San Diego region
 
March 11, 2020 (San Diego) --  The U.S. Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced results of Project Python, a DEA-led interagency operation targeting the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).  The six-month investigation has resulted in over 600 cartel associates arrested nationwide and 350 indictments, as well as major seizures of drugs, guns and cash.
 
San Diego and Imperial County DEA investigations related to Project Python have resulted in the arrest of over 130 cartel associates and seizure of approximately 3,282 pounds of methamphetamine, 59 kilograms of heroin, 198 kilograms of cocaine, 44 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of opium, over 27,000 fentanyl pills and 18 firearms. This included drugs found under children’s car seats, in tiers and under hoods, as well as a variety of guns.

DEPUTIES HONORED BY ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE FOR POWAY SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING RESPONSE

Photo Credit: Sheriff Bill Gore's office, Lt. Ricardo Lopez
(L-R) Deputy Damek Herrera, Deputy James Santos, Sheriff Bill Gore, Deputy Jess Allensworth, Assistant Sheriff Kelly Martinez, Deputy Janet Hoxie and Deputy Joaquin Santalo
 
By Lt. Ricardo Lopez
 
March 10, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- Today, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and other agencies were honored for their response to the Chabad of Poway shooting by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) during an awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
 
"The Helene and Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate" is given by ADL to recognize law enforcement for its work in fighting hate and bigotry. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards given to the law enforcement community.
 

SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS BUSINESSES, CONSUMERS OF PRICE GOUGING LAW IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS

 

Spiking Prices During a State of an Emergency is a Crime

East County News Service

Photo: Cc by ND via Bing

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) – After California and San Diego County each declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 virus, The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has issued a warning to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased. "The statute would theoretically apply to online retailers as well as brick and mortar—as well as individuals who might be selling on an app like Offer Up,"  says Steve Walker, communications specialist at the District Attorney's office.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors extended its countywide state of emergency for an additional 30 days on February 19.

“We want county residents to know that we stand ready to protect their consumer rights under the law,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “We will strictly enforce violations related to price gouging.”

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