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Center Column Archives
Hannibal Abdul Shakur and Tanzeen Doha were arrested during protests during the summer of 2013 in downtown Oakland, after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced, where he was acquitted for the February 26, 2012, murder of Trayvon Martin. At an October 10 pre-trial readiness conference, the Oakland prosecutor finally admitted that they had “insufficient evidence” to go to trial, putting forth a motion to drop the remaining charges.
Witnesses to the recent tasing and arrest of a man in Santa Cruz describe the incident differently from the account communicated by police through the reporting of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Individuals on the scene report excessive force was used when officers with the SCPD arrested Oliver Howard near the Court House on Water Street on the afternoon of October 13. They say officers struck Howard with a baton, tased his bare body, piled on top of him, wrenched and twisted his limbs, and grinded his face and body into the ground, all unnecessarily.
At a rally in Palo Alto on October 5th, speakers Mary Kay Raftery and Chris Walker said that there is no such thing as the "closure" that death penalty advocates promote. Mary Kay's son was murdered; Chris spoke of his experience as an innocent man in Pelican Bay prison. Long time Amnesty International member Terry McCaffrey said it is clear that support for the death penalty is in decline, but "we must not let up on our struggle to put an end to capital punishment".
April Negrette and Kimball Bighorse have filed tort claims against the City and County of San Francisco for police brutality that occurred when the Giants called in SFPD to eject Negrette and Bighorse from its June 23, 2014, “Native American Heritage Night” event and game. Ms. Negrette and Mr. Bighorse had peacefully confronted a group of inebriated men who were inappropriately and disrespectfully wearing a plastic counterfeit Native American-themed headdress. The Giants ordered the San Francisco Police to eject Negrette and Bighorse from the stadium, but not the drunken men, most of whom were white.
On September 8, 2014, Bay Area chapters of Code Pink and World Can’t Wait participated in a worldwide reading of texts by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: “With this worldwide reading, we call on the United States Government to recognize that Edward Snowden's revelations are of essential importance for the safeguarding of democracy in the digital age.... Washington should therefore immediately lift all legal charges and complaints against Snowden, so that he can return home safely as a free man.”
Following months of pressure by family members and the media, the Salinas Police Department announced that Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton were the officers that shot and killed Frank Alvarado on July 10. They were named in a press release that also listed the officers involved in the killing of three other Latino residents in East Salinas in 2014. Frank Alvarado's father and sister spoke out at a press conference held at City Hall on October 1, stating that justice would be served, if not in Salinas, then at the Supreme Court.
On October 9, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Sin Barras, a group that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, authored a letter to the hosts requesting that they ask Chief McMillin to step down as a participant.