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Sun Mar 31 2019 (Updated 04/02/19)
Governor Newsom Suspends Death Penalty in California
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an order on March 13 putting a moratorium on California's death penalty, thus ordering a reprieve for the 737 people on death row. The action suspends any further executions in California as long as Newsom is governor. But only California voters can repeal the death penalty, which they narrowly rejected at the ballot in 2016. Newsom also ordered the immediate closure of the state's execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The order does not otherwise change any existing convictions or sentences — and will not lead to any death row inmates being released.
The Santa Cruz Police Department has opened an internal affairs investigation into the conduct of Officer Chris Galli, who in January referred to a man he had previously arrested as a "dindunuffin" on social media. Galli, posting as "Chris Meriekuh", made the comment about the individual, who is African American and homeless. A screen capture of the comment was posted in an Indybay article, helping to raise awareness concerning the racist nature of the term, which originated among law enforcement officers to mock activists participating in the Black Lives Matter Movement during its initial rise in 2014 and 2015.
Mon Mar 11 2019 (Updated 03/20/19)
New Hate Blog in Santa Cruz is Gaining Followers
The new hate blog "Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real" has gradually been gaining followers since its founding in 2017. It is written under the pen name "Big Joe 77" by Joe Netro, a self-described "cop" who is retired from working 26 years as a correctional officer at Soledad state prison. He also volunteers with the Santa Cruz Police Department, and he served as a member of the 2016-17 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury which issued a controversial, and some say biased, report critical of the county's Syringe Services Program. Recently, Netro has joined Take Back Santa Cruz member Steve Schlicht's "Santa Mierda Podcast Network," appearing on multiple podcasts.
The District Attorney of San Mateo County announced on March 1 that he found four deputy sheriffs and a sheriff’s sergeant did not violate the California penal code when they killed Chinedu Okobi with tasers on October 13, 2018. This is despite the fact that the coroner classified the death as a homicide. Civil-rights attorney John Burris, who represents the Okobi family, said that law enforcement actions needlessly escalated after their loved one committed only a minor infraction.
On February 17, members of the greater San José Japanese American community commemorated the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. At the same time they protested the National Emergency Trump announced two days earlier in order to build his wall on the Mexico-U.S. border. Allies from the South Bay peace activist community joined with those gathered in the local Japantown, one of only three left in the United States.
UPDATE 2/26: County Leaders Dump “Urban Shield” Name, Adopt Vast Majority of Committee Recommendations

An Alameda County task force recommended Urban Shield be transformed from a highly militarized SWAT competition and weapons expo into a community-focused safety exercise. The Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies are expected to push back hard when the recommendations come to a vote on Tuesday, February 26. Urban Shield opponents say a large "Stop Urban Shield" presence at the meeting is important, but that you can also reach out to Supervisors and tell them not to buckle to the pressure.
Mon Feb 18 2019 (Updated 02/20/19)
Civil Rights Violations Never End with Vallejo Police
Since 2003, Vallejo has paid out at least $10.1 million related to police misconduct. And the civil rights violations keep piling up. On January 22, Adrian Burrell was assaulted by Vallejo police while video recording a traffic stop. On February 9, six Vallejo police officers shot Willie McCoy to death after they found him asleep in a Taco Bell drive-through. Family members and allies touched by the death of Willie McCoy gathered outside the Taco Bell where he was killed to remember him and protest the police on February 16 and 17.
Thu Feb 14 2019 (Updated 02/16/19)
Taser Opponents Jeer Axon's Racist Slide Presentation
Three men of color were murdered by law enforcement using tasers in San Mateo County in 2018. On February 11, taser manufacturer Axon headlined a study session convened by the Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County. Nearly 200 opponents of tasers rallied in front of the Hall of Justice before attending the hearing. Jeers rang out during Axon's presentation, especially when the company showed photos of a black man grimacing as he was tased.
Sun Feb 17 2019 (Updated 02/19/19)
Remembering Sahleem Tindle
BART police officer Joseph Mateu shot Sahleem Tindle three times in the back, killing him on January 3, 2018. Ten months later, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley released a report declaring that she would not bring any charges against Mateu. To mark the one-year anniversary of the slaying, Sahleem's family and activists with the Anti Police-Terror Project gathered at the West Oakland BART station. After two hours in front of the station, protesters stormed inside, leading BART to close it. The family is still pursuing a civil case against BART and Mateu.
Mon Jan 28 2019 (Updated 02/06/19)
Protesters Demand Justice for Chinedu Okobi
Chinedu Okobi was the third man to die after being tased by law enforcement in San Mateo County in 2018. He was unarmed and walking with shopping bags in Millbrae in October when five sheriff's deputies attacked him. More than two dozen people protested his murder in the District Attorney's office on January 23, then went to the county Sheriff’s office and the county Board of Supervisors to demand answers of the President of the Board and County Manager.
Mon Jan 21 2019 (Updated 01/24/19)
Reclaiming King's Radical Legacy
For the 5th year running, the Anti Police-Terror Project called Bay Area residents into the streets for the People’s March to Reclaim Martin Luther King Jr’s Radical Legacy. In Oakland, events ran from 8am to 8pm. San Francisco marched in honor of MLK and several labor unions spoke out against outsourcing and privatization. Fresno and Santa Cruz also marched. Other events were held in cities across Northern California.
Tue Jan 15 2019 (Updated 01/16/19)
Qilombo Community Social Center Evicted
Qilombo members have been locked out of the community center they've maintained for over four years. Landlords attempted to push Qilombo out almost as long as they've been there, with the current corporate landlord refusing to renew their lease since 2016. Qilombo resisted displacement until Alameda County Sheriff's deputies showed up without warning and padlocked the building on January 9.
Andy Lopez was killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22, 2013. Five years later, on December 18, 2018, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors reached a settlement with Andy's parents for $3 million. Earlier in the year, a $3.5 million park was built in Andy’s honor in his Santa Rosa neighborhood. Activists, the community, and his family and friends never stopped demanding justice for Andy Lopez.
Fri Jan 11 2019 (Updated 01/14/19)
DNA Testing May Save Kevin Cooper's Life
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1985. He has been on death row at San Quentin for decades. On December 24, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown ordered new DNA testing. Kevin Cooper responds: I am happy that we have finally “won” something from some entity in this state. But after learning what exactly outgoing Gov. Brown wrote... I am not as excited as I was at first, or should be.
Tue Jan 8 2019 (Updated 01/09/19)
Oscar Grant Honored at Fruitvale BART Station
On January 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back by BART Officer Johannes Mehserle while he lay face down. In response to angry street rebellions and years of protest, Mehserle was charged with murder and ultimately convicted of involuntary manslaughter. On the first day of January ten years after his murder, Oscar's mother, friends, and supporters gathered for a vigil at Fruitvale BART station where he died.

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