Category Archives: 911

Millbrae Unarmed Jaywalker’s Death Being Investigated, Following Confrontation by Sheriff’s Deputies

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Chinedu Valentine Okobi

The results are not in question, it’s a lay-up for San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault. He knows what’s expected of him and he WILL deliver for District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and Sheriff Carlos Bolanos, just as he has done in the past. He will shift the blame for 36-year-old Chinedu Okobi’s death to Chinedu himself, a scene played out, time after time, by Foucrault, Wagstaffe, and Bolanos.

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Coroner Robert Foucrault

He will use the term excited delirium coupled with heart attack, to explain Chinedu’s death, versus excessive and unnecessary force employed by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies – Chinedu, an African American male who had been jaywalking, in the city of Millbrae, was repeatedly tased, pepper-sprayed, and manhandled by at least five deputies -jaywalking is an infraction normally worthy of only a ticket.

So common is the scenario, in San Mateo County, and the roles played out by Sheriff Bolanos, Coroner Foucrault, and District Attorney Wagstaffe that one can comfortably predict, with confidence, what the outcome will be.

CarlosG.Bolanos

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos

It’s analogous to the definition of insanity, in this case, the sheriff’s office being presented with a mentally challenged person and unwaveringly employing force resulting in death. Should Sheriff Bolanos really have anticipated a different result, given his office’s’ lack of training, vision, and direction, on how to handle such incidents? The answer is  no.

Have San Mateo County authorities learned nothing, over the years, as to how to address mentally challenged persons? Unfortunately, the answer is, again, no, the result is predictable with ominous results -they choose to immediately place themselves in harms way, confront the individual without a plan, and employ force likely to result in serious injury or death.

In the instant case, five deputies earning a minimum of $100,000 each a year plus a like amount in benefits, immediately confront and employ force against the jaywalker, meaning a million dollars a year was paid for such a bad decision. Not to mention the line supervisor, manger, executive staff, and sheriff who tolerate such results. Add to that, the county department heads (District Attorney Wagstaffe & Coroner Foucrault) who rubber stamp / rationalize them, giving them a pass and enabling future similar behavior.*

What’s worse is that those persons given the people’s’ trust, in this case Sheriff Bolanos, Coroner Foucrault, and District Attorney Wagstaffe, never address the underlying issues, poor judgement on the officers part, lack of training, and excessive & unnecessary force, relative to the situation.

Steve-Wagstaffe

D.A. Steve Wagstaffe

This scenario was wholly avoidable and will undoubtedly be repeated, with sign-offs by the same cast of characters, Bolanos, Wagstaffe, & Foucrault. In short, there are no adults in the house, in San Mateo County, ones willing to be critical of officers and worthy of the public’s trust.

One only has to look at the history of like events, in the County, involving the very same individuals, Bolanos, Foucrault, and Wagstaffe, to see a deadly pattern:

2003-Ricky Escobedo causes a ruckus from the balcony of his ex-girlfriend’s Redwood City apartment. She calls the Redwood City Police and six officers fight with Escobedo, causing two broken bones around his throat, eight broken ribs, and internal bleeding.He dies and Coroner Foucrault reports it wasfrom cardiopulmonary arrest caused by excited delirium from a bruising struggle with officers. Carlos Bolanos was the Redwood City Police Chief, at the time, and Steve Wagstaffe the District Attorney Office’s Chief Deputy. Wagstaffe along with his boss, DA Jim Fox, determine officers did nothing wrong. Similarly, Bolanos said an internal investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of police. R.I.P. person of color Ricky Escobedo.

2005Fernando Cazarescauses a disturbance wherein his sister summons deputies, telling a dispatcher he was a crazy person on drugs. Deputies Chiltonand Peardonare dispatched to the 300 block of Second Avenue, in unincorporated Redwood City. A struggle ensues, involving bouts of pepper spray and hand-to-hand combat. Cazares strikes Chilton and, at one point, both officers strike him with their flashlights. Three other officers, deputies Mark Cody, Lisandro Lopez and Greg Pitlockrespond and together, the group continues fighting until Cazares is pushed to a car hood and cuffed. Cazares goes limp and dies. Coroner Foucrault reports the cause of Cazares’ death is cardiopulmonary arrest due to excited delirium, exaggerated by the struggle, pepper-spray inhalation and forcible restraints placed in a prone position. DA Jim Fox and Chief Deputy Steve Wagstaffe absolve deputies of any wrongdoing. R.I.P. person of color Fernando Cazares.

2014-Yanira Serrano-Garcia, 18 of Half Moon Bay, is shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy Menh Trieu, with whom she allegedly got “in a confrontation”. The family told dispatchers the woman was mentally ill, was located down the block with a knife, that she refused to put the weapon down when asked, and requested an ambulance to transport her to a hospital for help. Deputy Trieu drives right up to Serrano-Garcia, gets out of his patrol, and, fearing for his life, shoots her to death within 20 seconds of being on the scene. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe absolves Deputy Menh Trieu of any criminal wrongdoing. R.I.P. person of color Yanira Serrano-Garcia.

As to Chinedu himself, well he is not a person who matters. District Attorney Wagstaffe has previously been criticized by the California State Appellate Court for excluding African Americans from being jurors in a capital case; Coroner Foucrault has been investigated and criticized for sexual misconduct, while in the County’s employ; and Sheriff Bolanos had been detained and questioned by the FBI, in Las Vegas, in a Human Trafficking Investigation involving indentured Asian sex slaves, at least one of whom was a minor. I mention this only to provide the reader with some context and sense of these individuals respective character and integrity.

Welcome to the San Mateo County Two-Step!

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #Blacklivesmatter, #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, #TimesUp, 911, Chinedu Okobi, City of Millbrae, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, John Beiers, John Burris, John Maltbie, Karen Guidotti, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Robert Fourcrault, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate

SMC Domestic Violence Investigation Protocol. For Those Who Matter.

 

 

 

 

The County’s domestic violence investigation protocol was enacted for a purpose. First and foremost, for authorities to communicate / convey the seriousness and importance they, police, and prosecutors ostensibly regard the matter. Second, and perhaps most importantly, to ensure victim, witness and suspect statements are recorded, so when they go sideways, respectively, they can be impeached.

Typically, most prosecutions of domestic violence cases boil down to the victim’s statement coupled physical evidence -injuries. Frequently, because of the relationship which exists between the victim and suspect, the victim, over time, becomes uncooperative -given time to reflect on the event, its effect on the suspect, their (the couples’) relationship going forward, and the greater family unit. Hence the need, urgency, and importance to record party statements, contemporaneous to the assault.

When the victim does become uncooperative, his / her recorded statement is essential to the prosecution.  This is ostensibly why District Attorney Wagstaffe promotes the protocol, to be able to confront & impeach parties, when they become uncooperative, and ensure consistency & the integrity of the investigations.

However, when the suspect involved is a person who matters, one who is politically connected, it appears district attorney Steve Wagstaffe is only interested in directing and managing the result, one which benefits that individual versus the people. As district attorney, Mr. Wagstaffe has absolute discretion, in deciding whether or not to charge individuals with crimes, and is immune against civil suit, no matter what he decides.

There have been two recent examples of Steve’s handling of domestic violence investigations, in cases involving persons (suspects) who mattered. The first case was one in which a sheriff’s lieutenant, Lieutenant Kristina Bell, had ostensibly assaulted her spouse and seized her cell phone, so she could not summon help. The second case was one in which retired Redwood City Police Officer James McGee had ostensibly assaulted his girlfriend then refused to come out of his residence and speak with authorities, resulting in a seventeen hour plus standoff with police, evacuation of neighbors, and deployment of a S.W.A.T. Team.

In both instances, the involved police agency, the Redwood City Police Department, had dropped the ball –failing to arrest Bell and not following the County’s domestic violation protocol. This is particularly troubling, since Redwood City’s Police Chief, Dan Mulholland, is newly appointed and, since assuming the responsibilities of the position, shown deference to persons who matterfailing to treat ALL citizens equally.

Add to that, District Attorney Wagstaffe has been all to eager to accommodate Chief Mulholland -not pursuing charges against Bell, while reducing charges against McGee, from felony domestic violence to misdemeanor resisting, obstructing, & delaying arrest, using the excuse the victim had become uncooperative, a condition the County’s domestic violation protocol is supposed to address / prevent. Of course, district attorney Wagstaffe knows this, but, apparently, is counting on you, the public, not to know this.

What was the cost to Tax Payers for the 17.5 hour for the James McGee Standoff?

What is clearly becoming “the San Mateo County two-step”, a situation / phenomenon in which Chief Mulholland, District Attorney Wagstaffe and other county officials pursue their own personal / political interests, at the expense of others (the victims and public’s), does not bode well for public safety.

Chief Mulholland and District Attorney Wagstaffe have both let us down and violated our trust. We won’t forget! So much for taking domestic violence seriously.

In this next example Menlo Park Police Department did their job properly by arresting David Bohannon II twice, the second time for communicating with the victim. A 30 year old man named Matthew Graves is serving 4 years in Prison for making 1 phone call to his alleged victim, the exact same violation.

David Bohannon II arrested twice DV and R.O. violation.

SMCSO Lt. Kristina Bell DV article

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, 911, Attorney Josh Bentley, Board of Supervisors, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Ramsey Saad R.I.P., Redwood City Police Department, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Domestic Violence Protocol, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Superior Court, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate

San Mateo County Sheriff’s in Custody Death, Tased multiple times, Maced and jumped 5 Deputies on leave.

What evidence is there that Chinedu Okobi assaulted a San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy besides the Sheriff’s Office saying so? Release the dash camera video now. The SMCOSO and the DA’s Office always make the deceased victim look like he deserved to be killed. What this death in custody shows is the Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Carlos Bolanos is incompetent in handling the very basic Mental Health call. Stop using Tasers they kill people.

This is how San Mateo County Law Enforcement handles Mental Health Issues.

October 3, 2018 approx 1PM Chinedu Valentine Okobi 36 died on the street in Millbrae after being tased multiple times and having mace sprayed in his face then brought to the ground by a group of San Mateo County Sheriff Deputies. The reports will say he was pronounced dead at hospital which is true but most likely he was also dead at the scene.

Mr Okobi was reported to be walking in and out of traffic on El Camino Real. He did not comply with law enforcement commands and now he is dead.

This is the same actions/result that Redwood City resident Ramsey Saad 55  R.I.P. August 13, 2018. Resisted Tased multiple times, Jumped, Dead at scene.

All Law Enforcement Officer in San Mateo County should be wearing Body Cameras.

There should a Countywide Policy on how to respond to Mental Health Issues.

Yanira Serreno Garcia R.I.P. was shot and killed by San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy within 20 seconds of arriving on scene. June 3, 2014, at 9:20 p.m It was a non emergency mental health call.

Errol Chang Shot and killed by Swat.

Update LATIMES  OCSO Deputy files false police report.

Deputy is recorded punching a suspect
O.C. officer said man had assaulted him, but attorney says footage contradicts that claim.
By Hannah Fry
An Orange County Sheriff’s Department dashcam video shows a deputy repeatedly punching a motorist in the face while arresting him for misdemeanor public intoxication this year, an action the man’s attorney calls excessive force.
Mohamed Sayem is facing a felony resisting arrest charge over a confrontation with Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Devitt and Eric Ota that turned violent in the early hours of Aug. 19. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court records.
Devitt claimed in an incident report and in an interview with his supervisor following the scuffle that Sayem assaulted him after the deputies found him intoxicated in his Jeep in a Stanton parking lot. Devitt’s accounts of the incident are contradicted by footage recorded on police dashboard cameras, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders alleged in a motion seeking the deputies’ personnel files.
A statement Thursday from the Sheriff’s Department said “a review of the full video indicates that the deputy made every attempt to deescalate the situation and provide the subject multiple opportunities to simply provide his identification. The subject refused to do so and attempted to physically engage the deputy, during which the deputy used force appropriate for the situation.”
Neither Devitt nor Ota could be reached for comment.
The encounter unfolded when the deputies woke Sayem and and asked for his identification, which he didn’t provide. Sayem appeared to be intoxicated, was slumped over in the driver’s seat and gave “a number of partially understandable answers, statements, and insults — often chuckling and falling in the car as he delivered them,” according to court records.
Devitt placed his hand on Sayem in an effort to keep him in the vehicle after Sayem put his left leg out of the car, apparently in an effort to get out. Sayem yelled at the deputy not to touch him and tried to pull away. That’s when the scene took a violent turn.
Devitt grabbed Sayem by the left arm and pulled him out of the vehicle. The horn sounded as Sayem clung to the steering wheel with his right hand as Devitt lobbed several blows at his face.
During the third or fourth punches, Sayem lost his grip on the steering wheel and fell to the ground. After the scuffle, Sayem asked the deputies if they were going to shoot him. Devitt responds “no,” while Ota said he’d “like to.”
Sanders alleges that Devitt fictionalized key details, including Sayem’s violence, in order to justify using force to his supervisor and in a subsequent report. Details of his story also change between the first interview and the report, Sanders said.
Devitt told his supervisor that he planned to charge Sayem with felony resisting, which requires a threat or violence, because “he tried to bear hug on me.”
In his report, he doesn’t mention the bear hug. Instead, he alleges Sayem grabbed his vest and pulled on it.
“I used my left hand and pushed his face in an effort to create some space between us,” Devitt wrote. “He did not let go of my vest and continued to physically struggle. Due to his aggressive demeanor, and the fact he was already resisting, I believed Sayem was going to continue to try and physically assault me.”
The second dashcam video shows the deputies talking with supervisor Sgt. Christopher Hibbs about the incident. Devitt doesn’t mention this version of events to Hibbs, who interviewed him minutes after the incident, Sanders said.
“He unjustifiably used very significant violence against my client, and he knew he did it without justification,” Sanders said Thursday. “His answer was to make my client a felon for the rest of his life, so he doesn’t get held accountable for his act of violence.”
Sanders also questioned whether the Sheriff’s Department handled the incident properly, noting that Hibbs was charged in 2009 with felony assault and battery and felony use of a Taser for shocking a handcuffed man sitting in the back of a police car. That case eventually ended in a mistrial and was dismissed. According to reports at the time, prosecutors blamed the result on a “code of silence” among testifying deputies. Hibbs could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I think that this agency believes they have impunity,” Sanders said Thursday. “Folks are not standing up to them, and they’re not being punished. They’re completely fearless. There’s something at the core that’s very wrong with what’s going on here.”
hannah.fry@latimes.com
Twitter: @Hannahnfry

By Michael G. Stogner

 

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Filed under #CarlosBolanos, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, 911, Board of Supervisors, Body Camera Video, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, City of Millbrae, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, Michael G. Stogner, Prosecutorial Misconduct, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Uncategorized, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum

Good Day for Juan P. Lopez.

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Yesterday for the first time in almost 4 years the defense attorneys Tony Serra and Maria Belyi for Juan P. Lopez were able to present to Judge Mark Forcum why the Search Warrant obtained by San Mateo County Sheriff Det. Andrew Armando should be quashed. The short version is he lied to Hon. Judge George Miriam in his affidavit for Search Warrant of Juan’s cell phone data. He told the Judge that the contraband cellphone recovered from the jail had received two suspicious calls. The key word here is suspicious, the reason being is Detective Andrew Armando made those two calls to the contraband cellphone himself. He also found two text messages on a different cellphone that had the name “Juan” in them. The cellphone was owned by a Hispanic female, nevertheless Andrew Armando concluded that name “Juan” had to be San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez. DDA Bryan Abanto stood up in court and defended the actions and behavior of Andrew Armando claiming he had probable cause to investigate on that theory. He doesn’t share with Judge Forcum that the Sheriff’s Office and his Office had interviewed the female owner of that cellphone many years ago and she told them ” I don’t know Sheriff Deputy Juan Lopez.” They have been hiding the interview for all this time.

October 17, 2018 Judge Forcum ruling on the motion.

It’s time for the residents of San Mateo County to speak up. Stop the corruption in our courts.

How is San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Andrew Armando still employed?

How is he not investigated and charged with crimes? Look to Carlos Bolanos & Steve Wagstaffe.

May 1, 2018 Motion

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Filed under #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, 911, Board of Supervisors, California Bar Association, Carlos G. Bolanos, Carole Groom, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Silberman, Don Horsley, Hon. Judge Mark Forcum, Jordan Boyd, Karen Guidotti, Maria Belyi, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, RICO, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Lt. Andrew Armando, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, San Mateo County Superior Court, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, SMC, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Tony Serra, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum

Why I started San Mateo County News

Why I started http://www.sanmateocountynews.com. To inform the residents of important stories that affect the average citizen who lives in the County. To eliminate Prosecutorial Misconduct, Law Enforcement Misconduct. I didn’t want to be in the News and Information business, or to get scoops on big stories. Here is an example I shared this information with all Medias covering SMC, with the hope that some of the reporters/editors would cover the James (Jim) McGee (a former Redwood City Police Officer and member of the SWAT TEAM himself) Domestic Violence Arrest after a 17 hour standoff with San Mateo County Sheriff Office Swat TEAM on August 9, 2018.

I live in Monterey County now, I attended the Court Sept. 27, 2018. None of the people below did. Welcome to San Mateo County.

Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com>
To:Renee Batti,Sara Gaiser,Melanie Ehrenkranz,anna@smdailyjournal.com,Sergio Quintana,Jay Curran,Isaura Ochoa,NBCKNTV,John Myers,John Ullom,Carina Woudenberg,Geoff Glaub,Deborah Petersen,Maya Lau,Nguyen, Vicky (NBCUniversal),Nious, Kevin (NBCUniversal),Dan Noyes,Clay Lambert,Dave Boyce,Dave Price,Emily Mibach,Erin Stone,Demian Bulwa,Barbara Wood,Allison Wisk,Kia,Nadine SebaiHide
  • Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org>
    To:Michael Stogner
    Sep 24 at 3:57 PM

    No, there is a single charge of 148 PC.

    From: Michael Stogner [mailto:michaelgstogner@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Monday, September 24, 2018 3:57 PM
    To: Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org>
    Subject: Re: RE: RE: RE: Jim McGee case

    Is there a DV charge?

    On Monday, September 24, 2018, 2:18:00 PM PDT, Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org> wrote:

    Yes, our office has filed one count of 148(a)(1) PC.   I do not see a docket number in the court’s Odyssey system yet.

    Karen

    From: Michael Stogner [mailto:michaelgstogner@yahoo.com]

    Sent: Monday, September 24, 2018 2:00 PM
    To: Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org>
    Subject: Re: RE: RE: Jim McGee case

    Hello Karen.

    Just checking is there a case number yet? and have Any Charges been file as of today?

    Thank You

    Michael

    On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 8:51:59 AM PDT, Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org> wrote:

    The next court date for McGee is in two weeks, not one.  It’s 9/27.

    From: Michael Stogner [mailto:michaelgstogner@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 8:31 AM
    To: Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org>
    Subject: Re: RE: Jim McGee case

    Thank You

    On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 8:23:47 AM PDT, Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org> wrote:

    Not yet.  The DDA was waiting for some information that she did not receive in time for today’s court date.  Apparently the DDA and defense attorney have agreed that they will postpone the McGee’s first appearance for one week.

    Karen

    From: Michael Stogner [mailto:michaelgstogner@yahoo.com]

    Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 8:06 AM
    To: Karen Guidotti <kguidotti@smcgov.org>
    Subject: Jim McGee case

    Good morning Karen.

    Did your office file and charges against him?

    Thank You

    Michael G. Stogner

    San Mateo County News.com













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Filed under #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, #TimesUp, 911, Attorney Generals Office, Attorney Josh Bentley, Board of Supervisors, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Silberman, Don Horsley, John Beiers, John Maltbie, Karen Guidotti, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Palo Alto Daily Post, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Ramsey Saad R.I.P., Redwood City Police Department, RICO, San Mateo County, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Domestic Violence Protocol, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, San Mateo County Superior Court, San Mateo County Supervisors, San Mateo Daily Journal, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum

Few reports against police upheld, You can interchange Judges, District Attorneys,Prosecutors,CPS,Probation Officials & Those Who Matter.

 

This is a very good article, Thank You LATIMES,

My recommendation is to stop reporting privately and before you report a Corrupt San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy and the alleged crimes his has committed against his children, his ex wife, and the Court (photos to CPS and filed with the family law court), The purpose to harm the mother, First of all you would be Stupid to report this crime to San Mateo County Sheriff Office under the leadership of Carlos Bolanos. He has a history of protecting Corrupt Deputies. SMCSO Lt. Andrew Armando is a current example. So before you report to the A.G. or the Feds you must cover your bases and give the District Attorney’s Office a chance to prove that they are opposed to a Sheriff Deputy filing false documents to CPS and the Court. You would also hope they would acknowledge the obvious conflict of Interest the current girlfriend of the Deputy works for the DA’s Office. After you go twice to report the criminal acts of (your ex) the SMC Sheriff Deputy, The DA finally takes the complaint they hate that you force them to do what they have sworn an Oath to do. Don’t be surprised when they recommend that YOU take a polygraph test and you agree to it and pass with flying colors. What did that have to do with the Deputy committing Felonies you might ask? Nothing, but if the DA was more interested in attacking the single mother/victim then prosecuting the Sheriff Deputy. Now after passing that test you would hope the DA invited the SMC Sheriff Deputy to take the same polygraph test, they choose not to and closed the criminal investigation. This lack of action only emboldens the dishonest Sheriff Deputy to once again report child abuse to the Redwood City Police Department where he has several personal friends.

San Mateo County Residents can thank the entire District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office for this.

9/23/2018 LATIMES

Few reports against police upheld

Across California, complaints of officer misconduct are often rejected and inquiries kept from public view.

By James Queally

Angry that she had been falsely accused of a drug crime, Tatiana Lopez filed a complaint against a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who had arrested her on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.

But when Lopez met with a sheriff’s lieutenant to discuss her accusation, he urged her to drop her complaint, she said.

After a preliminary investigation, the Sheriff’s Department ruled the deputy had done nothing wrong, without giving her any explanation.

It would take years of legal battles before a judge exonerated Lopez and a new internal investigation led the department to fire the deputy for lying about her arrest.

Lopez is one of nearly 200,000 members of the public who filed a complaint against California law enforcement officers in the last decade. Her initial complaint ended the way most did — with police rejecting it without saying why.

A Times analysis of complaint data reported to the California Department of Justice shows law enforcement agencies across the state upheld 8.4% of complaints filed by members of the public from 2008 to 2017.

In a state with some of the strictest police privacy laws in the country, those who make complaints against officers are entitled to learn little more than whether their allegations were found to be true or not. They are given no other explanation about how a final decision was reached, what was done to investigate their allegation or whether an officer was disciplined.

A bill that cleared the state Legislature last month would begin to address the issue by opening up records from internal investigations into shootings by police officers and other major force incidents, as well as cases where officers were found to have committed sexual assault or lied on duty. Gov. Jerry Brown has not said whether he will sign the measure, Senate Bill 1421.

But even if he does, records from the vast majority of internal affairs investigations would remain secret.

The Times’ analysis of complaint data found several of California’s largest police agencies sustain complaints at a lower rate than the state average, including the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles and Oakland police departments.

Police officials argue that a large number of the complaints they receive are frivolous, filed by people they have arrested or others who have an ax to grind. Some said the proliferation of body-worn cameras among California police agencies has helped disprove a larger number of allegations about interactions between police and the public.

In Los Angeles, police said the low rate of upheld complaints was due, in part, to the department’s commitment to accepting a wide array of allegations. The LAPD received 25,006 complaints from the public in the last decade, according to state records. Officials concluded there was evidence proving 1,360, about 5.4%.

“We take every single complaint on the planet,” said Josh Rubenstein, the LAPD’s chief spokesman. “When you open yourself up to that wide a spectrum, you are going to get a high number of complaints that are not legitimate.”

Cmdr. Michael Hyams, who heads the LAPD’s Internal Affairs division, said that by examining even the flimsiest of allegations, the department has proved it will heavily scrutinize its own officers. He noted there has been a dramatic drop in citizen complaints against LAPD officers. State records show the number fell by roughly 67% from 2008 to 2017.

At the Sheriff’s Department, internal investigators upheld only 69 of 15,661 complaints made by members of the public in the last decade, less than 1%, according to figures the agency reported to the state.

Nicole Nishida, a department spokeswoman, said the agency had under-reported the number of sustained complaints to the state. By the department’s own accounting, roughly 8% of all public complaints were upheld from 2004 to 2016, she said.

Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said that a low rate of sustained complaints does not necessarily mean a department is doing a poor job of policing itself, but the lack of information disclosed about those investigations is a significant problem.

“If their complaint is rejected, they are not told why,” he said. “That lack of transparency prevents the public from having any faith that the process is working.”

California law requires police departments to report the number of citizen complaints and the outcome to the state’s Department of Justice, but no agency audits the data to ensure the figures are accurate. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency is not required by law to conduct audits and hasn’t been given funding to do so. The state has gathered such data since 1981 and expanded the database to include information about racial profiling complaints in 2016.

Wayne Fisher, a former deputy attorney general in New Jersey who helped set the state’s guidelines for monitoring internal affairs complaints, said it was pointless to collect the data without checking to see whether some agencies are rejecting an abnormally large number of complaints and deserve more scrutiny.

“It acts as a pointer system to certain other areas that are screaming for analysis,” said Fisher, who now leads the Rutgers University Policing Institute.

Francine Tournour, a civilian watchdog for the Sacramento Police Department, agreed. Police departments need to be more open about their investigations into complaints about officers if they want the public to trust the results, she said.

“Part of this is customer service. Part of this is the relationship building,” she said. “If you have a process where people make complaints … and there’s no feeling that the complaint was taken seriously, you may see people stop bringing things to the department.”

In Sacramento, a city with a population of nearly 500,000, police reported only 18 complaints to the Department of Justice last year. Det. Eddie Macaulay, a department spokesman, said the agency did not include an additional 301 informal “inquiries,” a label used when department officials believe it was clear that an accusation did not amount to a violation of policy or crime. Had the department included those inquiries in its reporting to the state, its rate of sustained complaints would have plummeted.

Tournour, who heads the Sacramento Office of Public Safety Accountability, warned that handling such complaints informally can distort the history of documented allegations against individual officers — and a department as a whole.

In 2016, Jasmine Abuslin accused more than a dozen Oakland police officers of having sex with her, sometimes in exchange for information about prostitution raids. Her accusations — including that the misconduct began when she was underage — sparked a scandal that made national headlines and led to the firing and prosecution of several officers.

During her first contact with an internal affairs investigator, Abuslin said the police official seemed uninterested in her allegations.

“I felt like she wasn’t taking me seriously,” she said.

She also accused internal affairs investigators of threatening her for coming forward and of allowing her to delete text messages that could have proven her allegations.

Members of the public have filed 16,345 complaints of misconduct against Oakland police officers in the last decade, according to the state data. Only 1,073 of those complaints, roughly 6.5%, were sustained.

Oakland police did not respond to requests for comment.

In recent years, police agencies in California have had to report more details about citizen complaints and their outcomes, including how many they decided were false, involved conduct that did not amount to a policy violation or could not be proved or disproved. Last year, police agencies statewide concluded that 28% of complaints were false.

In Fresno, Chief Jerry Dyer said he has sought more thorough investigations and urged his internal affairs department to revisit investigations where it could not prove or disprove a misconduct allegation.

Fresno has one of the highest rates of sustained complaints among California’s largest cities. The department upheld 325 out of 1,332 citizen complaints in the last decade, roughly 24%, according to the state data. Last year, the agency reported it couldn’t prove or disprove less than 6% of complaints made by the public, compared with the statewide average of 25%.

The push for more conclusive results better serves the community, said Dyer, adding that he supports releasing more information about the way complaints are reviewed. The current process, which sees citizens simply receive a form letter announcing a complaint’s disposition, “raises a lot of concerns on the part of those voicing the complaint,” Dyer added, though he said he does not support making individual officer disciplinary records public.

For Lopez, the shortcomings of the internal investigation into her complaint about L.A. County sheriff’s deputies destroyed her trust in law enforcement.

The Downey woman was a college student with no criminal record in 2009 when three deputies trained their guns on her in a gas station parking lot. Deputy Francisco Enriquez alleged he found several bags of methamphetamine in his cruiser after she rode in its back seat. He said they fell out of her pocket.

Lopez’s attorney, Thomas Beck, later obtained sheriff’s radio transmissions proving Lopez was never in Enriquez’s car.

Lopez said the ordeal had a lasting effect.

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Did San Mateo County Adult Protective Services, Protect & Advocate Properly for Firoz Jaffer? Elder Abuse Victim.

 

October 15, 2017 3:56AM Firoz Jaffer called 911 to report an assault on him and his grandchildren by his son Zainali Jaffer. Hillsborough Police responded within minutes to the home at 1026 Lancaster Lane, Hillsborough, California. San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Firoz Jaffer was Beaten when he tried to stop his son from sexually assaulted his 3 year old son in the back yard. Here is a description from a press release by the District Attorney’s Office about one of the Court Dates.

Peo. v. Zainali Jaffer (2-16-88), Hillsborough Police Department 664- 288.7(B)/288(B)(1)/245(A)(4)/273A(A)-Two Counts/243(B) Misdemeanor October 15, 2017; Defendant Is 29 Year Old Hillsborough Resident And Former CEO Of Mobile Advertising Company “Vungle”; At 3:56AM Sunday Morning Police Were Dispatched To Defendant’s Home In 1000 Block Of Lancaster Road In Hillsborough; They Were Met By Defendant’s Father Who Was Cut And Bleeding In Face From Being Beaten By Defendant; Father Directed Police To Backyard Where Officers Found The Naked Defendant On Top Of And Sexually Assaulting His Three Year Old Son Who Was Screaming; Officers Approached And Defendant Started Choking The Victim With His Legs; The Defendant Ignored Orders To Stop And Kept Choking The Child; Officers Had To Use Taser To Control The Defendant; The Defendant Continued To Resist The Officers And Spat At The Sergeant; The Officers Determined That Defendant Had Also Punched And Struck His One Year Old Daughter As Well As The Three Year Old Son And Beat His Father When The Father Tried To Intervene; 17-NF-012415-A (DDA Sharon K. Cho) 

-The case was set in SSF Felony Court, Dept. 9, Judge Stephanie G. Garratt, for the preliminary hearing. The defense written section 1050 motion to continue the hearing in order to conduct further investigation and preparation and based on a new attorney added to the defense was granted without prosecution objection. The case was continued to January 31, 2018 9:00 for the preliminary hearing with a 90 minute estimate. This will be the second setting of the preliminary hearing date since the initial felony arraignment on October 17, 2017. The defendant’s father failed to appear in court despite the fact he was served with a subpoena. The defense attorney represented the father returned to his home in England. At the request of the prosecution, the court issued a $25,000 bench warrant for the witness’s arrest. The defendant remains out of custody on $300,000 bail bond (posted on October 26, 2017). The defense attorney is Daniel Olmos (retained). 

My question is did APS offer and provide all the services needed for him to be safe and have an advocate to explain the legal process for example “It is Illegal for you to leave the Country after you have been served a subpoena.” You are the key witness besides the 3 police officers and the body camera videos etc.

Michael Callagy should Audit San Mateo County on this case, including CPS.

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, #TimesUp, 911, Attorney Generals Office, Board of Supervisors, Body Camera Video, Carole Groom, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, Citizens Access TV, CPS, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, Hillsborough Police Department, Hon Stephanie Garratt, John Beiers, John Maltbie, John Ullom, Karen Guidotti, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Patrick Clancy, Prosecutorial Misconduct, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Domestic Violence Protocol, San Mateo County Manager, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Superior Court, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Vungle, Warren Slocum, Zain Jaffer