Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Announces Interim Police Chief
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announced Thursday that Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will serve as the city's interim police chief following the surprise resignation of Chief Anthony Batts earlier this week.
Jordan was sworn in at about 1:40 p.m. Thursday at the conclusion of a news conference at City Hall.
Quan said that Jordan, who has been with the department for 23 years, is engaged with the community and well-known to Oakland residents.
"It's that kind of knowledge of this community, that kind of love for this community, that's going to make him an effective chief," Quan said.
Jordan said that when he first came to the city about a quarter-century ago, "I fell in love with Oakland."
"This was an opportunity for me to give back some to the city of Oakland," he said.
Jordan served as a patrol officer for 10 years and a field supervisor for 13 years, and has served a total of seven years with the department's SWAT team.
"I bring to you a very well-rounded, balanced career," he said.
Batts, who was appointed chief by then-Mayor Ron Dellums in August 2009, announced his resignation in a letter on Tuesday, saying that as chief he had limited control but full accountability for Oakland's high crime rates.
Jordan has already served as acting police chief in Oakland; he was named to the post in February 2009 after former Chief Wayne Tucker decided to retire, saying he said he had lost faith in the City Council's ability to fully fund the Police Department and implement reforms.
Since Batts took over, Jordan has served as assistant chief.
Two Men Convicted Of Beatings In Tenderloin
Two men were convicted last week for the beating of two Mexican nationals in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood in November in a case that District Attorney George Gascon said Thursday highlights a growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the city and around the country.
Robert Allen, 39, and Justin Meskan, 29, were found guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 7 of assault and battery charges stemming from the Nov. 10 beating of two Hispanic men outside the Nite Cap bar at O'Farrell and Hyde streets, prosecutors said.
But while prosecutors claimed the attack was racially motivated, jurors rejected hate crime enhancements to the charges against the pair.
The attack started when a group that included Allen and Meskan, who Gascon said both have ties to a racist skinhead group, surrounded victim Alex Cauich and began to assault him, knocking him to the ground, punching him and kicking him in the face until he passed out.
When Alex's cousin Jose Omar Cauich came to his defense, he was assaulted as well, according to the district attorney's office.
During the attack, witnesses reported hearing the men yelling "white power," and "run like you run across the border," prosecutors said. A laptop found in Allen's apartment had Nazi and Hitler imagery on the background of the screen.
A third man charged in the case, 33-year-old Anthony Weston, accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to assault charges and the hate crime allegation in exchange for a sentence of probation, having already served nearly a year in jail, prosecutor Victor Hwang said.
The plea deal required Weston to testify against Allen and Meskan during the trial and describe to prosecutors the network of skinhead groups in San Francisco.
Gascon said his investigators have discovered that there are three active white supremacy groups in the city, with some concentrated in the Tenderloin area where the beating occurred.
Gascon and Hwang, who prosecuted the case, said at a news conference at the Hall of Justice Thursday that they were disappointed that the hate crime enhancement was rejected by the jury.
He said jurors felt that the fight was not necessarily started for hate crime reasons, but may have become racially motivated based on the length and severity of the attack.
The case is an example of an "anti-immigrant environment that is spreading throughout the country," Gascon said.
Small Plane Crash In Marin County
A pilot whose small plane crashed Thursday afternoon in Marin County walked away unharmed, according to San Rafael Fire Department and Federal Aviation Administration representatives.
The plane went down near the San Rafael Airport at about 4 p.m., San Rafael Fire Chief Chris Gray said, and San Rafael fire and rescue units found the plane in a marshy area near McInnis Park Golf Center.
Gray said it appeared that the plane did not hit any structures and a preliminary investigation indicates that the plane's engine apparently malfunctioned shortly after takeoff. Firefighters who assessed the plane found it mostly intact, he said.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the single-engine experimental Air Camper crashed under unknown circumstances and that the pilot was uninjured.
The pilot was the only person aboard the plane, and his condition was assessed by paramedics at the scene.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board plan to investigate the crash.
Federal Appeals Court Upheld Silicon Valley Chief Executive Conviction
A federal appeals court upheld a former Silicon Valley chief executive's conviction in a stock options backdating case in San Francisco Thursday.
Gregory Reyes, 49, of Saratoga, a former part-owner of the San Jose Sharks, was chief executive officer of San Jose-based Brocade Communications Inc., a data storage networking company, from 1998 to 2005.
He was convicted in federal court in San Francisco last year of nine counts of securities fraud, submitting false filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, falsifying company records and making false statements to accountants between 2000 and 2004.
The offenses were committed in connection with Reyes' grants of backdated stock options to employees. Backdating is the practice of allowing employees to buy company stock retroactively at a lower price.
Backdating is not illegal in itself, but it is a crime to fail to disclose it as an expense in company records and SEC filings.
Reyes was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to 18 months in prison. He is currently serving the sentence and is scheduled to be released on Dec. 29, according to federal prison records.
The conviction was upheld Thursday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected Reyes' appeal claims of prosecutor misconduct, insufficient evidence and instructional errors.
Last year's trial was Reyes' second. He was found guilty of a total of 10 charges in an earlier trial in Breyer's court in 2007, but that conviction was overturned by the 9th Circuit.
The earlier trial was the first in the nation to be held in connection with a nationwide probe of stock options backdating by the U.S. Justice Department and the SEC.
In August, Reyes agreed to settle a related civil lawsuit by the SEC by paying a $550,000 fine plus $295,000 in relinquishment of profits and interest.
Occupy Wall Street Movement Has Spread To The Bay Area
The now nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement that has sprung up throughout the Bay Area in recent weeks kicked off in Richmond Thursday afternoon, with the support of city leaders and police.
About six dozen people gathered in Downtown Richmond late Thursday afternoon to take part in a peaceful, Occupy Wall Street-inspired demonstration, holding signs, chanting and sharing personal stories about the effect corporate America has had on their lives.
Occupy Richmond organizer Bryan Drayton, owner of nonprofit bicycle organization Richmond Spokes, said Thursday's rally in downtown Richmond -- which could last through Saturday if attendees decide to camp out -- is meant to give Richmond residents a platform to vent their frustrations and discuss constructive plans for the community.
From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, about a dozen local residents, including self-described activists and one city council member, took turns at the microphone to voice their grievances against corporate America and the effect it has had on their lives -- from facing foreclosure and mountains of student loan debt to unemployment.
Many of those who spoke at Thursday's event targeted Chevron, whose corporate offices are located in Richmond.
Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles also addressed the crowd of demonstrators Thursday afternoon, and said she was proud of the local event and hopes for an even larger turnout at any future Occupy Richmond rallies.
Drayton said that he and several other local residents decided to plan the event at the last minute while attending an Occupy Oakland event earlier this week.
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin also voiced her support for the rally Thursday and for the entire Occupy Wall Street movement.
Four Men Charged With Santa Rosa Man's Murder
Four men were charged Thursday afternoon with the murder of a Santa Rosa man during an alleged marijuana deal in Sonoma County last week.
The defendants did not enter a plea in Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday afternoon and will appear in court again Oct. 20.
The complaint by the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office charges all four men with robbery, conspiracy and the murder of 33-year-old Jose Manuel DeJesus of Santa Rosa.
DeJesus was shot once in the head in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Carniceria Contreras butcher store at 1401 Todd Road south of Santa Rosa on Oct. 6.
The murder occurred during a drug deal in which DeJesus was selling marijuana, Sonoma County sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.
Fernando Lopez Castillo, 25, who was arrested at a motel in Hayward Wednesday night, is charged with intentionally discharging a firearm, indicating he shot DeJesus. The weapon allegation carries a 25-years-to-life prison term.
All four defendants also are charged with an enhancement alleging the murder happened during a marijuana robbery, which makes them eligible for the death penalty.
The other defendants are Juan Ramon Lopez-Castillo, 28, of Sonoma County, Alberto Lopez-Barraza 33, of Mexico, and Jose Carraballo Mejia, 54, of Santa Rosa.
Boy Arrested In Bayview District For 5-Year-Old Girl's Shooting Injury
A 16-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting last month that injured a 5-year-old girl in San Francisco's Bayview District, police said Thursday.
The girl was walking home with her father on Third Street near Palou Avenue at around 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 when the father heard gunshots, then saw his daughter had been shot in her left knee, according to police.
Police believe the girl, who was hospitalized but survived the shooting, was caught in the crossfire between two suspects firing at each other.
Through investigative leads, video surveillance and tips from community members in recent weeks, investigators were able to identify the 16-year-old, whose name is not being released, as one of the two shooters.
At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, officers spotted suspicious activity in the area of Kirkwood Avenue and Mendell Street, a known gang hangout, police said.
A suspect made eye contact with the officers and started running away, as did several other people in the area.
One of the fleeing suspects removed a gun from his waistband. He was detained and the discarded gun was recovered, police said.
An officer recognized one of the other people who ran away as the teen who was wanted for the shooting and detained him.
The teen was subsequently booked into the Juvenile Justice Center on suspicion of assault and weapons charges, with an enhancement for injuring a victim 5 years old or younger, police said.
Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said investigators are still seeking the second suspect in the shooting but do not have any information about him.
Man Accused Of Murdering A Mother Appears In Court In San Mateo
A man accused of murdering a teenage mother in front of her 2-year-old daughter more than 15 years ago appeared in a San Mateo County courtroom Thursday.
Jose Luis Arreola Cruz, 39, is believed to be the murderer of his former girlfriend, 19-year-old Gabriella Tello, who was found stabbed to death inside her East Palo Alto home at 2356 Ralmar Ave. on the evening of May 21, 1995, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office.
At a preliminary hearing Thursday, Cruz entered the courtroom shackled and staring at the ground. He used a Spanish interpreter to follow the proceedings.
Sheriff's Deputy Saul Lopez testified that Cruz and Tello had lived together and had a daughter, 2-year-old Stephanie, who was at home when her mother was killed.
Prior to her murder, Tello broke up with Cruz and moved in with a new boyfriend, Lopez said.
According to Lopez's testimony, Cruz showed up uninvited to a first communion party in Menlo Park for Tello's two younger sisters. Tello left the party after she was seen arguing with Cruz, and the defendant, who witnesses said was drunk, allegedly followed her.
Tello's body was discovered on the living room floor of her house later that evening by her sister Monica, Lopez said. She had been stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife.
Cruz disappeared shortly after the murder, and was believed to have fled to Mexico.
He was arrested in March by federal agents as he was trying to reenter the U.S. from Mexico near Laredo, Texas, according to the district attorney's office.
He has denied ever being in the victim's house, Lopez said.
Judge Barbara Mallach Thursday ruled that there is enough evidence for Cruz to be tried for murder.
He will reappear in court to be arraigned on Nov. 1.
Vacaville Police Arrest Four On Suspicion Of Stealing Medical Marijuana Plants
Vacaville police arrested four people Thursday morning on suspicion of stealing medical marijuana plants from a patient authorized to grow and use the pot, a police sergeant said.
Police went to the 500 block of Camellia Way around 2:52 a.m. in response to a report about someone screaming and a vehicle's tires squealing, Sgt. Steve Carey said.
The medical marijuana patient said several plants were taken from his backyard and he showed proof he was authorized to grow and use the marijuana, Carey said.
Police then went to the Motel 6 on Lawrence Drive after someone found a large amount of marijuana near the pool, Carey said. Officers found marijuana leaves on the ground near the trunk of a vehicle registered to 19-year-old Brianna Crossman of Vacaville, Carey said.
Officers followed the trail of marijuana leaves and found two freshly-cut marijuana plants left near the pool by someone staying in one of the motel rooms, Carey said.
The trail led to Room 222 rented by Crossman, Carey said. Through the open door, officers saw several freshly-cut marijuana plants on the bed in the room and contacted four suspects, Carey said.
The marijuana patient was taken to the motel and identified the plants as his through the strings and ribbons he used during the growing process, Carey said.
Officers also found an unloaded handgun in the bathroom garbage can, Carey said.
Police arrested Shawn White, 19, and Darius Anderson, 20, both of Vacaville, Crossman and Treshawn Rogers, 18, of Sacramento for possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, conspiracy to commit theft, and for parole or probation violations, Carey said.
All four were booked into the Solano County jail.
Man Arrested For Stealing Woman's iPhone After Bragging About Crime On Municipal Railway
A man was arrested Wednesday for stealing a woman's iPhone after a passenger on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus overheard him bragging about the robbery.
The robbery occurred at 9:12 p.m. at a store in the 3200 block of 20th Ave. in the Stonestown Galleria.
A 24-year-old woman had her iPhone snatched out of her hand by a suspect who then ran out of the store along with another suspect, according to police at the department's Taraval Station.
Shortly afterward, a passenger on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus overheard the suspect bragging to a group of people on the bus about a robbery he had committed, police said.
The passenger called police, who responded and stopped the bus and detained five people.
Officers brought the victim to the scene and she was able to identify one of the men as the robber, and when officers searched him, they found the iPhone, according to police.
The man, whose name was not immediately available, was arrested on suspicion of robbery while the other four people detained on the bus were released, police said.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
It is expected to be sunny in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to upper 70s.
Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the upper 50s.
Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday. Highs in the 60s to lower 70s are expected.
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