More Than 20 Protesters Arrested At Powell Street Station
More than 20 protesters were arrested at San Francisco's Powell Street station Thursday evening at a rally organized by a group whose goal is to disband the BART Police Department.
An estimated 25 to 30 protesters were arrested by BART and San Francisco police officers on suspicion of interfering or disturbing the safe operation of a railroad after they were corralled together in a circle outside the fare gates, shutting the station down for about two hours, according to BART police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig.
The group "No Justice, No Bart" organized the protest, which drew dozens of supporters who are angry about the fatal shooting of Charles Hill, 45, at Civic Center station by BART police officers on July 3. Hill was allegedly wielding knives and a broken bottle as weapons when he was shot, police said.
Protesters filed into Powell Street station carrying signs reading "Disband BART Cops" and chanting "How can they protect and serve us? BART Police just make me nervous!" around 5 p.m.
The group marched around the concourse before huddling together outside the fare gates. At this point, BART police officers told protesters to disperse and many left the station, except for about 25 people.
Officers circled the remaining protesters, who cried out, "I'm being arrested for what BART administration told me to do." At about 5:30 p.m., officials closed the station's gates at Hallidie Plaza and blocked off all entrances. Passengers still exiting trains at the station were ushered out.
A couple of protesters pushed against police officers and were arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Most of the remaining protesters who were arrested would be cited and released, Hartwig said. Members of the media were also asked to leave the station.
Giselle Esteban Arraigned On Michelle Le Murder Charge
The arraignment of Giselle Esteban on a charge that she murdered her former high school classmate Michelle Le, a 26-year-old nursing student who disappeared in Hayward in May, was postponed Thursday for medical reasons.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti told reporters that he does not have firsthand knowledge of Esteban's medical condition but he said jail officials have "some concern" about her health and her medical issues might be related to her pregnancy.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Esteban's medical condition is not an emergency but jail officials decided that she should be taken to see a doctor instead of being brought to court Thursday.
Nelson said privacy laws bar him from disclosing the specific nature of Esteban's medical problems but he said he can confirm that Esteban, a 27-year-old Union City woman, was not attacked by fellow inmates and did not try to harm herself.
Picetti said Esteban, who had been scheduled to be arraigned at the Hayward Hall of Justice at 2 p.m. Thursday, is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. today.
But he said "she can't come to court until she is cleared by medical people" so it's possible that her arraignment could be postponed until next week or later.
Although Le's body has not been found, earlier Thursday the Alameda County District Attorney's Office charged Esteban with murdering her, citing DNA evidence and cellphone records.
Five-Year-Old Hit By Shuttle Bus In Bayview District Thursday
A five-year-old boy was hit by a shuttle bus while crossing a street in San Francisco's Bayview District Thursday afternoon and was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.
A woman was walking with two children southbound on Third Street at Williams Street at around 3:30 p.m.
The woman had a one child immediately with her and the five-year-old was trailing behind her as they crossed the street, according to police.
A private shuttle bus was driving eastbound on Williams Street and struck the boy as it turned right onto Third Street.
The shuttle bus had one passenger who was not injured and the driver of the bus was cooperating with the investigation, police said.
The cause of the crash has not been determined and police said impairment was not suspected. No arrests have been made.
Stanford Hospital And Clinics Posted On Website By Outsider Vendor's Sub-Contractor
The names and medical information of some patients seen at Stanford Hospital and Clinics were posted to a website by an outside vendor's sub-contractor, a hospital spokesman said Thursday.
Limited information -- such as medical records numbers, hospital account numbers, emergency room admission and discharge dates, and billing charges -- about patients seen at the hospital's Emergency Department was contained in the leaked file, hospital director of communications Gary Migdol said.
The information pertains to patients seen in the department between March 1 and Aug. 31, 2009.
Information commonly associated with identity theft, such as credit card or social security numbers, was not involved, Migdol said.
The hospital learned of the privacy breach on Aug. 22 of this year and took swift action to ensure the file was removed from the website, which was achieved within 24 hours, Migdol said.
A full investigation was launched by the hospital to determine how this leak happened.
The vendor, Multi Specialties Collection Services, is conducting an independent investigation regarding the breach, which also represents a contractual violation in terms of safeguarding the privacy and security of patient information.
According to Migdol, the incident was not caused by the hospital, which may take further action when the investigation is complete. Responsibility has been assumed by a contractor working for Multi Specialties Collection Services.
Fairfield Man Murders Childhood Friend In Pinole Over Animosity Over Affections Of A Woman
Animosity over the affections of a woman appears to have driven a Fairfield man to murder his childhood friend in Pinole on Tuesday, Senior Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewett said Thursday.
Brian Fitch, 42, has been charged with murder with an enhancement for the use of a gun in connection with the shooting death of 42-year-old San Pablo resident Jeffrey McCoy.
According to Jewett, the two men had been childhood friends and, at one point, Fitch was even married to McCoy's sister, making him McCoy's brother-in-law.
But the two men had a falling out over a woman and, on Monday night, Fitch allegedly armed himself with two guns, Jewett said.
On Tuesday morning, he allegedly met up with McCoy in a borrowed pickup truck on the pretense of going to buy some heroine, Jewett said.
Fitch allegedly shot McCoy with both guns at around 7 a.m. as they were driving in Pinole, Jewett said.
Once he was shot, McCoy either dove out of the truck or was dumped out in the area of Fern Avenue, where he died, officials said.
Police said they received a call reporting gunshots in the area of Buena Vista Drive shortly after 7 a.m. and then a second call about two minutes later reporting a gunshot victim in front of a home on Fern Avenue, down the street from Buena Vista Drive, police said.
Fitch allegedly drove away after the shooting and attempted to get rid of the two guns. He then allegedly tried to dispose of the pickup truck, which was covered in blood, at an auto wrecking business, Jewett said.
Pinole police, with help from Fairfield police, arrested Fitch in Fairfield at about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, police said. He is being held without bail in county jail.
Berkeley Woman Charged With Felony Vandalism
A Berkeley woman has been charged with felony vandalism for allegedly puncturing the tires of dozens of vehicles in a crime spree in Berkeley and Oakland last week, Berkeley police said Thursday.
Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said 33-year-old Mandisa Monroe was arrested at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday near her home in the area of the Berkeley-Oakland border, which is where all the vandalism occurred.
Police learned of the vandalism at about 7 a.m. on Aug. 31 after a community member reported that one of her car's tires had been slashed or punctured.
Kusmiss said a total of 74 vehicles were vandalized -- 61 in Berkeley and 13 in an adjacent area of North Oakland.
Most of the vandalism involved punctured tires, but some vehicles had Egyptian phrases spray-painted on them, Kusmiss said.
Kusmiss said the vandalism spree occurred on California Street from 62nd Street to Blake Street; the 1600 block of Russell Street; several blocks of King Street; and Alcatraz Avenue in Oakland.
She said Berkeley police obtained a warrant to search Monroe's home and found items that connected her to the crimes, including spray paint and a head wrap they believe she wore while vandalizing the vehicles.
Kusmiss said police also obtained surveillance tapes from homes in the area where the crimes occurred that they believe show Monroe committing one of the crimes.
Kusmiss said Monroe denied puncturing the tires but gave an explanation of the Egyptian phrases that had been tagged onto some of the cars. The phrases weren't threatening, Kusmiss said.
Kusmiss said it turned out that Monroe was spray-painting a fence on her own property, which was legal, but the officer who responded didn't know that at the time. She said the officer wound up arresting Monroe because she threw a can of spray paint at him.
However, the charges against Monroe eventually were dropped, Kusmiss said.
Man Suspected Of Stabbing Another Man At Balboa Park BART
A man suspected of stabbing another man in the neck at the Balboa Park BART station in San Francisco Thursday morning had apparently ridden the bus with the victim on the way to the station, a BART police deputy chief said.
Wilfred Brown, 35, allegedly arrived at the station at the same time as victim, but did not speak to him before stabbing him near the agent's booth around 6:10 a.m., BART police Deputy Chief Benson Fairow said.
The victim, a man in his 60s who was on his way to work, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening. He was expected to be released later Thursday, Fairow said.
San Francisco police, who had been given a description of the attacker by BART police, located and arrested the suspect.
Two witnesses, including the station agent, identified Brown as the stabber. Brown was then taken to the hospital, where the victim and a third witness also identified him, Fairow said.
Brown was in possession of two knives when he was taken into custody -- including one with blood on it that is believed to be the attempted murder weapon, he said.
Fairow said that after being interviewed by detectives, Brown confessed to the stabbing.
Brown, who is a transient and did not know the victim, appeared to have stabbed him in an unprovoked attack, he said.
He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and booked into San Francisco jail.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
Partly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today after patchy fog and drizzle this morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are likely.
Tonight is anticipated to be partly cloudy before becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the lower 50s are expected.
Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday after mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog in the morning. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are expected.