Police Arrested 30 To 40 Demonstrators During BART Protests
Police arrested at least 30 to 40 demonstrators during protests that originated at the Civic Center BART station and then led police back and forth through downtown San Francisco, drawing traffic to a standstill and closing two BART stations at several points throughout the evening.
A few dozen protesters gathered on the Civic Center BART platform at 5 p.m. BART quickly closed the station when protests began, arresting several protesters that raised their voices, declaring it was illegal to protest on the BART platform.
The protesters chose the platform to gather because Charles Hill was killed there by a BART police officer on July 3, after Hill allegedly attacked the officer with a knife. The shooting set off a string of protests that have shut down San Francisco BART stations three times since then.
After being ordered to leave the station, demonstrators moved to the street, joining with other protesters already there, and 50 to 60 people started marching east on Market Street. They blocked traffic, yelling "No justice, no peace!" and "Hey BART, what do you say, how many kids did you kill today?"
When protesters arrived at the Ferry Building at Embarcadero Plaza, they demanded to be let into the building. Police blocked protesters from entering, while employees peered out at the unruly mob. Some demonstrators wore masks, others carried signs against censorship and police brutality, and two even protested naked.
Shortly after, protesters turned around to march back west on Market Street. The protest grew as they marched, and at certain points there were more than 100 demonstrators.
Police then announced the demonstration on Market Street was illegal, as it blocked traffic in both directions, even holding up a San Francisco Municipal Railway train proceeding west on Market Street.
The protests forced the closure of the Civic Center and Powell Street stations at several points throughout the evening. Civic Center was closed for a total of two hours and 36 minutes and Powell Street for a total of one hour and 38 minutes, according to BART.
Gebreselassie Sentenced To Three Consecutive Terms Of Life In Prison For Thanksgiving Day Shooting
Asmerom Gebreselassie was sentenced Monday to three consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting three in-laws at an Oakland apartment complex on Thanksgiving Day 2006.
Moments before he was sentenced, Gebreselassie, 48, who repeatedly acted up in court during his lengthy trial earlier this year, told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara, "You are a criminal, sir" and "you are an evil man."
Gebreselassie, who admitted he was the shooter in the deadly incident but claimed he was acting in self-defense, alleged that Nakahara was "biased" and "denied my rights" with the rulings he made in the trial.
Nakahara then ordered deputies to remove Gebreselassie from his courtroom, just as he had done on several occasions during the trial.
Prosecutor Joni Leventis said during the trial that the Gebreselassie and his brother, 44-year-old Tewodros Gebreselassie, conspired to kill their in-laws at the family's apartment at the Keller Plaza complex at 5301 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland on Nov. 23, 2006, in a mistaken act of revenge.
Leventis said the brothers erroneously believed that their in-laws were responsible for the sudden death of their brother, 42-year-old Abraham Tewolde, earlier that year.
On May 31, at the end of a trial that began on Feb. 8, the Gebreselassie brothers were both convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and two special-circumstance murder clauses: committing murder multiple murders and committing murder during the course of a kidnapping.
Tewodros Gebreselassie also faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, but his sentencing has been delayed because he hired a new lawyer after he was convicted
San Francisco 49ers Will Tighten Security In Response To Candlestick Park Violence
San Francisco 49ers officials said Monday that the team will tighten security at Candlestick Park in response to the violence at Saturday evening's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
The heightened security measures come after two men were shot near Candlestick Park and another was found beaten in a stadium restroom during and after Saturday's game.
The beating victim and one of the shooting victims suffered what were initially believed to be life-threatening injuries, but a San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman said Monday that both are now in fair condition.
Team leaders are recommending that the National Football League suspend the annual preseason game against the Raiders.
"It's our belief that we should recommend to the NFL that this game is at least postponed for some period of time," 49ers president Jed York said at a news conference at the stadium Monday afternoon.
NFL teams typically play four preseason games each year. Each team chooses one opponent and the NFL assigns the other three.
The 49ers have continually chosen the San Diego Chargers and are recommending that the NFL not schedule the Raiders.
"The degenerate behavior that happened on Saturday is not going to be tolerated," York said. "We are not going to allow that type of behavior at our football games."
Team officials said that they will crack down on tailgating as well in an effort to curb unruly behavior.
Tailgating will be permitted before games but not during or after the game, Vice President of Stadium Operations and Security Jim Mercurio said.
Several other fights in the stands and in the parking lot were caught on amateur video and police Chief Greg Suhr said that this was not typical behavior.
Saturday's attendance was a third less than a typical season game and Suhr said that there were 40 percent more officers at Saturday's game than would be seen at a regular season game.
Despite that, he said, the amount of calls for unruly conduct rose dramatically.
Astronaut Rex Walheim Blasts Into Space For Last Time
For astronaut Rex Walheim, blasting off into space for his third and last time was a lot like riding a wild animal getting shot out of the planet.
"It's a strange sensation," the 48-year-old Bay Area native told reporters at the NASA Ames Research Center Monday afternoon.
Walheim and his STS-135 comrades stopped by Moffett Field as part of a tour across the world to discuss their 13-day mission to the International Space Station last month, the 33rd and final flight for the Atlantis space shuttle.
The crew included mission specialist Sandra Magnus, pilot Doug Hurley, and Cmdr. Chris Ferguson.
The purpose of the mission, which lasted from July 8 through July 21, was to deliver supplies, fly a system to study robotic spacecraft refueling, and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA improve pump designs for future systems.
The veteran astronaut said he would now focus on developing new systems at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where he resides with his wife and sons Jeffrey and Alex.
Walheim's love of space flight was born in his home in San Carlos watching airplanes soar above his backyard on their way to and from the San Francisco International Airport. As a child, he read books about the space program and then one day in the sixth grade, his love became cemented during a field trip to the NASA Ames Research Center.
Walheim's passion grew and was nurtured in the classrooms at the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated in 1980 with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. Today, he remains such an avid alumnus that he took his Cal football jersey, rugby shirt and hat on the latest mission.
Fire Burns Two Structures At Osher Marin Jewish Community Center In San Rafael
Improperly vented exhaust from a generator started a fire that burned two structures at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center Monday morning, San Rafael Fire Chief Christopher Gray said.
The hot exhaust charred the wood roof of the 100-square-foot structure, and the fire possibly smoldered for quite some time, possibly for days, Gray said.
Plastic containers of pool chemicals, including chlorine, in a nearby small storage building also melted, Gray said, prompting a hazardous materials team to respond to the fire.
The fire at 200 N. San Pedro Road was reported around 5:40 a.m. by a lifeguard who saw smoke and flames, Gray said.
Firefighters remained at the scene until 8:30 a.m. to ensure there was no threat to public safety from the pool chemicals and mechanical equipment in the building.
Santa Rosa Man Charged With 4-Year-Old's Death In Sonoma County
The Santa Rosa man charged with the death of a four-year-old boy in a crosswalk Thursday evening was arraigned Monday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Marcos Lopez Garcia, 22, delayed entering a plea to felony hit-and-run causing death and misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license.
Christopher "Buddy" Rowe was struck by Garcia's car in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of West Ninth Street and Rockwell Place near Jacob's Park in west Santa Rosa around 6 p.m., according to Santa Rosa police.
He was walking with his mother Michelle Rowe, 45, his twin sister and a six-year-old sister.
He died the next morning at Oakland Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland.
Garcia cried as Deputy Public Defender Lynne Stark-Slater informed Garcia of his right to have a preliminary hearing within 10 days. He is scheduled to enter a plea Aug. 30.
Rowe's parents sobbed as they were consoled by friends before entering the courtroom and again in Judge Kenneth Gnoss's court.
Santa Rosa police said Garcia was driving west on West Ninth Street and immediately left the scene of the collision.
When police broadcast a witnesses-provided description of the vehicle on the police radio frequency, Santa Rosa resident Leroy Flach heard it and drove to nearby Finley Park where he thought the driver might have fled after the collision.
Flach told police the suspect was removing a decal from the rear of the vehicle and was then picked up by a woman driving in a silver Volvo, Sgt. Rich Celli said.
Flach provided the Volvo's license to police who found the car in the 500 block of Sonoma Avenue around 7:50 p.m.
Garcia gave police information that confirmed his involvement in the hit-and-run and he was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County jail.
He is being held under $500,000 bail but there is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold against Garcia, a county probation officer informed Gnoss Monday afternoon.
Monterey County Coroner's Office Identified Dead Scuba Diver
The Monterey County coroner's office Monday identified a scuba diver who died in Monterey Bay on Saturday as 65-year-old Alameda resident Jean-Pierre Makeyev.
Makeyev was reported missing to the U.S. Coast Guard around 11:20 a.m. near the harbor. He was found unresponsive in the water 20 minutes later, according to the Coast Guard.
He was taken to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The Coast Guard and local authorities do not know what caused Makeyev to go into distress, but it appears he experienced an underwater emergency while diving in the Pacific Ocean near the Coast Guard pier in Monterey, according to the coroner's office.
Makeyev's cause of death is pending further investigation of his equipment, toxicology and air samples.
27-Year-Old Could Be Convicted Of Two Counts Of First-Degree Murder Based On Jail Phone Calls
Confessions to fellow inmates, a plot to kill a witness and phone calls from jail indicate that a 27-year-old man should be convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for a gang-related shooting in Berkeley three years ago, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
In his opening statement in the trial of Desmen Riasehm Lankford, prosecutor Jim Meehan said to jurors, "It will be clear to you that he is responsible for the murders."
Meehan said Lankford fatally shot Kelvin Earl Davis, 23, of Berkeley, and Kevin Antoine Parker, 42, of Oakland, in front of a small apartment complex at 1436 Derby St. in Berkeley about 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2008, because Lankford belonged to a north Oakland gang that had been involved in "a shooting war" with a south Berkeley gang.
Meehan said Lankford was arrested after police searched an Oakland apartment where authorities believe he lived and found a gun that was used in the shooting as well as bullets similar to those used in the shooting.
Police also found a hooded sweatshirt with a skeleton design that a witness said the shooting suspect wore, Meehan said.
In addition, police found a camera that had a photo of Lankford proudly holding two guns, including one similar to the SIG Sauer semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting, Meehan said.
But Lankford's attorney, Thomas Broome, told jurors to listen to all the evidence in the case before they make up their minds about whether Lankford is guilty.
Broome said jurors should doubt the believability of the prosecution's witnesses because "these gentlemen have substantial criminal histories and their credibility is highly suspect."
Broome also said there are questions about the ballistics evidence in the case and witnesses' identification of Lankford as a suspect.
If he is found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder plus the special circumstance of multiple murder, Lankford could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Stolen Property From Dozens Of Belmont Homes Found In East Bay Home
Police announced Monday that a search on an East Bay home last week netted property believed to have been stolen from dozens of Belmont homes.
On Thursday, officers served a search warrant at a home in the 5700 block of Saint Paul Drive in Newark as part of an ongoing investigation into nearly 30 residential burglaries that have occurred in Belmont since May, according to Belmont police.
Detectives were led to the home after spotting various items on eBay that appeared to be property taken from the Belmont victims, police said.
Officers seized laptop computers, cell phones, personal electronics, driver's licenses and social security cards, police said.
Officers also found three firearms, drugs and cash.
Several suspects were detained and Ernesto Granados, 39, was arrested for violating parole.
Fremont, Newark and Belmont police departments participated in the raid.
Federal Prosecutors Announce 15 Bay Area Residents Charged With Passport Fraud
Federal prosecutors announced in San Francisco Monday that 15 Bay Area residents have been charged with passport fraud in the past year.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the defendants are among about 200 people charged with various types of passport offenses since prosecutors adopted a zero-tolerance approach in 2007.
The 15 people charged since last July were accused of either possessing a false identification document when applying for a passport, making a false statement on an application, or improperly entering the United States.
Five were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to 10 months.
They include Ramon Velez Alvarez, of Pittsburg, sentenced to 10 months, and Jose Luis Gallardo-Rosiles of San Jose, sentenced to six months, in both cases for making a false statement on a passport application.
Five other defendants were convicted and placed on probation, two are awaiting trial and the remaining three are fugitives.
Peace Activist Louise Clark, Owner Of "Crosses Of Lafayette" Memorial Property, Passed Away On Sunday
Longtime peace activist Louise Clark, who owned the property on which the "Crosses of Lafayette" war memorial was built, passed away Sunday at age 86.
More than 4,000 crosses have been planted on the hillside adjacent to the Lafayette BART station since Clark and Jeff Heaton, a local building contractor, began the memorial in 2006 to recognize U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Heaton said.
According to Heaton, Clark and her husband, Johnson Clark, who passed away several years ago, were longtime activists and supporters of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek.
Louise Clark died at her son's house in Santa Rosa surrounded by family and friends, Heaton said. She had been fighting cancer for more than a year.
A memorial service will be held for her this weekend.
San Mateo Psychiatrist Accused Of Molesting Patients Was Deemed Incompetent To Stand Trial
A San Mateo psychiatrist who was accused of molesting seven male patients in the early 1990s has been deemed incompetent to stand trial, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Monday.
The district attorney's office agreed that William Ayres, 79, who suffers from dementia and memory loss, would not be able to aid in his own defense, Wagstaffe said.
The former head of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry will now be sent to the Golden Gate Regional Center in San Mateo for evaluation, Wagstaffe said. A hearing to determine where Ayres' will be permanently housed will be held in San Mateo County Superior Court on Sept. 7.
"The law requires that he be held in a locked psychiatric facility," Wagstaffe said.
The district attorney's office plans to argue for Ayres to be sent to Napa State Hospital, Wagstaffe said.
If his competency is restored -- which is unlikely, given the progressive nature of dementia -- Ayres would return to San Mateo County to face a criminal trial, Wagstaffe said.
Ayres was charged with nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys during counseling sessions that took place between 1991 and 1996. A criminal trial in the summer of 2009 ended with a hung jury, but prosecutors decided that August to retry the case.
The criminal proceedings were suspended when Ayres' attorney, Jonathan McDougall, questioned his client's competency due to the onset of dementia.
A jury trial to determine Ayres' competency was held in June. A mistrial was declared after jurors deadlocked 8 to 4, with the majority deciding that Ayres' deteriorating mental condition would make him unfit to stand trial.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle this morning before becoming sunny later today. Highs in the 60s to lower 70s are likely.
Clear skies are expected this evening, with patches of fog and drizzle after midnight, becoming mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s are likely.
Mostly cloudy skies are expected Wednesday becoming partly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning. Forecasters predict highs in the 50s to mid 60s.
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