Friday News Roundup
SPEIER, HUFFMAN INTRODUCE DISASTER RELIEF FUNDING BILL FOR CRAB FISHERMEN
U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman will announce legislation Friday in San Francisco that would provide more than $138 million in disaster assistance funding for California fishermen and businesses hurt by the shutdown of the commercial crab season.
The Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016 would provide $138.15 million in assistance to Dungeness and rock crab fishermen and related businesses. The funding is contingent on U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker declaring the state’s crab fishing industry a disaster and a commercial fishery failure.
The commercial crab season was scheduled to start Nov. 17, but remained closed after public health officials determined crabs had high levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can be harmful to humans if eaten, caused by an algal bloom.
Last month, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife moved to allow recreational crab fishing south of Point Reyes, but continued the closure of the commercial season. The shutdown had caused an estimated $48 million in losses to the industry as of last month, according to state officials.
“Commercial fishermen and local businesses have been economically devastated by the closure of the Dungeness crab season,” Speier, D-San Mateo/San Francisco, said today in a statement. “Some of them are on the brink of losing their boats.”
“These hardworking fishermen shouldn’t have to suffer economic hardship after working tirelessly to sustain this crab fishery, which is so vital to our local economy,” Huffman, D-San Rafael, said.
The act also includes $1 million for domoic acid sampling and monitoring on the West Coast and $5 million for competitive grants for research on harmful algal blooms and domoic acid toxicity.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Feb. 9 sent a letter to Pritzker asking the secretary to declare a fisheries disaster.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.
MAN SUFFERS LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES IN MID-MARKET SHOOTING
A man suffered life-threatening injuries in a shooting in San Francisco’s Mid-Market area early this morning, according to police.
The 34-year-old victim was shot around 4 a.m. in the 1200 block of Market Street after getting into an argument with the suspect, police said.
The suspect fled north on Hyde Street and the victim was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
No arrests had been made as of this morning, police said.
WITNESS TO NIETO FATAL SHOOTING TESTIFIES NIETO KEPT HANDS IN POCKETS
A musician who was jogging with his dog in a San Francisco park when a 28-year-old man was fatally shot by police testified in federal court today that he never saw the man point anything at the officers.
Antonio Theodore also testified that Alejandro “Alex” Nieto had his hands in his pockets during the shooting, even after he fell forward onto the ground after the fourth shot. The officers then continued firing, he said.
“It was very shocking,” Theodore told a civil jury in the court of U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Francisco in the trial of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Nieto’s parents.
“I didn’t mind the first four shots, but the rest was very scary. He was already on the ground…I felt really disturbed by the situation,” he said.
Nieto was shot in Bernal Heights Park shortly after 7 p.m. on March 21, 2014, by four officers who were responding to a report of a man with a gun. The officers fired a total of 59 bullets in 30 seconds, of which at least 10 hit Nieto.
Nieto, who had eaten a burrito in the park, was planning to go to his job as a security guard at a San Francisco nightclub and was carrying a Taser stun gun in a holster.
The officers contend that Nieto pointed the device directly at them and that they thought it was a real gun and their lives were in danger.
The lawsuit by Nieto’s parents, Elvira and Refugio Nieto, is based on claims of wrongful death, unconstitutional excessive use of force and loss of familial relationship.
Theodore, a songwriter and performer, was called to the stand today by Adante Pointer, a lawyer for the parents.
His account contradicted the testimony given by Lt. Jason Sawyer and Officer Richard Schiff to the eight-member jury on Wednesday.
Sawyer, who was a sergeant then, and Schiff were the first officers to encounter Nieto and fired 43 of the gunshots.
The other defendants in the case, Officers Roger Morse and Nathan Chew, had arrived as backup and also participated in the shooting.
Sawyer and Schiff testified that they both shouted, “Show me your hands,” at Nieto from 25 to 30 yards away and that he answered, “No, show me your hands,” and then pointed what they believed to a gun, with a red laser light used for sighting, at them.
They said they kept shooting even after Nieto was prone on the ground because he continued to point the weapon at them.
Theodore said he heard the officers say “stop” but heard no other words before the shooting started. He said he never saw a red light and never saw Nieto holding an object.
Theodore said he had been jogging with his dog on a trail on a hillside above the access road where the officers encountered Nieto.
Nieto was walking down the road in a “very calm and casual manner,” Theodore said.
Even after Nieto fell to the ground after the fourth shot, “His hands were still in his pockets. He wasn’t holding anything with his hands,” Theodore testified.
Theodore will be cross-examined by city lawyers representing the officers when the trial resumes on Friday.
Deputy City Attorney Margaret Baumgartner said in her opening statement at the trial on Tuesday that Theodore “did not have a complete or clear view” from the trail 25 yards up the hillside.
She said the city will present autopsy evidence indicating that Nieto could not have received the wounds shown on his hands if his hands had been in his pockets, and evidence from a Taser expert showing that the stun gun was fired three times at the time of the shooting.
SF MAN CONVICTED IN TEENAGE HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE
A San Francisco man accused of forcing two teenage girls into prostitution has been convicted of multiple felonies and faces a potential sentence of 150 years to life in prison, District Attorney George Gascon announced today.
Jamar Geeter, 28, was found guilty Wednesday afternoon of 16 felony counts including human trafficking, rape, forcible oral copulation, and pimping and pandering following a two-month long trial, prosecutors said.
His victims were 14 and 16 years old in 2014 when the crimes occurred.
Geeter approached the 14-year-old victim, a Daly City resident, on July 6, 2014, at a bus stop at Geneva Avenue and Mission Street and persuaded her to go with him by offering to buy her a burrito.
He plied her with alcohol, took her to a hotel and committed sex acts with her while she was drunk, then used a second young prostitute to help lure the girl into prostitution, according to prosecutors.
She worked for him from July 7-11 in San Francisco and then was taken to Oakland, where she escaped, only to be forced into prostitution for another pimp after being tricked by another prostitute who offered to help her.
The girl, who had been reported missing by her parents, was eventually located by Daly City police on July 15 after she was able to use a cellphone Geeter had provided her to contact her friends and mother.
The second victim, a 16-year-old girl, came into contact with Geeter and a 16-year-old male friend of his on Dec. 31, 2014. The male friend exchanged phone numbers with the victim and her friend, and later traveled with Geeter on Jan. 1, 2015, to meet the victim and her friend in Richmond and take them to San Francisco, prosecutors said.
Once in the city, the victim’s friend left her with Geeter. The victim tried to seek help from another friend, but Geeter moved her to the Civic Center Inn and later raped her and disabled her phone, according to prosecutors. He then put her out to work as a prostitute in the area of Polk and Ellis streets.
Family members made repeated attempts to reach the victim, but it was not until Jan. 4 that she was able to post on Facebook that she was scared. On Jan. 5, she was able to call her family for help and they were able to arrange for her release, prosecutors said.
DNA evidence was found linking Geeter to the 16-year-old victim, prosecutors said. The 16-year-old victim is now enrolled a joint high school and college program, while the 14-year-old victim has since earned her high school degree and welding certificate.
Geeter is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24.
“This defendant preyed upon two children and attempted to profit off them as though they were property,” Gascon said in a statement. “Our humanity is not for sale, human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that will be met with firm consequences.”
Via Bay City News