Monday Morning News Roundup
Police Seeking Woman Who Injured Officer Striking Him with Vehicle
Police are asking for the public’s help to find a 25-year-old woman who allegedly injured an officer with her vehicle Friday in Daly City as the officer was attempting to arrest her for a different incident in which
she also assaulted a person with her vehicle.
Daly City police responded to the San Francisco home of Denise Davis to arrest her for assaulting a person with her vehicle in a previous incident, according to police. While attempting to take Davis into custody, she struck the officer with her vehicle, police said.
Davis was then able to flee on foot and remains outstanding, according to police.
The officer suffered minor injuries that are not considered life-threatening, police said. Police described Davis as a white female, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds with red hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a brown puffy jacket and light-colored pants.
A body was found Sunday morning under a U.S. Highway 101 overpass at Bay Shore Boulevard near Potrero Avenue in San Francisco, police said. The body of a 56-year-old man was found at 8:37 a.m.
Police said there was no sign of foul play and the San Francisco medical examiner is investigating the death.
Uber Cuts Pricess Across Bay Area
Uber cut prices Saturday in the San Francisco Bay Area, Uber officials said. In San Francisco and the North Bay, the price for uberX service fell 10 percent while the price of uberXL service dropped by 20 percent.
In the East Bay and South Bay, the price for uberX service fell 20 percent while the price for uberXL service dropped by 40 percent. Uber officials are discounting uberPOOL service at up to 75
percent off uberX service. Uber officials said the cuts are meant to help drivers too.
The officials said the lower prices will increase the number of rides requested. The price cuts may be reversed if driver’s earnings fall. The company is guaranteeing all San Francisco Bay Area drivers an hourly rate, Uber officials said.
Chow Convicted of Murder and Racketeering, Faces Life in Prison, Vows Appeal
Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the leader of a Chinatown fraternal association, was convicted by a federal jury in San Francisco Friday on all 162 organized-crime counts lodged against him, including murder and racketeering conspiracy.
Chow, 56, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy in running an ongoing criminal enterprise and of the murder in aid of racketeering in 2006 of Allen Leung, Chow’s predecessor as leader or dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong association. He was also found guilty of conspiring to murder another rival, five counts of conspiring to receive and transport stolen liquor and cigarettes across state lines, and 154 counts of money laundering.
Chow will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer on March 23. The murder in aid of racketeering conviction carries a mandatory life sentence. The verdict came after two and one-half days of jury deliberations, following a two-month trial in Breyer’s Federal Building courtroom. Chow became the dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong several months after Leung was slain by a masked gunman in his Chinatown import-export office on Feb. 27, 2006.
Prosecutors alleged Chow ordered the killing. The defense contended Chow reformed after completing a previous federal racketeering and gun trafficking sentence in 2003, and became a charismatic community leader dedicated to helping Chinatown youth. Prosecutors claimed Chow was a “ruthless, opportunistic thug” who ran a faction of the tong as an enterprise that included murder, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods and laundering the profits. Defense attorney Tony Serra said Chow will appeal.
“The defense feels frustrated, agonized and outraged,” Serra said after the verdict. “We feel like we have been stabbed in the back by the jury.” Serra said the conviction was “predicated on the testimony of five snitches that no rational human being would believe.”
He said he blamed the jury for accepting the testimony of those witnesses, who included informants and codefendants who reached plea bargains with prosecutors and agreed to testify against Chow in hopes of receiving lighter sentences. Serra said Chow was “noble” in accepting the verdict and told his attorneys, “We’ll win on the second round,” referring to the appeal. Chow is one of 29 people who were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2014 after a four-year FBI undercover operation.
The indictment also included unrelated political corruption charges against former state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo. Investigators were led to Yee through a probe of former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson, a political consultant who had ties to the Chee Kung Tong and was also Yee’s fundraiser.
Yee and Jackson pleaded guilty last year to a separate racketeering conspiracy charge related to corruption, and Yee admitted accepting bribes in return for political favors. Breyer will sentence Yee and Jackson on Feb. 10. Of the 29 people who were indicted, one has died and more than a dozen have pleaded guilty to various charges, including Yee, Jackson and seven tong associates who were originally scheduled to go on trial togetherwith Chow.
The associates’ guilty pleas left Chow as the only defendant in the now-completed trial, which began on Nov. 9. A trial date for the remaining defendants will be set at a later time. One of the key prosecution witnesses was an undercover FBI agent, known at the trial only by his pseudonym of Dave Jordan, who posed for four years as a Mafia member who wanted to work with tong members. He testified that during those years, he gave Chow 26 or 27 envelopes of cash totaling $61,500 as payments for introductions to associates who would collaborate with him in carrying out money laundering and purchases and sales of stolen goods. The purportedly stolen whisky, cognac and cigarettes were supplied by the FBI.
Chow, who testified for three days in his own defense last month, said he believed the payments were gestures of love and respect and denied having anything to do with the two murders and the other crimes. “I didn’t kill nobody,” he told the jury. Chow also testified that “I changed myself” and renounced crime after meditating at Ocean Beach in San Francisco for three days following his 2003 release from prison.
The charge of murdering Leung in aid of racketeering could have carried a potential death penalty, but U.S. Justice Department officials decided before the trial not to seek a death penalty. That decision left a mandatory sentence of life in prison as the penalty for the murder conviction. In the second murder-related charge, Chow was accused of conspiring in 2011 and 2012 to murder Jim Tat Kong, a member of the Hop Sing Tong, an association affiliated with the Chee Kung Tong. Kong was found fatally shot in his car in Mendocino County in 2013. Chow was not accused of causing his death, but rather of conspiring with an associate, Andy Li, to kill him a year earlier.
Li, who testified as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, told the jury that Chow asked him to “take care of Jimmy.” He said he planned to hire someone to kill Kong, but did not do so because in 2012 Chow told him, “Don’t worry, it’s been taken care of.” Serra and fellow defense attorney Curtis Briggs said Chow’s appeal claims will include arguments that Breyer allegedly unfairly limited their number of witnesses and their cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.
Vicki Hennessy Sworn in as First Female Sheriff on Friday
Newly-elected San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessey was sworn in at San Francisco City Hall Friday morning as the city’s 35th sheriff and the first woman to hold the office.
“There is a new sheriff in town” San Francisco Assembly member David Chui said, speaking at the ceremony. “It really is a fine thing that is taking place this morning for me as the first woman mayor to swear in the first woman sheriff,” U.S. Senator and former San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein said before administering the oath of office to Hennessy.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Senator Mark Leno were among those in attendance. During her speech, Sheriff Hennessy said she would dedicate her term to restoring leadership to the department, while employing humanity and compassion.
“That means the buck stops with me. That means I’m the leader and I’m the one that has to make this happen,” Hennessy said. Hennessy, who was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the sheriff’s department in 1975. She was a member of the sheriff’s department’s executive management team for 25 years and has served in every division of the department, according to Hennessy’s office.
served as the city’s interim sheriff in 2012. Mayor Ed Lee appointed her after he suspended Sheriff Mirkarimi on official misconduct charges as a result of domestic violence allegations. Mirkarimi later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment and was sentenced to probation. He was reinstated as sheriff in October 2012 when the 11-member Board of Supervisors did not reach the nine votes necessary under the City Charter to remove him from office, but failed to win reelection in November.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera also took the oath of office Friday for his fifth term, as did Public Defender Jeff Adachi. During the ceremony, Herrera vowed to defend the city against a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Sacramento seeking to block construction of the planned Golden State Warriors event center in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood.
“The event center project is an important civic priority for San Francisco and we’re going to defend it aggressively from legal attacks that seek to derail it,” Herrera said in a statement.San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite was also sworn in Friday in a separate ceremony at the San Francisco Hall of Justice at noon by Supervising Judge Bruce Chan.
Hite spent nearly 18 years as a deputy public defender. California Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to the bench on Dec. 23. “Chris Hite’s appointment to the bench is excellent news for justice in San Francisco,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement.
“In addition to his knowledge of the law, Chris carries with him a core public defender value-that everyone should have equal access to justice, regardless of race or income.” Hite served as the co-chair of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Racial Justice Committee. The committee, formed in 2013, aims to track and remedy racial disparities in the city’s criminal justice system, according to Public Defender officials.“I am looking forward to having a positive impact upon the community I serve, the people who appear before me and the justice system in general,” Hite said in a statement.
Shooting Suspect Charged with Attempted Murder
A 22-year-old San Francisco man was charged Friday with premeditated attempted murder for a shooting in downtown Oakland on Tuesday that left a female bystander wounded, prosecutors said. Cervando Sterling-Valdez, who was arrested by undercover Oakland and San Francisco police officers outside his home on Gillette Avenue in San Francisco shortly after midnight, is scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on Monday.
The shooting occurred in the 1300 block of Broadway shortly after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday during an argument between Sterling-Valdez and an unidentified man, police said. The intended target of the shooting wasn’t hit but the gunfire struck a woman who was standing nearby. She was taken to a hospital, where she was reported to be in stable condition.
On Wednesday, Oakland police asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect and released surveillance video of the gunman pulling a semi-automatic handgun from under his jacket and firing about four shots on Broadway near an entrance to BART’s 12th Street Oakland City Center station. On Thursday, police named Sterling-Valdez as the suspect and said a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Oakland police Officer Robert Roche wrote in a probable cause statement that undercover San Francisco and Oakland officers spotted Sterling-Valdez approaching his house on Gillette Avenue in San Francisco at about 11:40 p.m. on Thursday. Roche said officers approached Sterling-Valdez and took him into custody without incident, formally placing him under arrest just after midnight Friday.
Sterling-Valdez was taken to Bayview station in San Francisco, where uniformed Oakland officers picked him up, according to Roche. Sterling-Valdez was then taken to the Oakland Police Department to be interviewed by felony assault detectives, Roche said. In addition to attempted murder, Sterling-Valdez is charged with assault with a semi-automatic firearm. He is being held at the Santa Rita. Jail in Dublin in lieu of $215,000 bail.
High surf advisory is in effect today from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday. Today will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs will be in the mid 50s and northeast winds will reach 5 to 10 miles per hour.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy. Lows will be in the upper 40s and northeast winds will reach 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon.
Highs will be in the upper 50s and east winds will reach 5 to 10 mph, becoming southwest winds reaching 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
(News provided by Bay City News.)