What the hell is the deal with the police in Vallejo City, California. They have been shooting everything in sight for the last year or so. In 2012, there were ten cop shootings resulting in the deaths of six people and two dogs.
Give me a break.
Police Chief Joseph Kreins said last September following the shooting of a man outside his home, ""When dealing with violent confrontations, our officers are trained to use whatever force is reasonable and necessary to effect an arrest or eliminate a threat."
The Chief's statement would be accurate if you drop the, "..use whatever force is reasonable and necessary to effect an arrest or..." part.
That shooting was the fifth fatal officer involved shooting of the year and sparked a protest outside of police headquarters where family of 23 year old Mario Romero, at whom the cops fired 31 times claiming he was reaching for a pellet gun, disputed that account. According to the San Francisco Chronicle article at the time, the police responding to a reported burglary stopped a vehicle. The cops say that the passenger, Joseph Johnson, came out of the car with his hands up, but that Romero exited the vehicle and reached for a "gun."
...family members said that after an initial round of firing, one of the officers climbed onto the hood of Romero's car and continued shooting into the windshield. Kreins disputed that account and said the officer stood on the vehicle only to make sure no one else was hiding inside, but did not fire into the vehicle.
Johnson's father, Kevin Edwards, said his son, who is recovering at a local hospital, told him Romero never stepped out of the vehicle because police never gave him the opportunity.
"He told me they put their hands up and then all he saw was bright lights flashing, heard gunshots going off, and then he passed out," Williams said. "He said Mario never got out of the car because they never had the chance."
The car was parked just outside the home Mr. Romero.
"We have a department that is out of control," said George Holland, president of the NAACP's Oakland branch. "If you can't be in a car in front of your home in this city without getting shot, what does that say about Vallejo?"Northbay Copwatch says:
On Monday, Sept. 2nd, Vallejo Police detain Mario and his brother-in-law, who are in their car parked out front of their Family's house, and without provocation fire 30 rounds (two magazines, possibly alongside another clip of 15 bullets) into the faces of the detained men. There is no evidence that a crime had been taking place, no reason for why they were detained. Mario does not have gang-related tattoos. Police send a car impound order notification and bill to Mario after his murder, which provides the legal reasoning for the police to tow it away and secure evidence which could be used against themselves…The family has called for the arrest of the officers involved. "We're just praying that this comes out the right way and that these officers are charged with murder and attempted murder," Romero's sister Cynquita Martin said in a KGO report. The KGO report continues:
Police fired 32 rounds at the car. Romero and Johnson did not return fire. "There's something called overkill. When you kill or shoot a person in excess of 30 times, what are you trying to do? What are you trying to prove?" attorney George Holland asked. Police say they found some ecstasy and a pellet gun inside the car. "That he would've pointed a pellet gun that does not have bullets at two police officers who have their guns out, that defies common sense," attorney John Burris said.
The people are fighting back, have been fighting back with numerous protests, demonstrations and marches. Yesterday, they scared the bejeezus out of city officials.
Last Wednesday two civil rights suits were filed against the city for the killings of family dogs. The first suit says the cops "...wrongfully killed two pet dogs when they fired tear gas into a home in search of robbery suspects, igniting and destroying the residence..." The robbery suspect was not found in the house.
The second suit says a police officer came to a home and "...wrongfully shot and killed their 11-year-old Labrador mix, Belle, on May 16."
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
"Although these are separate incidents that occurred three months apart, they reflect a pattern of aggressive, reckless police tactics by the Vallejo Police Department," said Nick Casper, the attorney who filed both suits. "The staggering lack of judgment and restraint by (Vallejo police) in both instances resulted in the entirely unnecessary deaths of three beloved dogs."
The following report on yesterday's occupation of Vallejo council chambers comes from the Times-Herald.
Anti-police protest briefly occupies Vallejo council chambers
Dozens of anti-police violence protesters who had gathered Tuesday night at City Hall briefly took over Vallejo City Council Chambers during a special council meeting, police said.
About 50 people moved inside the chambers about 12 minutes after the meeting's 6 p.m. start, at which time council members called a recess and retreated to a back room, City Manager Dan Keen said.
Some 17 minutes later, the demonstrators -- who were protesting police brutality stemming from a fatal officer-involved shooting of Mario Romero in September -- then stood behind the council dais and began using the chambers' sound system for about seven minutes, according to authorities and city meeting footage posted on the city's website, www.ci.vallejo.ca.us.
Two of Romero's sisters spoke into the City Clerk's microphone, in addition to others, before saying that they would continue the protest outside City Hall.
"This is just a little bit of what can go down. This is what can happen," sister Cyndi Mitchell said. "We want action ... We want murderers that are murdering our family to be (prosecuted) like any civilian."
A representative from a group that has identified itself at previous Vallejo protests as the Oakland-based Black Riders Liberation Party, New Generation Black Panther Party noted that Tuesday evening marked the one-year anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Floridian Trayvon Martin, shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watch captain.
Romero's family has been regularly protesting the Sept. 2 Vallejo police actions, in which the 23-year-old Vallejo man was shot multiple times while in a car parked outside his North Vallejo home with a friend. Police said Romero was killed after two officers saw him with a handgun that later turned out to be a replica. Romero's family members and friends have been refuting the police department version of events ever since.
The fatal shooting was one of 10 officer-involved shootings in 2012. Six people and two dogs were killed.
Called to respond to the protest, officers entered the chambers and asked everyone to move their protest back outside to the City Hall steps, police said. Four officers, including one cadet, were already on hand for the special meeting, which involved interviews of the public for vacancies on city committees, commissions and boards.
About 15 officers from both the Vallejo police department and Solano County Sheriff's office lined up at the entrance to keep protesters from re-entering City Hall. American Canyon police also provided backup.
The protesters began dispersing at about 7 p.m. with no arrests, although police said one demonstrator was seen with a baton.
"We are not going to tolerate that moving forward," Vallejo police Lt. Sid DeJesus said of weapon carrying.
The start of the council's regular meeting was pushed back at least 20 minutes. As of press time, the council had begun hearing a mid-year city budget update, and had approved purchase of a use-of-force and firearms simulator for the police department -- a direct response to community outcry over last year's officer-involved shootings.