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"The only good nigger is a dead nigger and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other nigger from coming in the area."
-- July 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
Top News Story
Posted: 12:29 p.m. Monday, July 28, 2014 | Updated: Saturday, 06:29 a.m. Saturday, August 2, 2014
Resisting Arrest, or Death!
ANTIOCH, Calif. — A police officer shot and injured a man who resisted being detained Monday morning, according to police. The shooting was reported at 8:51 a.m. at a home in the 4100 block of Folsom Drive, said Fire Marshal Robert Marshall of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
Officers were dispatched to the area regarding a rifle found in the street, according to police.
Police said in a statement that an officer arriving on the scene "eventually had an encounter" with a man and attempted to detain him.
The man fled from the officer and headed into an open garage, according to police.
Police said at some point while the officer tried to detain the suspect, he opened fire, striking the man several times. The man was taken to John Muir Medical Center with gunshot wounds. Police said he was responsive at the scene but that an update on his condition was not immediately available.
The officer who shot the man is a police veteran and was uninjured, according to police.
Police said the shooting is being jointly investigated by Antioch police, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and the county Crime Lab, following standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting.
Posted: Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 6:37 PM PST | Updated: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 3:14 PM PST
The 'Dirty P.I.'
Oakland, CA -- A former Antioch police officer and private investigator (pictured above, center) was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to eight years in prison following a high-profile string of arrests that disgraced the Contra Costa County California Narcotic Enforcement Team last year. U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong in Oakland also ordered Butler to pay a $20,000 fine. Butler, dressed in a tan jail jumpsuit, choked up as his sentence was handed down.
Video: Former police commander Norman Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler engaged in an illegal drug deal. The video shows Wielsch and Butler selling (to government informant Carl Marino) a pound of methamphetamine stolen from a police evidence locker.
"I want to apologize to the community for the anxiety, fear and suffering I caused," Butler said. He also apologized "to the law enforcement community for the embarrassment and betrayal inflicted on it." He added a final apology: "I apologize to my family and friends who supported me through all of this."
Butler's sentence was much stiffer than what his associate received. Former San Ramon police office Louis Lombardi was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the CNET scandal. Lombardi plead guilty to stealing $40,000 in cash and guns while serving search warrants.
The sentencing follows his guilty plea in May to six charges, including extortion, robbery and conspiring to deal drugs. His probation officer recommended more than 12 years in prison. Butler had achieved some fame by hooking a reality TV show contract and hiring "Mommy P.I.s," attractive women whose job was to lure men into cheating on their wives. And in court, he admitted to bribing a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy, Stephen Tanabe, with cocaine and a gun to make drunk driving arrests of men he was investigating. These have since been dubbed, "dirty DUI" stings, and Butler has earned the nickname, the "Dirty P.I."
Butler testified to a lot: He admitted setting up a massage parlor, which provided sexual services.
And he testified that former squad commander Norman Wielsch (pictured below, center) gave him marijuana and steroids, which he then gave to a colleague at his private eye firm. He also said he drove Wielsch to various spots where they took 586 grams of methamphetamine from evidence lockers. One of those pounds, he said, sold for $9,800. He admitted to taking $30,000 worth of drugs. Wielsh and Tanabe have both pleaded not guilty to similar charges. The drug team, known as CNET, was disbanded last February.
Movie Intermission! American Meth!
American Meth is a cross-country journey that focuses on several facets of the methamphetamine epidemic. From the oil fields of Wyoming and New Mexico to the homeless in Portland and the teens of Montana, filmmaker Justin Hunt spins a blue-collar tale of tragedy and triumph. Actor Val Kilmer lends his voicing talents as your narrator while exploring both the damage being done and community efforts to take back America.
Texas Christian University!
Published February 16, 2012
(17 students at Texas Christian University on Wednesday as part of a six-month drug sting)
FORT WORTH, Texas – Authorities arrested 17 students at Texas Christian University on Wednesday as part of a six-month drug sting, an especially embarrassing blow to the school because it included four members of the high-profile football team. Arrest warrants painted a startling picture of the Horned Frogs, with a handful of players who allegedly arranged marijuana sales after class or around practice and who told police that most of the team had failed a surprise drug test just two weeks ago. "There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days," coach Gary Patterson said in a prepared statement. "As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I'm mad."
According to police, players sold undercover officers marijuana during the season and as recently as last week. The 17 people arrested were caught making "hand-to-hand" sales of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs to undercover officers, police said. They said the bust followed an investigation prompted by complaints from students, parents and others. The bust came just one day after a thrilling overtime victory by the men's basketball team over a ranked opponent and less than 24 hours after TCU released its football schedule for next season, its first in the Big 12 Conference. TCU has an enrollment of about 9,500 students, but the athlete arrests drew the most scrutiny.
Three prominent defensive players on the team were arrested: linebacker Tanner Brock, the leading tackler two seasons ago, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and cornerback Devin Johnson. The other player is offensive lineman Ty Horn. Phone messages left at the homes of Horn, Johnson and Yendrey were not immediately returned. Brock did not have a listed home number. All of the players are 21 except for Yendrey, who is 20. Brock was being held on $10,000 bond at the Mansfield city jail. Johnson and Horn were being transferred to the jail on Wednesday afternoon and Yendrey had not been arraigned.
In November, a Fort Worth police officer was informed that Horn (pictured left) was selling marijuana to "college students and football players at Texas Christian." The officer allegedly bought marijuana that day, Nov. 3, two days before a road game at Wyoming, from both Horn and Yendrey. Officers during the next several months allegedly set up drug deals with the players outside restaurants, a grocery store and other areas around campus. On Jan. 19, Brock allegedly sold an officer $200 worth of marijuana after Yendrey (pictured below, left) ran out. "After a short conversation about the marijuana, Brock and I exchanged phone numbers, telling me to come to him from now on instead of (Yendrey)," according to the affidavits.
Horn and Johnson scoffed at the Feb. 1 team drug test ordered by Patterson, police said. Brock allegedly told an undercover officer that he failed the surprise test "for sure," but that it wouldn't be a problem because there "would be about 60 people screwed." Horn had looked through the football roster and "said there were only 20 people that would pass the test on the team," Brock said, according to the warrant. And six days after the test, Johnson allegedly sold an officer $300 worth of marijuana. Asked about the test, he said: "What can they do, 82 people failed it." In response to that allegation, TCU cornerback Kolby Griffin posted a tweet on his personal account Wednesday that read, "This rumor about 82 of us failing a drug test is false completely false."
TCU released a statement late Wednesday afternoon that said the school tests its athletes for drug use "on a regular basis." "The comments about failed drug tests made by the separated players in affidavits cannot be verified simply because they were made in the context of a drug buy," the school said. Patterson declined to answer questions beyond his prepared statement.
While school Chancellor Victor Boschini said he didn't think TCU had a "football problem," the arrest affidavits raise the possibility that other players were involved. Boschini called the charges against all the students "simply unacceptable." Fraternity members were among those arrested, though Boschini said he didn't think any whole fraternity houses were at fault. "Today's events have changed the life of everybody at TCU," Boschini said. Police said they had yet to determine if other football players were involved or would be charged.
Officials said the students had been "separated from TCU" and criminally barred from campus, but it wasn't clear if the players had been kicked off the team. But their names had already been removed from the football roster posted on the school's athletic website. "I expect our student-athletes to serve as ambassadors for the university and will not tolerate behavior that reflects poorly on TCU, the athletics department, our teams or other student-athletes within the department," athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "Our student-athletes are a microcosm of society and unfortunately that means some of our players reflect a culture that glorifies drugs and drug use. That mindset is not reflected by TCU nor will it be allowed within athletics."
Brock was the leading tackler for TCU as a sophomore during the 2010 season, when the Horned Frogs went 13-0, won the Rose Bowl and finished the year ranked No. 2. Brock started the season opener at Baylor last September, but aggravated a foot injury that required season-ending surgery. Yendrey started 12 of 13 games this past season, when he had 39 tackles and three sacks. Johnson played in all 13 games, starting the last eight, and had 47 tackles with 2 1/2 sacks. Brock likely would have been a starter again in 2012. Yendrey, who also started five guys as a junior, and Johnson both were juniors last season and had another season of eligibility. Horn appeared in 10 games this past season, making one start. He played in eight games as a freshman.
"Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU's student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff," Patterson said. "I believe strongly that young people's lives are more important than wins or losses. He added: "At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved."
March 6, 2011
A deputy sheriff with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Friday on suspicion of possessing and selling controlled substances, a spokesman said. Stephen Tanabe, 47, of Alamo, was arrested at 9:30 p.m. after investigators discovered he might have been keeping and selling drugs, according to a statement from sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee. Tanabe, who had been with the sheriff’s office for four years, faces charges of conspiracy to possess and sell controlled substances, and possession and transfer of an assault rifle, according to Lee. His arrest was part of an ongoing investigation into the state Department of Justice Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET. Authorities did not elaborate on the details of the alleged offenses, but a statement from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said Tanabe's arrest was the "result of the ongoing investigation into the state Department of Justice Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET)."
Tanabe was placed on administrative leave, and he is being held at the Martinez Detention Facility with a bail of $260,000, according to the sheriff’s office. A law enforcement source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named, said agents are looking into whether Tanabe was hired by a private investigator in connection with a scheme to arrest men for drunken driving in an effort to blemish their records in hotly contested divorce cases. The source said officers in as many as four Bay Area departments are now being scrutinized for their ties to the investigator, Christopher Butler, 49, to see if they also made arrests at his orders. Two former employees of Butler, who asked not to be named because of fear of reprisals, said he was often hired by women who wanted to create a criminal record on their ex-husbands. If the man was involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle, a DUI conviction could hurt his chances for winning custody. Butler paid the officers in cash for an arrest, the ex-employees said.
Investigators are now reviewing two arrests made by Tanabe (pictured above, center) in early January, according to the law enforcement source close to the probe. In both cases, men were invited to meet at The Vine, a popular wine bar on Danville's Hartz Avenue. After drinking with a Butler-hired decoy, according to the law enforcement source and former employees of Butler's, the men drove out of the parking lot and were quickly stopped and arrested by Tanabe. Tanabe worked patrol in Danville through a contract with the city and the sheriff's office.
At Wednesday's arraignment for Wielsch and Butler, when they pleaded not guilty, Deputy District Attorney Jun Fernandez described the ruse he said was orchestrated by Butler to get the men he was investigating arrested.
Fernandez said Butler hired decoys, usually attractive women, to make passes at the men and suggest they meet for drinks at a local bar. In other cases, Butler used male decoys, including his employees, who posed as journalists or documentary filmmakers who wanted to conduct lengthy interviews with their subjects over drinks. In each case, Butler would call his officer contacts and give a description of the male target, the car he was driving and the moment he left the bar. After the man drove from the parking lot, the officer would fall in behind and arrest him.
Butler is a central figure in the CNET investigation. He was arrested Feb. 16 with his longtime friend Norman Wielsch. Both were charged with 28 felony counts connected to the theft, possession and sale of methamphetamine, marijuana, steroids and prescription pills. Authorities said Wielsch, the former commander of the Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, stole the drugs from evidence lockers and passed them along to Butler, who found buyers through employees at his investigations firm.
Butler was released from jail Friday after making bail. Wielsch also is out on bail.
All three men - Wielsch, Butler and Tanabe - are former Antioch police officers who worked in the department in the late 1990s.
A spokesperson for the Contra Costa County district attorney's office did not return calls seeking comment after Tanabe's arrest. The arrest is the third connected to the Department of Justice's investigation into the multiagency narcotics task force known as CNET.
February 16, 2011
The commander of a Contra Costa County drug task force and the head of a high-profile, Concord-based private investigations firm were arrested Wednesday on allegations they conspired to sell drugs, authorities said. Norman Wielsch, commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, and Chris Butler, who runs the P.I. firm Butler and Associates, were booked into County Jail in Martinez on Wednesday on scores of suspected offenses including possession and sale of marijuana and controlled substances, embezzlement, second-degree burglary and conspiracy.
Wielsch (pictured below, center) is being held on $660,000 bail. Butler (pictured above, center) is being held on $840,000 bail.
Both men are former veteran officers with Antioch police from the late 1990s before they entered their respective positions.
Check back later for updates to this story.
January 31, 2011
ANTIOCH, CA -- The city has agreed to pay a former San Francisco police inspector $750,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit. Marvetia Lynn Richardson sued Antioch in U.S. District Court in July 2008, saying Antioch officers illegally broke into her house on Mokelumne Drive in June 2007, shocked her with a Taser after a dispute with a tenant she was evicting, and took her to jail on suspicion of resisting arrest.
Antioch has denied any wrongdoing, saying the police department had probable cause to enter Richardson's house and did not use excessive force in making an arrest. The lawsuit also contended that the incident was part of efforts by Antioch police to harass African-American residents and drive them out of certain neighborhoods, a charge the city also denies. Attorneys for Richardson and Antioch declined to comment on the settlement, which prohibits them from discussing the terms.
The decision to settle a case is often made by joint risk pools for public agencies rather than by the defendant itself -- particularly when significant attorneys' fees are included, City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland said in a written statement.
"Such settlements reflect economic realities rather than any change of position or belief on the part of the defendant," she said.
Police were called to Richardson's home after midnight on June 7, 2007, by Bridget Reed, who was renting rooms for herself and teenage daughter and was in the process of being evicted. Reed had called 911 to complain about noise; Richardson was at home entertaining two female friends and their children.
After talking to Richardson inside the house, the officers were outside when they heard screams and loud sounds indicating a struggle or fight, according to court documents. Reed and her daughter ran outside, saying that the teen daughter of one of Richardson's guests had threatened to shoot them.
Richardson says officers broke down her front door, and confronted her as she stood in her bedroom doorway. She was calmly answering officers' questions when she was suddenly shocked with a Taser, according to the lawsuit.
Charges against Richardson were dismissed in 2008 after a Contra Costa County judge ruled that police entered the house illegally, according to the lawsuit. Richardson is scheduled to be in Contra Costa Superior Court in Pittsburg at 8 a.m. Feb. 7, 2011 to petition the court to find that she was factually innocent. "She wants it erased so it's as if it never happened. She is and has been the victim," said Richardson's criminal attorney who did not represent her in the lawsuit.
A lawsuit by Richardson in San Francisco County Superior Court alleging she was wrongfully fired -- in part because of the Antioch incident -- is ongoing.
Feds Sanction Murder Again!
January 29, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Five members of the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team have been cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old Antioch man during a drug sting in 2008. San Francisco U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled Wednesday in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Timothy Wayne Mitchell Jr.'s family that CNET member and Pittsburg police Officer Les Galer had "an objectively reasonable fear of death" and "committed a justifiable act of homicide" when he shot Mitchell on March 11, 2008. Galer, his identical twin, Phil Galer, CNET Commander Norm Wielsch, and Officers Sean Dexter and Louis Lombardi were each defendants in the suit.
The attorney for Mitchell's parents, Timothy Sr. and Paulette, said Friday that he had not had a chance to read through the judge's decision, but he was "inclined to disagree with it." "I think there's a considerable amount of evidence in the case that shows the officers placed themselves in a difficult and dangerous situation and behaved with recklessness and foolishness," said the attorney, part of the John Burris law firm. Further, depositions given by the officers in court were "demonstrably false," and inconsistent with the physical evidence, he said, adding there were no eye witnesses to support the plaintiff's case.
A tip from a confidential informant that Mitchell had been selling marijuana out of his apartment and kept a sawed-off shotgun prompted CNET officers to get a warrant to search Mitchell's residence. The team believed that Mitchell had an extensive criminal record, though it turned out that a criminal had stolen Mitchell's identity and Mitchell himself had no record. Later, the officers found a small amount of marijuana and a handgun in Mitchell's bedroom.
The officers converged on Mitchell's apartment at 7 a.m. and knocked and called out before they forced their way in. Les Galer was first to enter and immediately came in contact with Mitchell, dressed in his underwear. Galer said Mitchell grabbed his wrist beneath the gun he was holding and, thinking he was trying to take the weapon, he fired. A jury at a coroner's inquest ruled the death accidental. The Mitchells alleged in their lawsuit that the officers' search warrant was unreasonable and created unnecessary danger to their son, and officers themselves were not properly trained or supervised. It is uncertain if an appeal to the decision will be filed, Yourke said.
The officers' attorney said the judge recognized that under federal case law, an officer may fire a weapon to protect his own life if he concludes a suspect intends to shoot them. "Each of the officers sincerely regret Mr. Mitchell's passing, but there was no question Detective Galer was acting in defense of his life when he discharged his weapon," said the attorney. "Detective Galer is an outstanding officer. People forget sometimes that police officers are members of our community who have a very difficult job and charges of this type are very difficult for them in every sense."
• A True Racist Court System Exposed!
• Reasonable Force: Shot in the Back!
April 23, 2005
[T]he retirement dinner for Sgt. Bob Canchola of the Pittsburg Police Department was interrupted by an officer-involved shooting and the aftermath of an officer being shot and killed in the line of duty. On Saturday, April 23, 2005, Officer Larry Lasater of the Pittsburg Police Department passed away after being shot by a suspect. Two suspects had robbed a Wells Fargo Bank inside of a Raley’s grocery store, then highjacked a vehicle, and as they were fleeing from the scene, they crashed the car. After crashing the stolen car, they then fled on foot. Lasater’s and Officer Florence’s units were the first to arrive on the scene, and they parked their vehicles at the entrance of an access road between Los Medanos College and a county building.
The officers moved along the northern edge (right side) of the trail with their guns drawn. Florence indicated that at one point he saw and heard Lasater move into an area that was overgrown with trees and brush with his gun pointed in a downward direction and yelled “show me your hands.” Immediately, four or five shots rang out. Although Florence was in an area where he was himself very vulnerable since he had no idea where the suspects were located, he nonetheless continued to move forward toward Lasater in an attempt to discern his location and his status. As he approached, he eventually could see that Lasater was lying on his back and had suffered a gun shot to the neck. At this time Officer Galer arrived.
Immediately after Lasater had been shot, Florence had put out over the radio that shots had been fired. When he finally observed Lasater lying on the ground, he also put out an 1199 over the radio, “officer down”. But, the other responding officers could not discern the officer’s whereabouts. Obviously, it was critical that the officers be able to describe their exact location. Galer ran to the intersection of Desrye Boulevard and Belle Drive and put the cross street out over the radio. At that moment, he observed his brother, Les Galer, traveling directly at him on Desrye Boulevard and approaching Belle Drive. After he announced his location, Phil then ran back along the trail to assist Florence. At the same time, Officer Les Galer turned off of Desrye Boulevard onto the trail and crashed through a locked gate on the trail. Eventually, he stopped within a few feet of Florence to provide him with cover. It was at that point that the officers took cover behind Les Galer’s patrol vehicle. Les Galer was armed with his AR-15.
Officers Phil Galer and Florence decided to move away from the patrol vehicles toward the location of Lasater. After traveling a distance of approximately five-to-15 feet from the vehicle, one of the suspects began firing shots from their location in the overgrown vegetation. It was at that point that Les Galer returned fire with his AR-15 and, at the same time, Phil Galer and Florence dropped to the ground and attempted to return to the vehicle for cover. Phil Galer also returned fire as he crawled back to the patrol car.
Eventually, a suspect came out from the brush area. A verbal exchange occurred and the suspect indicated that he did not shoot the officer, but that the other suspect had done so. He pointed back in the bushes and said something to the effect that “he had done it.” The suspect was placed into handcuffs and taken to a patrol vehicle. Shortly after Lasater was taken from the scene, the officers at the scene learned that the Antioch Police Department had taken the second suspect into custody several blocks away from where the shooting occurred.
Officer Les Galer was in Lasater's police academy class and was back on the trail with his former classmate when Lasater was shot to death, allegedly by one of the robbery suspects. On Monday, Galer remembered his friend and fellow officer at a funeral at the Chronicle Pavilion in Concord that was attended by 4,000 people, including 2,500 law enforcement officers from around the state and scores of Marines saying goodbye to one of their own. When his police SWAT team recently checked into a hotel during an assignment, Lasater didn't go out socializing with colleagues. He went shopping for Cody at a nearby Babies R Us, Galer recalled.
'Routine Traffic Stop'
November 28, 2010