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Friday, January 29, 2016

D.A. Blasts Mayor Lee and Police Chief Suhr For Not Cooperating With Misconduct Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 10:55 AM

  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner

You’re not serious about addressing police misconduct or reforming police department culture. That’s the gist of a Jan. 28 letter that District Attorney George Gascón sent to Mayor Ed Lee. 

As the Examiner reports, Gascón wants to know why, if the mayor is serious about stamping out bias in the SFPD, he isn’t cooperating with the D.A.’s blue ribbon panel investigating precisely that.

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Yesterday's Crimes: The NFL Crossbow Killing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 9:53 AM

  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr

NFL teams are modern day medieval fiefdoms where ruthless barons, such as Mark Davis and Dan Snyder, preside over helmeted armies culled from the underclass. No team was more of a game of thrones than the Seattle Seahawks in 1989, when a dispute between co-owners led to an assassination using a weapon favored by the men who guarded Richard the Lionheart.

Mike Blatt was a Stockton-based real estate developer who ruled over vast lands, including apartment complexes in California, Arizona, and Nevada. His Blatt Development Co. oversaw $120 million worth of construction in its first 10 years. He also ran a successful sports agency, but all that wasn't enough.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

CA Lawmaker Says Human Trafficking is a Good Reason to Make Your Smartphone Less Secure

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:35 AM


January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, and here in San Francisco, state and local agencies have been busy hosting press conferences, summits, and training sessions for staff in the hospitality industry. Yesterday, at an event in the Tenderloin, the city also officially launched its “No Traffick Ahead” PSA campaign — an initiative between 60 organizations from eight Bay Area counties — which will plaster hundreds of anti-trafficking ads in and on Muni buses, bus shelters, and billboards.

Locally, the Super Bowl has certainly intensified the city’s anti-trafficking crackdown; after all, the big game is commonly, if inaccurately, dubbed the biggest trafficking event in the U.S. But a recent statewide proposal from California Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) takes the trafficking crusade to a whole new level. Cooper’s AB 1681, introduced Wednesday, frames trafficking as a legitimate reason to access private data on smartphones.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yesterday's Crimes: The Grave Robbers of Menlo Park

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM

  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr

Today, Menlo Park is known as the home of Facebook and tech workers who can't quite afford Atherton, but in 1944 this tree-lined suburb was the site of one of the most bizarre crimes in Bay Area history.

Dolores Sifuentes of Redwood City was just 21 when she died from tuberculosis at the Canyon Sanatorium on Thursday, April 6, 1944. She was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park on the following Saturday. Strangely, this was only the beginning of the young woman's ordeal.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Yesterday's Crimes: Bodies in Barrels and the Killer Cop

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 10:58 AM

  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr

The 55-gallon metal drums looked out of place. They were left in Golden Gate Park near a narrow jogging path about a mile from the ocean. Answering reports from concerned residents, mounted patrolman Bruno Pezzulich was the first to inspect the drums on May 3, 1983. He noticed that one of them was marked "Toxic Chemicals," and called the fire department.

When one of the firefighters moved one of the concrete-sealed barrels, blood began to ooze out.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

It Was a Disturbing Weekend for Public Transportation in the Bay Area

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:38 PM

  • Rafael Castillo/Flickr
It was an atypically grisly weekend for public transit around the Bay.

On Saturday evening, a BART passenger was shot dead on a train near the West Oakland station — a shooting whose chaotic aftermath was captured on cell phones and shared via social media. The train was en route to San Francisco at the time. 

Then, early this morning, the downtown Berkeley BART station closed briefly after crews discovered the severed right foot of a woman who’d been struck, but not killed, by a train 22 days earlier in December. (The macabre find was “an unusual start to the work week,” a BART spokesman told ABC News.)

And, closer to home, the San Francisco Police Department reports that a 14-year-old boy aboard a Muni bus at Park Presidio and Geary had a knife pulled on him. Around 9:10 p.m. on Saturday night, the boy told another passenger, a twentysomething man, to quiet down. (An unruly fellow passenger on Muni? Surely you jest.)

According to Kron 4, the man approached the boy, put a knife to his chest, and demanded his shoes. He then stuck the knife to the boy’s throat and demanded his cellphone. The boy handed over his phone but not his shoes.

The suspect remains at large, as does the suspect in the fatal BART shooting near West Oakland station. That man is described as “slim, 6 feet 3 inches tall, black, wearing a green hooded jacket, blue jeans, and red and black boxer shorts. He was also wearing tan military-style boots and a backpack."

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Jury Finds Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow Guilty

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 10:38 AM

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow - PHOTO BY JEN SISKA
  • Photo by Jen Siska
  • Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow
On Tuesday, after a sometimes flamboyant two-month trial in a U.S. District Court, jurors were asked to decide the fate of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the alleged Chinatown mobster charged with ordering two murders, money laundering, extortion, and trafficking in drugs, counterfeit cigarettes, and liquor.

This morning, the verdict came in: guilty of two conspiracies to murder and racketeering.

The 56-year-old Chow became the dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong association just six months after Allen Leung, the previous leader, was murdered in his Chinatown office in 2006. Chow was accused of ordering the hit and, according to the prosecution, also ordered another hit against a member of the Hop Sing Tong street gang, who was murdered, along with his wife, in Mendocino County.

Chow was indicted in 2014 after an undercover federal probe into alleged corruption in Chinatown — the same probe that resulted in former state. Sen. Leland Yee pleading guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for political favors and illegal gun-smuggling. (Mayor Lee, whose third inauguration is happening this morning, was also accused of accepting bribes.)

As ABC 7 reports, during the trial’s closing arguments, attorney Tony Serra reiterated that tong associates and an undercover FBI agent who testified against Chow weren’t credible.

The jury apparently disagreed. 

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Rape Victim Sues SFPD, Alleges Police Told Her To Go On "Date" With Rapist, Never Tested Kit

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 7:56 PM

Heather Marlowe. - SF EXAMINER
  • SF Examiner
  • Heather Marlowe.
After she was drugged and raped at a Bay to Breakers party in 2010 — and after she discovered, years later, that San Francisco police had failed to test her rape kit and thousands of other rape victims' over a 10-year span — Heather Marlowe became an activist.

The one-woman show, "Haze," in which she recounted her ordeal, attracted the attention of a San Francisco socialite who helped shame police into action and led to the 2014 announcement that the backlog of untested kits had been partially cleared (753 were tested; thousands of others were over a decade old, past the statute of limitations for prosecution, and ergo never tested).

But Marlowe's rapist was never apprehended, despite her attempting to set up a "date" with her rapist at the behest of police, according to a federal lawsuit Marlowe filed against the city on Wednesday.

And it gets worse: after trying and failing to acquire the results of her own rape kit via a public records request — and after being taken by police to the home of her rapist, with whom she was urged to set up a "date" at the behest of police, she claims — she believes her kit may never have been tested at all, according to her suit.

(Meanwhile, out of 355 reported rapes in 2014, San Francisco police made only 22 arrests, according to the state Department of Justice.)

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Yesterday's Crimes: The Carpet King of Crime

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 9:47 AM

  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr

“Wild-eyed” Leon Heskett was the self-proclaimed Bay Area “carpet king” in the 1960's and 70's. He ruled his discount empire from his bright yellow Carpet Coliseum store in Oakland, which was once described as “the most horrible thing I have ever seen” by an unnamed speaker during a Burlingame Planning Commission meeting in 1973. Heskett’s newspaper ads boasted “the West’s largest carpet inventory” over a publicity photo of Heskett standing proudly next to towering shelves filled with rolls of rugs.

While business appeared to be boom through the 70's, it all went up in smoke (literally) on Feb. 17, 1982, when a six-alarm fire gutted Heskett’s flagship Oakland store. According to UPI, it took 85 Oakland firefighters to combat a blaze that was even visible from San Francisco.

“What the hell can you say?” Heskett told UPI. “When you work for 30 years to build a business, and it's gone in 30 minutes.”

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Alleged Oakland University Gunman Declared Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 10:31 AM

One Goh
  • One Goh
A judge has ruled that One Goh, the 47-year-old man accused of killing seven people at Oikos University in Oakland in 2012, is incompetent to stand trial. Goh was previously declared mentally incompetent in 2013, but in July of this year, a psychiatrist deemed him fit to assist his attorneys. As Kron 4 reports, Alameda County Superior  Court Judge Gloria Rhynes disagrees.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"