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Monday, August 8, 2016

Woman Who Attended Beyoncé, Jay Z Concert at AT&T Park Sues Over Collision

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Beyoncé and Jay Z playing their very loud concert at AT&T Park on July 23, 2014. - ERIN BENSON / FLICKR
  • Erin Benson / Flickr
  • Beyoncé and Jay Z playing their very loud concert at AT&T Park on July 23, 2014.
The Giants aren’t winning many games on the field these days, but maybe they’ll have better luck in a courtroom.

San Francisco Giants Enterprises, the entity that operates AT&T Park, is being sued by a woman who claims she was injured by a ballpark employee who was driving around in a motorized cart during a Beyoncé and Jay Z tour stop in 2014, according to TMZ. Live Nation is also named in the lawsuit because the cart driver apparently worked for the concert promoter for the On the Run tour.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Who Will Join Class Action Lawsuit Against Pokemon Go?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 3:41 PM

  • Jessica Christian

Pokemon Go is still in the news - like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going and going. This time, however, the news is a bit more serious than two California Senate candidates playing the game in the Mission District over the weekend.

A New Jersey man is suing the game makers - San Francisco-based Niantic, Nintendo, and The Pokemon Company - in San Francisco federal court for encouraging people to trespass on private property through the popular app-based game. And the kicker is he filed a class action lawsuit, which means he’s hoping others will join in his pursuit of justice over the tyranny of technology.

The class action part makes the entire thing much more interesting. It’s hard to miss the stories about Pokemon Go - even if they’re fake - but they’ve all been anecdotal at this point. Now that settlement money could be involved, the world might just find out the true level of annoying Pokemon Go has reached.

One of Pokemon Go’s most popular features is the sort of half-reality in which the game exists. As the Associated Press reported, “the location-aware game provides virtual rewards for players who visit real sites designated as ‘Pokestops’ in the game.” For Jeffrey Marder, the man behind the lawsuit, the problem is those Pokestops might include someone’s private property.

“Niantic blithely acknowledges its placement of Pokéstops on private property, advising users on the Pokémon Go website: ‘If you can’t get to the Pokéstop because it’s on private property, there will be more just around the corner, so don’t worry!’” according to Marder’s lawsuit.

That does sound rather intrusive, although we’re no judge or jury. But, as the AP noted, some prominent public places have encountered issues as well: “Several locations, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan and the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., have asked to be removed from ‘Pokemon Go.’”

Not surprisingly, all three companies behind Pokemon Go refused to comment on the lawsuit. But the AP reported last week that The Pokemon Company plans to update the game “so it remains fun for players but respects the real world.” That doesn’t sound like much fun. 
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Friday, July 22, 2016

SF, Oakland, SJ Police Upset Over Mario Woods Day

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015. - MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015.
It stands to reason that San Francisco police are on the defensive right now, perhaps even a little more on edge than is normal for law enforcement.

Twice this week the department has received death threats - the first, for which a suspect was arrested, was against interim Chief Toney Chaplin and made on Twitter, and the second was an anonymous caller saying he would pay for the killing of an officer. There’s nothing OK about either incident, even if they never come to fruition.

However, it’s going to be hard to win sympathy and understanding from the people you’re employed to protect when your union, along with the ones representing Oakland and San Jose police, takes out a full-page ad in the Chronicle that’s basically a giant middle finger.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with the ad - especially if you’re unfamiliar with recent San Francisco history. It asks that people acknowledge the difficult and dangerous job public safety workers do every day. But if you look closer, there’s a serious hidden message: honor us, not the people we kill.

Today, July 22, 2016, is supposed to be the first ever Mario Woods Day, which was so decreed by the Board of Supervisors in January. Woods is the man who was supposedly using a knife to threaten a bunch of cops surrounding him with their guns drawn in the Bayview District in December before he was fatally shot by said cops. It stirred a lot of debates about a lot of different things, and those debates - along with an investigation into the incident - are ongoing.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association was mad about the board’s move back in February, and apparently it still is.

Police have every right to stand up for themselves and their peers, just as Woods’ family and supporters have every right to hold a day of remembrance. It’s too bad they can’t be mutually exclusive, as this action from the police unions will only serve to further polarize police-community relations in parts of San Francisco. It’s likely police would say the same thing about Mario Woods Day, so that just leaves everyone angry and on opposite sides.

It’s also a shame that stories like the Wichita barbecue between police and Black Lives Matter are the exception. And it’s too bad that when Oakland police tried to do something similar, the idea was rejected
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Another Report Points Out Dire Mental Health Care Situation in SF County Jail

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 12:15 PM

  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner
For the second time in a month, a report on the state of inmate mental health in San Francisco has been released - which means for the second time in a month, we can wonder if anyone at City Hall is still paying attention to the crisis happening in the County Jail system and, in turn, on city streets.

San Francisco officials last year wanted the city to invest in alternatives to incarceration instead of a new jail, and that includes much more robust mental health care services. But since the Board of Supervisors rejected funding for a new jail in December, not much has happened save for a concept paper released in mid-June and now a grand jury report on the mental health crisis among inmates.

The concept paper and report are similar, pointing out that County Jail is the top provider of mental health care services in San Francisco (in case you’re curious, that’s not a title it should hold). And despite the inmate population declining over the years, one of the concept paper authors told SF Weekly earlier this month that the number of inmates needing mental health care has not dropped. And when those inmates are finally released, many end up homeless, living on the streets.

The heart of the concept paper is a four-tiered approach to mental health care that includes a place police can take suspects for evaluation before they’re locked up, in hopes that they can receive the proper care instead of a damaging and dangerous stint behind bars. In the grand jury report, recommendations include operating Jail Behavioral Health Services 24 hours a day, along with crisis and suicide prevention training for staff who work with inmates. Suicide is, according to the report, the top cause of death among inmates across the country.

Bay City News pointed out that the city is being sued by the family of Alberto Carlos Petrolino, a 50-year-old man who died by suicide while in County Jail. Family members and defense attorneys had warned that Petrolino was suicidal, but authorities did not provide the proper care and supervision. And Petrolino was not a violent offender, having been locked up because he violated a stay-away order that prevented him from going to the Golden Gate Bridge after threatening to jump off the span.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Department, which operates County Jail, said they will review the grand jury report. They are coordinating with the jail replacement working group to come up with plans for a new project, which are expected by the end of the year.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SFPD Thinks Cop in Recent Killing Will Be Key Department Reformer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM

click image After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians. - VIA JUSTICE FOR LUIS GÓNGORA PAT/YOUTUBE
  • via Justice for Luis Góngora Pat/Youtube
  • After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.
The San Francisco Police Department is currently in what you might call a predicament.

The bad PR has been piling up for months now, as have the bodies of citizens killed by officers. An ad hoc panel’s review just dropped, revealing a police force rife with racial profiling problems that’s backed up by a divisive, dangerous, and utterly tone deaf union. The cops’ cop of a chief is gone, and if you really want to lose all faith in the people who are supposed to protect and serve the public, then just go back over the last year-plus of stories about the text messages.

When things are this bad, it’s easy for the media to just shoot fish in a barrel. Which brings us to the latest WTF moment in recent SFPD history: One of the two officers responsible for the shooting death of Luis Gongora in the Mission District on April 7 is working for the new SFPD bureau tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.

Sgt. Nate Steger is one of only four officers working on these reforms for the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, the Examiner reports. (Toney Chaplin was directing the bureau before his promotion to interim chief.) The bureau is supposed to be integral in crafting new policies that would reduce police shootings, among other responsibilities.

Folks who spoke with the Examiner were pissed.

“It is shocking to hear that given that the Gongora case is still under investigation, that one of the officers involved, and thus may have been involved in misconduct, is working in a department unit heading reforms,” said Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission District. “It sends a horrible message to the Gongora family and the community at large. It is further proof that the department doesn’t get it and needs reform.”

“It seems very strange that they would put him in that position,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who appeared before the District Attorney’s Office’s panel reviewing SFPD. “It appears that he’s been put in a position of preventing people from doing exactly what he did. I would wonder what kinds of training he has received.”

“Wow. That’s insane,” said Ilych Sato, aka Equipto, a vocal opponent of SFPD and one of the Frisco 5 who went on a hunger strike after Gongora’s death.

It seems woefully contradictory for Steger to hold any position within this bureau, but that’s just civilian talk. We’re not experts like the Police Officers Association union, which comes up with gems like “[t]he reality for every San Francisco police officer is that you have become a political football for nearly every San Francisco politician, police commissioner, and self-promoting politico in this city” in its riveting monthly journal. Or threatens elected officials who dare disagree or challenge police conduct in this city. The union seems to control SFPD, and that’s not a good thing.

Maybe it’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

S.F. DA Promises To Come To Assaulted Cyclist's Aid

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Randall Dietel is a local cyclist, bent on enforcing the rules of the road at any cost. And he might just have an ally in the city’s top prosecutor.

On Tuesday, the same day as the vigil ride for the two cyclists killed last week in San Francisco, Dietel was downtown on his bike filming motorists trying to skirt around traffic by using the bike lane on Golden Gate Avenue. A motorcycle appears in the footage, weaving around traffic before coming to a stop in front of Dietel, who says “hi.”

Obviously not a fan of cameras or bicyclists, the motorcyclist swings his arm toward Dietel’s camera, making contact, and then speeds off as the camera falls to the ground. Dietel told KPIX 5 that he was not injured but hoped to figure out the identity of the motorcyclist.

He also took to Twitter with his story.

What he found was a sympathetic District Attorney George Gascón, ready to prosecute the motorcyclist Iif Dietel filed a police report, which he did, and there was enough evidence to go forward.

(It’s also worth noting that Dietel told KPIX that a dispatcher said it would take police more than an hour to respond after he called 911 to report the incident.) 

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Monday, June 27, 2016

VIDEO: ISIS Threatens San Francisco — Sort Of

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy." - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy."
San Francisco has the unfortunate honor of appearing in a new propaganda video for the Islamic State released Sunday, no doubt to coincide with the city’s massive Pride celebration, since persecution of LGBT people is a hallmark of deranged fundamentalists.

Several alleged terrorists appear on screen to praise Omar Mateen, the Orlando gay nightclub shooter, and Larossi Abballa, the man who attacked a French police officer and his family June 13, the day after the Orlando shooting.

The trio reportedly encourages more attacks in the U.S. and Europe, and this is when the footage of San Francisco starts to roll (Las Vegas is also threatened, likely for its questionable buffet restaurants). Were we recently visited by some famous fundamentalists?

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Police Presence Leads Social Justice Groups to Exit Social Justice-Themed Pride

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 3:05 PM

  • SF Examiner file photo

Pride weekend is here, and it's secure: Metal detectors will greet visitors to Pride's main stages at Civic Center on Sunday and all festivities will include a heightened police presence, measures taken following the June 12 slaughter of 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Pride's official theme this year is Racial and Economic Justice, a marked step away from corporate partying towards the gay rights' radical social justice roots. To that end, groups representing marginalized people of color — including Black Lives Matter and TGI Justice, which advocates for black trans people — were given prominent placement in the Pride Parade.

But no more. Saying that they are "more afraid of police than terrorists," activists from TGI Justice, Black Lives Matter, and other groups announced earlier Friday that they will withdraw from the Pride Parade.

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S.F. Cop Union Supported Death Penalty Measure, Even Before There Was a Measure

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 2:47 PM


California's various police officers don't necessarily love one another — L.A. cops look down at SFPD as a loose outfit, whereas SFPD scoffs at LAPD as a band of paramilitary, Hollywood-wannabe showboats — but they can agree on one thing: California should start killing people again, and pronto.

Nearly every law enforcement agency's lobbying arm in the state has signed on to support the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act, a voter initiative that promises to fast-track death sentences.

Currently, condemned prisoners are on Death Row for decades as their appeal process winds through the courts; if approved by voters in November, Reform and Savings would set a five-year limit for a death sentence's appeal process.

All executions have been on hold in California for more than 10 years, as legal squabbling over the cocktail used for lethal injections continues. But that hasn't stopped police lobbyists from pouring $1.2 million into the Reform and Savings effort, including $60,000 from the San Francisco Police Officers Association — which ponied up money before it endorsed the bill.

So early was the POA's support that it cut a check even before there was an official bill to support.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Sleeper Hold," Cops Shooting At Cars Central To Dispute Over S.F. Police Use of Force Policy

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 2:38 PM

click image The cartoid restraint - POLICE MAGAZINE
  • Police magazine
  • The cartoid restraint

Nationally, San Francisco police have a reputation as lovable, fuzzy pussycats. That's according to the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the city's police union, who have traditionally resisted most any change to the way they do business out on the streets. But following a string of fatal police shootings that cost former police Chief Greg Suhr his job, S.F. cops are finally due for a policy change. 

Last night, after a build-up of more than six months, the city's Police Commission finally approved some modest changes to city police's use-of-force policies. Various words in the use-of-force policy were swapped around — there was a debate over whether cops should use "minimal" force or "reasonable" force — and the new policy also forbids police from shooting at moving vehicles and applying a neck restraint called the "carotid artery hold," according to the San Francisco Examiner.

That all sounds reasonable enough. The compromise earned the praise of Mayor Ed Lee, who put police on notice that use-of-force would change following the Dec. 2 fatal shooting of Mario Woods. But the problem is none of it is final — and it could all blow up in everyone's faces.

Before the use-of-force policy is finalized, it must be reviewed one more time by the city's Department of Human Resources... and the POA. And the POA still has issue with "20 percent" of the policy, meaning the whole thing is potentially at risk, as the Chronicle reports.  

Two key disagreements — the "carotid artery restraint," seen above, and police's ability to shoot at cars.

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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.'"