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Justice demanded for "stolen lives"

United Against Police Terror San Diego group stages protest

Bryan Kim, right, addresses media
Bryan Kim, right, addresses media

A police watchdog group gathered in front of the San Diego Police Department's downtown headquarters on Monday (January 4) to demand a thorough accounting of what they say are hundreds of deaths at the hands of police in cases dating back three decades or more.

"In San Diego County, we have no comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, but we believe such an accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force," says Catherine Mendonca, an organizer for United Against Police Terror San Diego. "The mission of our campaign is to demand justice for stolen lives. We're publishing this list to let the public know that we are keeping track.

"We demand a full investigation of every person documented as having been killed by police or having died in police custody, and for full transparency into the involved officers' status, including any discipline that followed," Mendonca continued. "We also demand that law-enforcement agencies establish an 'early warning' system to identify officers that have been involved in an inordinate number of physical force incidents."

Such early-warning systems are not new. A recent report estimated that up to 39 percent of law-enforcement organizations already use them, though poor implementation of the programs has led to few disciplinary actions even in agencies where they're currently deployed.

Activist Bryan Kim used the April 2014 police shooting death of Fridoon Nehad, and the subsequent resistance by police in releasing video of the incident to illustrate what he called a "dramatic need for our police departments to find non-lethal solutions." Nehad was mentally ill and living on the streets in the Midway District when the shooting occurred. He was also unarmed at the time of the conflict.

"Mr. Nehad suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, as many of our homeless population do. When over one quarter of our homeless population throughout the country suffer from some form of mental health issue, it seems clear that police need training on non-lethal solutions when handling the mentally ill," said Kim. "Anyone who's done work with someone with post-traumatic stress can tell you that rolling up with your sirens blaring and jumping out with a gun pointed while screaming to get on the ground is almost absolutely going to trigger that person, make them non-compliant and make it highly likely that the situation will escalate."

Mendonca said the names on her group's banner — and the more than 400 dead listed on the group's website — included those killed by officers both on and off duty (some were retired), along with border protection and highway patrol officers and security guards with "police grade weapons."

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Bryan Kim, right, addresses media
Bryan Kim, right, addresses media

A police watchdog group gathered in front of the San Diego Police Department's downtown headquarters on Monday (January 4) to demand a thorough accounting of what they say are hundreds of deaths at the hands of police in cases dating back three decades or more.

"In San Diego County, we have no comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, but we believe such an accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force," says Catherine Mendonca, an organizer for United Against Police Terror San Diego. "The mission of our campaign is to demand justice for stolen lives. We're publishing this list to let the public know that we are keeping track.

"We demand a full investigation of every person documented as having been killed by police or having died in police custody, and for full transparency into the involved officers' status, including any discipline that followed," Mendonca continued. "We also demand that law-enforcement agencies establish an 'early warning' system to identify officers that have been involved in an inordinate number of physical force incidents."

Such early-warning systems are not new. A recent report estimated that up to 39 percent of law-enforcement organizations already use them, though poor implementation of the programs has led to few disciplinary actions even in agencies where they're currently deployed.

Activist Bryan Kim used the April 2014 police shooting death of Fridoon Nehad, and the subsequent resistance by police in releasing video of the incident to illustrate what he called a "dramatic need for our police departments to find non-lethal solutions." Nehad was mentally ill and living on the streets in the Midway District when the shooting occurred. He was also unarmed at the time of the conflict.

"Mr. Nehad suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, as many of our homeless population do. When over one quarter of our homeless population throughout the country suffer from some form of mental health issue, it seems clear that police need training on non-lethal solutions when handling the mentally ill," said Kim. "Anyone who's done work with someone with post-traumatic stress can tell you that rolling up with your sirens blaring and jumping out with a gun pointed while screaming to get on the ground is almost absolutely going to trigger that person, make them non-compliant and make it highly likely that the situation will escalate."

Mendonca said the names on her group's banner — and the more than 400 dead listed on the group's website — included those killed by officers both on and off duty (some were retired), along with border protection and highway patrol officers and security guards with "police grade weapons."

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Comments
8

Get rid of the Dumanis and Gore duo. That would be a healthy start.

Jan. 4, 2016

How about Zimmerman, too? She's no reformer, just another "old boy" girl, up from the SDPD ranks of idiots.

Jan. 4, 2016

Oh yeah, I forgot the other "good 'ol boy" Zimmerman. (S)he is also in bed with these d-bag politicians in helping continue the decades of covering up police abuse.

Jan. 4, 2016

If Kev-boy would stop chasing the Chargers, and start being the mayor, he might find time and energy to fix the streets, fix the water system, fix the sewer lines, and make a start on fixing the SDPD and the Fire-Rescue Dept. All of the above are crying for attention and reform. Nah! More fun to have Fabiani spit in his face than get down to un-glamorous details like infrastructure.

Jan. 4, 2016

F-boy doesn't care. He has his eye on higher office. He will be running for higher office. No doubt about it. Sad. We are San Diego.

Jan. 4, 2016

If you are having issues with your family or neighbors do not call the police. If you see a mentally ill person that needs help do not call the police. If you see a crime in progress do not call the police. If you are a victim of a crime do not call the police. If you fear the police do not call them. While there have been some officer involved deaths the majority were caused by the actions of the dirt bag. If you are stopped by the police comply with his/her commands. If you believe he/she is wrong comply anyway. There are many lawyers just waiting for your case. For all of you who hate the cops you should go on a ride along and see just what the average cop faces everyday then go through a "shoot don't shoot" exercise and see what it is like to have to make a decision and act in milliseconds.

Jan. 5, 2016

Police officers should be trained to deescalate situations using non-violent force tactics. Our cops need to ALWAYS have their body cameras on and filming when interacting with the public. That footage should be available to the public and officers should be held accountable.

No one here in their right mind would argue against a good cop doing a good job for their community. What we have here in San Diego is clearly a problem with police compliance in respect to public transparency and integrity. They need to be held accountable for their actions and only do the job they were hired to do, which is bring those who are breaking the law into our court system - not dole out street justice where ever and whenever they see fit.

Our Police Departments across the entire country need sweeping reforms. The way we police now and the systems they follow are outdated.

Feb. 22, 2016

Chris Rock's video has gone from humor to common sense, and should be mandatory in schools. Language not safe for work, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0mtxXEGE8

Jan. 5, 2016

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