Statement by WAG President A. Majadi
WAG voted Monday to request an Investigation be conducted by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of the Department of Justice and California Attorney General, Kamala Harris of the Department of Justice into Police Abuse cases against its citizens of color in San Bernardino City.
In light of the recent police shooting and killing of Anthony Paul Gilmore Jr., a 23-year-old African American male on February 29th, by a San Bernardino police officer Westside Action Group (WAG) has decided to move up its preliminary investigation report of police shootings, and use of excessive force by officers against citizens in the performance of their duty to apprehend suspects while defending the public. The shooting of Gilmore comes on the heels of a recommendation by a judge that the city settle another case, Jerriel DeShawn Allen, because it was a bad case according to the judge. This case cost the city $575,000 and the loss of life of 19-year-old Jerriel Allen. Both of these victims were African American. Over the past several years WAG has had many complaints from citizens of police abuse and it appears it is getting worse instead of improving under various chiefs and council member changes.
While this initial report is only the beginning it will illustrate WAG’s concerns and the need for us to submit this request for your office to open an investigation into the matter.
According to the city council agenda of February 21, 2012, San Bernardino City Attorney Jim Penman presented a list of 23 open legal cases filed against the city and is requesting council action for more money to defend the city against police actions. These families say the police used inappropriate actions in the performance of their duty. While the financial cost to defend these cases will eventually be known to all of us, the cost of these human lives and suffering by families and community will only be known by God our creator.
Penman is requesting funds to defend the open cases for: Allen, J. A.; Ballard, Monica; Barnes, Yvonne; Briones, Hector; Brown, James J.; Darrett, Raynard V.; Maria Chacon; E. M. W. a minor; Ellison, Nykisha Mone; Joaquin, Francisco Yovani Sanchez; Markham, Terrell; May, Cedric Sr.; Benny Medina; Mejia, Maria D.; Monroe, Monica; Munzo, Jose; Nash, Terry, Parker Donvoan; Quiroga, Rogelio G.; Renter, Rovinski; Rev. Michael Anthony; Robinson, Billie Ray and Samatua, Mekione. Other cases that have been before the council are. Arlene Brooks; Jonneshia Reese; Edward King Jr. and Frank Ingram.
It is unclear from this list if all of these cases are police related, however, we know that the vast majority of these names are from police generated actions based on other reports and we will continue to investigate. We will be submitting a request to the city clerk’s office for more definite information on these cases.
There is a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. standing in front of City Hall who was a Drum Major for Justice and said “an unjustice anywhere is a threat to justice every where”. We believe there is injustice in this city at this time for Blacks and Latinos. We are moving forward with this request and action because we believe all citizens should enjoy the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness without fear of being harassed by our police force with regard to there race, religion, gender or status as citizens.
A new council took its oath of office to make policy on behalf of all citizens and not be influenced by the large financial contributions from the police and firefighter associations. However, we know that these associations have contributed thousands of dollars to elect them as public safety mouthpieces. For examples, in Ward 2 the combined financial campaign contribution of police and firefighter association amounted to 93.8% and was 98.3% in Ward 3 of there total contributions. This does not include the door to door walking and phone calling to voters.
Another issue is this city is comprised of over 75% Latinos, African Americans and Asians citizens combined while the fire department is 73.7% White and the police department is 60.7% White. Only 6.7% of the fire department employees and 11.9% of the police department employees live within the city limits. Thus taking over $40 million dollars in salaries out of San Bernardino city each and every year; where 34.6% of the people living in San Bernardino live below the poverty rate and is listed as the second poorest city in the nation and the poorest in California according to the US Census Department.
We want to impress upon this council and community that we will continue to press forward until “Justice rolls down like water and Righteousness like a mighty stream,” Amos 5:24 for all citizens living in San Bernardino.
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