The Vallejo Police Department was one of the topics of the May 2 season opener for NCS”s “United Shades of America,” entitled “Policing the Police,” which targeted on the need for police reform in America.
Vallejo’s observe document for police shootings and assault is so alarming that it has sparked nationwide tales in the New Yorker, The Appeal and The Guardian. The Department of Justice has stepped in to overview the VPD final summer season after the dying of Sean Monterrosa at the arms of the police in the Walgreens parking zone on June 2.
The metropolis has additionally declared a “state of emergency” as a result of its embattled police division. Chief Shawny Williams was employed 15 months in the past to start what the metropolis hoped can be an overhaul of the division, not solely to quell the police-involved shootings however to chop down on the tens of millions in lawsuits in the wake of the deaths or assaults.
On Sunday’s present, comic and activist W. Kamau Bell’s present United Shades of America traveled throughout the Bay Area to speak police reform and its impacts on communities.
Vallejo’s Geoffrey King was featured on the present and summed up why the VPD is getting a lot consideration. Citing the Pew Research Center and reporting finished by his personal unbiased, nonprofit information web site, Open Vallejo, King laid out some sobering statistics — a survey of 7,917 legislation enforcement officers over 54 businesses discovered that 73 p.c of officers nationally have by no means fired their weapons throughout their profession. For Vallejo, King stated, the quantity of officers who’ve shot at an individual is 40, based mostly on a snapshot of officers on responsibility in mid-2019 alone, and “at least one-third (14 officers) have been involved in at least two or more.”
King estimates that ten p.c of all the killings in Vallejo have been carried out by Vallejo officers.
“This place is saturated with the blood of people in this community,” he stated.
Bell additionally spoke with journalist Otis Taylor and his protection of the VPD for the San Francisco Chronicle (Taylor has not too long ago accepted a place of senior supervising editor for race and fairness at KQED). Taylor spoke of how he questioned the police account of the dying of Angel Ramos, killed by police on his again porch in 2017 after preventing with a minor.
Deputy District DA Sharon S. Henry launched a report on the taking pictures that absolved the officer that shot Ramos of any wrongdoing. The VPD alleged that Ramos was seen with a knife in his hand “making stabbing motions.”
“There is no way this happened the way the police said it happened,” Taylor informed Bell. “They were saying Angel was on top of someone, about to stab them, when the police officer, to save someone’s life, shot him… No knife was found on that porch… Even the minor told me, ‘There was no knife. We were fighting.”
But Bell additionally sat down with Williams and requested him some pointed questions about the shootings and scandals which have plagued the division, which Bell known as “the deadliest police force in Northern California.” The interview didn’t make it to the NCS airing, however excerpts of it are posted on the NCS web site, and the VPD launched its personal footage of it as properly.
Bell asks about the badge-bending scandal, which alleges that VPD officers bent again the prongs of the stars on their badges each time they killed a suspect.
“That matter is under investigation,” Williams stated. “Anyone that celebrates the killing of a human being by bending a badge is not fit to wear our patch.”
Bell then asks about the taking pictures of Monterrosa.
“My sympathy goes out to Sean’s family,” Williams stated. “One of the issues that I did after that occurred was to ask for a 3rd get together administrative investigation, which is the first time that this has occurred in the historical past of Vallejo. Those are unlucky circumstances. They’re tragic. And we need to guarantee the public that we’re doing every part that we need to to look critically at these incidents in order that we are able to enhance our processes.
Williams informed Bell that he modified the body-worn digicam coverage from “should” activate to “shall” activate throughout all encounters. He additionally stated that he has beefed up de-escalation coaching and desires to concentrate on neighborhood policing, which he says are robust neighborhood partnerships between residents, the police, the metropolis council, and others.
“We’re not perfect and everyone needs that helping hand. We rise by lifting others,” he stated. “We need to do it humbly. I think what we’re talking about is building relationships and the only way to do that is to understand that we need to have reconciliation. We need to restore the system, but its gonna have to be a collective responsibility.”
Williams not too long ago fired Lt. Michael Nichelini, and although the chief says that he can not focus on personnel issues, he launched a strongly-worded assertion final December about an e mail Nichelini despatched to Taylor, seemingly taunting him for his protection of the police.
Nichelini filed swimsuit in March for $7.5 million in opposition to Williams, City Manager Greg Nyhoff, Assistant City Manager Anne Cardwell, the metropolis council, former Mayor Bob Sampayan, and present Mayor Robert McConnell for “harassment, retaliation, and intimidation.”
“I cannot change the past,” Williams stated. “But I can impact the future and that’s what we are focused on.”
Full episodes of United Shades of America can be found on Hulu. The interviews with King and Williams are at present accessible on NCS.com, and prolonged cuts of Williams’ statements to Bell will be discovered right here: https://vimeo.com/544386093