Call for Independent Federal Investigation in Mario Woods Killing
The Lawyers representing the Woods’ family called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) for an independent federal investigation into the Dec. 2 killing of Mario Woods at the hands of San Francisco police officers.
At a press conference on Monday, Jan.18, attorney John Burris said he sent a letter to the DOJ requesting an independent investigation into the Woods’ killing, along with an examination of whether the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has a pattern of unfair policing against minority communities.
The District Attorney, SFPD and Office of Citizen Complaints have all initiated separate investigations into Woods’ death, although Burris made clear that these judgments will be insignificant until an independent federal investigation ensues.
Police Chief Greg Suhr asked the DOJ to conduct a review of the department’s use of force. Burris and other attorneys representing the Woods family said Suhr is not capable of ensuring reform due to his inability to appropriately handle other shooting incidents in the past.
Brazen Killing on BART
A suspect aboard a San Francisco bound BART train opened fire on a man as the car pulled into the West Oakland station around 7:40 p.m. on Jan. 9.
The victim, identified by BART police as 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect took off on foot and was last seen near the 99 Cents Only Store on Seventh Street across from the train station entrance, BART police said.
BART police released surveillance images on Wednesday, Jan. 13, of the suspect entering the station at Pittsburg/Bay Point shortly before the shooting occurred. The suspect, described being roughly 6 foot four inches, slim build and bald, was seen wearing a dark green jacket with a hood, jeans and beige boots.
Settlement reached in Public High School “Sham Classes”
A settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit stating that students at Castlemont and Fremont High Schools in Oakland, as well as four other public high schools in Los Angeles, were not receiving adequate class time in comparison to other, more affluent schools in the state.
The suit cited “sham classes” that had students perform office duties or pick up trash.
Civil rights attorneys sued the state Department of Education and Board of Education, saying that the state, not the school districts, is responsible for every child receiving equal learning time in schools.
The state Board of Education approved a settlement on Nov. 5, 2015 that requires the state to monitor students assigned to non-educational classes and provide scheduling assistance when needed. The board must pay $400,000 in attorney fees.
Revised Propositions for Balboa Reservoir Project
The Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Balboa Reservoir housing project proposed several alterations to the project’s parameters in the Jan. 11 meeting.
Transportation, urban design, open space and housing are areas of the project which have been discussed publicly at a series of monthly CAC meetings over the past year.
These changes are the CAC and planning department’s interpretation of public input about the project, and though subject to further revision, will be used in the city’s Request For Proposal (RFP) in upcoming months.
The housing parameters will include a mix of 500 rental and ownership units. Living units designated as “family friendly” will have at least two bedrooms. Targeted housing (for the elderly, disabled, etc.) is still officially under consideration.
At the ground level, several spaces will be rented to private businesses. Open space requirements are still undecided between the required 80 square feet of private space per unit or 60 feet of public space per unit.
The overall parking provisions of the housing have been revised to allow one space for each family unit, and one per four student units. This would mean a total of no more than 250 spaces.
Revised parameters for other areas of the project should be released by March at the latest, with the RFP process beginning soon after.