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Barbara Lee: ‘Hands up/don’t shoot’ for Garner

Barbara Lee tweet 12-3-2014

UPDATE @ 4:52 P.M.: Here’s Lee’s full statement:

“My heart continues to go out to Eric Garner’s family and community.

“I am, like so many others, outraged by today’s verdict. The Department of Justice should act immediately to investigate this tragedy and ensure justice is done.

“We cannot allow the senseless murders of black men to continue.

“These tragedies have been happening for many years. But the recent high profile cases of injustice for the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown have and should spark a national debate and long overdue action to address the structural and institutional racial biases in our nation.

“In 2009, my community experienced a similar tragedy with the murder of Oscar Grant.

“I stand with those moved by this tragedy to peacefully make their voices heard and I urge police to respect people exercising their First Amendment rights.

“As a nation and community, we must come together like never before to take the long overdue action necessary to address police misconduct, criminal justice reform and ensure equal justice for everyone.”

0

Swalwell honors slain BART cop on House floor

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, honored slain BART Police Sgt. Tom Smith Jr. – who was killed by a fellow officer’s bullet during a search last week in Dublin – on the House floor Tuesday.

“There is no person more worthy of respect and tribute than he or she who lays down their own life while working to protect others.

“Today, it is with great sadness that I wish to honor Bay Area Rapid Transit Sgt. Thomas Smith, whose end of watch came too early when he was tragically killed on January 21 of this year.

“Sgt. Smith, known as Tommy to his family and friends, is from a law enforcement family that knows all too well the daily risks of wearing a badge and serving the community as a police officer. Sgt. Smith’s wife Kellie also works as a police officer, as do his two brothers, Ed and Pat. Also his brother-in-law, Todd. So aware were Sgt. Smith and his family of the personal danger they faced in their jobs, that they had a rule about what they would say to each other whenever they would leave each other’s company: Never say goodbye. You only tell each other, ‘be safe.’

“But Sgt. Smith is not a hero because of how he died. He is a hero because of how he lived. On the job, Sgt. Smith worked honorably every day, not just the day we lost him, to protect our community. But Sgt. Smith cared most about his family; nothing else was even a close second, as his own Lieutenant described earlier last week. Sgt. Smith took every opportunity to spend time with who he called his ‘girls:’ his wife Kellie and their 6 year-old daughter, Summer.

“May we always remember Sgt. Smith and how he lived so honorably for us. And may Sgt. Smith now watch over us from above, as he always did on Earth, to make sure all of us can ‘be safe.’”

11

Bill proposed to regulate toy guns’ appearance

State lawmakers will introduce a bill regulating toy guns so that they don’t look too much like the real thing, in reaction to a Santa Rosa boy’s fatal shooting by a police officer last month.

Real rifle and toy rifleThis “Imitation Firearm Safety Act” would define what an imitation firearm is and what they must look like to differentiate real guns from fake guns. For now, state law doesn’t include paintball, airsoft and bb guns in its legal definition of imitation weapons.

“Currently these copycat toys are manufactured to be virtually indistinguishable from real firearms,” state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, said in a news release. “Because the use of lethal force against a person carrying an imitation firearm is a significant threat to public safety, toys must look like toys and not lethal weapons.”

Andy LopezAndy Lopez, 13, was shot dead Oct. 22 in Santa Rosa by a sheriff’s deputy who believed the airsoft gun Lopez carried was a real AK-47-type rifle.

Evans is co-authoring the bill with state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael. In reaction to a similar shooting in Los Angeles, De Leon carried a bill in 2011, SB 798, that would have required all BB, pellet and airsoft guns to be painted a bright color.

“This will give police an opportunity to easily identify toy guns for what they really are and avoid these types of tragedies,” De Leon said in Friday’s news release. “Toy gun replicas do not belong on the streets. They endanger children, teens and law enforcement. We can easily protect everyone involved with this simple solution. My strongest hope is that we can enact legislation this time so that no more families are forced to suffer the terrible grief the Lopez family has suffered today.”

A 1990 Department of Justice study found that there are more than 200 incidents per year in which imitation guns are mistaken for real firearms, the lawmakers said.

Levine called Lopez’ death “unfathomable, gut wrenching, and tragic.”

“When a child is playing with a toy gun, there must be no doubt that the toy is not a real gun,” he said. “Consequently, we need a law that fully protects our families from tragedies like this. I am proud to co-author this important legislation.”

Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed De Leon’s SB 1315 to let cities within the County of Los Angeles enact local ordinances more restrictive than state law regulating the manufacture, sale, possession, or use of any BB device, toy gun, or replica of a firearm that substantially similar to existing firearms.

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Bonta helps raise money for slain child’s funeral

Here’s a role no lawmaker should ever have to play: helping to raise funds to cover the funeral expenses of a murdered child from his district.

Alaysha Carradine   (Family photo)Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s campaign sent out an e-mail this morning soliciting donations to help cover the funeral and burial costs for Alaysha Carradine, 8, who was killed last week during a sleepover at a friend’s home when someone sprayed the friend’s Oakland apartment with gunfire. Two other children were wounded.

“Now, a family which should have been buying clothes and supplies for third-grade is faced with funeral and burial expenses they cannot afford,” said the e-mail from Bonta, D-Oakland.

Bonta chairs the Assembly’s Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay, which held its first hearing May 17 in Oakland.

Bonta’s e-mail says he and other East Bay figures including Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf and Lynette McElhaney as well as Port of Oakland Commissioner (and mayoral candidate) Bryan Parker have joined with the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence to raise the funds online.

All contributions are tax-deductible and any funds raised over the target amount will be donated to the foundation and used to help defray burial expenses for other children who might become victims of gun violence.

0

Eshoo moves to name post office for slain soldier

A Mountain View post office would be named for a slain Iraq war hero, under a bill by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

Eshoo’s H.R. 6260 would rename the facility at 211 Hope St. as the Lieutenant Kenneth M. Ballard Memorial Post Office.

Ballard, 26, died in Najaf, Iraq on May 30, 2004 when a M-240 machine gun mounted on his vehicle accidentally fired. The Army initially had reported Ballard was killed by small arms fire during a battle with insurgents, and didn’t inform his family of the truth until more than a year later.

Ballard had served in the Army for almost nine years, and was awarded the Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars, two with Valor Device. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Lieutenant Ballard demonstrated great courage and heroism throughout his military career,” Eshoo said in a news release. “He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and he should be remembered and honored by our community.”

Introduced Aug. 1, Eshoo’s bill now has the support of California’s entire 52-member House delegation, a necessary step before it can be considered by the House Oversight Committee. The legislation also is supported by the Mountain View City Council.

Born in Rome, N.Y., Ballard and his family moved to Mountain View in 1981. After graduating from Mountain View High School in 1995, he enlisted in the Army and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. He went on to serve in Germany, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Iraq. He won a “Gold to Green” Army ROTC Scholarship and attended Middle Tennessee State University, but after graduation returned to Germany and was then deployed to Iraq.

25

Bay Area politicos speak about Libya slayings

Here’s what some California politicos are saying about the slaying of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

From Gov. Jerry Brown:

“All Californians mourn the loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other three Americans killed in Libya on September 11th. As a graduate of Piedmont High School and UC Berkeley, Ambassador Stevens represented the very best that California and the United States have to offer. His dedicated service to our country and our world will never be forgotten.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“I am heartbroken by the loss of four Americans in Libya, including United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, a Californian who dedicated his life to service and diplomacy.

“These extraordinary public servants were working to help the Libyan people build a better future and will go down in history for their contributions to the cause of peace and freedom.

“Today we must all stand together to honor the service of these exemplary Americans and commit ourselves to bringing the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families and loved ones of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans killed in this vicious and heinous attack against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. We condemn this brazen assault in the strongest possible terms.

“These American diplomats served on the front lines of our efforts to work with the Libyan people toward a future of democracy, freedom, justice, and stability. Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those who perpetrated this violent act.

“On my visit to Libya and the region earlier this year, I met with some of the courageous foreign service officers representing our nation in the Middle East, despite enormous risk to their own safety. As we mourn the loss of the Americans in Benghazi, we pay tribute to all of the men and women standing their post abroad on behalf of our values and our partnerships across the globe.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi and I extend my thoughts and prayers to the families, friends and loved ones of all the victims of these heinous acts. Among those killed was a son of California and the Bay Area, Ambassador Chris Stevens, who attended Piedmont High School and Cal Berkeley in my congressional district. By any account, his service to our nation was exceptional. Those who knew him well describe him as an “unflappable” diplomat. Certainly, his service, and the service of those lost must be held up as an example of what is best about our nation and the better, stronger future for our country they were working to achieve.”

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo:

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic killings of Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and three State Department workers in Benghazi, Libya who worked toward the development of democratic institutions in the war-torn country. I strongly condemn the acts of violence by extremists who attacked the consulate.

“Ambassador Stevens, a Northern California native, dedicated his professional life to conflict resolution and aiding countries in transition from conflict to peace.

“He, and the other State Department workers and their families are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.”

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:

“Last night, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens who grew up in my district, lost their lives in a senseless, coldblooded and violent attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The families of those we lost are in our thoughts and prayers. And those responsible will be brought to justice.

“Now is not the time for politics or politically provocative language. Now is a time to honor these brave Americans and ensure that all American diplomats serving the United States are safe, and their mission of international peace and partnership is continued.”

From Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield:

“I strongly condemn the murder of Ambassador Stevens and the three other members of the diplomatic mission to Libya. These men and women dedicated themselves to selflessly serving our country and partnering with the Libyan people to build a new democratic government. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these patriots. Their legacy of service will live on.”

From Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto:

“I condemn the violent assault on our consulate in Benghazi and Embassy in Cairo, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other brave Americans who lost their lives. There is never justification for such violence, and the United States remains committed to liberty, democracy and religious tolerance throughout the region and the world.”