By Doug Porter
As Wednesday morning’s gray skies crept over the city, the San Diego Police were called to State and E Streets, where a man was
fatally critically injured and set on fire. Police told NBC7 that a suspect was running from the area of the attack near the Federal Courthouse.
UPDATE: Initial reports saying this morning’s victim was dead are not true. The injuries were very serious, however.
UPDATE #2: SDPD and Mayor held a press conference. “Person of interests” is now officially considered a suspect. (See embedded Tweet Below)
“We are providing outreach to our homeless to warn them of the dangers we are facing & asking them for their help.” pic.twitter.com/3TUP6XZy4T
— San Diego Police (@SanDiegoPD) July 6, 2016
Two additional assaults on persons believed to be homeless were reported Wednesday morning. These attacks come on the heels of a 24-hour spree over the holiday weekend where two people were killed and another left with serious injuries.
Just an hour after the first incident Wednesday morning, two more attacks were reported. A man sitting at the Fifth and University bus stop–where many homeless people go after being released from emergency room care– was struck by an unknown object in the back of the head. A few blocks away a man sleeping on Third Ave., not far away from Mercy Hospital was struck in the head with a rock, according to police.
However, these attacks on the homeless may be part of a larger problem.
From the Guardian:
San Diego police are investigating a series of violent attacks against homeless people, including one man who was “badly burned” and killed, raising concerns that someone may be targeting vulnerable individuals living on the streets.
Police in the southern California city , which has long grappled with a large homeless population, said on Tuesday that they believe the same suspect is behind three gruesome attacks against homeless people over the weekend, including the two murders.
Officials said the department is also investigating whether the three attacks, which occurred within a 24-hour period, could be connected to a series of separate assaults against homeless people in the city in recent weeks. At least seven other homeless people have faced attacks in the last two weeks, police said.
According to the Union-Tribune:
The attacks over the holiday weekend come less than a month after six transients were hit over the head while sleeping on the streets near Horton Plaza, and two months after a homeless man was set ablaze in front of a Rite Aid in Oak Park. In April, a 50-year-old homeless man was beaten and kicked to death near his encampment in Santee. Three people have been charged in that case.
Police said there is no evidence suggesting any of the attacks are linked to the weekend’s incidents, but advocates said the steady tick of violence has taken its toll on those who live on the streets.
Meanwhile, KPBS sent a reporter to observe the Monday morning ‘sweeps,’ whereby a caravan of police vehicles regularly descends on the East Village, not far from PetcoPark site of the upcoming Major League All-Start game.
About 1,000 unsheltered people live downtown. The number has gone up 52 percent in the past two years, according to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. The increase has occurred at a time when the county’s overall homeless population has declined.
Seventeenth Street in the East Village is a popular spot for the homeless. It’s near a hub of public transportation — buses and trolleys — and charities that try to help the homeless…
…Just blocks away is Petco Park, where the All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday. It’s also near the San Diego Convention Center and Gaslamp Quarter hotels that will host the Comic-Con throngs later this month.
Advocates for the homeless say the weekly sweeps are an effort to hide the city’s downtown homeless problem before out-of-town tourists arrive. They say that’s the same reason jagged rocks suddenly appeared along a freeway underpass in the same area.
Advocates for the homeless are organizing for activities during the July 7-12 All-Star Game events, hoping to raise awareness among visitors about the persecution of people experiencing homelessness in the vicinity of Petco Park.
#SDPD needs your help to identify & locate the suspect(s) responsible for 2 homicides and a violent attack. pic.twitter.com/FqnW3103mq
— San Diego Police (@SanDiegoPD) July 5, 2016
On to other news…
Rep. Issa Had an Awkward Fourth of July
Democratic activist WildLilac posted a diary at Daily Kos about a July 4th meeting between Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Trump Supporter) and challenger Ret. Marine Col. Doug Applegate at the Rancho Santa Fe holiday parade.
Issa’s initial place in the Rancho Santa Fe parade line-up was immediately in front of our enthusiastic posse. We were on foot, while Issa was to ride in a convertible sponsored by Republican Women, with ZERO supporters to walk along side him.
When Issa showed up in the staging zone, Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery (Democrat in support of Applegate), walked over with Doug to introduce the candidates.
That turned out to be a challenge. When they first approached, Issa suddenly turned and walked rapidly across the parking lot while holding his phone to his ear. Apparently an important call had come in….
…Issa, clearly annoyed, showed his hand by making it clear that he felt threatened by the Colonel’s presence, which he had not expected. Issa said to Applegate (paraphrasing here):
I thought they didn’t allow campaigning in this parade.
I hope you can get the DNC to spend $8 million to make this an interesting race.
A few minutes later, Issa got into the convertible and drove off. Apparently he asked parade authorities to change his position in the line up to get away from us!
The Coronado Backstroke
Voice of San Diego reports that the City of Coronado is in denial when it comes to the likelihood of rising sea levels caused by climate change.
Plenty of studies have spelled out the risk facing Coronado, including a 2012 study by the San Diego Foundation, a 2013 study by Climate Central and a 2015 study by the Navy.
And the Navy – perhaps Coronado’s most significant resident – has stark concerns for the island over the next century.
Up to $3.7 billion in Naval assets and certain civil infrastructure are vulnerable to damage from sea-level rise and associated flooding, according to a worst-case scenario considered by the Navy. That scenario forecasts an ocean that rises 6.5 feet.
Maybe they can remodel the town in afew years, using Venice, Italy as a model.
Louisiana Police Shooting Triggers Protests
A bystander video of a violent confrontation between two Baton Rouge police officers ending in the death of a Black man selling videos outside a convenience store has triggered angry protests and promises of a Justice Department investigation.
From the Associated Press:
Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller indicated a man selling music CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.
Two officers responded and had some type of altercation with the man and one officer fatally shot the suspect, McKneely said. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy, he said.
The store’s owner, Abdul Muflahi, told WAFB-TV that the first officer used a Taser on Sterling and the second officer tackled the man. Muflahi said as Sterling fought to get the officer off of him, the first officer shot him “four to six times.”
UPDATE: The Daily Beast has obtained yet another (very graphic) video:
Despite being pinned down, one of the officers fired a gunshot into Sterling’s chest. Less than a second later, at least three more shots were fired. One officer is seen removing an object—it’s unclear what, exactly—from Sterling’s right pants pocket.
Sterling was still alive at this moment, moving his left arm and hand towards his face. By the time paramedics arrived, he was dead.
From USA Today:
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, calling the cellphone video of the fatal shooting of a black man by two Baton Rouge police officers “disturbing,” announced Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department will lead the investigation of the killing with the help of the FBI and state police.
He told reporters that the inquiry, originally in the hands of local police, would be handled “impartially, professionally and thoroughly.” He said the agency’s civil rights division would be in charge of the probe.
“I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing to say the least,” Edwards said.
The Guardian reports that Alton Sterling was the 558th person to dies at the hands of police in the United States in 2016.
From The Atlantic:
During a rally in North Carolina Tuesday evening, Donald Trump again praised Saddam Hussein, saying the former Iraqi dictator “killed terrorists.”
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy, a really bad guy,” he said.
“But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists.” Trump, who has previously called the Iraq War “one of the worst decisions in the history of the country,” added that Iraq is now “Harvard for terrorists.”
Really? Not even the normally right-wing people at Red State aren’t buying that bunk. From Moe Lane, following the last time (Back in February) The Donald made this claim:
…we know one thing for certain: Saddam Hussein did not fight terrorists. He enabled them. From ABC News, back in the day:
After 50 minutes of fiery speeches praising Saddam and Arafat and vilifying President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 Palestinians are called to the stage one by one. Each is handed a check — a gift from Saddam Hussein.
Each recipient is the mother, father, wife or other close relative of either a suicide bomber or someone killed in a clash with Israeli soldiers or security guards at settlements in the Gaza Strip or West Bank.
Today’s donation: a total of $285,000 — a princely sum in the economically distressed Gaza Strip.
But the victims were typically Jews, so apparently that doesn’t count. Well. It counts to me. And it counts to you. And it even counted to the international community, if only because they discovered in 2004 that Hussein pulled that money from the oil-for-food program and nobody likes to be the victim of a scam. But I guess that just means that we’re all losers. Unlike that Saddam Hussein, who was a bad guy and all that. But he made a living off of killing terrorists!
On This Day: 1885 – Louis Pasteur successfully tested his anti-rabies vaccine. The child used in the test later became the director of the Pasteur Institute. 1894 – Rail union leader Eugene V. Debs was arrested during the Pullman strike, described by the New York Times as “a struggle between the greatest and most important labor organization and the entire railroad capital” that involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak 1965 – The Jefferson Airplane was formed in San Francisco.
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Lori Saldaña says
In not-so-subtle ways, the City of San Diego has been referring to homeless people as “transients” and contributing to the idea that it is acceptable to treat them differently than “real” San Diegans- including confiscating their belongings and disrupting their attempts to live in community with others on the streets.
Consider what has happened in San Diego in recent months: We have seen Imperial Avenue gets jagged rocks instead of the requested safety lighting beneath the freeway, putting everyone at increased risk of being injured by a fall into the “rock garden.”
On a weekly basis, San Diego Police and “solid waste” management teams descend on “transient camps” – apparently, in preparation for the AllStar Game and ComicCon.
The 2017 Budget summary described the funding for their efforts this way (emphasis added):
“Citywide **Solid Waste** Code Enforcement Program
“Personnel and non-personnel expenditures associated with the Citywide Solid Waste Code Enforcement Program was transferred to the General Fund as part of the Zero Waste Plan. This Citywide program includes 18.00 FTE positions and provides **transient camp inspections and abatements**; illegal dumping and scavenging enforcements; hazardous waste investigations and violations. ”
It’s time for the Mayor and others to stop promoting language like this from within City Hall. Homelessness is not a “solid waste” problem. Homeless encampments provide a higher degree of safety and security than sleeping- alone- in other areas. Dismantling these camps on a weekly basis in an effort to drive people away from certain areas of downtown is disruptive, and adds to the challenges people living on the street already face.
Time to end the sweeps, and time to end the use the term “transient” for the people who are often are neighbors, family members, co-workers etc. and have fallen through the shredded safety net of social services.
Lori Saldaña says
Final observation: My condolences to the family and friends of the men who have been attacked and killed.
These men are not “transients.” They are known to people living and working nearby, and like many homeless people in San Diego, have likely lived and worked here themselves before losing their homes due to illness, loss of income, death in their family etc.- things many of us experience but are able to overcome with the support of others.
Moreover- these assaults began weeks ago. Other news stations have reported on attacks on homeless people sleeping downtown- a series that began over a week ago.
Despite these violent incidents, as of today: # of news releases, public statements, and/or safety warnings Mayor Kevin Faulconer has issued on this series of assaults & murders of homeless people in San Diego: 0
All points very well made…
A thought: might it be instructive, in some way, to continue that “…as of today: # of news releases, public statements…Faulconer has issued…” et al; and see how long that “0 (zero)” number continues to stand, untouched?
Lori Saldaña says
I heard he is doing a news conference at 3 pm today.
Have just read updated Starting Line column…
Lori Saldaña says
The good news: SDPD and Mayor Faulconer spoke today and announced they will do more outreach to homeless community members to advise them of these attacks.
What would make it even better: Let’s ask them to STOP the sweeps that disrupt homeless people’s already disrupted lives, and instead provide increased security and surveillance around encampments. These group sleeping areas have the potential to be much safer for people vs. when they are dispersed and alone, sleeping in areas away from others.
One report on the value of these supervised encampments noted these results:
“Police also keep a close eye on permitted encampments because of the safety concerns expressed by the community, but the worries of the community are often unfounded.83 In one neighborhood, the police conducted walkthroughs every day for the three months of the encampment’s stay.84 The police did not report a single problem during their walkthroughs.85 In fact, almost every call that came from the encampment consisted of encampment organizers notifying police that someone with an outstanding warrant was at the site.86” (see:
It’s past time for a shift from sweeps to supervised encampments for the chronically homeless who are now becoming targets for violence.
John Lawrence says
“Trump, who has previously called the Iraq War “one of the worst decisions in the history of the country,” added that Iraq is now “Harvard for terrorists.”” Well, the Iraq War was “one of the worst decisions in the history of the country.” Just because Trump said it does not make it not so.