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Feature Archives

The staff at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, have formed the Ella Baker Workers Association, a staff union, and have selected the Communications Workers of America to serve as the EBWA’s collective bargaining representative. EBC’s management team has voluntarily recognized the formation of a union to represent its staff. Both staff and management assert that the formation of the union aligns with Ella Baker’s legacy and the organization's longstanding support for unionization, collective bargaining, and worker voice on the job.
Dejuan Hall was brutally beaten by Vallejo police officer Spencer Muniz-Bottomley on March 10, then he was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. Hall does not face any charges related to the reason police were called on him as he was not breaking any laws. His next court appearances are on Friday, April 7 and then again on Monday, April 10. Hall's trial is set for Wednesday, April 12. Advocates state, "Pretrial hearings are important to attend as lack of pre-trial court support gives the District Attorney's office leverage to intimidate innocent people into taking plea deals."
Luis Góngora Pat was a 45-year-old indigenous Mayan Mexican, an immigrant worker, and a family man who supported his wife and three children in southern Mexico. On April 7, 2016, his life was brutally taken by SFPD. Luis’s killing was at the nexis of several struggles faced by low income people of color: indigenous peoples’ struggles, housing rights, illegal evictions, immigrant rights, dignified wage labor, homelessness, racial profiling and discrimination, police brutality and utter impunity for killing Black and Brown residents. On Friday, April 7, the one year anniversary of his death, Luis’s family will march against police terror in the so-called Sanctuary City of San Francisco.
Miguel Masso was hired by the Oakland Police after leaving his job in New York City in 2007 in the wake of a torture lawsuit. After killing Alan Blueford in 2012, Masso resigned from the Oakland Police Department in late spring of 2014 in the aftermath of the lawsuit brought by the Blueford family against the City of Oakland. He quickly found another job with the Hollister Police Department in August of 2014. Now, after being pulled over by Masso on January 27, 2017, Hollister resident Earl Malanado was physically and verbally abused by Masso. Malanado believes he barely escaped with his life.
Mike Zint & JP Massar write: What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. Stability that the housed take for granted. A lack of stability means the homeless barely survive. Figuring out how to exist with no sense of safety and security and nowhere to go, worrying about the police yet having committed no crime, takes all that someone has. Sometimes it’s too much and a short note appears in a local paper.
On March 13, a judge in the US District Court in Oakland denied a motion to dismiss charges in the case of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old woman killed by Emeryville police on February 3, 2015. Henderson’s family is seeking damages from the Emeryville police department for wrongful death, as well as changes to city policies on police use of force. The motion filed by the Emeryville police department claimed there was nothing for a jury to decide in the lawsuit, because officers Michelle Shepard and Warren Williams had a reasonable fear for their safety. Monday’s ruling means the lawsuit will go forward.
On March 11, 2017, videos were uploaded to social media showing police in Vallejo, California brutalizing an individual who may have been experiencing mental health issues. The incident took place Friday, March 10 on Fairgrounds Drive in front of the Valero gas station. The Vallejo police officer captured on video punching and bashing with a flashlight has been identified as Spencer Bottomley, an ex-Marine. Bottomley was named in a strikingly similar brutality case, Derrick Lamoris Shields vs. City of Vallejo, for an incident on the night of April 11, 2016. According to the statement of claims, five Vallejo police officers "violated Plaintiff's rights [...] when they subjected Plaintiff to excessive and/deadly force and assault and battery."