In the Nolia, You Gotta Be Strong. If You Ain't, It's Gonna Break you. 

A new travelogue explores East Bay murder culture, Emeryville shoplifters come out punching, and BART quells graffiti but needs to confront groin-groping.

This travelogue spotlights East Bay drug deals, sideshows, and murder sites. One guide, rapper Johnny Castaneda (aka Fast Gunna), promises, "I'm gonna take you on a little tour around this motherfucker," meaning North Richmond. From Thizz Nation Films, begat by the local Thizz Entertainment record label begat by murdered rapper Mac Dre, the DVD Block Report (2007) updates the classic genre as hyphy guy J Stalin displays pried-apart metal fence railings "for running from the police" in Oakland's Cypress Village project: Cops "got those big ol' belts on and shit. They can't get through this ... You feel me?"

"What makes Cypress different is that you can get anything you need, anything you want. You can buy some clothes right here ... shoes ... ecstasy pills ... bootleg liquor ... socks. ... That's what makes my street unique."

In the East 28th Street/22nd Avenue district (aka the "Murder Dubbs"), MC Beeda Weeda passes a phalanx of liquor bottles marking where a pal was murdered: "Basically, this is how we keep they name alive." As a big-rimmed red car does doughnuts, he explains how sideshows happen: "It's 2:00. You're in the club, man. You still got a little alcohol in you. You still wanna holla at your bitches ... right?"

Right! And walking past a boarded-up house in North Richmond (aka the Nolia), Fast Gunna warns: "All them niggas who been buckin' them shots at all my cars and shit: I know y'all niggas and I'm tellin' you: You niggas gonna be next on one of them shirts." He and his crew wear T-shirts depicting a dead friend, reading "Man I Miss My Dawgg!"

"In the Nolia, you gotta be strong. If you ain't ... it's gonna break you. ... Thank you for coming to my block ... nigga."

Fast Gunna himself was murdered last March. Not in Richmond but, ironically, in Vallejo.

Pissed off yet again

Think it's infantile to harp on pee- and poo-related crimes in a sophisticated alt-weekly? But — or should we say "butt," ha ha — forced contact with others' bodily fluids is prohibited by laws galore. Section 4501.1.b of the California Penal Code, for example, punishes "intentionally placing or throwing, or causing to be placed or thrown, upon the person of another, any human excrement or other bodily fluids or bodily substances ... that results in actual contact with the person's skin or membranes." (In prison, it's called "gassing.") So the March 8 Piedmont Police report of "three male youths urinating in reservoir" is no joke. And the UC Berkeley Police classify as "assault with a deadly weapon" the March 11 incident in which dorm residents assembled in the Unit 3 courtyard after a fire alarm and, according to a UCPD e-mail, "bottles containing urine were thrown at them from the upper floors of Ida Sproul Hall. None of the bottles struck the victims, but as the bottles hit the ground they broke, splashing urine on nine victims." The tossers got away.

Crotch crisis

BART riders, guard your groins. Waking up on a Pittsburg train near West Oakland station on March 11, a fourteen-year-old "realized an adult male suspect was standing over him." According to a BART police report, "the suspect's hand was in the victim's pants, feeling the victim's groin." The pervy perp escaped. Trying to chat up a woman outside Bay Fair station on March 12, a man "suddenly reached out and touched the victim in the groin." He was booked for sexual battery.

Ta-ta, taggers

BART PD's celebrated anti-graffiti unit disbanded in January because "they did too good of a job," spokesman Linton Johnson tells Apprehension. "BART's once-terrible graffiti problem is all but eliminated thanks to the expertise of these officers. Their talent, combined with the network of cameras, put an end to the graffiti problem. The team found itself working with outside agencies to solve their graffiti problems because there were so few incidents at BART. Naturally, if there is graffiti on the system, we will assign those expert officers to track down the suspect — but only on an as-needed basis."

Now maybe they should get a team going on this groin thing.

Tough customers

Retail clerking continues to be risky in Emeryville. According to February police logs, at Abercrombie & Fitch last month, a young woman described as African-American, six feet tall, and 300 pounds "shoplifted a stack of shirts. Upon the manager making contact with the female, the female grabbed the manager by the throat, forced the manager to the ground, and fled." Exiting Shoe Pavilion, two undescribed girls "set off the alarm. ... A store employee attempted to make contact with the juveniles; however, a male juvenile held back the employee and struggled with the employee as the females fled on foot. The male juvenile fled the scene on foot shortly thereafter." At Coach, "an irate male customer struck an employee in the face with a key chain." What's to get so mad about at Coach? I ... hate ... denim shoulderbags, goddamn you!


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