Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Father of 1-Year-Old Victim Won’t Talk to Cops; Berkeley Fire Caused By Electrical Short

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The father of 1-year-old Hiram Lawrence, who was gravely injured when he was shot in the head Monday in West Oakland, is refusing to help police find the perpetrators, the Bay Citizen reports, citing anonymous sources. The lack of cooperation with police is commonplace in Oakland and is one of the reasons why most violent crimes go unsolved each year in the city. In this instance, investigators suspect that the shooting, which left seven people injured, including little Hiram and his father, may have stemmed from an ongoing feud between rival West Oakland gangs. They also suspect that little Hiram’s father knows the identities of the shooters.

2. The massive fire that destroyed a Telegraph Avenue apartment building and ruined two popular restaurants was caused by an electrical short in the building’s elevator machinery, the Chron reports. Residents of the apartment building have said that it has been plagued by electrical problems over the years. The blaze displaced about seventy residents and destroyed Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar and Grill.

3. A federal judge seemed reluctant yesterday to impose an injunction against the Oakland police department for alleged violations of its own crowd-control policies during two clashes with Occupy Oakland demonstrators, Bay City News reports. Judge Richard Seeborg said in court that injunctions typically require more than two instances of police misconduct. But an attorney for the ACLU and the National Lawyers’ Guild, which are seeking the injunction, argued that police over-the-top responses to Occupy protests are dissuading others from attending demonstrations and exercising their free speech rights.

4. The CSU board of directors has put off a planned vote that would raise the salaries of campus presidents out of fears of massive protests, the Chron reports. The vote was scheduled for this Monday, but has now been delayed. UC Regents came under fire for voting to raise the salaries of top administrators earlier this week despite protests from Occupy demonstrators who are upset about repeated tuition hikes.

5. UC Davis Police Lieutenant John Pike, who gained notoriety for pepper spraying peaceful Occupy protesters, is a member of the 99 Percent and has been mired in personal financial problems, the Bay Citizen reports. Pike recently went bankrupt even though he makes more than $110,000 annually.

6. Ex-Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, whom UC President Mark Yudof tapped to investigate the UC Davis pepper-spray scandal, has created controversy on other college campuses in the past, the Bay Citizen reports. Bratton’s consulting firm sparked a backlash at Brown University early last decade when it recommended that campus police carry firearms. Many Occupy protesters say Bratton is the wrong person to investigate the UC Davis incident.

7. The number of California school-age children living in poverty skyrocketed by 30 percent in the past decade, the Tribune reports, citing new Census data. A whopping 20 percent of kids aged five to seventeen now live in poverty in the state.

8. And California children are woefully out-of-shape as well. The Chron reports that one-third of school-age kids have so much body fat that they’re considered to be at risk for health problems. In addition, only one-third of students are healthy enough to complete the state’s physical fitness test.

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