Burris

25 Jun 19
The Mercury News
WALNUT CREEK — A Walnut Creek man suffering from mental illness who was shot to death by police earlier this month ran in the direction of officers with a crowbar, ignored their commands and terrorized his grandmother, video footage and 911 tapes released by authorities showed. Miles Hall, 23, died June 2, after two of the five Walnut Creek officers who responded to Sandra Court and Arlene Lane fired handguns at him. The five responded there after relatives and neighbors reported he was having a mental breakdown. Hall’s family has filed a civil claim against police, saying they violated his civil rights by not using effective de-escalation tactics. Hall’s family has acknowledged he suffered from mental illness, and that Walnut Creek police had worked with his family over the previous four years to get Hall help. On Tuesday, police released footage from body cameras worn by responding officers, as well as home security video of the incident and five 911 calls — including those from his grandmother and mother. They also released a picture of the metal bar police say Hall held as a weapon and a picture of a shattered sliding glass door that his grandmother told 911 operators he shattered. In a YouTube video introducing the officers’ body camera footage and other details about the incident, Walnut Creek Police Chief Tom Chaplin said the department was committed to “transparency.” “The members of our police department are deeply saddened by this incident,” Chaplin said. “Our officers train regularly to avoid using force and to de-escalate volatile and violent situations. It’s my hope that releasing this information will help the community understand the events that took place.” Body camera video from one of the officers, as well as image from a home security camera, shows officers arriving on the scene, as Hall runs toward them holding a pointed metal bar. Police say it was just short of 5 feet long and weighed 15 pounds. The videos clearly show Hall running, but they do not appear to show that his intent was to use the bar on the officers. The footage also appears to confirm the police version of events that Hall did not listen to police commands to stop running. They also show officers trying to save his life, with one even yelling at one point, “Miles, keep breathing. Stay with us.” One officer fired bean bags at Hall as he ran, but the videos show that few things the officers’ did slowed Hall down. He even tried to get up and run from officers after being mortally wounded, before they wrestled him back down to the ground while yelling at him to comply. Before officers arrived, Hall could be heard loudly in a 911 call threatening his grandmother and yelling expletives. John Burris, the civil rights attorney representing Hall’s family, said the video footage confirmed what he and their investigator had been told by witnesses, namely that Hall did “not appear that he was threatening the officers or creating any imminent threat to their lives.” “Frankly, it appeared that he was running past them, he was trying to avoid them,” Burris said, adding that Halls was not using the bar in “a deadly manner.” The department has identified the five officers who responded to the incident as: Officer Tammy Keagy, Sgt. Holley Connors, Officer KC Hsiao, Officer Matt Smith, and Officer Melissa Murphy. All five officers were placed on administrative leave while the department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office review the incident. Police have not identified the two officers who fired their guns. Walnut Creek police spokeswoman Detective Sgt. Tracie Reese said the incident was the ninth one since 2015 involving Hall, and that four of the five officers who responded had completed crisis intervention training within the past year. Two others were trained in crisis negotiation, and one worked extensively with Hall’s family to find solutions to his issues. Hall’s mother, Taun Hall, said earlier this month that the family had  worked previously with Keagy — a 17-year veteran of the police department — on strategies for dealing with Miles Hall’s mental illness. Notable among the prior incidents was a July 2018 call in which Hall allegedly brandished a knife at this mother, court records said. Also in 2018, a caller reported Hall was in an unspecified Walnut Creek resident’s pool, “yelling about Jesus,”  and in 2015, a family member called police to request Hall be placed in a psychiatric hold because he “thought he was Jesus,” police said in court records. He had also been referred for a mental health evaluation after allegedly leaving a Walnut Creek store with beer and chips in August 2018, according to court records. Keagy was aware of those incidents, Burris said. After the shooting, police served a search warrant at Hall’s home on Sandra Court. They seized notebooks with handwritten lyrics; a self-help book about anxiety and a fictional book about demons; a bottle of medicine commonly used to treat Schizophrenia; six marijuana plants and a doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation. Various electronic devices were also seized, court records show. One day before the shooting, Hall’s mother called police to report her son had been “acting stranger” after being recently released from a hospital. She called to warn officers that there may be calls regarding his behavior, according to court records. Hall previously had been diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder, which can cause delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech, according to the family’s civil claim. Burris and the family argue that the officers did “exactly what you’re not supposed to do” when encountering a mentally disturbed individual who is “delusional”: Approaching that person with guns drawn and yelling orders. “They did not create the time and distance that is required when you’re dealing with a person who is not operating in a sane way,” Burris said earlier this month when announcing the intention to file a lawsuit. The release of the video came four days after some 800 family, friends and neighbors attended a memorial service for Hall at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. Speakers remembered Hall, a 2014 graduate of Las Lomas High School, as “kind-hearted, sweet,” musically gifted and inquisitive. In recent months, he avidly studied the copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Bible he kept by his bed. His obituary acknowledged that he “battled mental illness” but had “lost his battle,” and not to mental illness but to the system who failed him. “He lost his life in order to bring awareness” to this failed system. “This is something, I guess, we’re called for this,” Taun Hall, said at the service. “I don’t know how it happened, but it’s something bigger than anything we can understand.” Police departments all over California have begun electing to release footage of officer-involved shootings and fatalities since January, when a new state law made such videos releasable under open records laws. Check back for updates.
25 Jun 19
East Bay Times
WALNUT CREEK — A Walnut Creek man suffering from mental illness who was shot to death by police earlier this month ran in the direction of officers with a crowbar, ignored their commands and terrorized his grandmother, video footage and 911 tapes released by authorities showed. Miles Hall, 23, died June 2, after two of the five Walnut Creek officers who responded to Sandra Court and Arlene Lane fired handguns at him. The five responded there after relatives and neighbors reported he was having a mental breakdown. Hall’s family has filed a civil claim against police, saying they violated his civil rights by not using effective de-escalation tactics. Hall’s family has acknowledged he suffered from mental illness, and that Walnut Creek police had worked with his family over the previous four years to get Hall help. On Tuesday, police released footage from body cameras worn by responding officers, as well as home security video of the incident and five 911 calls — including those from his grandmother and mother. They also released a picture of the metal bar police say Hall held as a weapon and a picture of a shattered sliding glass door that his grandmother told 911 operators he shattered. In a YouTube video introducing the officers’ body camera footage and other details about the incident, Walnut Creek Police Chief Tom Chaplin said the department was committed to “transparency.” “The members of our police department are deeply saddened by this incident,” Chaplin said. “Our officers train regularly to avoid using force and to de-escalate volatile and violent situations. It’s my hope that releasing this information will help the community understand the events that took place.” Body camera video from one of the officers, as well as image from a home security camera, shows officers arriving on the scene, as Hall runs toward them holding a pointed metal bar. Police say it was just short of 5 feet long and weighed 15 pounds. The videos clearly show Hall running, but they do not appear to show that his intent was to use the bar on the officers. The footage also appears to confirm the police version of events that Hall did not listen to police commands to stop running. They also show officers trying to save his life, with one even yelling at one point, “Miles, keep breathing. Stay with us.” One officer fired bean bags at Hall as he ran, but the videos show that few things the officers’ did slowed Hall down. He even tried to get up and run from officers after being mortally wounded, before they wrestled him back down to the ground while yelling at him to comply. Before officers arrived, Hall could be heard loudly in a 911 call threatening his grandmother and yelling expletives. John Burris, the civil rights attorney representing Hall’s family, said the video footage confirmed what he and their investigator had been told by witnesses, namely that Hall did “not appear that he was threatening the officers or creating any imminent threat to their lives.” “Frankly, it appeared that he was running past them, he was trying to avoid them,” Burris said, adding that Halls was not using the bar in “a deadly manner.” The department has identified the five officers who responded to the incident as: Officer Tammy Keagy, Sgt. Holley Connors, Officer KC Hsiao, Officer Matt Smith, and Officer Melissa Murphy. All five officers were placed on administrative leave while the department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office review the incident. Police have not identified the two officers who fired their guns. Walnut Creek police spokeswoman Detective Sgt. Tracie Reese said the incident was the ninth one since 2015 involving Hall, and that four of the five officers who responded had completed crisis intervention training within the past year. Two others were trained in crisis negotiation, and one worked extensively with Hall’s family to find solutions to his issues. Hall’s mother, Taun Hall, said earlier this month that the family had  worked previously with Keagy — a 17-year veteran of the police department — on strategies for dealing with Miles Hall’s mental illness. Notable among the prior incidents was a July 2018 call in which Hall allegedly brandished a knife at this mother, court records said. Also in 2018, a caller reported Hall was in an unspecified Walnut Creek resident’s pool, “yelling about Jesus,”  and in 2015, a family member called police to request Hall be placed in a psychiatric hold because he “thought he was Jesus,” police said in court records. He had also been referred for a mental health evaluation after allegedly leaving a Walnut Creek store with beer and chips in August 2018, according to court records. Keagy was aware of those incidents, Burris said. After the shooting, police served a search warrant at Hall’s home on Sandra Court. They seized notebooks with handwritten lyrics; a self-help book about anxiety and a fictional book about demons; a bottle of medicine commonly used to treat Schizophrenia; six marijuana plants and a doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation. Various electronic devices were also seized, court records show. One day before the shooting, Hall’s mother called police to report her son had been “acting stranger” after being recently released from a hospital. She called to warn officers that there may be calls regarding his behavior, according to court records. Hall previously had been diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder, which can cause delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech, according to the family’s civil claim. Burris and the family argue that the officers did “exactly what you’re not supposed to do” when encountering a mentally disturbed individual who is “delusional”: Approaching that person with guns drawn and yelling orders. “They did not create the time and distance that is required when you’re dealing with a person who is not operating in a sane way,” Burris said earlier this month when announcing the intention to file a lawsuit. The release of the video came four days after some 800 family, friends and neighbors attended a memorial service for Hall at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. Speakers remembered Hall, a 2014 graduate of Las Lomas High School, as “kind-hearted, sweet,” musically gifted and inquisitive. In recent months, he avidly studied the copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Bible he kept by his bed. His obituary acknowledged that he “battled mental illness” but had “lost his battle,” and not to mental illness but to the system who failed him. “He lost his life in order to bring awareness” to this failed system. “This is something, I guess, we’re called for this,” Taun Hall, said at the service. “I don’t know how it happened, but it’s something bigger than anything we can understand.” Police departments all over California have begun electing to release footage of officer-involved shootings and fatalities since January, when a new state law made such videos releasable under open records laws. Check back for updates.
25 Jun 19
The Mercury News
OAKLAND — A Bay Area woman is suing the officer who shot and killed her son last year during a police chase in Danville. The lawsuit, filed by the mother of Laudemer Arboleda, 33, of Newark, alleges that Danville Officer Andrew Hall “inexplicably” shot into Arboleda’s car as it drove past Hall. Police have said that Hall shot Arboleda around 11 a.m. Nov. 3, after Arboleda accelerated toward the officer. Hall is a Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy, and was assigned to the town of Danville at the time of the shooting. The encounter started when police received a suspicious person tip of a man who got out of a car, walked toward some homes with bags in his hands, then returned to his car and circled the neighborhood, police said at the time. The suit alleges, though, that the caller reported a man simply walking to houses with packages. When police attempted to pull Arboleda over, authorities say he drove away and refused to yield, twice stopping as if he would pull over but then continuing to drive away. The suit alleges Arboleda was “slowly” driving past Hall, who then “opened fire on Mr. Arboleda, by shooting into the moving car, in the middle of a heavily populated intersection, on a Saturday afternoon.” The suit was filed by the law offices of John Burris, a prominent civil rights attorney who has represented clients in numerous high-profile officer-involved shootings and police brutality claims, including Tupac Shakur and the family of Oscar Grant III. Burris held a press conference last year in which he said police had moved their cars in front of Arboleda and “could have easily avoided any type of incident with the car.” Asked for a comment on the suit, a sheriff’s spokesman referred this newspaper to a previous statement issued by Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston last year, which said that Burris was playing his “well-worn race card.” The suit does not accuse Hall or other sheriff employees of racism, but Burris said at the press conference last year officers had rushed to judgment because Arboleda was Filipino in a white neighborhood. “This is not about race. This is about a dangerous and reckless person trying to run down and murder a police officer,” Livingston’s said in his written statement last year. Neither a spokesman for the town of Danville nor the police chief responded to requests for comment.
25 Jun 19
East Bay Times
OAKLAND — A Bay Area woman is suing the officer who shot and killed her son last year during a police chase in Danville. The lawsuit, filed by the mother of Laudemer Arboleda, 33, of Newark, alleges that Danville Officer Andrew Hall “inexplicably” shot into Arboleda’s car as it drove past Hall. Police have said that Hall shot Arboleda around 11 a.m. Nov. 3, after Arboleda accelerated toward the officer. Hall is a Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy, and was assigned to the town of Danville at the time of the shooting. The encounter started when police received a suspicious person tip of a man who got out of a car, walked toward some homes with bags in his hands, then returned to his car and circled the neighborhood, police said at the time. The suit alleges, though, that the caller reported a man simply walking to houses with packages. When police attempted to pull Arboleda over, authorities say he drove away and refused to yield, twice stopping as if he would pull over but then continuing to drive away. The suit alleges Arboleda was “slowly” driving past Hall, who then “opened fire on Mr. Arboleda, by shooting into the moving car, in the middle of a heavily populated intersection, on a Saturday afternoon.” The suit was filed by the law offices of John Burris, a prominent civil rights attorney who has represented clients in numerous high-profile officer-involved shootings and police brutality claims, including Tupac Shakur and the family of Oscar Grant III. Burris held a press conference last year in which he said police had moved their cars in front of Arboleda and “could have easily avoided any type of incident with the car.” Asked for a comment on the suit, a sheriff’s spokesman referred this newspaper to a previous statement issued by Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston last year, which said that Burris was playing his “well-worn race card.” The suit does not accuse Hall or other sheriff employees of racism, but Burris said at the press conference last year officers had rushed to judgment because Arboleda was Filipino in a white neighborhood. “This is not about race. This is about a dangerous and reckless person trying to run down and murder a police officer,” Livingston’s said in his written statement last year. Neither a spokesman for the town of Danville nor the police chief responded to requests for comment.
25 Jun 19
Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
? Back in March 2019, Carol Burris and Jeff Bryant released a study of the federal Charter Schools Program on behalf of the Network for Public Education.. That study, “Asleep at the Wheel,” found that about a third of the charters that received federal grants in the $440…

25 Jun 19
Smartschool Academy

Scout • Scout is 6 years old at the start of the story and 9 at the end. She tells us the story, so it is a first person narrative. • She has a very close relationship with her father, Atticus and her brother, Jem – they spend most of their time together. • She […]

25 Jun 19
News Africa Now

Sudanese security forces used violence to break up a protest in Khartoum on Monday by dozens of students demanding that the military council which ousted former president Omar al-Bashir hands over power to civilians. The demonstrators chanted “civilian, civilian” as they gathered in front of the National Ribat University in Burri neighborhood near the ministry […]

25 Jun 19
ryanburrisblog

“Noise surrounds us and assaults us. The noise of our ceaselessly active cities, the noise at automobiles, airplanes, machines outside and inside our homes. Besides the noise that is imposed on us, there are the noises that we ourselves produce or choose. Such is the soundtrack of our everyday routine. This noise, unconsciously, often has […]

25 Jun 19
The Reporter
  July 3: Benicia Torchlight Parade, downtown, 6:30 p.m. July 4: Benicia Picnic, City Park, noon to 10 p.m. July 4: 166th Vallejo July 4 Parade, Tennessee to Sonoma to Georgia, vallejojuly4.com. July 4: Syria T. Berry, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 6: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” July 6: Dalt Williams, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 6: Tom Browne, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, vinogodfather.com. July 6: July 4 Weekend Celebration, Riverfest, Miller Park, Sacramento, featuring Lyric, Dazz Band, Maxine Jones, Marva King, Lidah, (916) 477-0157. July 7: Pete Escovedo, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, vinogodfather.com. July 11: Scott Pullman, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 12: Papa Joe and the New Deal, Vino Godfather, 6 to 9 p.m., vinogodfather.com. July 13: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents Roots Man Project, free,  5 to 7 p.m. For more, visit GVRD.org or call (707) 648-5317. July 13: Ron Burris, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 14: Art, Wine & Music, with the Time Bandits, Vino Godfather, vinogodfather.com. July 18: Alvon Johnson, Mankas Steakshoue, Fairfield. July 20: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Spider-Man.” July 20: Project 4, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, 1 to 4 p.m. July 20: Joyce Grant, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 20-21: Annual Powwow under the theme “Honoring Women Warriors,” Vallejo waterfront. July 21: Sugartown Festival, Crockett, Rolp and Pamona streets, free. Parking $5 donation, sugartownfestival.com. July 25: Glenn Snyder, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 27: Dixon Family services benefit with comic Milt Abel, Olde Vet’s Hall, downtown Dixon. dixonfamilyservices.org. July 27: Rhythm Method 4, Vino Godfather, 2 to 5 p.m. July 27:  Ron Mathews, Sticky Rice Bistro, Faifield. July 28: Obtainium Cup. Aug. 3: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Annie.” Aug. 24: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Teen Titan.” Aug. 17: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents GTS Band, free,  5 to 7 p.m. For more, visit GVRD.org or call (707) 648-5317. Sept. 14: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents Remembering James Brown with        
25 Jun 19
Times-Herald
  July 3: Benicia Torchlight Parade, downtown, 6:30 p.m. July 4: Benicia Picnic, City Park, noon to 10 p.m. July 4: 166th Vallejo July 4 Parade, Tennessee to Sonoma to Georgia, vallejojuly4.com. July 4: Syria T. Berry, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 6: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” July 6: Dalt Williams, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 6: Tom Browne, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, vinogodfather.com. July 6: July 4 Weekend Celebration, Riverfest, Miller Park, Sacramento, featuring Lyric, Dazz Band, Maxine Jones, Marva King, Lidah, (916) 477-0157. July 7: Pete Escovedo, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, vinogodfather.com. July 11: Scott Pullman, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 12: Papa Joe and the New Deal, Vino Godfather, 6 to 9 p.m., vinogodfather.com. July 13: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents Roots Man Project, free,  5 to 7 p.m. For more, visit GVRD.org or call (707) 648-5317. July 13: Ron Burris, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 14: Art, Wine & Music, with the Time Bandits, Vino Godfather, vinogodfather.com. July 18: Alvon Johnson, Mankas Steakshoue, Fairfield. July 20: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Spider-Man.” July 20: Project 4, Vino Godfather, Mare Island, 1 to 4 p.m. July 20: Joyce Grant, Sticky Rice Bistro, Fairfield. July 20-21: Annual Powwow under the theme “Honoring Women Warriors,” Vallejo waterfront. July 21: Sugartown Festival, Crockett, Rolp and Pamona streets, free. Parking $5 donation, sugartownfestival.com. July 25: Glenn Snyder, Mankas Steakhouse, Fairfield. July 27: Dixon Family services benefit with comic Milt Abel, Olde Vet’s Hall, downtown Dixon. dixonfamilyservices.org. July 27: Rhythm Method 4, Vino Godfather, 2 to 5 p.m. July 27:  Ron Mathews, Sticky Rice Bistro, Faifield. July 28: Obtainium Cup. Aug. 3: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Annie.” Aug. 24: Free movie, Children’s Wonderland, 360 Glenn St., Vallejo, “Teen Titan.” Aug. 17: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents GTS Band, free,  5 to 7 p.m. For more, visit GVRD.org or call (707) 648-5317. Sept. 14: GVRD’s Arts & Music in the Park, 360 Glenn St., presents Remembering James Brown with        
25 Jun 19
ryanburrisblog

In our search for wellness and health, we have many options. For me specifically, I have used herbs in teas and capsules, juices, smoothies, shakes, diets, protein and even synthetic, chemical-laden muscle building formulas (don’t even ask how much that cost). Some produced short-term results, some produced not even one single noticeable difference, and some […]

25 Jun 19
Daily Republic

OAKLAND — The city of Hayward is attempting to prohibit civil rights attorneys from speaking to the press about a 2015 encounter when a 42-year-old man when unresponsive and died while police officers were sitting on top of him. The lead attorney, Melissa Nold, works for the law office of prominent civil rights attorney John […]

24 Jun 19
East Bay Times
OAKLAND — The city of Hayward is attempting to prohibit civil rights attorneys from speaking to the press about a 2015 encounter when a 42-year-old man when unresponsive and died while police officers were sitting on top of him. The lead attorney, Melissa Nold, works for the law office of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris, who is known for handling officer-involved death lawsuits. Nold handling a lawsuit over the death of 42-year-old Roy Nelson Jr., filed two years ago by Nelson’s son. In a 36-page motion for a protective order restricting Burris’ attorneys from speaking to reporters about the suit, Hayward assistant city attorney Joseph Brick referenced statements Nold made to Bay Area News Group and statements by another attorney, Adante Pointer, made to a KTVU reporter. Brick cited Nold’s statement to this newspaper that video footage of Nelson’s death was “easily one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen on video” and Pointer comparing it to the infamous chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York police officers. “With a mere four months before trial, (Nelson’s) attorneys have made several extrajudicial statements to the media in an attempt to improperly prejudice the jury pool and try this case in the court of public opinion,” the motion reads, noting that a jury wouldn’t be allowed to hear Nold’s opinions or conclusions about Nelson’s death. In any civil or criminal trial, potential jurors are polled about any biases they might have related to media coverage of the case. By Monday afternoon, Burris’ office filed a response motion calling the city’s arguments for a gag order “frivolous and defamatory.” “Continuing to maintain secrecy regarding the death of (Nelson) poses a significant and tangible public safety hazard, as the city of Hayward has failed to discipline or retrain any of the officers involved in this horrific and preventable asphyxiation death,” the motion says. Contacted about the city’s call for a gag order, Nold said she made statements to reporters not to influence potential jurors but to “clarify inaccurate statements” by city officials about Nelson’s death, citing police statements that said he went unresponsive while being detained and made no mention of the officers being on top of him. “Attorneys are entitled to First Amendment rights,” Nold said. Attorneys and parties can have restrictions placed on their speech through gag orders, said First Amendment Coalition director David Snyder. While not unheard of, such orders are rare and usually reserved for unusual circumstances, like a criminal case where a defendant’s right to a fair trial was at stake. “Courts generally have a greater degree of discretion in limiting statements by parties or attorneys,” Snyder said. “That doesn’t mean it’s unfettered; there are limits to what a judge can do in terms of ordering parties and lawyers to keep silent.” The city of Hayward’s motion asks that attorneys at Burris’ office, including Nold, be required to “immediately cease” making statements about the case to the media. It also accuses Nold of releasing what it called “confidential” court records, referring to the videos that were made part of the public record when attorneys included them as exhibits to pretrial motions. After the city’s motion was filed, attorneys with Burris’ office emailed Brick and other Hayward lawyers, pointing out that the videos were not confidential. Brick responded in an email that the confidentiality was “beside the point.” The emails were made public through legal motions filed by Burris. “It is unethical to conduct a press conference four months prior to the trial in this matter,” Brick wrote to Burris’ office in one email. None of Burris’ attorneys called a press conference about Nelson’s death; their public comments were in response to media inquiries. After reviewing the city’s motion, Snyder said he couldn’t predict how a judge would rule, but said the city appeared to be taking the position that if Nold “shouldn’t be allowed to make those statements in a court proceeding, she shouldn’t be able to make them to a reporter.” “I don’t think restrictions on attorney speech outside of court are as rigorous as the restrictions on attorney speech in court,” Snyder said. In December 2015, Nelson went unresponsive while several Hayward officers were attempting to put him in a restraint device. Publicly released video footage shows several officers on top of Nelson, who whimpers and says he can’t breathe before going unconscious. He died later that night, and a county forensic pathologist cited physical exertion combined with methamphetamine intoxication as causes, according to court records. The officers had originally been called after getting a report that Nelson was going through a mental health crisis and needed to be placed in a psychiatric hold. On the way to the hospital, Nelson allegedly began kicking at windows of the police car, prompting officers to pull over, pull him out of the car and attempt to put him in a restraint device known as a WRAP. Police were less than a mile from the hospital when they stopped and pulled into the Chabot College parking lot center to put Nelson in the device. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Nold, a former sheriff’s deputy, has been an attorney with Burris’ law firm for seven years, was recently publicly criticized by the Vallejo police union for her comments about the February death of 20-year-old Willie McCoy, who was shot more than 20 times by six Vallejo officers who fired a total of 55 bullets. McCoy’s family has retained Burris’ legal services. Earlier this month, the Vallejo Police Officers Association shared on Facebook a Vallejo Times-Herald article from June 8 in which Nold said during a police forum that she didn’t want to run the city into bankruptcy but she would in order to stop the loss of human life. “These kinds of threats and self-serving plans of action are careless and reckless and are caustic to the health and well being of this city,” the Vallejo Police Officers Association wrote. “Remember the old saying. …. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Nold responded in the comments section, saying the association was misquoting her “in an attempt to defame my character,” and she threatened legal action. A hearing date on the motion has been set for July 29 at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom C on the 15th floor of the federal courthouse in San Francisco.  
24 Jun 19
The Mercury News
OAKLAND — The city of Hayward is attempting to prohibit civil rights attorneys from speaking to the press about a 2015 encounter when a 42-year-old man when unresponsive and died while police officers were sitting on top of him. The lead attorney, Melissa Nold, works for the law office of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris, who is known for handling officer-involved death lawsuits. Nold handling a lawsuit over the death of 42-year-old Roy Nelson Jr., filed two years ago by Nelson’s son. In a 36-page motion for a protective order restricting Burris’ attorneys from speaking to reporters about the suit, Hayward assistant city attorney Joseph Brick referenced statements Nold made to Bay Area News Group and statements by another attorney, Adante Pointer, made to a KTVU reporter. Brick cited Nold’s statement to this newspaper that video footage of Nelson’s death was “easily one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen on video” and Pointer comparing it to the infamous chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York police officers. “With a mere four months before trial, (Nelson’s) attorneys have made several extrajudicial statements to the media in an attempt to improperly prejudice the jury pool and try this case in the court of public opinion,” the motion reads, noting that a jury wouldn’t be allowed to hear Nold’s opinions or conclusions about Nelson’s death. In any civil or criminal trial, potential jurors are polled about any biases they might have related to media coverage of the case. By Monday afternoon, Burris’ office filed a response motion calling the city’s arguments for a gag order “frivolous and defamatory.” “Continuing to maintain secrecy regarding the death of (Nelson) poses a significant and tangible public safety hazard, as the city of Hayward has failed to discipline or retrain any of the officers involved in this horrific and preventable asphyxiation death,” the motion says. Contacted about the city’s call for a gag order, Nold said she made statements to reporters not to influence potential jurors but to “clarify inaccurate statements” by city officials about Nelson’s death, citing police statements that said he went unresponsive while being detained and made no mention of the officers being on top of him. “Attorneys are entitled to First Amendment rights,” Nold said. Attorneys and parties can have restrictions placed on their speech through gag orders, said First Amendment Coalition director David Snyder. While not unheard of, such orders are rare and usually reserved for unusual circumstances, like a criminal case where a defendant’s right to a fair trial was at stake. “Courts generally have a greater degree of discretion in limiting statements by parties or attorneys,” Snyder said. “That doesn’t mean it’s unfettered; there are limits to what a judge can do in terms of ordering parties and lawyers to keep silent.” The city of Hayward’s motion asks that attorneys at Burris’ office, including Nold, be required to “immediately cease” making statements about the case to the media. It also accuses Nold of releasing what it called “confidential” court records, referring to the videos that were made part of the public record when attorneys included them as exhibits to pretrial motions. After the city’s motion was filed, attorneys with Burris’ office emailed Brick and other Hayward lawyers, pointing out that the videos were not confidential. Brick responded in an email that the confidentiality was “beside the point.” The emails were made public through legal motions filed by Burris. “It is unethical to conduct a press conference four months prior to the trial in this matter,” Brick wrote to Burris’ office in one email. None of Burris’ attorneys called a press conference about Nelson’s death; their public comments were in response to media inquiries. After reviewing the city’s motion, Snyder said he couldn’t predict how a judge would rule, but said the city appeared to be taking the position that if Nold “shouldn’t be allowed to make those statements in a court proceeding, she shouldn’t be able to make them to a reporter.” “I don’t think restrictions on attorney speech outside of court are as rigorous as the restrictions on attorney speech in court,” Snyder said. In December 2015, Nelson went unresponsive while several Hayward officers were attempting to put him in a restraint device. Publicly released video footage shows several officers on top of Nelson, who whimpers and says he can’t breathe before going unconscious. He died later that night, and a county forensic pathologist cited physical exertion combined with methamphetamine intoxication as causes, according to court records. The officers had originally been called after getting a report that Nelson was going through a mental health crisis and needed to be placed in a psychiatric hold. On the way to the hospital, Nelson allegedly began kicking at windows of the police car, prompting officers to pull over, pull him out of the car and attempt to put him in a restraint device known as a WRAP. Police were less than a mile from the hospital when they stopped and pulled into the Chabot College parking lot center to put Nelson in the device. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Nold, a former sheriff’s deputy, has been an attorney with Burris’ law firm for seven years, was recently publicly criticized by the Vallejo police union for her comments about the February death of 20-year-old Willie McCoy, who was shot more than 20 times by six Vallejo officers who fired a total of 55 bullets. McCoy’s family has retained Burris’ legal services. Earlier this month, the Vallejo Police Officers Association shared on Facebook a Vallejo Times-Herald article from June 8 in which Nold said during a police forum that she didn’t want to run the city into bankruptcy but she would in order to stop the loss of human life. “These kinds of threats and self-serving plans of action are careless and reckless and are caustic to the health and well being of this city,” the Vallejo Police Officers Association wrote. “Remember the old saying. …. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Nold responded in the comments section, saying the association was misquoting her “in an attempt to defame my character,” and she threatened legal action. A hearing date on the motion has been set for July 29 at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom C on the 15th floor of the federal courthouse in San Francisco.