Saturday, December 20, 2014

Campaign to Free Marissa Alexander Hits the Road in January

Supporters of Marissa Alexander, the African American mother of three, who was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to stop her husband from committing an act of domestic violence, will depart from the Bay Area in January on a two-week cross-country trip to raise awareness about Alexander's situation. Activists say the trip aims to spark a national discussion about Alexander's case and build a mass movement to get her out of the criminal justice system. Their destination is Jacksonville, Florida, where Alexander will have a hearing on January 27th that could get her released on probation. But under that scenario she would still be under home detention for two years. Alexander's supporters say this is not good enough and that they won't stop their efforts until justice is fully served. KPFA's Andrew Klein has more.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Protect People March Calls for Firing of Police Officer

Nearly 200 San Jose residents rallied at the Santa Clara county building and the San Jose Police Department, calling for the firing of a San Jose police officer who posted provocative tweets taunting people who are protesting the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of the police. The protesters want Officer Phillip White, a former internal affairs officer, fired, and they want cases he investigated during his time in internal affairs re-opened. Christopher Martinez files this report from San Jose.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Resolution on Police Brutality Protests Fails in San Francisco

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has rejected a resolution supporting the recent protests against police brutality and calling for reforms in the wake of national protests against the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. The resolution died after opposition from the San Francisco Police Officers Association and calls from two supervisors to remove references to a controversial police killing in San Francisco. Christopher Martinez reports from San Francisco.

Monday, December 15, 2014

California Could Divest from Coal Under Upcoming Legislation

State Senate leader Devin de Leon wants California to divest from investments in the coal industry. He announced his new legislative move at a climate leadership forum in Oakland Monday, where state leaders vowed to continue and increase the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce the threat of climate change. Christopher Martinez reports.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Child sex-trafficking part 3: Educating the public

Child Sex Trafficking in the U.S. is a billion dollar industry involving hundreds of thousands of children. Experts in the field think greater public awareness of the problem and the tell-tale signs of trafficked victims will lead to more rescues of children by law enforcement and social service organizations. Tom Herriman reports on some recent efforts to educate the public about child sex trafficking.

Child sex trafficking part 2, hotspots in California

As many as 100,000 children under 18 are being trafficked for sex in cities and towns around the U.S. according to statistics from the Justice Department, while another 200,000 are considered vulnerable because of their life style and environment. Most of the victims are girls, but 10-15% are boys. Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento have been identified as hotspots for trafficking because of transportation links and attractions like casinos, conventions and sports events. Tom Herriman reports on some of the difficulties facing law enforcement efforts to stop child sex trafficking.

Child sex-trafficking part 1: Liz Williamson's story

Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year international industry involving as many as 27 million victims, who each produce an average of $13,000 a year in profits for their masters. Trafficking is a crime that involves force, fraud or coercion to compel someone to engage in labor, or commercial sex. Sex trafficking is the most prevalent type followed closely by labor. 80% of the victims are women, and 70% of those are exploited for sex. Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children.
In the U.S. as many as 100,000 children are being sold for prostitution and producing pornography, and another 200,000 children including runaways, homeless, and children from abusive families are potential victims according to recent studies by law enforcement and child welfare organizations. California is one of the most active areas in the nation for child sex trafficking, and Sacramento in particular has been cited as the 5th or 6th most active city in the U.S. for child sex trafficking. In this report on child sex trafficking in California, KPFA reporter Tom Herriman talks to law enforcement officials, child welfare specialists and to a woman who was sold for sex by her parents starting at age six.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Police Protest Response Sparks Calls for Reform

Police response to recent Bay Area protests is drawing criticism, including calls from Berkeley City Council members who want an independent investigation on police use of force. The criticisms focus on Berkeley police and CHP officers who allegedly used tear gas, pepper spray, batons, and so-called “less lethal munitions” such as rubber bullets and bean bag rounds. Christopher Martinez reports.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Accreditation Trial Closes in City College Dispute

A court ruling next month could decide the fate of City College of San Francisco, a community college with 79 thousand students. Superior Court judge Curtis Karnow says he’ll issue his decision in January in a case that pits the City of San Francisco against the accrediting agency that wants to strip the college of its academic credentials. Christopher Martinez reports from San Francisco.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Justice Department Releases New Guidelines on Racial Profiling

After weeks of civil unrest around the country over grand jury decisions acquitting white police officers over the killing of unarmed African-Americans, Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled new revisions to federal law enforcement's racial profiling guidelines. Scott Baba reports.