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About Redwood City:

Redwood City is the county seat of San Mateo County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 75,402. It is one of the cities that make up Silicon Valley, and has the only deepwater port on San Francisco Bay south of San Francisco itself.

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Oakland offramps closed, streets blocked by Ferguson police shooting protest

Multiple freeway offramps in the downtown Oakland area are closed Wednesday evening due to protests on city streets and the California Highway Patrol is warning drivers to expect delays on Interstate Highways 880 and 980.

Reports from the scene indicate a large group gathered outside of Oakland police headquarters on Broadway, and a large police presence on the scene.

The Oakland protest and march is one of three scheduled for today in the Bay Area in response to the Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Another rally took place in San Jose earlier today and a third is planned for 7 p.m. San Jose.

Over a week has passed since Michael Brown Jr., 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, but daily protests have continued in Ferguson, drawing a heavy police response.

In Oakland, organizers are drawing connections between Brown's death and other police shooting deaths.

Speakers at a rally near Oakland police headquarters were expected to include Jeralynn Blueford, whose son Alan Blueford was shot and killed by Oakland police on May 6, 2012; Wanda Johnson, whose son Oscar Grant III was killed by a BART police officer at Oakland's Fruitvale Station on Jan. 1, 2009; and Dionne Smith, whose son James Earl Rivera Jr. was shot by police in Stockton on July 22, 2010.

The protesters planned to gather at four different locations in Oakland and converge by police headquarters at the corner of Seventh Street and Broadway.

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:39:48 -0700

2 Investigates: Autopsy report, internal emails offer new details about deadly public housing fire

Internal emails and newly-released autopsy reports obtained by 2 Investigates are revealing new details about a fire in San Francisco public housing earlier this year that killed a woman and her three-year-old son.

Esther Ioane, 32, and her son Santana Williams, 3, were killed in the fast moving blaze at the Sunnydale Public Housing Development on April 16.

At the time of her death, Ioane had detectable amounts of methamphetamine, as well as cannabinol and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – two compounds found in marijuana – in her body, according to the autopsy report released by San Francisco’s Medical Examiner’s office.

The toxicology report also lists several other stimulants detected in Ioane’s system at the time of her death. The compounds listed include amphetamine, nicotine, caffeine, and methylphenidate, a medicine prescribed to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.

On the morning of the fatal fire, Ioane was pronounced dead in her apartment at 76 Brookdale Ave.  Her son was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where medical staff performed CPR for 45 minutes, but the little boy did not survive.

The Medical Examiner investigator’s notes state that San Francisco firefighters discovered the mother and son in the upstairs bathroom, submerged in a bathroom nearly full of water.  According to the report, fire crews found Ioane and Williams with their heads near the faucet and the water turned off, presumably in an effort to avoid the smoke and flames inside the home. The toddler was discovered underneath his mother’s body.

According to internal maintenance documents from San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) obtained by 2 Investigates, Ioane had requested repair work for at least one smoke detector in her unit on March 31, two weeks before the fire. 

A work order grants permission for an electrician to enter Ioane’s unit even if no one is home. But according to records from the Housing Authority, the electrician was not able to gain access and the smoke detector was not repaired.

Hand-written notes taken by the SFHA electrician, and obtained through a public records request, document multiple failed attempts to access the unit. But they do not offer any explanation of why the worker was never able to complete the requested repairs.

Kevin Cholakian, an attorney representing the Housing Authority, says an unidentified woman turned the electrician away at the door three times. Cholakian has also retained a private company to investigate the fire and issue its own report, which has not been publicly released. He says that investigation uncovered three dismantled smoke detectors inside a drawer in the unit, possibly moved by someone in the home.

However, Christopher Dolan, the attorney representing Ioane’s mother and Williams’ father, says the work order records prove that the property’s management was aware of the problem with the smoke detectors long before the fire.

“Now they're trying to say that they were stuffed in a drawer but they knew back on March 31st they were not working,” Dolan told 2 Investigates.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Fire Department would not confirm where the smoke detectors were discovered when their crews entered the home. But the spokesperson did tell 2 Investigates the detectors were not in the proper location.

Dolan has filed a claim against the city on behalf of Ioane’s and Williams’ relatives. It’s the first step towards filing a lawsuit. In the claim, obtained by 2 Investigates, attorneys for the family demand the city conduct a full investigation into the cause of the fire and the surrounding circumstances. It also alleges the city was negligent, saying the fire was caused by unsafe conditions at the property, including a lack of working smoke detectors.

The claim also blames the Department of Public Works, alleging the fire could not be controlled because there were no nearby working fire hydrants.

According to an inspection report dated March 19 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), inspectors found 11 out of 26 smoke detectors at Sunnydale Public Housing were missing or inoperable. But the report does not specify in which exact building or unit the problems were discovered.

2 Investigates obtained copies of internal emails between SFHA employees sent on the day of the fire, and in the days following, through a public records request.

In one of the emails sent on the day of the fire, a property manager tells Executive Director Barbara Smith that the smoke detectors in the units surrounding Ioane’s home were functional, and that fellow employees could hear them sounding from outside the building.

“I spoke with the Fire Investigators this afternoon. They tested the smoke detectors in both 74 and 78 Brookdale and confirmed that all of them work in working condition.”

The San Francisco Fire Department has not released its final report yet. The report is expected to contain crucial information about investigators’ findings, including whether or not there were working smoke detectors in the unit.

In the meantime, the city has 45 days to approve or deny the claim filed by Dolan’s law firm back in July. After that, the attorneys for the family have six months to formally file a lawsuit.


SFHA Emails and Internal Records (PDF)
SFHA Emails and Internal Records (Text)

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:43:58 -0700

San Francisco family mourns loss of toddler killed in hit-and-run

On Wednesday afternoon, Cynthia Johnson of San Francisco was preparing to bury her two-year-old great granddaughter. "Buying her last dress and dressing her for the last time," said Johnson as she left a church in the city's Western Addition neighborhood. "It's hard. It's not real."

Mi'Yana Gregory was killed by a hit-and-run driver late Friday night in San Francisco's South of Market district.

Police on Tuesday arrested the girl's aunt for felony child endangerment. Investigators say surveillance video shows she left Mi'Yana in a crosswalk against oncoming traffic as she went to retrieve the girl's twin brother from the sidewalk.

"A real tragedy," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr told KTVU.  "When we pulled all the video and saw the video, there's just no doubt about it. The little girl didn't want to even go in the street and her aunt took her out there and then pops back in the frame to get the little boy and that's right when the car goes by."

Twenty-five-year-old Lorysha Gage, Mi'Yana's aunt, is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

The arrest has divided the girl's family. "We will never heal from this. I don't see it happening," said Johnson. "I just can't comprehend [Gage] not being more responsible, I can't. There's no way that you should not have held them in your arms or held their hands."

Funeral services for the girl are scheduled for noon Sunday at Duggan's Funeral Home on 17th and Valencia Streets in San Francisco.

Police are requesting the public's help to find the driver of the car, described as a white or light-colored mid-1990s Lexus, Camry or Honda with dark rims and a mismatched front bumper.

"I'm not angry at the person," Johnson said Wednesday. "I just wish that he had done what the law requires him to do. To stop."


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:33:36 -0700

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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