Daly City Police are searching for an elderly Asian man who opened fire in the Serramonte Medical-Dental Center Wednesday afternoon.
Police say he was likely targeting a doctor but the motive remains unclear.
The doctor, who was not identified, noticed the elderly man holding a handgun in a second floor hallway.
“The doctor didn’t see any shots fired,” said Daly City Police Lt. David Mackriss, “as the doctor was departing the scene, he heard a loud bang which he took to be a gunshot.”
That doctor called 911 and police then conducted a reverse 911 call to instruct remaining occupants of in the building to shelter in place.
A SWAT team search of the two floor building yielded no sign of any victims or the shooter. Detectives located bullet fragments in a second floor hallway.
A police spokesman had no word on a possible motive or a detailed suspect description to help aid in the search.
Police say the doctor did not recognize the man and the building did not have security cameras.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:32:26 -0700
Increasing clouds Thursday will keep temperatures in the 60s and low 70s.
By the early evening, showers will move into the North Bay with scattered showers popping up everywhere else after midnight.
Friday will be mostly cloudy, cooler and wet. Most cities will see under .20” of precipitation. The mountains above 5000 feet could see another foot of fresh snow by Saturday morning.
Thursday Afternoon Highs
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:25:06 -0700
At 3660 Jackson Street, the 2014 San Francisco Decorators Showcase has officially begun where dozens of the Bay Area’s top interior and landscape designers have transformed the elegant 9,000 square-foot mansion.
The massive mansion is in the middle of Presidio Heights and originally built in 1907 by the architectural team of Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville for their clients Rose and Alfred Sutro.
The elegant red brick estate stands out with a façade of meticulously groomed climbing ficus. Inside, the spacious home features exquisitely detailed woodwork, a gracious entry with a three-story staircase and coffered skylight, a beautiful wood-paneled library, a music room, and several rooms with expansive views of the Presidio and San Francisco Bay.
The architectural team of Bliss & Faville was one of the most respected partnerships in San Francisco architectural history. Together, they designed some of the city’s most recognizable and famous buildings, including the St. Francis Hotel, the Flood Mansion (now Convent of the Sacred Heart School), the Masonic Temple, the Geary Theater and many significant landmarks and homes.
The original homeowner, Alfred Sutro, was a founding partner in 1904 of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, which became one of the largest and most respected law firms in California. He won a landmark case following the 1906 earthquake that allowed thousands of San Francisco property owners to recover their losses and re-build again. This effort is seen as integral to the rapid rebirth of the city in the early years following the quake.
All the funds raised through the Decorator Showcase go directly to support the San Francisco University High School (UHS) Financial Aid Program.
The 2014 Showcase will run from April 26 – May 26 on Tuesdays through Sundays and Monday, Memorial Day.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (last entry)
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (last entry)
Sunday and Memorial Day: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (last entry)
Closed on Mondays except for Memorial Day
In addition, each Friday, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, Showcase will host “Friday Nights at Showcase,” a happy hour event with opportunities to meet designers and hear about the latest trends. Check www.DecoratorShowcase.org for additional information on designers and special Friday Night events.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:38:55 -0700
A man filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose declaring that he is the biological father of teen suicide victim Audrie Pott and should be included in a wrongful death lawsuit as a legal heir.
Michael Lazarin, 46, claims that Sheila and Lawrence Pott, the teen girl's legal parents, falsely claimed to be her sole heirs in the suit they lodged a year ago, seven months after Audrie's death by suicide on Sept.
Audrie was 15 years old when she hanged herself at Sheila Pott's Los Altos home on Sept. 10, 2012, and died at a hospital in Mountain View after being taken off life support two days later.
She had become upset in the aftermath of a Labor Day weekend party with other teens that Sept. 2 at a friend's home in Saratoga. During the party, she passed out inside a bedroom of the friend's house after drinking vodka mixed with Gatorade.
While Audrie was asleep, three male teen classmates of hers from Saratoga High School removed some of her clothes, used a felt pen to draw messages on her body, took photos of her and sexually abused her by digital penetration.
After pleading guilty to sexual assault, two of the boys were sentenced to 30 days in juvenile jail, which they served on weekends, and a third to 45 consecutive days.
The Potts filed suit on April 15, 2013, against the boys' parents for monetary damages. They are asking for damages for defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.
The Potts are also suing an unnamed teenaged girl who they allege assisted in taking Audrie to the room, watched the boys with Audrie and then lied about it to sheriff's deputies investigating Audrie's death in 2012.
In his lawsuit filed Wednesday, Lazarin attached as exhibits dozens of family photos of himself, Audrie, Sheila Pott and Lazarin family members taken from the late 1990s to early 2000s prior to when he and Sheila broke up in December 2003 after an eight-year relationship.
In other exhibits used to bolster his argument that he is Audrie's biological father, Lazarin included an email sent last Sept. 24 to his former lawyer Gloria Allred by the Potts' San Jose attorney Robert Allard, who described Lazarin as "nothing more than a sperm donor."
He also furnished printouts of posts on Facebook written to him about Audrie by Lawrence Pott's second wife, Lisa Pott, in 2011 before Audrie's death, that Lazarin claims indicates acknowledgement of his paternity.
A hearing on Lazarin's suit by a case management judge in Superior Court in San Jose is set for Aug. 19.
Lazarin said in an interview that he expects his case to be combined with the Potts' lawsuit.
He said his intention in filing suit is not for money but "to bring closure to me and my family."
"The devastating effects have been far reaching and difficult to cope with as I have watched my daughter become a public spectacle because of the criminal actions that took place before her passing, the horrendous defilement of her by (the boys) who did not receive due punishment for what they had done," he said.
Lazarin said that he met Audrie's mother Sheila in 1995 when he said she told him she was separated from Lawrence and was "going through an extensive divorce" from him.
He said he fathered Audrie and after she was born in 1997, he had "an active role" in the girl's life, financial support and upbringing in his San Jose home up to when she was 6.
Following his break up with Sheila in December 2003, Lazarin that month filed a paternity claim to establish himself as Audrie's parent.
He ultimately lost the case in a decision by then-Judge Dolores Carr, who cited a statute that said in order to be legally declared the father, he had to have taken the child into his home and openly held her out as his natural child within two years of her birth.
Lazarin said that he did not know about the two-year statute of limitations to claim paternity and did not declare or file a claim as Audrie's father while he was with Sheila in order to avoid family problems for Sheila.
"I was in a full blown relationship with my daughter and Sheila," he said. "Why would I sue somebody? I knew it was my daughter."
Lazarin said in his suit Wednesday that during the paternity case, it was never disputed that he was Audrie's biological father.
In a court filing in 2006, Sheila Pott's lawyer Mary Simpson wrote that the Potts were married in 1992, Lawrence Pott filed for divorce in 2001 but it did not became final until 2004.
Simpson stated that Sheila, while still legally married to Lawrence Pott, had an affair with Lazarin between April and September 1996, prior to Audrie's birth on May 27, 1997.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:20:26 -0700
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo will testify at his misdemeanor peeking trial Thursday after Judge Gary Medvigy Wednesday afternoon denied a defense motion to dismiss the case.
Carrillo, the 33-year-old 5th District Supervisor, is charged with peeking into the window or door of his neighbor's Brockhurst Drive home in west Santa Rosa on July 13.
He was standing outside her apartment in his socks and boxer briefs when Santa Rosa police arrived around 3:40 a.m. He was arrested later for prowling and burglary.
The 11 women and three men on the jury, two of whom are alternates, heard two of Carrillo's recorded interviews with police. On Tuesday, Carrillo's neighbor, identified only as Jane Doe, gave her account.
She said she was sleeping soundly around 3:30 a.m. when she heard a tearing and scratching sound and rustling blinds at her bedroom window.
Doe said she woke up, went to the living room and saw a "scary, large and muscular" man standing in front of her apartment when she looked out the window.
She testified she woke up two female quests who were spending the weekend, and the three of them armed themselves with butcher knives. The man knocked on the front door, and when she asked who it was he replied, "it's your neighbor." Doe said she called police at 3:40 a.m., and again at 3:50 a.m.
Police found the lower left corner of the bedroom window screen was damaged and the window was open enough to allow someone to reach inside.
Doe testified that her window was open when she went to sleep.
Carrillo told police during the interviews he was drinking at a downtown Santa Rosa nightclub before he was dropped of at home around 2:30 a.m. He said he was ready to go to bed when he noticed a light in Doe's apartment was on and he decided to take two Pliny the Elder beers to her apartment.
Carrillo told police he walked to the front door of Doe's apartment and knocked quietly, then went to the back of the apartment to a sliding glass door where he noticed a light on inside the apartment.
He said he then went back to the front of the house where the bedroom and living room were located and knocked on the front door. He told police he does not remember knocking on Doe's bedroom window, but it's possible he did.
Carrillo said when Doe asked, 'Who is it?' he replied, 'It's Efren, your neighbor.' He said Doe said 'Hold on a minute,' but when he heard a man inside the apartment say, 'What the hell,' he left.
He called the decision to go to Doe's apartment at that hour, "a bad read" and a "misperception."
Doe and Carrillo had three previous brief encounters before July 13, according to trial testimony.
One was outside Doe's apartment and another at the Space XXV nightclub on the same day in mid-May, according to Doe's testimony and Carrillo's statements to police.
The third encounter was in June when Carrillo went to the back of Doe's apartment to give her a bottle of wine and welcome her to the neighborhood. Carrillo gave her an air kiss and a hug as he stood on the threshold of the sliding glass door, Doe said. She later told police the incident was "weird and creepy."
In asking Medvigy to either dismiss the case or acquit Carrillo after the prosecution finished presenting its evidence, defense attorney
Chris Andrian said Napa County Deputy District Attorney Cody Hunt did not present any independent evidence Carrillo was seen peeking into a door or window.
Andrian said the only evidence of peeking was Carrillo's statement that he went to the sliding glass door in back of the apartment and noticed a light was on in the apartment.
"That's not peeking, but even if it was, where is the independent evidence from witnesses," Andrian told the judge.
Doe testified she kept the blinds of her apartment closed at night.
"The status of the house was peek-free," Andrian said.
Hunt said there is substantial circumstantial evidence of peeking to send the case to the jury because the window screen was damaged and the blinds were rustled.
Hunt also said Carrillo told police he went to the back of the house and 'peeked in the back window.'
"It's enough just to look into a window or door," Hunt said in supporting the peeking charge.
Medvigy will include the lesser offense of attempted peeking when he instructs the jury on their verdict options Thursday, Andrian said.
Peeking carries a six-month jail sentence, and the penalty for attempted peeking is three months, Andrian said.
Andrian said Carrillo will testify so the jury "will know the story from his perspective."
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:02:43 -0700
Oakland police are set to announce details of a partnership they’ve begun with the social media site, NextDoor, to provide neighborhood-specific information to residents about crime and safety.
Nextdoor is described as a "private social network for your neighborhood." The site verifies users addresses by postcard or credit card statement before it lets them join, but once verified, users can browse information specific to their neighborhood on things like garage sales, classifieds, community events and postings for lost pets.
There's also a section for each neighborhood on crime and safety.
Steve Pagan lives on a tree-lined street in the Almaden Valley Neighborhood of San Jose. A few months ago he noticed a shopping bag full of clothes strewn across the sidewalk by his house.
“It was entirely out of place and there were still some tags on it,” Pagan said.
There was a receipt with a name on it. Using his NextDoor account, he was able to find the neighbor it belonged to.
“I sent them a note, saying ‘your stuff is across the street from my home, did you have a car break-in by chance?’” he said.
Pagan said after posting a community alert on his neighborhood site, neighbors discovered there had been 14 vehicles broken into on the same night on his street.
“We wouldn’t have known that without the NextDoor concept,” Pagan said.
Pagan said residents only learned about the rash of break-ins after discussing it on the site, because few people had contacted police to report it.
Almaden Valley is one 32,000 neighborhoods across the country using NextDoor. The San Francisco-based company said one out of every five neighborhoods in the U.S. uses the site, and that 2.5 million messages are sent on it daily. 20-percent of those daily messages have to do with crime and safety issues.
The site is free to users and the partnerships are free for Police Departments and other government agencies. Last week, NextDoor announced a partnership with the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. The site has partnerships with 150 police departments and government agencies across the country.
San Jose Police began partnering with NextDoor two years ago to send specific alerts and messages to neighborhoods like Almaden Valley. San Jose Police Capt. Anthony Ciaburro said the site can be useful.
“This gives us another opportunity and another conduit to act with the community, but at the same time, it fosters more community growth,” Ciaburro said.
This week, Oakland Police will begin a partnership with NextDoor to send direct messages to users in Oakland. NextDoor users in some North Oakland neighborhoods may have already seen postings and messages from their local police captains as part of a pilot program the social media site has already begun.
Nextdoor CEO and Co-founder Nirav Tolia said more than 75 percent of the total neighborhoods in the Bay Area use their site.
“When we engage in one of these partnerships, we do assist with training police to make sure they know the kind of information neighbors are looking for and how they can be most efficient,” Tolia said.
Pagan says he's glad to have direct access to the police that patrol his neighborhood, but he understands why some NextDoor users might find it intrusive.
“It's important to note that the neighborhoods are still private, meaning the police can post into the neighborhood, but they cannot read anything that goes on in the neighborhoods, except for the responses to the things they post,” Tolia said in response to privacy concerns.
Open communication lines can lead to other challenges. Capt Ciaburro's advice for his Oakland counterparts using NextDoor: be prepared to respond to a high volume of messages from the community you serve.
Oakland Police and City of Oakland officials are expected to talk about the details of this new partnership at a news conference Thursday.
The site is currently funded by private investors and venture capital funding. Tolia said in the next year or so, they will introduce a business model based on some form of advertising from local businesses.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:23:15 -0700
An East Bay teenager has made a remarkable recovery just one month after a devastating skateboarding accident.
Just two and a half weeks ago Ryan Carroll was in a coma after the Santa Barbara City College student suffered a serious head-injury after crashing on a long-board.
Now that Carroll is out of a coma and returning to his old self, he's become a huge advocate for helmet use.
"I was like one step above clinical death," he said.
Carroll returned home last Saturday after a rough month in the ICU rehabbing from his injuries.
"I went to sleep on the 19th, and woke up on April 10th or something like that in the hospital. It was crazy," he said.
On March 20th Carroll was riding a long-board, which is essentially a big skateboard more stable at high speeds, when he crashed.
"I feel like I should have been wearing a helmet and I feel like I should have been a little more cautious," he said.
After coming out of the coma, he struggled to regain his speech and movement. The injury has also changed his sense of taste.
"With any remote sweet taste in it, it just tastes like Oreos now. And it's really annoying because you can have only so many Oreos," Carroll said.
The teen’s mother was an advocate for helmet use before the accident. Now she demands it of all of her children.
"I will say as I was wandering around Santa Barbara while I was down there, everywhere I looked, there were kids skating around without helmets on. And it was really hard for me to not stop people and give them a story," explained Terri Carroll.
Just three days before Ryan Carroll crashed, a 20-year-old woman from Martinez was not so lucky. Kate Hopkins was also in a long-boarding accident. She died from her injuries.
"It was scary to realize that I was that close to death and that someone who had the same exact experience as me had died. So, it was quite a reality check," Carroll said.
Carroll is still having trouble with his short term memory. His medical bills, mostly covered by Kaiser, already total in the millions.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:54:12 -0700
Mayor Jean Quan and City Councilman Larry Reid were among the officials who admitted Wednesday that Oakland's "back is against the wall" in trying to keep the Golden State Warriors, the Athletics and the Raiders in the East Bay city.
Reid, who is vice chair of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, which oversees the O.co. Coliseum and the Oracle Arena, said, "If not all three teams, we would like to keep at least two here."
Reid's candid remarks came as he and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who chairs the Coliseum Authority, addressed developments this week that are affecting the futures of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, the Oakland's A's baseball team and the Oakland Raiders football team.
Reid said Oakland's issues with all three teams aren't new, saying, "Things have been unraveling for a long time. This didn't start today."
On Tuesday morning, the Warriors announced they plan to build a new arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood in San Francisco, a shift from their earlier plans to build an arena along San Francisco's waterfront.
The team said it would like to move to the arena before the 2018-19 NBA season.
On Tuesday night, the A's said they have rejected a proposal by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to extend their lease at the O.co Coliseum for 10 years.
And on Monday the Raiders missed a deadline for submitting a letter of interest to work on a project to change the 132-acre Coliseum complex into a sports and entertainment hub with new stadiums.
Miley and Reid both conceded that the Coliseum Authority faces a tough road in trying to keep the Warriors in Oakland but they hope the authority can keep the A's and Raiders in the city.
Miley said, "We're not going to fight the Warriors' decision to relocate to San Francisco but we want them to stay and we're keeping the welcome mat out."
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said East Bay Warrior fans are "disappointed" about the team's plans but added, "As mayor, I have to keep the welcome mat out" and there's still a chance that the Warriors' plans to move won't work out.
Last November, the Coliseum Authority agreed to extend the A's lease at the O.co Coliseum for two years, through the end of 2015, and the lease for the Raiders for one year, through the end of the 2014-15 football season.
Miley said talks about extending the A's lease for a longer period have been going on since then and he's glad the team is interested in extending the lease for another 10 years, through 2024, but "the issue is the details of the terms."
He said among the issues is the belief by city of Oakland and Alameda County officials that the A's owe them more than $5 million because they haven't been paying their rent for more than five years.
That money could be used for public purposes such as hiring more police officers or funding health services, Miley said.
He said another key issue is whether the A's agree to build a new baseball-only stadium at the Coliseum complex and if they would agree to pay for most of the complex.
The city and county would prefer only to pay for some of the infrastructure costs for a new stadium, Miley said.
However, it would possible to extend the A's lease for 10 years without any agreement on building a new stadium, he said.
"Those are separate issues that don't have to be linked," Miley said.
Miley said another complication is the possibility that the Raiders build a new football-only stadium at the Coliseum complex site but the A's wind up without a new baseball-only stadium.
Under that scenario, the Coliseum Authority would let the A's get out of their lease before it expires, he said.
A's President Michael Crowley reacted angrily to Miley's comments Wednesday, saying, "We owe no back rent or any other amounts."
He said, "We did deduct rent payments in the past for items that we are allowed under our lease but that was our negotiated lease."
Crowley said, "There is absolutely nothing in either our lease offer to them or their counterproposal that mentions any kind of subsidy" for building a new stadium.
He said, "We have nothing additional to offer and as a result there will be no further negotiations."
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:28:10 -0700
The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West.
It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier — and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is.
Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, new studies show.
Czechoslovakia, where the communists took power in 1948, had three parallel electrified fences, patrolled by heavily armed guards. Nearly 500 people were killed when they attempted to escape communism.
Deer were also victims of the barrier. A seven-year study in the Czech Republic's Sumava National Park showed that the original Iron Curtain line still deters one species, red deer, from crossing.
"It was fascinating to realize for the first time that anything like that is possible," said Pavel Sustr, a biologist who led the Czech project. Scientists conducting research on German territory reached similar conclusions.
The average life expectancy for deer is 15 years and none living now would have encountered the barrier.
"But the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations," Sustr said. He said the research showed the animals stick to traditional life patterns, returning every year to the same places.
"Fawns follow mothers for the first year of their life and learn from them where to go," Sustr said.
Wildlife officials recorded the movement of some 300 Czech and German deer with GPS-equipped collars which sent data to computers.
"I don't think it's a surprising result," said professor Ludek Bartos of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, who was not involved in the research. "These animals are really conservative."
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:32:18 -0700
People living on a former landfill known as the Albany Bulb will have to move out by Friday as part of a settlement with the city of Albany.
The Albany City Council voted in May 2013 to begin a process of incorporating the Bulb into the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and to start enforcing the city's no-camping ordinance there in October.
In October, the council approved a $570,000 transition plan that included assistance and temporary transitional shelter for homeless people.
A group of several law firms, including Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, the East Bay Community Law Center and the Homeless Action Center then sued the city on behalf of the landfill residents in November.
The civil rights lawsuit, lodged in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, asked for a temporary restraining order and/or an injunction barring Albany from removing homeless people from the site until the city found adequate shelter for them.
The complaint asserted that the city's offer to set up temporary shelter in portable trailers parked next to the entrance road to the landfill was insufficient.
It also said many Bulb residents would not have been able to access the trailers due to physical disabilities, there would not have been enough beds for all evicted residents, and that the trailers would not have offered people the right to privacy they enjoyed in their homes on the landfill.
As part of the settlement, 28 of the residents will be entitled to $3,000 in cash in exchange for leaving with all their personal property by Friday. They also have to stay away from the Bulb for a period of 12 months.
Craig Labadie, Albany City Attorney, says the city is pleased to have arrived at a resolution of the case. "We feel the settlement establishes a framework for the cooperative relocation of individuals at the Albany bulb," he said.
Osha Neumann of the East Bay Community Law Center said the settlement aroused more mixed emotions in him.
"I'm glad we got some of them a bit of compensation. That's more than they usually get when kicked out of town," he said. "But the fact that they're getting kicked out of town is the problem. And that struggle isn't over."
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:28:23 -0700
Authorities gave the all clear at a Daly City medical building late Wednesday afternoon when a search for a reported gunman who had fired shots inside the building turned up no sign of a shooter.
Daly City police told KTVU the incident began just after 1:30 p.m. when a doctor called from inside the medical building at 1500 Southgate.
That doctor told police he'd encountered a man on the second floor who was carrying a gun. Police said the doctor fled and heard a gunshot.
The report prompted a reverse 911 call urging workers in the 40 offices to lock their doors.
KTVU spoke earlier to one medical staffer on the phone who said she and her coworkers were calm and hunkered down, awaiting word from police.
Authorities proceeded to search the building room by room for evidence of a shooter.
"We still believe there are people in the building sheltered in place per a reverse 911 phone call instructions. We are going room by room and clearing any stragglers," said Daly City Police Lt. David Mackriss.
Footage shot by NewsChopper 2 showed some of those workers and patients being led out with their hands on their heads. Officers were seen checking handbags before the people were ushered onto shuttle vans.
Shortly before 5 p.m., police informed KTVU that no gunman had been found after scouring the building. No evidence of a victim was turned up either, but police later said they did find a bullet in the wall of a second floor office.
Neighbor Terri Dalcolletto said she was shocked by the activity.
"I've lived here my whole life. I've never had anything like this happen, said Dalcolletto. "You always think it's going to happen somewhere else, y'know what I mean?"
Police gave an initial description of the shooter as an Asian male in his 60s.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:24:15 -0700
Our next system will approach the region over the next 24 hours. Initially, clouds will be moving into the Bay Area. Rain chances will be going up Friday.
Your Thursday forecast features partly to mostly cloudy skies. Clouds will thicken up during the afternoon hours. Highs should range from the low 60s near the coast to the low 70s inland. A few isolated showers may develop during the evening hours.
Projected highs for THURSDAY:
The main part of our next storm moves in Friday. Rainfall should increase in coverage during the morning hours. Rain amounts could range between .10” to .50”. The weekend forecast is dry.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:12:51 -0700
To put it in social media terms, the New York Police Department got trolled.
The nation's largest police force learned the hard way that there are legions online devoted to short-circuiting even the best-intentioned public relations campaign — in this case, the NYPD's Twitter invitation to people to post feel-good photos of themselves posing with New York's Finest.
What #myNYPD got instead was a montage of hundreds of news images of baton-wielding cops arresting protesters, pulling suspects by the hair, unleashing pepper spray and taking down a bloodied 84-year-old man for jaywalking.
It was a fail of epic proportions, with the hashtag among the most-trafficked in the world Tuesday, creating a public relations nightmare for a new NYPD leadership intent on creating a more community-friendly force.
"We've seen instances before where a hashtag can become a bash-tag," said Glen Gilmore, who teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. "When you're in the social space, it's tough to predict what's going to happen."
A similar meltdown came last November when investment giant JP Morgan Chase, which had been paying billions in fines stemming from the financial crisis, asked followers on Twitter to post career advice questions. Among them: "Did you have a specific number of people's lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?"
McDonald's inadvertently ordered up some bad publicity in 2012 with its #McDStories campaign. Sample response: "I walked into a McDonald's and could smell the Type II diabetes."
The #myNYPD misfire comes at a time when new Police Commissioner William Bratton is trying to re-brand the department to counter criticism that it has been trampling on people's civil rights. Last week, it disbanded an intelligence unit that spied on Muslim neighborhoods, and it has promised to reforms to the crime-fighting tactic known as stop and frisk.
Bratton acknowledged Wednesday that the Twitter campaign may not have been fully thought through.
"Was that particular reaction from the some of the police adversaries anticipated? To be quite frank, it was not," Bratton said. "But at the same time it's not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media. ... It is what it is. It's an open, transparent world."
The #myNYPD traffic was holding steady on Wednesday, but the dialogue had shifted from mockery of the NYPD to an analysis of what went wrong, including the tweet "Social Media 101: Be careful what you ask for."
Anthony Rotolo, a professor of digital communications at Syracuse University, suggested another appropriate response could have been #SMH — shake my head.
"A lot of time the eagerness to embrace social media tools overshadows our common sense," Rololo said. "In other types of media, we would not so quickly jump to something like this without doing our groundwork first."
Still, there was some evidence Wednesday that the outreach may bear fruit.
One person posted a photo of herself standing next to an officer on horseback in Times Square. Another posted a picture of two smiling officers on patrol and wrote, "These guys put their lives on the line every day. They deserve our respect and gratitude."
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:49:54 -0700
The father of a South Bay teen who stowed away in a wheel well of a flight to Hawaii said Wednesday he was shocked when he got the call from the authorities telling him his son was in Maui.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Of America's Mohamed Olad, Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi talked publicly for the first time since his son’s amazing journey over the weekend.
He told the agency that initially he was confused by the call and asked the Hawaiian authorities to call the San Jose police, who called him at his Santa Clara home.
“They told me that they were holding my son,” he told Voice of America. “I was shocked. I wondered how my son went there.”
“They tried to explain to me about the stowaway and the plane story,” the father continued. “I got confused, and asked them to call the San Jose police department which later explained to me how things happened.”
Abdi credited Allah with protecting his son on the flight. Experts have said it was nearly impossible for anyone to survive such a flight.
He said the teen was always talking about Africa because his grandparents lived there.
Jennifer Dericco, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Unified School District, confirmed that Santa Clara High School Principal Gregory Shelby sent a note Tuesday to staff members saying the teen had been in the U.S. for about four years, speaks English as his second language and had transferred into the district just five weeks ago.
Shelby did not return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Dericco said confidentiality rules kept her from confirming the teen was a student at the school.
The boy's father drives a taxi, San Jose International Airport aviation director Kim Aguirre said, but she didn't know if he works at the airport.
On Wednesday, the head of Maui's main airport said the teen had no clue he was in Maui after jumping from a jetliner's wheel well to the tarmac.
Maui District Airport Manager Marvin Moniz told the Associated Press that the boy was disoriented and weak when he got off the Boeing 767, and he was questioned for about 30 minutes by FBI and Transportation Security Administration officials.
He said the boy wobbled as he walked and was soft-spoken, not saying much other than his journey started with an argument at home.
Moniz says when asked whether his mom and dad knew he ran away, the boy said he had a stepmom and had not seen his biological mother since he was 2.
The boy told authorities he jumped a fence and climbed up the landing gear of the closest plane. Video shows him on the airfield a little after 1 a.m. Sunday, said a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It is not clear how the teen spent all the time before the plane took off around 8 a.m. FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu, where the boy is now resting in a hospital following his harrowing journey, said the teen "literally just slept on the plane overnight."
He has not been charged with any crime.
The fact that he survived is remarkable: At a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, temperatures in the wheel well would have been well below zero and the air so starved of oxygen that he likely passed out. In response, his body could have entered a hibernation-like state, from which he emerged once he was back on the ground, experts say.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:19:39 -0700
A three-day-old female Pacific harbor seal pup took a swim Wednesday with her mother to the delight of visitors at Vallejo's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Park officials said "Lily" was born early Saturday morning at the park's Seal Cove exhibit -- the first seal pup born at the park in eight years.
The 20-pound black, grey and white spotted pup, born to nine-year-old Maile, a first time mother, and 10-year-old male Dyson, was named “Lily” by staff in honor of her birth over Easter weekend.
“We expected the birth to happen any time over the past few weeks,” said Michael Muraco, animal care director. “Seal births are particularly unique in that the pup starts swimming within a few minutes after birth. Within a few hours, they’re already exploring. Maile is proving to be a great mom with strong maternal instincts.”
The Seal Cove exhibit was closed to the public the day of the birth, but reopened on Easter Sunday to the delight of guests who had an opportunity to see the newborn swim, sleep and nurse.
Pacific harbor seals, also known as true seals, differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having shorter, stouter flippers and no visible earflaps, park officials said.
Pups double their weight within the first four to six weeks nursing on the rich mother’s milk, which is about 45 percent fat, and then are weaned. In the wild, a mother will leave its pup after the first month to finish growing and fend for itself, park officials said.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:09:07 -0700
A day after being told they were suspended for marking the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez with a walk out, on Wednesday some students at Lawrence Cook Middle School were allowed back in class.
A group of about 25 students stood outside of the school Tuesday morning to rally for justice in the high-profile death of Lopez, who was shot by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy while carrying a pellet gun six months ago.
Many of them were classmates and friends of the teenage victim.
The plan was to protest during first period, and then come back to class, but they said the school’s principal took names and informed them of their suspensions.
8th grader Antonio Guerra was one of the affected students.
He returned to Cook Middle School accompanied by his mother Nicole Guerra, unsure whether he would be turned away.
“These kids obviously don’t have the support here at the school,” she said. “The only support they do have is their parents, their friends and members of the community who feel the same way.”
Nicole said that her son was allowed to return to school, as well as other kids who stood out front unsure whether to walk in.
Attorney Jonathan Melrod, who said he represents students and members of the Justice for Andy coalition, was also in front of the school just in case of any backlash from school officials.
“There is no reason the students should pay the price,” said Melrod. “They practiced democracy at age 13 and 14 and they were penalized for doing just that.”
The Santa Rosa school district said they were concerned of student safety when the students made their way to a nearby high school to garner support.
It prompted a heavy police response and lockdown at Elsie Allen High School.
Superintendent Socorro Shiels released at statement Wednesday morning. It read in part:
“I have full confidence that our staff will find the right balance between respecting the students’ desire to be heard and the need to protect campus safety for all students and staff.
For the past few weeks, we have worked in earnest to help students understand that there are many ways to honor their classmate, and we have stressed that the most responsible and thoughtful way to pay tribute to Andy is to stay in school and use after-class time to express their messages”
In the meantime, the group said they will continue to seek justice for Andy.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:51:56 -0700
A Houston mother, who posted pictures of her young son who has Down syndrome on Instragram, had the social media world abuzz Wednesday with her response to an alleged ‘troll.’
Megan Mennes is a Houston mother and teacher writes regularly on her blogsite Define Crazy: Balancing my role as mother, wife, teacher and rebel
She is particularly proud of her young son, Quinn, and his battle with his disability. She has posted many photos of the happy child with a beautiful smile.
Last week, Quinn was recovering from an illness and Mennes took photos of him as he happily played in the backyard and posted them on Instragram. Little could she have anticipated that the photos would elicit a cruel response from a so-called internet troll.
The person left a one work comment on the photo – Ugly.
Mennes was quick to respond.
“I don't want to make assumptions about you, but I can guess from your immaturity and ignorance that you know little about the helplessness that parents feel when caring for a sick infant with respiratory issues,” she wrote on her blogsite. “Quinn was sick last week, but was feeling much better by Friday. We decided to sit in the backyard and soak up the sun after school. There aren't many things in this world more beautiful than seeing your recently-ill child light up in a smile, and I snapped a few photos to celebrate his recovery, then posted them on Instagram with the hashtag “#downsyndrome.”
“I love to look through those photos myself in my spare time because damn if those kiddos aren’t adorable. Of course, you feel differently because you found this photo and left a comment with one simple word: Ugly.”
“The fact that you find my child ugly is one thing. You are entitled to your opinion. But the fact that you intentionally search #downsyndrome to find pictures to insult (sadly, Quinn is not the only victim of your behavior; I came across many other inflammatory responses) is both childish and sad.”
Mennes searched the so-called troll’s site and what she found infuriated her.
“Your profile is also full of offensive posts and crude statements, all of which point to your own illiteracy. In one such photo, featuring two kids with Down syndrome and the word “wiitard,” you get bent out of shape because many, MANY people called you on you prejudice,” she wrote. “You claim it was a joke and that people should lighten up. But what about purposefully seeking out pictures of our children?”
She finished the blog entry by signing off “A Proud Mama.”
There has been a groundswell of support for Mennes and she wrote Wednesday thanking all for their support.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:28:01 -0700
Who knew monkeys could do math? Turns out we've known for a while but didn't know know they were so good at it.
A writer for Science World Report notes the study of monkey math goes back at least as far as 2007, when researchers found monkeys were able to add groups of dots together. (Via Flickr / Vijay Anand Ismavel)
Then there was the Duke University study that found monkeys think a lot like humans when it comes to numbers.
Thanks to a recent study from Harvard University, however, we're gaining a little more insight into our furry friends' arithmetic skills. (Via Flickr / Parshotam Lal Tandon)
Researchers taught three rhesus macaques a set of symbols which corresponded to a certain number of drops of reward. The team used a combination of numbers and letters for the symbol set and tasked the monkeys with six different challenges.
In this diagram published in the paper, you can see the monkeys choosing between a smaller and larger number of dots, smaller and larger numbers, and even performing addition. (Via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
And the scientists took things one step further because they wanted to make certain the furry geniuses were actually adding and not just memorizing values. They taught the little fellas a new symbol set, assigning values for each one and tasking them with addition challenges. (Via Flickr / Garrett Ziegler)
Incredibly, LiveScience notes the macaques were "up to 90 percent" accurate with the original symbol set, and though the monkeys were less accurate with the newly learned symbols, they were still able to distinguish larger values from smaller ones.
The outlet reports the researchers will next study whether the monkeys can learn to multiply. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:19:43 -0700
If you can't beat 'em, call in the SWAT team?
"The SWAT team's responding to a call from a teenager saying he just killed his mom. ... When police arrived, the only guns around 17-year-old Rafael Castillo were of the video game variety." (Via ABC)
Police say the vengeful player uncovered Castillo's address by tracking his IP and placing the fake call, according to New York Post.
Unbelievable, right? Well, apparently not. The Long Beach police commissioner told WCBS this kind of prank call is becoming "a nationwide epidemic."
"In this … bizarre world of Swatting, you get points for the helicopter, for the police cars, for the SWAT team, for the type of entry. It's very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it's very dangerous." (Via WCBS)
A writer for LIHerald.com says after the SWAT team charged the home, it didn't take long for the officers to realize it was a hoax. Castillo's mom told police, "My kid's home, my kid's on the computer. He don't know what happened."
Despite the emergency response, Newsday reports officials were skeptical because the caller used Skype to phone in the false claims and didn't use the tracking-enabled 911 number, instead calling the department directly.
If authorities are able to track down the prankster, he or she could end up paying $100,000 for the emergency response. Yikes -- if the anonymous player was a sore loser then, wait 'til he gets that fine.
See more at newsy.com.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:17:59 -0700
A five-year-old Oakland boy remained in the hospital Wednesday after suffering a serious eye injury when he was hit by a paintball shot by a teenager.
The boy was in a car with his family driving in the 1700 block of Ninth Street at about 6:10 p.m. when a teenager on the sidewalk opened fire with a paintball gun at the car, police Officer Frank Bonifacio said.
Police said he was transported to a hospital for treatment.
He is listed in serious condition and is still being treated for his eye injury
No one has been arrested for the assault, Bonifacio said. Police are looking for the teen who witnesses said fired the paintball.
Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:41:13 -0700