Dec 30, 2016 (San Diego) We have also to speak about the people of San Diego and different forces that have shaped politics in this city and this county. The first group that we believe deserve recognition are the women who found the remains of Jim and Kyrie Keefe who went missing the first day of the Border fire. The only way to describe them is steadfast. They continued where even officials in the county would not. In the end, on a hot morning, they were the ones who found the bodies. These women and the list will be far from complete, are Leann Mitsui, Stephanie Rivenburgh, Julie Salmons, Winnie Silvestro and others. They met at the foot of the mountain that day to search for bodies that the Sheriff’s Department was not looking for. They did what professionals refused.
This led to us asking questions from the County. and getting some answers. Some of the answers that we got were easy to prove incorrect as well. We are aware that change in anything the size of the county requires constant questions, and we will continue. One of the things that we were left was with more questions than answers in one critical respect. Did law enforcement lie to the residents?
The frustration was not limited to just them. Claudia Millibrang told us that she told deputies that the Keefe’s were missing. None had seen Jim. She was assured by a Search and Rescue specialist on the 29, before the bodies were found, that they had leads. At one point she was told that there was a sighting of Jim near or at the Campo railroad tracks.
This lead to us asking a specific question about this from the Sheriff’s Department. Given that they were engaged in a search for a missing person, one would think that this sighting would have been logged somewhere. We specially requested that document. This document was not produced since it does not exist. So one has to ask if the officer was engaging in hearsay? It does raise important questions about procedures as well.
This is part of a national pattern, not limited to San Diego Law Enforcement, or for that matter the Sherifs Department.
Oh and we have recently learned that the full pack of dogs that once lived with the Keefe’s has found forever homes, and most are back in the mountain near Potrero.
Then we had the shooting of Alfred Olango in El Cajon. We are all still waiting for the determination from the county as to the circumstances. The questions raised by that shooting include things such as how well is El Cajon Police policing its own. The officer, Richard Gonsalvez, had been part of two other lawsuits, from another officer ECPD, for sexual harassment. This also led to street protests in El Cajon and a militarized response from all law enforcement agencies in the county.
Other people who made quite a difference this year include Pastor Shane Harris, who is the local president of the National Action Network, as well as Lawyer Bryan Pease, who not only managed to get himself arrested during the anti-trump rally in July, but also tried to get an injunction against the El Cajon Police over the policing of the Olango protests.
While this was not quite the year of the protest, it was quite frankly the year of the militarized police response. We not only saw it during the Olango protests in El Cajon, but also during the Trump rally. This coming year we expect more demonstrations, and perhaps more militarized police response.