Roundtable: Shooting Aftermath; Race For DA; County Jail & Mental Health
Friday, May 5, 2017
University City Shooting; Dumanis Stepping Down; County Jail & Mental health
Susan Murphy, KPBS News
Amita Sharma, KPBS News
Sara Libby, Voice of San Diego
Dana Littlefield, The San Diego Union-Tribune
QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT SHOOTING MOTIVE
At a poolside birthday party in the UTC area last weekend, a gunman opened fire, killing one woman and wounding six other party goers.
All but one of the victims were black or Latino.
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman quickly announced that the gunman fired “indiscriminately” and asserted that SDPD had "zero information” that the shooter, Peter Selis, selected his victims based on race.
But many people think race may have been a factor.
-Was the chief just being careful with language, or is this a case wishful thinking or willful blindness?
-What is the advantage for the police department to make such statements early on?
-Some advocacy groups have come forward with statements and opinions. How credible are they?
DUMANIS STEPPING DOWN
Just weeks after saying she would step down when her term expired, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced she would resign in July of this year.
Dumanis became D.A. in 2003 and was re-elected four times.
But when she ran for mayor in 2012, her luck changed. Her failed campaign included a serious funding scandal, landing a Mexican national, Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, a prison term.
The scandal erupted anew on election day, 2016, when her claim that she barely knew Azano was shown to be false and it came to light that she herself is a “subject of investigation” in the Azano case.
Other issues related to her mayoral campaign have arisen recently, including her acceptance of contributions from pot-shop owners and landlords after they were sued by the San Diego City Attorney's office.
Dumanis has hand-picked her deputy, Summer Stephan, to replace her and has indicated interest in running for Ron Roberts’ seat on the County Board of Supervisors in 2018.
-Was there a reason Dumanis decided to step down early?
-What are the pitfalls for the Board of Supervisors in naming a replacement for Dumanis?
-Should the interim replacement be allowed to run for the office?
SAN DIEGO'S LARGEST MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER? THE COUNTY JAIL
The average daily jail population in San Diego County is 5,700 inmates.
About one third of them (28 to 35 percent) are on psychotropic drugs on any given day.
After 12 inmate suicides in two years, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore and his staff re-evaluated how they house and treat mentally ill inmates.
The department changed the screening process, increased observation of those deemed at-risk, and increased ways inmates can see a doctor.
Because of policy changes which began in the 1960s under Governor Ronald Reagan, jail has become the only place where many with mental illnesses can get any help at all.
State mental hospitals were emptied under Reagan, and involuntary commitment ended in 1967.
San Diego County provides $3.6 million a year to the sheriff for mental health services, but the actual cost is closer to $12 million a year.
There has not been a suicide so far in 2017.
-Is mental health care in county jail adequate in any way?
-Has the number of mental health professionals working in the jails increased?
-How does San Diego's care compare with other large-city jails?
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