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San Diego Police Release Shooting Videos - Except One

 September 2, 2020 at 4:53 AM PDT

Teachers in San Diego County's South Bay are demanding more safety measures for reopening schools. Union leaders from four South Bay districts gathered on Tuesday for a virtual press conference. They said their neighborhoods are still seeing high infection rates. Susan Skala is president of the teachers union at the Chula Vista Elementary School District. We want it to be safe for everyone. We have a moral duty. We have an ethical duty to protect our students, our families, all of our workers and we can only open only when it's safe. Some zip codes in the Chula Vista and Sweetwater School Districts have infection rates of more than double the county average. Teacher unions said they understand the need for students to get back on campuses, especially those with disabilities. But say some districts have yet to come up with solid plans. At San Diego State’s main campus, There have been at least 41 cases of coronavirus among staff and students. Nearly half of those cases have been reported since school began last week. SDSU officials say over three days they issued nearly 4-dozen notices of coronavirus violations to students and campus organizations. Sam Barnett is a junior at SDSU and says the cases aren't surprising. We all kind of saw it coming it's not a matter of if it's a matter of when it was going to happen and it's only going to get worse (:10) SDSU is hiring private security to help enforce the rules. Among newly reported cases all but three are from students living off campus.. None of the students attended any in-person classes, but one did briefly visit the bookstore. For now, university officials say they are not considering moving in person classes online. A last-minute deal by the state legislature will provide some relief to thousands of renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the legislation, tenants that missed rent between March 1st and August 31st will have that amount turned into civil debt, meaning they can't be evicted because of it. But the law also requires tenants to pay at least 25% of their rent between now and February, even if they still have no income and their Unemployment Insurance can't cover that amount. Grace Martinez is a tenant advocate with the group ACCE. She says with California housing courts reopening tomorrow, many tenants won't be able to navigate the legal system and avoid evictions. Are there enough lawyers on the tenant's side that will actually be able to go to bat for them? And the answer is no. Tuesday afternnon, the Center for Disease Control issued a nationwide eviction moratorium for those making under $99,000 dollars, citing the need to control the spread of the coronavirus. KPBS has reached out to the state's judicial council to see how California will enforce the CDC's moratorium and has yet to hear back. I’m Anica Colbert. It’s Wednesday, September 2nd. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News...a daily morning news podcast powered by all of the reporters, editors and producers in the KPBS Newsroom. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. San Diego water managers are working with local researchers to understand how Atmospheric Rivers bring water to the region. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has details. The moisture laden storm systems bring rain to Southern California, but too much rain can be damaging. Scripps Institution of Oceanography Researchers hope to better understand atmospheric rivers, A-R’s, so can predict when and where they will hit. “We’re in a climate where the annual precipitation can vary a lot from year to year.” Marty Ralph is the director Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, he says A-R’s are key rainmakers for both northern and Southern California. “About 40 to 6-0 percent of California’s water supply comes from a few A-R’s each year. Knowing when and where a storm will hit is valuable information for the San Diego County Water Authority. The Authority can use the information to release reservoir water ahead of a storm, if that storm will bring significant rainfall. Erik Anderson KPBS News It's a new take on an old idea - neighbor helping neighbor. KPBS reporter John Carroll says North Park now has a "community fridge." They're popping up in cities across the country… Community fridges, where people who need food and other essentials of life can come for help. The one in North Park is next to Hangers Cleaners, at the intersection of 30th and Lincoln. After seeing community fridges in other American cities, Annie Lein decided her own community needed that kind of help. She posted about it on Instagram and the idea took off. "I made an Instagram and email account associated with the community fridge and just 4 days… we have over a thousand followers and supporters." A local business group, North Park Main Street, expressed concern about safeguards being in place to make sure the donated food is safe. But Lein says so far, so good. The fridge was just installed last Friday and she says it's already been emptied and refilled several times. The electricity is being provided by the owner of Hangers Cleaners. JC, KPBS News. More than a million acres in California have burned already this summer. The short-term cost of wildfires is in the millions of dollars. And as Cap Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports, the price tag could continue to skyrocket. Adam Rose is an expert in the economics of disasters and climate change policy at USC. He says the probability of fires costing more than a pandemic is very likely unless something is done to curb climate change fast. [ROSE] “Wildfires in one year, it's not as big as COVID. But what we should do is look at the probabilities of occurrence. I think it's fair to say the fires could be just as devastating as COVID-19.” To prevent future fires and their negative economic impact he says forests need to be cleaned quickly with things like prescribed burns. Luckily, the state and the federal government announced a plan last week to thin 1 million acres of forest by 2025 and is in the process of creating a 20-year plan. In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly held a news conference [TUESDAY] to discuss the state’s new four-tiered COVID-19 plan for safely re-opening the California economy. A key part of the plan is requiring counties to spend three weeks in onea tier before they can move to the next less restrictive one: [GHALY: “We believe that one of the lessons we learned in our earlier reopening experience was that two weeks wasn’t enough. That it took at least two weeks, one sort of complete incubation cycle plus a little more time to see the impact of any change that you made. And so we really wanted to stick to three weeks, and frankly that’s the minimum.”) (:22) As of today, 39 California counties, including Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba and Amador, are in the most-restrictive tier. This means few indoor businesses are allowed to operate. Only two counties, Alpine and Modoc, are in the least-restrictive tier….which allows most indoor businesses to be open with modifications. California’s legislative session wrapped up after 1 o'clock [Tuesday] morning ... and as Cap Radio's Scott Rodd reports, it was truly one for the ages. The end of any legislative session in California is going to be hectic. But this year...the chaos was on steroids.Lawmakers had a mountain of bills to get through...since the coronavirus pandemic sidelined the Legislature several times during the year.Things were further complicated in the Senate by a Republican caucus that had to vote remotely through video conference...after one of its members recently tested positive for COVID-19.That meant clunky, time-consuming glitches...and the occasional hot mic. Like this slip-up from Senator Melissa Melendez. MELENDEZ-1: “This is bullshit.” As the midnight deadline neared in the Assembly...the chamber gave way to speed reading.CALDERON-1: “I request unanimous consent...” [FADE DOWN]There was even a photo finish. Senate Republican leader Shanon Grove contested the passage of a bill after the vote came down to the wire.GROVE-1: After 11:59, it took...according to the Constitution.” Amid all the frenzy, lawmakers did pass some notable legislation. One bill...already signed by Governor Gavin Newsom...pauses evictions through January for tenants who missed rent payments due to coronavirus.Other legislation died without getting a vote...simply because time ran out. Most notably, a bill that would have stripped law enforcement officers of their badges for committing certain crimes or being fired for misconduct. It was a marquee proposal from police reform activists.SOC] A new documentary wants audiences to consider the mental health of President Trump before they mark their ballots in the November election. Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump became available on demand yesterday (Tuesday). KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has this review. Duty to Warn is an association of mental health professionals and other concerned citizens who advocate for President Trump's removal from office under the 25th Amendment on the grounds that he's psychologically unfit. They present their case in Dan Partland's documentary Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump. The film diagnoses Trump as suffering from a condition known as malignant narcissism, which consists of narcissism, paranoia, anti-social personality disorder and sadism. Justin Frank, a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, states the film's case clearly. Is Donald Trump fit to serve as the president and commander in chief? I can answer that with one word. No. Psychologist John Gartner adds this. We could lose this grand experiment in democracy, I think we're more than halfway there. Partland interviews psychologists as well as historians, politicians, former Trump staffers and others to build a compelling case. But the problem is that no matter how much information he presents, no matter how many examples he cites from Trump's own words and actions, he ultimately may only preach to the converted. So he may not reach viewers whose minds he wants to change. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. The San Diego Police Department has, for the most part, followed a new state law and publicly released videos soon after officers shoot people. But one video from May still hasn't been released...and it's not clear why. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser looks into that case. The following story contains graphic descriptions. Just before 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, San Diego police officers went to the apartment of a woman who was throwing bottles into the street. Here's a media briefing from that night. "Numerous phone calls from different reporting parties stating that a female at the 1200 block of Market Street was throwing objects out of the window and striking folks on the they went into the apartment complex where she was at, gave her numerous commands to come out, she refused to come out." Officers used a police dog to force her out, according to the San Diego Police Department report on the incident. The woman attacked the dog with a knife, and so police officers shot her, the report said. The woman, who is not being named, survived the shooting. Under AB 748, a state law that went into effect a year ago, the department had 45 days to release video of the shooting. The department has complied with that requirement in the seven other instances where officers shot someone since last July...but not this one. "If there is an investigation reason for why you're not releasing the video, that exemption can be made." That's San Diego Police spokesman Lt. Shawn Takeuchi "So on the officer shooting that occurred on May 23, there is an investigatory reason and I don't know what that reason is, I'm not in the homicide unit, but there's a reason that hasn't been released." By law, if the department doesn't release video, they're supposed to cite a specific reason why the video "would substantially interfere with an active investigation." The San Diego Police Department hasn't done that in this case. "It's hard for me to understand how disclosure of a video would impair an investigation." James Chadwick is a First Amendment lawyer for San Diego-based Sheppard Mullin who has represented KPBS in public records cases. "They should be providing an explanation, what it is about this particular situation, this investigation, that's going to be compromised." There may be a temptation among police departments to quickly release the videos where they look good and the shooting appears justified... and then delay release of more problematic videos. But that strategy likely won't work. So says Rachel Laing, who helps local police departments with crisis communication. "The problem is in times when it's not so cut and dry and the video doesn't exonerate anyone, there's going to be trouble. People will try to think you're trying to hide something, but I would err on the side of releasing it more quickly." Broll of San Diego protests--a sign that specifically references George Floyd would be great. Laing added that the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police has permanently raised the stakes for law enforcement agencies when it comes to transparency regarding use-of-force incidents. "I don't think we're ever going back to a time where the public will forget, so it's not like they can ride it out and hope the news cycle moves on." That's certainly true for Tasha Williamson, a San Diego activist. She says about the San Diego police... "They will put out the video now very quickly if it's in their favor. Anything that's not in their favor, then they still need more time." The lawyer James Chadwick says it's possible, but highly unlikely, that the San Diego Police Department is holding back the video because the officer is going to be charged. But it's more likely that the woman who was shot, or someone else involved, will face prosecution. Most of the other subjects who were shot by police have died, so they wouldn't be prosecuted. Assemblyman Phil Ting, who wrote the law requiring the videos to be released, says he included the investigation exemption as a compromise, but hopes to refine the law in the future. Assemblyman Phil Ting You want to see how it's working, what are the loopholes, areas of concern, and based on that make changes."Claire Trageser, KPBS News That KPBS Investigative Reporter Claire Traegeser…. Coming up on San Diego News Matters...what role can a horror film festival play as we face a real life pandemic and the impacts of systemic racism. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: it's an opportunity to have conversations about things that are not comfortable and, you know, it shouldn't be comfortable. This is not a comfortable genre. (:08) Horrible Imaginings Film Festival kicks off tonight and KPBs film critic Beth Accomando has a preview. Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. It began in San Diego but the high costs of venues forced it to move to Orange County. Now the coronavirus pandemic has forced it to go online. KPBS’s Beth Accomando previews the festival, in which she served as a judge. Horror comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be subtle or over the top, funny or truly scary, based in the real world or complete fantasy. Miguel Rodriguez of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival likes to theme the short film block so that people can experience that diversity. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: For example, one of our themes is called Twisted Innocence, where you have these characters who are either children or cute fuzzy animals or things like that, and they show a very dark side. Like in Milk Teeth, which is set in an orphanage. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: It's really interesting to see when different voices can share the same thread, even though their films might be radically different, it might be scary, it might be funny, it might be animated but they are expressing the same kinds of things. Part of the festival's mission is to show the various ways you can use the art form to express fear and anxiety. At a time when we are dealing with a pandemic, social unrest, police brutality and a general sense of unease, horror can sometimes offer ways to heal, inspire and provoke necessary discussion. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: For me, it serves the purpose of exorcising dark feelings and providing that moment where it's an opportunity to have conversations about things that are not comfortable and, you know, it shouldn't be comfortable. This is not a comfortable genre. Each year themes tend to emerge from filmmakers responding to the world around them. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: The source of the horror this year is a lot less about immediate bodily harm or running away from a killer. I mean, there's that, too…But if we're talking about, like a trend line, it does seem the questioning of reality definitely comes into play. There's a short film called Optic Nerve that is very much just like very abstract. It explores how reality can morph when we are locked in a room alone at night. It's set in 1973 with Nixon and the Vietnam War as backdrop yet it speaks to current anxieties. As does the Mexican film Mateo about a zombie remembering his former life. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: The idea of, are the things things that used to make us feel safe, did they ever really exist or were we always lying to ourselves? Then there's Hammer, which unfolds in a single take in real time… Yet the ending forces us to rethink all that we witnessed to see a different truth than we originally perceived. There are also films that open our eyes to the realities of others. Like Affliction in which two people have opposing perspectives on a sexual encounter or Hammurabi in which a mute woman needs a translator to help explain her revenge. There is also a Colombian animated film Lenses in which placing a lens in front of your eyes reveals an unseen world. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: I love the style of lenses. It's unlike anything I think I can really say. I've seen in how meticulously what is shown and what is not shown. Right? Like what is missing from the images in Lenses is just as thought out and important as what is on display. Just like reality can be more than meets the eyes. This year's Horrible Imagining Film Festival has nearly 30 hours of shorts, features and documentaries plus online discussions with filmmakers. That was KPBS’ Beth Accomando. Horrible Imaginings Film Festival kicked off last night and streams through Monday. For more information go to Beth's Cinema Junkie blog at KPBS-dot-ORG. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening.

The department has followed state law and released every other shooting video in 45 days, sometimes even releasing videos within 72 hours of the shooting. But one video hasn't been released and it's not clear why. And, Community Fridges are popping up across the country, and now North Park has its own. But there is some concern from local businesses. Also, a look at some of the bills lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom, and others that didn’t.