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Incident spurs new police training

 September 23, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday September 23rd>>>>

A key witness takes the stand in the Navy arson caseMore on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

Wanted fugitive Leonard Glenn Francis is in custody … in Venezuela,

Nicknamed Fat Leonard, he escaped early this month from San Diego where he was under house arrest.

Francis orchestrated one of the largest corruption scandals in Navy history..

He fled to Venezuela through Mexico, just before his sentencing

Venezuelan officials report Leonard had plans to flee to Russia

Francis’s sentencing has been rescheduled for December.

But, the US has limited extradition with Venezuela, which may complicate Francis’ return to the states.

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Starting today masks inside correction facilities, shelters and cooling centers may be optional if COVID-19 levels are low..

State health officials are aligning their guidance with the CDC risk level system..

It has San Diego County in the lowest tier.. which says people can choose to wear a mask.. But still says those with symptoms or exposure should wear them.

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Another person has died in a San Diego County jail..

A sheriff's department spokesperson says on Sunday deputies found two inmates unresponsive in their cell at the downtown jail.

CPR and naloxone were administered, hinting at a suspected drug overdose.

Investigators say one of the men made a full recovery but the other died at a local hospital.

The cause of the death is under investigation

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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Yesterday, in the arson trial for the USS Bonhomme Richard prosecutors attempted to place Ryan Mays at the scene of the fire. KPBS Military Reporter Steve Walsh has the story.

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Seaman Apprentice Ryan Mays is charged with arson and hazarding a vessel for the fire that burned along the San Diego waterfront for nearly 5 days in July 2020. The prosecution’s key witness - Petty Officer Kenji Velasco was on watch the morning of the fire. 

On Thursday, Velasco testified in the court-martial proceedings at Naval Base San Diego. Velasco says he saw Mays going into the area where the fire started, saying “I love deck.” - Both sailors were members of the ship’s deck department.

Mays’ attorneys countered that Velasco initially told investigators that he didn’t recognize the person who passed him. Only implicating Mays after several interviews, including one that lasted 6 hours. Gary Barthel was part of Mays’ original defense team.

NAVYTRIALDAY4 2A.wav“He initially told NCIS that he had never seen the person before. He didn’t recognize the person. Towards the end of that interview. When NCIS says are there any rumors, he says well maybe Mays.”

Prosecutors are expected to finish their case Friday. Steve Walsh KPBS News. 

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The Miramar Air Show is back this year after a 2-year hiatus due to Covid. At the same time, a coalition of groups is calling for the show to be canceled for good. More now from KPBS reporter John Carroll.

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“We’re not here to kill a party, but the climate crisis is here to kill us as a species.”

That’s Gary Butterfield with the group Veterans For Peace.  His group, along with 16 other environmental and social justice groups say the enormous amount of pollution released over the three days of the Miramar Air Show just doesn’t make sense in a world seeing more damaging effects of climate change every day.

“As citizens of San Diego, we’re being asked to make sacrifices to reduce our carbon footprint and we feel it’s incumbent upon the military, especially the Navy and Marines - to do the same.”

But the Marine Corps says it’s just three days… and they say it’s worth it for the opportunity the show gives to build camaraderie with the community and to show people how they’re working to keep this nation safe.  JC, KPBS News.

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Protests have continued in Iran since a young woman died after the Iranian government's morality police took her into custody for not properly wearing a headscarf.

Nat sound 

Iranians have been protesting for almost a week  after 22-year-old Masha Amini died  after being taken into custody by the  morality police for not wearing her head scarf properly.Iranian state media says 17 people have been killed in the unrest. 

Tremendous sadness upon all of us 

Medi Moein was born in Iran and now lives in San Diego. He says Iranian Americans are distressed by the images and news coming out of the country.  

 The president of Iran has ordered an investigation and offered condolences to the family. Moein says the investigation must be transparent and happen quickly

in terms of calming the nerves down and also in terms of  answering to the demands and requests of the society   

We reached out to several other Iranian Americans who declined interviews  because they fear their families in Iran would be punished if they went public with their thoughts.  

Kitty Alvarado KPBS News

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Coming up.... A use of force incident is resulting in new training for one North County Police department.. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.
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Last year Carlsbad police used a bean bag gun and pepper balls on two suspects…and it led to big changes. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser says the police involved were suspended, and there’s new training.

A warning, this story contains graphic sounds/images.

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Police body camera video Stolen Vehicle 13

On a Saturday night in April 2021 Carlsbad Police Officer Jordan Walker was searching for a stolen Kia SUV. He headed to an area of town near the I-5 known as a hotspot for crime.

Walker spotted the car…it was being driven by a woman with a male passenger. He pulled them over and asked them to get out of the car.  

Clip 1.1 3:54

The driver refused, but the passenger listened. But when they tried to handcuff him, he fought back, so officers took him to the ground and punched him repeatedly.

STOLEN VEHICLE 12 2:45 , 6:51

“I can probably get some pepper balls through that driver side.”

Corporal Derek Harvey fired a beanbag gun to puncture a hole in the car’s rear window. Then Officer Edward Ramirez fired pepper balls at the woman – 57 rounds in all – while she was in the car and after she jumped out and began to run. Officers ended up tackling and arresting her inside a nearby hotel.

As far as police use-of-force incidents go, this one was not all that unusual. But the actions by the Carlsbad Police Department following the incident were. The department disciplined the officers…even though there were no complaints from the public.

Christie Calderwood

Carlsbad Police Assistant Chief

SOT 00:29:44:18

"Officer Ramirez deployed multiple rounds of the pepperball gun.”

Christie Calderwood is Carlsbad’s assistant police chief.

SOT 00:33:46:21

“He was definitely out of compliance because she had not shown violent actions.”

Police body camera video

The department also faulted the supervisor, Sgt. Morgan Griggs, for not de-escalating the situation… and the high-ranking watch commander, Lt. Greg White, for not showing up at all.

SOT 00:21:55:15

“Which was very concerning for us, and he ended up leaving the force shortly after that.”

GRAPHIC

Police Use of Force

Disciplined: 14

Not Disciplined: 461

Source: KPBS analysis of use of force records for San Diego County, 2000—present.

This level of discipline is not typical. Just 3% of local officers who used enough force to cause severe injury received any discipline. That’s according to a KPBS analysis of local incidents since 2000.

Reid Shipley zoom video of training

In Carlsbad, the department also created new training and reached out to community groups for input on a new de-escalation policy.  

Including the North County Equity & Justice Coalition. Yusef Miller is co-founder.

Yusef Miller

North County Equity & Justice Coalition

SOT 00:12:29:00

“It was a really easy and smooth process, I really enjoyed it. We were understood by the police department, they were understood by us and it moved along without a lot of the contention you see in other meetings, people ready to throw shoes and books at each other and all this kind of stuff.”

Police broll

The Carlsbad Equality Coalition also has seen police improve their attitudes. Aly Vredenburgh is president.

Aly Vredenburgh

Carlsbad Equality Coalition

SOT 00:07:15:15

“There's this more moral responsibility to protect everyone that they can. And so it's creating this mindset of reducing harm to everyone and having a reverence for human life.”

Protest broll

Still, Miller says, none of this would be happening without the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. 

SOT 00:20:30:03

“Before George Floyd, we only got three answers when it came to discussions like this: no, no, and hell no.”

He says the fire of the summer of 2020 led to the calmer discussions happening today.

CT KPBS News

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Another interest rate hike from the federal reserve is officially here. It’s the fifth increase this year as the Fed tries to curb inflation.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere looks at what that means for the finances of San Diegans.

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The Federal Reserve raised benchmark interest rates by another three-quarters of a percentage point. 

That rate hike impacts interest rates on everything from credit cards to auto loans and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Caroline (CARE-o-lin) Freund (FROIND) is UC San Diego’s Dean of Global Policy and Strategy.

“So if you want to buy that new car or that new house it's more expensive than it was just a few months ago. So this pulls back on consumption which then puts less pressure on prices so inflation goes down.”

The Fed's five hikes so far in 2022 have increased rates by a combined 3 percentage points.

The Fed indicated it will keep hiking interest rates in order to tamp down on inflation. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

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San Diego’s Salk institute has just received its biggest grant ever to help create a map of the human brain. KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge reports on the effort to dive deep into understanding the brain’s 90 billion neurons.

The Brain Initiative, of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded Salk Institute, UC San Diego and two other universities a 126 million dollar grant. The goal is to create what they’re calling an atlas of the human brain. Salk’s share of the funding is 77 million. It’s the biggest grant in the institute’s history. 

The director of the newly created research center is Salk biologist and professor Joe Ecker. He explains the center’s goal.

235  to try to understand what are the differences in cell types in the different layers of the cortex, for example. It’s a sampling process at this stage to build maps basically of the information within those cells. 

He hopes this information may lead to gene therapies that can target only the cell populations where the treatment is needed.  

In the five years of the research project, Ecker hopes we will know more about treating brain disorders like Alzheimers disease and autism. In all, Salk researchers will study 30 human brains. SOQ. 

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Director and actress Olivia Wilde is getting a lot of media attention on her personal life and the drama that happened behind the scenes of her new film. But KPBS film critic Beth Accomando wants to sidestep the hoopla to focus on Wilde’s second direc-torial feature, Don’t Worry Darling that opens this weekend.

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Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart was an indie charmer about high school best friends. With Don’t Worry Darling, the director challenges herself with something darker and more complex but it’s all wrapped up in a sunny package of mid-century model home perfection.

CLIP Jack wait… (then bouncy bright music)

Don’t Worry Darling has shades of The Stepford Wives as it serves up an experimental utopian community that starts to show some cracks.

CLIP They are lying to us… I can’t talk to you… no one asks any questions…

But Alice decides to ask questions and the answers are not comforting.

Don’t Worry Darling has two strengths: Florence Pugh’s anchoring performance as Alice, and Wilde’s picture perfect visual style. There’s wonderful creepiness in how mundane things like saran wrap or a sliding glass door can abruptly become suffocating symbols in Alice’s idyllic home.

The film falls apart, however, in the final act where a twist provokes an ah-ha gasp but then leaves you feeling cheated and disappointed. 

Don’t Worry Darling confirms Wilde’s talents as a director but perhaps she needs to be more discerning about the scripts she takes on. It also reconfirms Pugh as an acting powerhouse.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

<<<SHOW CLOSE>>>

That’s it for the podcast today. This week’s podcast was produced by KPBS Health Reporter Matt Hoffman and KPBS Senior Producer Brooke Ruth. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

The arson trial for USS Bonhomme Richard continued Thursday with prosecutors attempting to place the suspect at the scene of the fire. The Miramar Air Show is back this year after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. And last year, Carlsbad Police used a bean bag gun along with pepper balls on two suspects and it led to big changes.