Crime

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

UPDATED: Arson Suspected in Mattole Valley Logging Equipment Fire

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2022 at 4:57 PM

An excavator burns on California State Parks land near a Humboldt Redwood Co. logging operation on Rainbow Ridge. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • An excavator burns on California State Parks land near a Humboldt Redwood Co. logging operation on Rainbow Ridge.
CalFire has launched an arson investigation after an excavator caught fire on California State Park property near Honeydew yesterday afternoon.

A witness allegedly saw two people near the John Deere excavator shortly before flames took off in the grease and oil of the machine’s undercarriage, allegedly the result of a road flare pitched underneath it.

No suspect has been identified in the case, though a group of people calling themselves “forest defenders” were reportedly parked at the entrance to the site just off Mattole Road prior to the fire. The area slated to be logged — known as Rainbow Ridge — has been a focal point of protests for the past five years. A timber harvest plan submitted by the Humboldt Redwood Co. last year calls for selective harvest of between 1 million and 3 million board feet of Douglas fir.

According to HRC spokesperson John Andersen, the excavator belonged to a crew of private contractors building roads into the logging site. HRC has an easement through state park land to its property on Rainbow Ridge and the contractor, Shinn Construction, has been removing trees to build a road.

“We’ve had some people show up that were protesting,” said Andersen. “Yesterday, one of them apparently put a flare inside an excavator that caused it to catch on fire. Luckily that did not spread to the surrounding forests. We’re trying to get the person responsible. They’re looking at felony arson. We are working with the authorities to try and apprehend the person who is causing these safety issues out in the area.”


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Monday, August 1, 2022

Buckle Up for a Busy Month in Sacramento

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2022 at 11:40 AM

Fast-food workers and other SEIU members marched to the Capitol to deliver postcards and petitions in support of AB257 to the Governor's Office on May 31, 2022. - PHOTO BY FRED GREAVES FOR CALMATTERS
  • Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters
  • Fast-food workers and other SEIU members marched to the Capitol to deliver postcards and petitions in support of AB257 to the Governor's Office on May 31, 2022.
Welcome to the final countdown.

Today, state lawmakers will reconvene in Sacramento after a month-long summer recess — during which some traveled abroad on trips funded by special interest groups that lobby them on various issues — for the final, frenzied month of the legislative session.

Legislators face an Aug. 31 deadline to determine the fate of hundreds of bills. Hanging over the high-intensity process is the Nov. 8 general election, which could affect how some lawmakers — especially those vying for contested seats in the state Assembly and Senate — vote on hot-button proposals.

In a preview of the difficult decisions facing lawmakers, hundreds of fast food workers were set to rally at the state Capitol Sunday night in support of a bill that would permit the state to negotiate wages, hours and work conditions for an industry that employs an estimated 700,000 people. A similar measure failed to pass last year.



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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

UPDATE: Both Suspects in Fourth of July Assault Arrested

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 10:28 AM

The two suspects in a Fourth of July assault of a Black man on Eureka's waterfront in which he reported being called a racial slur have been arrested.

According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office release, Joseph Bradley Boxell, 20, was arrested July 25 by a deputy who initiated a suspicious vehicle check at 9:42 a.m. on Sprowl Creek Road near Tooby Memorial Park while on patrol in the Garberville area.

The release states Boxell, who was with a teenage girl, initially gave the deputy a false name. Once identified, he was arrested on the warrants the Eureka Police Department had issued earlier this month for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and assault by force causing great bodily injury.

Boxell was also arrested on suspicion of a probation violation and giving a false identification to a peace officer, according to the sheriff's office.  The teenager with him was released at the scene.

Another warrant on suspicion of assault by force causing great bodily injury was issued for 21-year-old Dylan Cody Olivas in connection with the Eureka case.

Olivas was arrested July 17 on suspicion of assault and battery in relation to the 4th of July assault. He was also booked on bench warrants on suspicion of resisting arrest, public intoxication and DUI, according to Eureka Police Department spokesperson Brittany Powell.

Witnesses to the Eureka assault or anyone with additional information is asked to contact Officer Spencer Barrett at sbarrett@ci.eureka.ca.gov or 707-441-4060.


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Friday, July 22, 2022

Centro del Pueblo Holds Vigil Against Hate

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2022 at 12:22 PM

Garden volunteer Karen Villa spoke at the vigil held in the Sanctuary Garden on Thursday, July 21. - MORGAN HANCOCK
  • Morgan Hancock
  • Garden volunteer Karen Villa spoke at the vigil held in the Sanctuary Garden on Thursday, July 21.
Community members gathered at Centro del Pueblo's Jardin Santuario last night to stand against hate and offer support in the form of notes, candles and speeches for the community's immigrant population after the garden's welcome sign was vandalized.

The sign was spray painted over in black ink with the words "AMERICA USA" scrawled in red.

Centro del Pueblo has been working on the community garden, known as the Jardin Santuario or Sanctuary Garden, for the past year and a half as a way to connect and empower Humboldt's Latinx residents and immigrant community to learn and share their gardening knowledge.

During her speech last night, Karen Villa, a community organizer with Centro del Pueblo, said the name of the garden and the design of the welcome sign was intentional to make immigrant community members feel safe in the garden.

"We made sure there was diversity, made sure that we were being represented, made sure that the people in that [design] looked like (what) it would be like to be in the sanctuary garden. ... We wanted to make sure that when we are in this space, we feel safe and when I say safe, it's not just, 'I feel OK and don't feel threatened,' it's feeling safe to put the music we want to put on," Villa said, later adding that after getting the news and seeing what happened to the sign was "hard."

Arcata Police Sgt. Brian Hoffman told the Journal the vandalism meets the threshold of a hate crime due to the fact that the garden is run by Centro del Pueblo, a community organization that connects with Humboldt County's immigrant indigenous population.

Centro del Pueblo is inviting volunteers to visit the garden during their open hours, Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

See photographer Morgan Hancock's photos of the vigil below.
See
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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Centro Del Pueblo Sanctuary Garden Sign Vandalized, Vigil Planned

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2022 at 3:11 PM

Before and after pictures of Centro del Pueblo's Jardin Santuario's welcome sign after it was vandalized July 20. - COOPERATION HUMBOLDT
  • Cooperation Humboldt
  • Before and after pictures of Centro del Pueblo's Jardin Santuario's welcome sign after it was vandalized July 20.

Centro del Pueblo's Jardin Santuario, a community garden in Arcata that is held as a safe space for immigrants and the BIPOC community to garden and learn, was vandalized last night. Specifically, the welcome sign was spray painted over in black ink with the words "AMERICA USA" scrawled in red.

"The defacement of the Jardin’s welcome sign is not only a crime, it also sends a threatening message to valued members of our community," Cooperation Humboldt wrote in a press release. "Centro del Pueblo, Cooperation Humboldt and the Eureka NAACP stand united in staunch defense of our Indigenous immigrant neighbors and demand that the perpetrator of this crime be brought to light to face the consequences of their actions."

Centro del Pueblo has been working on the community garden, known as the Jardin Santuario or Sanctuary Garden, for the past year and a half as a way to connect and empower Humboldt's Latinx residents to learn and share their gardening knowledge.

Centro del Pueblo will be holding a vigil tonight at the garden (11th and F streets) at 6 p.m. to stand in solidarity with immigrants and oppose hate in all its forms.

“We are in hope of your support, join us to end the racist violence that aims to install the culture of fear and intimidation in a sanctuary peaceful space,” a Latinx community member said in the release.

The incident comes just weeks after several reports of anti-semitic flyers being distributed in Arcata.

The Arcata Police Department is currently investigating the vandalism incident and asks anyone with information to call APD at 822-2424.

People are also invited to join Centro del Pueblo in volunteering at the garden on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. "All are welcome."

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Police Investigating Pursuit, Reported Shootout with Fleeing Vehicle

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2022 at 8:18 AM

The suspect vehicle after it was searched by law enforcement. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The suspect vehicle after it was searched by law enforcement.
The county's multi-agency critical incident response team is investigating a police pursuit yesterday evening that reportedly saw a suspect shoot at officers from the fleeing vehicle and at least one officer return fire before the chase ended in a non-injury car crash at the intersection of Buhne Street and Harrison.

No injuries were reported in the chaotic scene, though information remains sparse about exactly what transpired.

According to a press release, a deputy on patrol in the area of Fairway Drive in Eureka spotted a vehicle that had evaded an EPD traffic stop earlier in the evening. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle and it again fled.

"During this pursuit, an individual inside the suspect vehicle reportedly shot at deputies," the press release states. "The pursuit continued and the suspect reportedly fired additional shots towards law enforcement. At that point, an officer involved shooting occurred."
Officers from a variety of agencies work to secure the scene of the crash that ended the pursuit that reportedly saw multiple shots fired at pursuing officers. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Officers from a variety of agencies work to secure the scene of the crash that ended the pursuit that reportedly saw multiple shots fired at pursuing officers.
After the crash, three occupants of the vehicle were detained but it's unclear if any were arrested and their identifies have not yet been released.

See the full press release copied below and check back for additional information as it becomes available.


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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Eureka Police: Two Arrest Warrants Issued in Fourth of July Assault

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2022 at 4:19 PM

The Eureka Police Department today announced that arrest warrants have been issued for two suspects in a Fourth of July assault of a Black man on Eureka's waterfront in which he reported being called a racial slur.
Joseph Boxell - EPD
  • EPD
  • Joseph Boxell

An EPD news release states a warrant on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and assault by force causing great bodily injury was issued for 20-year-old Joseph Bradley Boxell and a warrant on suspicion of assault by force causing great bodily injury was issued for 21-year-old Dylan Cody Olivas.

"If you know the current location of Boxell and/or Olivas, call your nearest law enforcement agency," the release states. "Do not attempt to engage or detain."

The assault was one of several hate incidents  
Dylan Olivas - EPD
  • EPD
  • Dylan Olivas
reported to local law enforcement in Humboldt County during the holiday week, including the distribution of anti-Semitic flyers and threats levied against a trans man. Read more in this week's Journal story "A Holiday Week Marred by Hate in Humboldt" here.

Witnesses to the Eureka assault or anyone with additional information is asked to contact Officer Spencer Barrett at sbarrett@ci.eureka.ca.gov or 707-441-4060.

Read the EPD release below:


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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Fortuna Police Investigating Alleged Hate Crime

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2022 at 2:51 PM

The Fortuna Police Department is investigating allegations of a hate crime after a trans man reported being harassed and threatened at the Dollar General last week.

According to Lt. Matt Eberhardt, the man came into the police department around noon on July 7 and reported that the evening prior, around 7 p.m., he had been waiting in line at the store when the male customer immediately in front of him asked, “Are you trans?” Eberhardt said the man at first thought the question was a sign of someone being friendly and curious, wanting to ask questions.

According to Eberhardt, they responded, “Yeah, I am. What are you?”

“Then, right off the bat, it was aggression from the other person,” Eberhardt said. “Just things like, ‘I’m a real man,’ ‘People like you shouldn’t be allowed in the store,’ threatening to kick the person's ass. Just a lot of aggression.”

Eberhardt said the trans man said he calmly asked the other customer to just pay and move on, wanting the interaction to end, but the other customer kept at him, calling him a “fucking faggot” and making threats, yelling and “constantly repeating that he was going to beat them up.”

After the man left the store, the victim asked the clerk if he could stay in the store awhile, afraid the other customer might be waiting for him outside. After a few minutes, he left for his car, which was parked directly in front. He was able to get inside the car and lock the doors before he saw the other man across the parking lot, at which point the man started yelling again and ran toward the victim’s car, before he drove away.

“An officer took a hate crime case and it’s still under investigation,” Eberhardt said. “We’re hoping we can identify who the person is and forward a case on to the district attorney’s office, because this is unacceptable.”

After watching body camera footage of an officer’s interview with the victim, Eberhardt said it was clear to him the man was shaken by the incident.

“They were scared,” he said. “They definitely were fearful.”

Eberhardt said staff at Dollar General have been helpful and are looking for surveillance footage that might capture the exchange and help identify the assailant. The victim in the case kept his transaction receipt, Eberhardt said, so police are also hopeful they may be able to use that to see if there is any identifying information associated with the transaction immediately prior to his. The lieutenant also asked that anyone with information about the case call the Fortuna Police Department at 725-7550.

In California, Penal Code section 422.55 defines a hate crime as a criminal act committed because of the victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a group with these “actual or perceived characteristics.”

Eberhardt said this is the first hate crime investigation he can remember in Fortuna, adding it’s troubling.

“Nobody should be treated like this,” he said.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Anti-Semitic Flyers Left in Arcata Neighborhood

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2022 at 4:31 PM

An Arcata neighborhood was hit July 4 with anti-Semitic flyers bearing the names and faces of prominent Biden administration officials and national media executives, some of whom were depicted with a blue Star of David on their forehead.

At least three different flyers were distributed in the Sunset neighborhood near Lincoln and Eastern avenues, not far from Arcata Elementary School, where one resident told the Journal they found the leaflets on their driveway in separate plastic bags, each weighed down by three pennies.

One was titled “Every aspect of Disney child grooming is Jewish,” using an attack buzzword increasingly being baselessly thrown around by right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists who turned their ire on the entertainment and theme park powerhouse when the company criticized Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” included a rainbow-colored Star of David.

Each bore a dubious attempt at a disclaimer, which states, “These flyers were distributed randomly without malicious intent” and links to a YouTube-like video sharing website with right wing, conspiracy theorist hate videos.

Arcata Police Chief Brian Ahearn told the Journal he was made aware of the flyers yesterday and officers were sent out to the neighborhood but did not locate any more of the hate propaganda.

He urged anyone who has information on this incident or any others to contact the department at 822-2424.

“With each person we talk to we can continue to piece together the who, what, why, where, when and how,” Ahearn said, “which gives us more of ability to figure out who did this and for what purpose, and is it part of a bigger enterprise and what crime potential is there.”

Ahearn, describing the distribution as a “heinous act,” also urged anyone in the area with an outdoor camera to contact the department or check out footage to see if they might have caught people distributing the flyers on video.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Prison Rehab: Can California Learn from Norway?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2022 at 8:25 AM

One of Pelican Bay State Prison's 11 perimeter guard towers. - FILE
  • File
  • One of Pelican Bay State Prison's 11 perimeter guard towers.
California has a recidivism problem.

Two-thirds of people incarcerated in the state will return to prison within three years, either through new offenses or parole violations, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data.

In Norway, by contrast, recidivism is down from 60 to 70 percent in the 1980s to about 20 percent today. The country credits the change to reforms that prioritize rehabilitation over punishment — and to its guiding question on prison policy: When prisoners are released, what kind of neighbor does society want them to be?

Prisons in Norway and parts of Western Europe deemphasize the institutional aspects of incarcerated life. Prisoners get to wear their own clothes, cook their own food and have relative freedom of movement within the prison walls.

Democratic Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua of Stockton read about the Norwegian model last year and offered up a scaled-down version this year for California.

The bill, Assembly Bill 2730, passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate, with the support of both prison reform advocates and the union representing prison guards.

The idea is that prisoners with two years or less left on their sentences would be chosen by the warden and moved into a campus on prison grounds where they would cook their own food, do their own laundry and make their own beds. And most importantly to Villapudua, they would get job training in areas that need more workers.

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