Things That Matter

The Arrest Of A Street Vendor By A California Police Officer Is Sparking Outrage On Social Media

A video of a police officer arresting a woman selling flowers outside of a high school graduation has recently gone viral on social media. The video shows a Latina woman being wrestled to the ground as the officer tries to restrain her. The video drew strong reactions from people who believe the police officer used too much force.

Here is the video of the street vendor arrest that has gone viral all over social media.

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight bac…

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight back in sheer numbers, then we will always suffer this kind of treatment.

Posted by Blacktivist on Monday, July 17, 2017

The arrest took place on June 6, 2017 outside of the graduation ceremony of Perris High School, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The woman was selling flowers and Hawaiian leis while people were leaving the ceremony and stuck in traffic because of the ceremony.

The viral video and an inquiry from the Press-Enterprise reporter prompted the Riverside Sheriff’s Office to release a full statement about the incident. People have flooded the police department’s Facebook page with messages to express their outrage at the treatment of the woman, who was later identified as Juanita Mendez-Medrano.

“This municipality is poorly represented by this police department. From the looks of it you will soon abandon this page because of all the criticism you are rightfully receiving,” wrote Pablo Otavalo. “Grabbing that woman by the hair in order to throw her to the ground is a disgusting display of power afforded to your officers only by a badge they tarnish with this behavior. Every abuse of power delegitimizes your work and is an insult to the whatever good officers you may have. This officer has shamed your department and shamed your community. People should be sure to let the Mayor know @MayorMichaelVargas.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the Perris Police Department, released a statement yesterday about the arrest. The statement directly addresses the viral video and criticizes the video for only showing part of the altercation and not what led up to the incident. According to the statement from the police department, Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors that were told to disperse because they did not have city permits to sell merchandise and were creating a safety hazard by going into the street to sell the drivers.

However, KTLA interviewed a man who was present during the incident and he disagreed with the claims by the officers. “A safety hazard… maybe if they were out in the streets, in the middle of he streets, but they were at the corner of a high school and the parking lot,” witness Jason Hernandez told KTLA. “They were not going up to cars directly.”


READ: A California Police Department Shut Down Street Vendors and “Bragged” about it on Twitter

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After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

Fierce

After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

The Washington Post / Getty

Last week, after President Donald Trump incited riots and terrorism at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. the tenth chief of the United States Capitol Polic, Steven Sund, submitted his letter of resignation. His resignation came hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned his reaction to the violent insurrection at the capitol and called for his termination. During a press conference, Pelosi expressed her disbelief at Sund’s failure to “even” make a call during the breach. Speaking about his lack of action, Pelosi said “There was a failure of leadership at the top of the Capitol Police,” referring to Sund.

At the time of his resignation, Sund informed members of the Capitol Police Board that his resignation will begin on Jan. 16. Now, to fill his place, the U.S. Capitol Police have appointed a Black woman as the department’s acting chief .

Two days after the riots at the Capitol, Yogananda Pittman was named the acting chief on the U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) website

Pittman joined the department in 2001 and is the first woman and first Black person to lead the organization. According to NPR, Pittman “as been with the force since April 2001 and was named acting chief on Friday, according to the U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) website. That came two days after pro-Trump extremists faced off and eventually overwhelmed security forces at the U.S. Capitol complex.”

Pittman’s career at USCP has been described as “distinguished.”

In 2012, she became one of the first Black female supervisors to rise to the rank of captain. NPR notes that “in that role, she oversaw more than 400 officers and civilians and was an integral part of the security planning for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration the following year, according to her biography… Her first assignment with the USPC was in the Senate Division, where she was assigned to provide “security and protective details for U.S. Senators and visiting dignitaries.”

Last October, Pittman was recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Women in Federal Law Enforcement’s Outstanding Advocate for Women in Federal Law Enforcement award.

“It is very important for young female law enforcement officers to see someone who looks like them in leadership positions,” Pittman said in a statement in response to her award. “It says to them that these positions are obtainable and available to them.”

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Things That Matter

More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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