All posts by jasmynecannick

tom-greer

@Jasmyne Cannick: Octogenarian Homeowner (Tom Greer) Who Killed Pregnant Burglar is No Hero

tom greer

80-year-old Tom Greer shot and killed pregnant burglar as she ran.

 *For the record, when I think of standing my ground, shooting someone in the back when they’re running away from me is not what comes to mind.

So when an 80-year-old Long Beach, Calif. resident shot an alleged pregnant woman twice in the back as she was running away and killed her, to me it was murder.

Tom Greer had no regrets when he told NBC4 Wednesday night that he shot a woman twice in the back as she was fleeing with a male accomplice after breaking into his home and attempting to rob him.

“She says, ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant — I’m going to have a baby.’ And I shot her anyway,” Greer said. “The lady didn’t run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice, she’s dead … but he got away.  I shot her twice, she best be dead.”

Even though the woman was running away, Greer said he regards what he did as self-defense. He said he arrived at home Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in.

“When I went in there, they tackled me,” Greer told NBC4. “Both of them jumped up on top of me.”

This is not a case of self-defense or standing your ground. It’s a case of a man who was upset about being attacked and robbed in his own home and decided to dole out some vigilante justice–the lethal kind.

Let’s be clear. When you’re in a situation and you’re scared for your life, you don’t run after the perpetrator–you run in the opposite direction. As a native Angeleno I know this from experience having been in a few scary situations myself.

If Greer had shot and killed the woman in his home during the assault, that would be a different situation, but he didn’t. Instead, this octogenarian chased after the two people who had robbed him and then with seemingly no regrets shot and killed a woman after she slipped and fell in the alley while trying to flee. If an autopsy report determines that she was pregnant, that only makes Greer’s action even more heinous as the woman told him that she was with child.

Now as would be expected with a story like this, there are those who are hailing Greer’s actions as those of a hero. But just as the suspects are no saints, Greer is no hero.

Greer’s callous disregard for human life has put him in the same category as the likes of George Zimmerman who shot and killed teen Trayvon Martin and Michael Dunn who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis after Dunn complained that Davis was playing loud music. Judge, jury and executioner.

This is a case of homicide, only it’s not justifiable. Greer should be arrested and charged with murder.

But this is California so Greer might just get away with it.

Long Beach police told local media that they are investigating whether Greer should face charges for Tuesday night’s shooting.

California’s constitution doesn’t have a stand-your-ground law. Instead, California law has been guided by what’s known as a “castle doctrine” (California Penal Code Section 198.5), granting a justification for deadly force inside one’s residence. It says that if someone forces his or her way into your home, and you have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury,” then you would be justified in using deadly force to defend yourself.

California jury instructions allow a jury to acquit someone based on a stand-your-ground defense in what is called justifiable homicide:

“A defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of (death/great bodily injury/<insert forcible and atrocious crime>) has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.”

So in California, not only could you stay and fight, you can even chase your attacker if it will neutralize the threat to your life.

However, common sense would dictate that chasing down a woman and shooting her dead in the alley after she just pleaded for her life and the life of her unborn child is not neutralizing the threat to your life. No, that’s making sure that at 80, you live long enough to witness your version of justice carried out—in a body bag, on a stretcher, and headed to the morgue.

I can only hope that the victim wasn’t African-American or Latina, because if she was, that in and of itself is going to be a game changer. With the recent high profile incidents of whites killing Blacks and using the ‘stand your ground’ law as defense, this could California’s very own litmus test on how we deal with when self-defense turns into cold-blooded murder.

So while Tom Greer says she best be dead after being shot twice, he best be getting ready to go to prison.

Jasmyne A. Cannick (official headshot)Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, Jasmyne Cannick is a social commentator on pop culture, politics and race who has cultivated a national following.  As a communications strategist, Jasmyne has worked at all levels of government including the California Legislature and in the House of Representatives.   She continues to work towards the pursuit of social justice and the expansion of democratic values in America while advocating for equal rights for underrepresented communities in the political arena. Online at jasmyneonline.com.

chp asst. chief chris oquinn

Black CHP Chief Justifies White Officer Punching Black Woman on Freeway

CHP Assistant Chief Chris O'Quinn on Los Angeles radio station KJLH.

CHP Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn on Los Angeles radio station KJLH.

*Today in Los Angeles on Stevie Wonder owned KJLH-FM, California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn took to their airwaves on the Front Page show with Dominique DiPrima to dodge (yes, we said dodge) discussing the recorded video of the July 1 beating of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock that has since gone viral.  His appearance comes just one day after the family of Pinnock announced a civil rights violation lawsuit.

When asked if there was anything, anything to justify the beating of Ms. Pinnock by that CHP officer, Chief O’Quinn responded:

“An officer is permitted to use the force that is necessary to overcome resistance.  It’s doesn’t say equal force.  It says to overcome the resistance that they’re experiencing.”

Well, we’re not sure if O’Quinn saw the same video the rest of the world saw.  If he did, then he should have just answered no and called it a day.  No, Marlene Pinnock didn’t do a damn thing to justify that officer beating her to the ground like she was nobody and nothing.

Let us recap, because maybe we missed something the first one hundred times we watched this video.

Nope, like we said before.  The victim didn’t do anything to justify her very public beat down on a Los Angeles freeway by a cop.

But we digressed.

Also during the show Chief O’Quinn told Black Los Angeles that the agency was trying to be as transparent as possible–but still wouldn’t give up the name of the officer who put the beat down on Ms. Pinnock.  This even though the CHP has executed a search warrant for her medical records and has put all of her business in the streets.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Hosted by Dominique DiPrima, since 1992 the Front Page has been Los Angeles’ number one rated daily talk radio show focused on current affairs, news, and politics from an African-American point of view. The show can be heard on-air in Los Angeles and in surrounding counties between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on 102.3 FM and online at www.kjlhradio.com.  Owned by Stevie Wonder’s Taxi Productions, KJLH-FM is the leading broadcast radio station for African-Americans and urban consumers in Southern California.

chp beating black woman

CHP Trying to Discredit Man who Recorded Officer Beating Black Woman (Listen)

*In a live interview earlier today on KJLH-FM’s Front Page, David Diaz talked with host Dominique DiPrima about being at the center of the now national controversy involving the July 1 beating of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock by a California Highway Patrol Officer in Los Angeles.

DiPrima spoke with Diaz after the video he took of incident went viral and sparked outrage from various communities including from African-Americans and advocates for the homeless and mentally ill.

1. On what Diaz felt as he was recording the incident.

“Like this is really happening. I’m really watching this officer really just plunge as hard as he can into this woman on the ground.”

“You can tell this was beyond the call of duty,” Diaz explained.  “This was clearly excessive.  He–this wasn’t just, again, soft hits.  You clearly see him cocking back his hand and his arms and really punching down with force. I mean, there’s no, there’s no bias in this.  There’s no conspiracy in this.  What was on the tape was what really happened.  What you see is what happened.  That force happened.  We need to stop rationalizing this.”

2. On why Diaz didn’t give the video to the police right away.

“Giving it to authorities, we don’t do that here.  We don’t do that in L.A., to give it to authorities.  Those were the authorities.”

“It’s funny because people say why didn’t you call the cops.  That was the cops! And everyone’s a tough guy, they go oh– you should have intervened.  Like yeah, so the other guy–so the other cop that comes in at the later end, so he can shoot me?  Like c’mon, people need to be realistic.”

3.  On the CHP trying to discredit him.

“The CHP has come to my house to take statements.  So they have questioned me.  They’ve tried to discredit me and they’ve tried to poke holes in my story. So that’s happened.  And they are one of the people that have questioned why I didn’t help out and why I didn’t call 911 and why I didn’t stick around to assist her into the hospital if I felt so concerned.  They tried to poke holes at me to discredit me for sure.”

Click here to listen to full audio.

Hosted by Dominique DiPrima, since 1992 the Front Page has been Los Angeles’ number one rated daily talk radio show focused on current affairs, news, and politics from an African-American point of view. The show can be heard on-air in Los Angeles and in surrounding counties between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on 102.3 FM and online at www.kjlhradio.com.  Owned by Stevie Wonder’s Taxi Productions, KJLH-FM is the leading broadcast radio station for African-Americans and urban consumers in Southern California.

chp beating black woman

Minuteklan Project founder Jim Gilchrist with Ted Hayes then anti-homeless activist in Los Angeles' Leimert Park.

Minuteman Founder to Speak with Blacks on Effects of Illegal Immigration

Jim Gilchrist to Appear on KJLH-FM’s Front Page Show Tuesday, July 8

Minuteklan Project founder Jim Gilchrist with Ted Hayes then anti-homeless activist in Los Angeles' Leimert Park.

Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist with Ted Hayes, then anti-homeless activist in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park.

*INGLEWOOD, CA – The Front Page show on KJLH-FM will host a live on-air town hall meeting on illegal immigration and its effects on the African-American community with Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project.

The show will air live on Tuesday, July 8 from 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. on KJLH 102.3 FM and online at kjlhradio.com.  Callers can participate by calling 520-KJLH (5554) from any Southern California area code or by tweeting questions and comments to @kjlhfrontpage or on Facebook at facebook.com/frontpageshow.

With national unemployment hovering around 10 percent and black male unemployment at a staggering 17.6 percent, many African-Americans do not believe that illegal immigrant workers are doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.

In addition, while some local Democrats hailed President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he plans to use executive authority to make changes to the nation’s immigration system, a large contingency of African-Americans in Southern California continue to be concerned over the fate of unaccompanied Central American children who have surged to the Texas border and are now being brought to California for processing.

Jim Gilchrist founded the Minuteman Project on October 1, 2004 after years of frustrated efforts trying to get the U.S. government to enforce existing immigration laws.  Mr. Gilchrist is a passionate defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and an avid supporter of law enforcement organizations.  He believes he is only one of millions of 21st century minutemen / women / children who want the U.S. to remain governed by the “rule of law” and who want proactive enforcement of our national security protections and our immigration legal code.

Hosted by Dominique DiPrima, since 1992 the Front Page has been Los Angeles’ only daily talk radio show focused on current affairs, news, and politics from an African-American point of view. The show can be heard on-air in Los Angeles and surrounding counties between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on 102.3 FM and online at www.kjlhradio.com.  Owned by Stevie Wonder’s Taxi Productions, KJLH-FM is the leading broadcast radio station for African-Americans and urban consumers in Southern California.

Frank Lyga - slider

White LAPD Cop Threatened to Expose Black Cop’s Killing as Ordered Hit

Frank_Lyga_Jasmyne_Cannick_YouTube_NBC_LALAPD Detective Frank Lyga

Hear the Audio at the Center of the LAPD’s Lygagate Scandal

According to a November 18, 2013 memo to Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger from an unnamed officer, Detective Frank Lyga threatened to go to the media after he shot and killed Black police officer Kevin Gaines in 1997. Lyga told 37 people, including members of the LAPDGlendale Police DepartmentCalifornia Highway PatrolLos Angeles Port Police, and Los Angeles Unified School Police, that then Chief Bernard Parks wanted to “send him to another unit” after the shooting to “hide him for awhile.” Lyga said that he was “pissed” and told his Captain at the time that “if Parks puts me there I’m going to the media and tell them that this was a sanctioned hit on Gaines by the LAPD.”

The comments were made at a November 15, 2013 LAPD Detective School in-service training at the Police Academy prior to the start of the now infamous Lygagate audio recording.

Detective Lyga followed those comments by laughing and saying “I basically blackmailed the Chief.”

Lyga goes on to say that about three hours later he received a call from his Captain who said that Parks was going to let him stay in Narcotics and that Parks had a heart.

According to the unnamed officer, Lyga spoke about the Gaines incident for one hour of which only 26 minutes was recorded.

The memo to Paysinger also says that the officer didn’t want to participate in any complaint against Lyga for fear of more retaliation from the department and his own safety.

The officer tells Chief Paysinger that “I told you then (1997) and I’m telling you now, Kevin Gaines murder was no accident.”

This memo was sent to Asst. Chief Paysinger three days after the November 15th incident.

In April, the audio was given to LAPD brass after Lyga had received no discipline for his comments.

After there was still no response internally to the memo or Lyga’s comments, on June 16 the story broke publicly.

Only this last week was the instructor of the class who allowed Lyga to speak freely before the room of 37 was given a comment card, which is considered to be the most minimal discipline possible—basically a slap on the wrist.

On Thursday, Detective Lyga was sent home and relieved of duty pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation.

Capt. Lillian Carranza, one of the people mentioned by Lyga in the recorded comments at the center of Lygagate, filed a slander suit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Carranza alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and false light invasion of privacy, is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

In the audio Lyga described Carranza as a “very cute Hispanic lady who couldn’t find her ass with both of her hands.”

Lyga also said Carranza had been “swapped around a bunch of times.”

In recounting the LAPD’s investigation into the 1997 shooting and the lawsuit the Gaines’ family filed, Lyga recalled a confrontation he had with attorney Carl Douglas, who helped represent Gaines’ family.

Douglas, Lyga said, asked him if he regretted shooting Gaines.

Lyga said he replied, “I said, no. I regret he was alone in the truck at the time. I could have killed a whole truckload of them and I would have been happily doing it—doing so.”

At the time of the shooting Lyga said that he didn’t know who Gaines was and that he had never met him before.

However, in the audio, Lyga recalls an earlier encounter he had with a former trainee who happened to have Kevin Gaines in the car with him. Completely contradicting his earlier account of the 1997 incident.

On KJLH-FM’s Front Page show last Thursday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that no decision had been made as to whether or not the killing of police officer Kevin Gaines should be re-opened and investigated.

There are calls for the offices of District Attorney Jackie Lacey and California Attorney General Kamala Harris to open an investigation into the investigation of the investigation.

Law enforcement agencies including the LAPD are always encouraging us to say something if we see something. Someone saw something and they said something and sadly the LAPD did nothing–that is until it was breaking news.

The LAPD needs to fire Detective Frank Lyga as soon as they legally can and André Birotte Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California needs to open an investigation into whether or not Frank Lyga murdered Kevin Gaines on his own accord or on the orders of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1997.

Jasmyne A. Cannick (official headshot)Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator.  She works as a political communications and media relations consultant and lives in Los Angeles.

Frank_Lyga_Jasmyne_Cannick_YouTube_NBC_LA

@Jasmyne Cannick: Why LAPD Police Chief Must Fire Racist Cop at Center of #Lygagate

The Los Angeles Police Department wants you to say something if you see something.

Yet, last fall when a room full of police officers witnessed a veteran detective making racially charged comments about shooting black men and vulgar insults about command staff’s sexual behavior during a training lecture—almost no one had anything to say. Instead, they laughed, snickered, and applauded at the end.

Detective Frank Lyga, a 28-year veteran of the LAPD has been put on administrative duty after audio surfaced of that training. Lyga, whose claim to fame is the 1997 shooting death of an off-duty LAPD officer Kevin Gaines, can be heard recounting a conversation with civil rights attorney Carl Douglas.

Lyga says on the audio that his only regret regarding the shooting was that Gaines was alone in the truck at the time and that he could have “killed a whole truckload of them” and “would have been happily doing so.”

Lyga claimed self-defense and the department under then Police Chief Bernard Parks, exonerated him of any wrongdoing. However, the investigation into the shooting is what lead to the Rampart scandal.

Since the release of the audio publicly, Lyga has confirmed to the media that it is his voice. Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that Lyga has been removed from the field and placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

But what can we really expect from Beck when it comes to Lyga’s investigation and discipline? After all, Lyga is a veteran detective known for making high profile drug busts and he’s white.

On the audio, Lyga at one point says that he “doesn’t give a fuck” and that he’s “not afraid of command staff.”

I believe him. Administrative duty is not off-duty. It means that he gets to hang out at the office with the same people who apparently find his brand of humor amusing as demonstrated in the audio.

But perhaps Lygagate will force the department to do something different. This scandal breaks at a time when Beck is being considered for re-appointment for another five-year term. It also comes right on the heels of the revelation that cops were unpunished for breaking antennas to avoid being recorded while on duty in South L.A. and  Beck’s controversial decision to overrule recommendations from a disciplinary board that a white police officer be fired for using a racial slur towards an African-American during an off-duty altercation at a Norco bar.

Officer Shawn Hillman was given a vacation of 65-days by the department—not for using the n-word but for lying about it to LAPD investigators.

Criticism was raised after it was publicized that Hillman’s father is a retired LAPD officer, and his uncle is a popular former Deputy Chief who rose through the ranks the same time as Beck.

Police Commissioner President Steve Soboroff disagreed with Beck’s decision but Mayor Eric Garcetti said he trusted it.

Hillman was off –duty at the time of his incident. Lyga however was being paid by taxpayers when he decided to tell a room full of police officers that 77th Division Captain Lillian Carranza couldn’t find her ass with both hands because someone else’s hands were always on it and that the “cute little Hispanic lady” had been tossed around the department. Comments, which oddly drew the loudest laughter from the female officers in the room and which speak to an even sadder commentary about a department that is always trying to recruit women to join.

Lyga has since said that his words were taken out of context.

I’m not sure how you take out of context “I regret he was alone in the truck at the time. I could have killed a whole truckload of them and I would have been happy doing so.”

It doesn’t matter if the “them” is Black police officers or Black people in general—no member of the LAPD should publicly be taking pride in killing anyone. The fact this man is training the same police officers who pull over people like me and you should be of concern to everyone in Los Angeles.

Beck has been on a public relations tour touting that today’s LAPD is not the same LAPD it was 20 year ago.

I beg to differ, and so did Christopher Dorner who so eloquently and seemingly correctly pointed out “the department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.”

Remember, the LAPD deemed Christopher Dorner was lying about his partner kicking a mentally-ill man and was fired.  Officer Shaun Hillman was actually found to be lying thanks to a video that surfaced, and he was not fired.

Lyga is a relic owning to the Rampart days Dorner referenced and yes–he’s still in the department having promoted over the past 17-years since he shot and killed Kevin Gaines. He clearly has a problem with African-Americans but has been allowed to teach his brand of racism and bigotry to younger generations of police officers.

There are hundreds of current and former LAPD Black police officers who have witnessed racism towards both civilians and fellow officers at the hands of their white colleagues like Lyga in the department. And while the department tells you and I to report suspicious or criminal behavior, they damn near make that impossible for their own officers to do inside of the department for fear of losing their job or even worse–never promoting.

Beck, the Police Commission, and the mayor can’t waffle on Lygagate—especially after Hillman, especially after Donald Sterling. If we truly are a city that doesn’t tolerate racism and bigotry, then Lyga has got to go because anything less spells h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y.

Jasmyne A. Cannick (official headshot)Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne A. Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator.  She works as a political communications and media relations consultant and lives in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @Jasmyne.