Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

On all charges.

Were you watching?

In a Minneapolis, Minnesota courtroom, former cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges relating to the murder of George Floyd.

Even better, his bail was revoked and he’ll be in custody for eight weeks until the sentencing hearing. Did anybody but me notice how his little eyes were darting back and forth above his mask? Such arrogance. It seemed as if he really thought he was going to be acquitted. NOPE.

Gotta say, this was very satisfying to watch.

Thousands of others have written with more eloquence than I’m capable of about this trial, so I’m only going to share my observations and my own opinions.

Justice did NOT prevail. Accountability prevailed. Justice would have George Floyd alive and breathing after he was arrested for ALLEGEDLY paying with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Chauvin got a trial, but George did not. Bad cops made sure he didn’t have a chance.

It’s simple. Police cannot be judge, jury, and executioners, but they were in this situation. All four of them. They are ALL guilty, in my opinion.

The only reason there was ANY accountability at all was because a teenager named Darnella Frazier had the brains and courage to use her phone to record the nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds it took for Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd. She continued recording despite threats from the cops on the scene.

I hope we can all be as brave as she was–don’t walk away, don’t pretend police brutality isn’t happening. Take out your cell phone and memorialize the abuse. Darnella Frazier is an inspiration to BE better and DO better.

A friend shared this link with me: ACLU Mobile Justice...https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police/mobile-justice?fbclid=IwAR3Gbc9lQGZGBGu-lEpmrz6H4zOTLTaB4Aev59wzciakM0eGjAO_9e4pNGQ

What is even more frightening is a report I read somewhere (can’t remember to cite the article so I’ll paraphrase) about the recruiting of white supremacists and paramilitary types to our police forces and military. There has been investigation and speculation that white supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across the country.

Law enforcement failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats and racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000. Police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

If we have any doubt that there is systemic racism in this country, we need look no further than active police officers training the Oath Keepers for a possible Civil War.

I found one of the most moving statements about the trial and guilty verdict from my friend, Vice-President Al Gore. (https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/11/04/i-met-vice-president-al-gore-at-the-apple-store/)

Statement by Former Vice President Gore on the Chauvin Verdict

April 20, 2021  by Al Gore

Nearly a year after America rose up in horror and anger at the tragic murder of George Floyd and cried out in opposition to generations of systemic racism, a jury in Minneapolis delivered a long-awaited first step toward accountability. While we know that true justice would mean that George Floyd was with us today, living free of fear of racism and police violence, I’m glad that we can at least say that with this verdict, the arc of the moral universe bent ever so slightly further toward justice.

The American legal system should be a beacon of accountability around the globe, and I’m glad that with the eyes of the world upon us, it lived up to that promise in this case. But at the same time, I’m all too aware that this same accountability and justice has never come for countless Black, brown, and Indigenous women and men in America.

I hope that this moment is a turning point for the real action and reform desperately needed to ensure our country can live up to its most sacred promise: that all men and women are created equal. While we unequivocally declare the truth that Black Lives Matter, it is long past time for the meaningful changes needed to allow Black Americans an opportunity to thrive.

My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends as they continue to grieve his loss and work toward lasting change.

A vigil for George Floyd is planned for Sunday evening at a park in my little town. I probably won’t attend because I’m still wary of public gatherings. If I change my mind, I’ll post photos.

Runaway Kayak

Since I recovered from the side effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine, I walked to the beach on a foggy Sunday morning.

I noticed a lot of police and fire truck activity on the bridge overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon so I walked over to one of the officers to ask what was going on.

He told me that someone had reported an empty kayak had washed up along the shore and they were following protocol to search for anyone who might have fallen off and needed to be rescued and offer medical assistance.

It’s very possible it was simply a case of a runaway kayak that had come loose from wherever it had been stowed, but they were in full on search and rescue mode.

I left after a while because it didn’t look like they needed my help (haha) and walked back home.

As I walked away, a woman stopped to ask me what was going on. She was maskless, so I told her I don’t speak to people who don’t follow the mask mandate, and kept going. Yes, her mouth dropped open, but I stand by my comment.

It’s simple. Wear a mask!

Subsequently, I learned they searched for more than two hours and didn’t find anyone–or at least I assume they didn’t because there was nothing on the news. If I hear an update, I’ll post the info.

P.S. Me, police, fire, and rescuers were wearing masks. There’s no excuse NOT to follow county guidelines. I hate it too, but I DO IT.

Well, this was an adventure…

I think by now I can safely assume that y’all figured out that I’m a tiny person with very curly hair who lives in a Southern California beach town.

You know that I love seashells and rocks and being outdoors. I have an amazing son and brilliant DIL who combined their DNA to create two of the most adorable humans to ever exist.

Moreover, I’m a passionate animal protector and defender.

My dad was an attorney and my mom was a SAHM — an RN who went back to nursing when I was in junior high. With certainty, I admit to living a less than edgy life. More like ballet or the symphony and learning to bake my mom’s best ever apple pie than drunken brawls and broken windows on Saturday nights. My memories are of a slightly quieter and more genteel childhood. You get the picture, right?

Maybe that’s the reason why, every so often, I crave a bit of excitement or an adventure or maybe the truth is that I’m too naive (or stupid) to know what it really means when I put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

So this happened.

Would you be at all surprised if I told you that I watched a burglary in progress and then I offered to chase after the guy with the store manager (yes I really did and FYI he declined my offer.)

Definition: Burglary (entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside) and larceny (theft) are two different crimes, although burglaries are often committed for the purpose of theft. Shoplifting is typically defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. In certain cases, the intent to steal, along with an act in furtherance of that intent, can also result in criminal charges for shoplifting (or retail fraud). 

Here’s the whole story:

Monday is my pandemic grocery shopping day; I try to do it all early while there are fewer people out and about to reduce the amount of viral aerosol drops. Traders and Sprouts are my go-to stores for my vegan food; stuff like tofu and hummus and veggies and lentils and beans, along with pea protein powder, coffee and tea. Not very exciting food, I guess, but I stock up for a couple of weeks, because you never know when stores will close again, either for the pandemic or because we’re in an insane civil war.

After that, I went to ATT because I was having a potential issue with the charging port on my phone which decided NOT to exhibit the malfunction while I was there so it was a wasted trip.

After that waste of time, I drove to one of my favorite retail stores because I need a new black zippered hoodie. I love to bleach pretty much everything, but made the mistake of wearing my black hoodie to bleach the kitchen tile and I ruined it.

Since the recent alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, retail stores again limit the number of people that can shop at the same time, so there was a very short socially distanced line. We were all masked. The masked employee was counting people in and out. From my vantage point, I could see a man walking very fast on the sidewalk toward us. For some reason, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was dressed all in black with a black hoodie pulled down low over his forehead, black sunglasses, and a black backpack. He had a black mask that wasn’t on correctly. He flew past the employee at the front door. Uh oh, I thought. What a jerk.

“Sir, there’s a line. Sir, Sir, Sir, there’s a line.” He completely ignored her. We looked at each other and said, “What the hell was THAT?”

Hmmm. That’s when I got the gut feeling that I normally ignore and this time was no different. I had a totally random thought that he gave off REALLY dangerous vibes and I bet he had a gun in his backpack. I thought to myself that SOMETHING might happen and it would probably be a really good and prudent idea to simply avoid it all by walking back to my car. I mean, I could fulfill my desire for a new hoodie on another day; it’s not important. Not at all.

But I didn’t do that.

It was my turn to go in the store and I thought I’d be like Nancy Drew, Junior Detective, and keep my eyes and ears open and be aware of my surroundings. I searched for the guy and saw him walking up and down the aisles really fast, pullings items off the racks and piling them in his arms. He never looked up. When he walked toward the handbags, I went up to an employee who was stocking the area and said,

“Do you see that guy over there? (I pointed.) He’s going to run out of here with a lot of things.”

She said, “Yes, I’m watching him, he’s taking the expensive purses with the security tags.”

At that exact moment, he flew by us and bolted out the door, just like I predicted. The stolen handbags with the security tags set off the store alarms. The employee who was outside tried to stop him, but he kept running.

The manager came to where I was standing with the employee and I said to him, “Let’s go after him, I’m a witness. COME ON! We can catch him.”

“Thank you, but I can’t do that. He could have a weapon.”

The manager told me the video cameras at the front captured a picture of him as soon as the alarm was tripped.

I then told him I would wait there while he called the police.

Now here’s the crazy thing. He said he wasn’t going to call the police because that wasn’t “corporate policy”.

Have you ever experienced anything like that?

I was shocked by what he said, and when I went out to my car, I called the nonemergency police number who told me they couldn’t do anything unless the store called and it’s apparently their choice whether to do that or not. She agreed with me that it was not a great decision but law enforcement’s hands are tied. Unless the store calls, they can’t do their job.

I told dispatch I wanted to run after him but the store manager didn’t and she started laughing at the thought but warned me to NEVER do that. Even thought my intentions were noble, there’s always the chance that I’d be harmed. I’m no hero, but sheesh! Right is right, right?

I still can’t believe this thief got away with armfuls of stolen items with zero consequences.

WTF.

It was a sort of adventure, slightly thrilling with a touch of danger, but nothing really happened except that I watched a guy run into a store, brazenly steal a bunch of stuff, and get away. It was like a movie and I was an extra or a bit player. Like most of my acting career, my scene will probably be cut from the final edit.

What would you do?

Update: Murder in Carlsbad

I wasn’t able to attend the preliminary hearing for the horrific home invasion murder of Carlsbad resident Marjorie Gawitt, but I’ve pulled together some details of that day.

As I previously wrote, she lived in my neighborhood and her death shook the community. We weren’t close friends, but had I had been invited to a couple of parties that she also attended and we briefly chatted. https://enchantedseashells.com/2019/03/11/not-in-carlsbad-home-invasion-and-murder/

The defendants, both transients, were arrested in a known homeless encampment near Agua Hedionda Lagoon, not far from the scene of the home invasion, hours after the attack, and blocks away from where I live.

Initially, at the arraignment on March 13, the prosecutor testified that she was stabbed about fifty times.

However, the murder was even more brutal than originally reported. The autopsy of Marj Gawitt indicated she suffered 142 knife wounds.

142 knife wounds. Let that sink in for a few minutes…

Leslie Anderson, a forensic pathology fellow with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Marjorie Gawitt had 142 knife wounds, including 95 deep stabs, on her body and head from a March 11 attack in her home on Outrigger Lane.

Prosecutors in the March 13 arraignment for defendants Ian Bushee, 37, and Malissa James, 26, had said Gawitt had up to 50 knife wounds, causing people in the courtroom to gasp.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Anderson said the wounds were so extensive that the autopsy took two days to conduct, while most take one.

The attack itself was forceful, according to Anderson, who said one facial stab knocked a cap from one of Gawitt’s teeth. Some stabs were made so violently that they penetrated four inches deep, although the knife believed to be the weapon was only three inches, she said.

At the end of the two-day hearing Superior Court Judge Brad Weinreb said that there was enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial on charges of murder and special-circumstance allegations that the killing happened during a burglary.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney argued there was ample evidence, including DNA on the knife, to show James wielded the weapon that killed Gawitt.

James’ attorney, John Patterson, asked the judge to dismiss a charge of torture against his client. The judge declined to do so.

Dan Segura, Bushee’s attorney, argued that there was no evidence that Bushee was with James at the scene of the killing.

Rooney said DNA and other evidence links Bushee to the crime. The prosecutor also said Gawitt used the word “they,” and may have said “people,” when she called 911 to report the attack, indicating there was more than one assailant.

The District Attorney called several witnesses, playing 911 calls and never-before-seen police body camera footage in the courtroom. The 911 call was from the victim, Marjorie Gawitt.

Dispatcher: 911. What’s your emergency?
Marjorie: (inaudible) I’ve been attacked.

That was the beginning of Gawitt’s dying message on the morning of March 11, 2019. The 63-year-old woman was sleeping in her Carlsbad home alone when police said Bushee and James tortured and stabbed her fifty times in the face, neck, and back.

Dispatcher: We’ve got help sent out to you, Marjorie. Who did this?
Marjorie: I don’t know.

It took everything Gawitt had left in her to make that 911 call. The call was so tragic, officers testifying on the stand became choked up while listening to Gawitt’s voice. Because of her final act of courage, Officer Randy Noa found her minutes later, still alive. On his body camera video, you can hear him trying to speak to Gawitt.

“You okay ma’am? Oh. Ma’am. Is he still in here or did he leave? (PAUSE) I can’t hear you, ma’am,” Officer Noa said, breathing heavily.

“It looked like she was trying to say to me that he was gone. But it was hard,” Officer Not testified inside the courtroom.

The District Attorney also played a second body camera video, worn by Officer Derek Harvey. On it, you can hear him trying to console the victim.

“Ma’am, you’re going to be okay. The paramedics are going to be here, any second, okay?” Officer Harvey said. Minutes later, Harvey’s camera recorded him finding what looked to be the weapon on the counter.

“Her eyes were clouded, dilated and fixed,” Officer Harvey said. “I knew she was… probably not going to make it.”

Sadly, he was right. Despite the paramedics arriving quickly, Gawitt died at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

Trying to piece together what evidence they had, police was that the victim’s boyfriend’s car was missing. Hours later, surveillance video captured the stolen car in San Marcos. The suspects were taped walking around near a masonry warehouse and at a 7–11 store. Investigators said the two later ditched the car in San Marcos, and for some reason, ended up back in Carlsbad.

Police said it turns out Gawitt’s home was not the first the pair had ransacked that day.

“I looked up, and I said something is missing here,” neighbor Patricia Gapik said.

That same morning, Gapik noticed her sewing basket and her daughter’s flute were gone. Random items were also scattered near her sliding glass door.

“I then realized that someone was in my house,” Gapik testified. “I was scared.”

Luckily, Gapik was asleep the entire time, and never confronted the burglars. But investigators later found that the two cases were connected. They found some of Gapik’s belongings inside the car left in San Marcos.

According to court documents, the next trial date is scheduled for late December. If I’m in town, I’ll be sure to attend. I feel like I need to know why and how someone could commit just a heinous crime against an innocent woman and maybe I’ll discover some answers to this senseless murder.

Not in Carlsbad. Home Invasion and Murder.

***UPDATED***

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This doesn’t happen in Carlsbad.

I’ve lived here for about thirty-five years, and was obviously lulled into a sense of complacency and maybe even a tad smug…we don’t have THIS kind of violence in our little beach town.

This is the kind of place where neighbors talk to each other, host “get-to-know-your-neighbor” parties, and watch everyone’s children and grandchildren grow up and have their own families.

But it did happen and it was blocks away from where I live.

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There was an initial report of a home invasion where the victim, a woman, was stabbed multiple times but was able to call 911.

Despite the best efforts to save her, she died at the hospital.

She had been home alone.

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(Out of respect for the victim and her family, I’m purposely not posting her name.)

Later we learned that there were two suspects. Her car was stolen and eventually abandoned near Highway 78 in San Marcos.

In hearing this shocking news going on in my town, I checked the address and was horrified because it was the exact street where a good friend of mine lived.

I tried to text her, but got no immediate response, and immediately started to worry.

I headed over to the street which was now a crime scene with a command post and yellow tape blocking access.

Hanging around the many news vans and journalists, I learned that it was not my friend, but a woman who lived two doors away from my friend, someone I had known from attending neighborhood parties.

This is not an easy area to locate. It’s comprised of many little cul de sacs tucked away in a lovely community of attached homes overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

According to information provided by Carlsbad Police, “Through the preliminary investigation, it appears a male and female suspect attempted to burglarize the victim’s home. ”

I got a tip from a reporter that a man and woman had been arrested just minutes before I arrived. They had been hiding under some bushes in the lagoon. The police that were on scene confirmed that there were two arrests but would not confirm that it was connected to the murder.

I am concerned that the local elementary school very close to the lagoon was not put on lockdown.

img_6947img_6948

My friend finally texted me back and confirmed that it was her neighbor who had been murdered, someone with whom she had dinner just a couple nights ago.

We are all waiting for more information, but I wanted to post what I have initially learned, and will update as more details are released.

This doesn’t happen in Carlsbad. But it does. Even though it shouldn’t. And if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

Please be extra careful, friends, and look out for your neighbors

Statement from Carlsbad Police Department:

Update – Two Arrested for Homicide on Outrigger Lane

CARLSBAD, Calif – Update – “The Police Department shares the communities’ concern over such a tragic incident,” stated Police Chief Neil Gallucci. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family.”

It is important for the community to know that, with the assistance of the community, investigators have made arrests in association with the Outrigger Lane incident.  The suspects were arrested in the 4800 block of Park Drive.

The suspects are identified as 37-year-old Ian Bushee and 26-year-old Malissa James, both transients.  Bushee and James are both on probation in San Bernardino for residential burglary.

Bushee was arrested for Homicide, Burglary, Conspiracy, Auto Theft and Accessory after the Fact. James was arrested for Homicide, Burglary, Conspiracy and Auto Theft. Both will be booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

At this time, investigators believe there are no additional suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

If a community member has additional information about the incident, they are asked to call the Police Department at 760-931-2197.

The department would like to help the community cope with the concern caused by this incident. Most residents know, Carlsbad has always had one of the lowest violent crime rates in the county.

A last note from Chief Gallucci, “Be certain, officers are out-and-about patrolling our neighborhoods 24/7 and are just a phone call away. Call us if you need us. We are all a part of the community of Carlsbad.”

A little research revealed more info on the suspects…

April 12, 2018T

wo transients — including one who authorities say tried to discard a sock containing $70,000 worth of valuable coins — were arrested after an Upland-area homeowner walked in on a burglary.

The incident happened Tuesday, April 10, in the 2600 block of North Mountain Avenue in San Antonio Heights, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

The burglars, after being confronted by the resident, fled with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and electronics. Deputies identified the burglars as transients known to them, Ian Forrester Bushee, 36, and Malissa Deanna James, 25.

More at: https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/04/12/burglars-arrested-with-70000-in-coins-in-a-sock-near-upland/