Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 16 / 20 April 2017
 

SF politico’s child porn sentencing delayed

Juan Enrique Pearce (Photo: SFPD)

Juan Enrique Pearce (Photo: SFPD)

The sentencing on child pornography charges for a well-known political consultant who once campaigned for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and others has been delayed after a judge said he couldn’t be sentenced to home detention.

Juan Enrique Pearce, of San Francisco, who was jailed briefly after his May 2015 arrest, pleaded guilty in December 2016 to possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and buying or receiving stolen property, according to court records. In exchange, prosecutors had dismissed charges of possession of over 600 images depicting children “engaged in or simulating sexual conduct” – including at least 10 images showing children younger than 12, possession of sadomasochistic child or youth pornography. (The stolen property was a parking meter.)

Pearce had been set to do six months of home detention, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Rene Nazarro told him Friday (March 10) that since Sheriff Vicki Hennessy had disapproved that plan, it wouldn’t be an option.

Navarro said that Pearce either needs to serve his six months in county jail, or withdraw his guilty plea and start criminal proceedings over again.

“Back to the drawing board,” Douglas Horngrad, Pearce’s attorney, said in court.

Pearce’s next court date is April 7, when he and his attorneys are expected to say what he wants to do.

Pearce declined to speak with reporters Friday morning as he entered the courtroom, and his attorneys rushed him away after the hearing.

A gay longtime city staffer previously told the Bay Area Reporter that Pearce had told him he’s gay.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 10, 2017 @ 5:29 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


LGBT mural in Castro tagged

Grafitti on a mural at  Market and 16th streets. (Photo: Peter Hartikka.)

Grafitti on a mural at Market and 16th streets. (Photo: Peter Hartikka.)

An LGBT-themed mural in San Francisco’s Castro district has been tagged with graffiti that obscures the lower portion of the painting.

The mural, which is on the side of the Castro Republic eatery, at Market and 16th streets, shows a man carrying a large rainbow flag, followed by two women on a motorcycle with a leather flag. It appears the tagging occurred early Wednesday morning (March 8).

The graffiti reads “olevau.com.” Messages can be posted directly to the site. The Bay Area Reporter twice posted messages, accompanied by a photo of the tagged mural, requesting that someone call the paper. No one has responded, and both messages were removed. The site’s administrator’s didn’t immediately respond to an email from the B.A.R.

David Rodriguez, 29, a Castro Republic server, hadn’t yet seen the graffiti when the B.A.R. visited the restaurant Thursday. When he went outside to look, he said, “Oh my god … that is so mean.”

Juan Reynoso, 36, who sells flowers at a kiosk next to the mural, said he first noticed the vandalism Wednesday morning.

In an email exchange with the B.A.R., Sergeant Michael Andraychak, a police spokesman, said, “While the department is aware of the ‘tag,’ to our knowledge, no one has filed a police report regarding the mural.”

Police “are familiar with the tag,” Andraychak said, and someone standing by the mural Thursday said that he’d seen it before, too, although he couldn’t recall where.

In January, Hoodline reported that the tag had been seen in numerous places, including in the Haight district. In an email exchange with the news site, administrative manager Olivia Lang said, “The Founders of Olevau do not support, promote or condone Destruction & Violence within the community,” she wrote. “Period. How the users of Olevau decide to express their love for the website is beyond our control. Olevau = Creation.”

The Castro Republic’s owner couldn’t be reached for comment. Rodriguez said the Castro Republic doesn’t have surveillance cameras outside.

Metal police barricades sat in front of the mural Thursday. Someone sent the B.A.R. a photo of the mural that was taken Wednesday night. The barricades were not in the photo.

Andraychak said police would like the artist or the property owner to contact them and file a report.

The police department’s graffiti abatement officer “follows up cases involving  significant damage,” Andraychak said.  He said anyone with tips or other information may email Martin.Ferreira@sfgov.org.

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism at Castro Republic or the suspect is asked to contact the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. Tips may be made anonymously.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 9, 2017 @ 6:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Two pepper sprayed in Castro robbery

The 2200 block of Market Street. (Image: Google)

The 2200 block of Market Street. (Image: Google)

Two people were pepper sprayed and one of them was robbed early Sunday in San Francisco’s Castro district, according to police.

The incident occurred at 2:45 a.m. March 5 in the 2200 block of Market Street when the three suspects, who were leaving a business, asked the victims a question, police said. As one of the victims replied, one of the suspects pepper sprayed the pair and took a backpack from one of them.

The victim chased the three suspects and recovered his bag. The suspects fled in a vehicle.

The victim who was robbed, a 45-year-old man, sustained a non-life threatening injury, according to police.

The suspects were described only as two white males and a Hispanic male.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 8, 2017 @ 4:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF’s ex-chief forensic toxicologist sues city

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

San Francisco’s former chief toxicologist is suing the city, claiming he resigned in 2016 after he was “instructed … to engage in unlawful activity” by assisting “an unlicensed forensic toxicologist to illegal perform DUI alcohol testing.”

In wrongful termination lawsuit filed in February in San Francisco Superior Court, Dr. Nikolas Lemos, who’s gay, says Christopher Wirowek, deputy director at the medical examiner’s office, told him to “comply now and grieve later” after Wirowek “personally recruited” Dr. Luke Rodda from Australia.

Lemos says that in July 2016, the state’s Forensic Alcohol program notified him that it would not certify Rodda “given his present credentials.”

“Mr. Wirowek’s instructions put plaintiff in an untenable situation,” Lemos’s complaint says. “If he was to sign off on Dr. Rodda’s test results and then attempt to support them in criminal trials, eh could be guilty of perjury. Conversely, if plaintiff refused to support the test results and it was ever learned why (i.e., because Dr. Rodda was conducting the tests illegally), then plaintiff’s professional integrity would be damaged irreparably for having knowingly allowed an unlicensed toxicologist to conduct DUI tests. Either way, plaintiff could not carry out Mr. Wirowek’s mandate to allow Dr. Rodda to be involved in DUI testing.”

Lemos resigned in July, and Rodda was named acting chief forensic toxicologist. According to the complaint, Rodda is still the interim head of toxicology at the medical examiner’s office.

Wirowek declined to comment. Rodda didn’t immediately respond to an interview request. Spokespeople for the state Forensic Alcohol program couldn’t be reached Monday morning (March 6).

In response to an email from the Bay Area Reporter, John Cote, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said, “We’re not going to comment on pending litigation.”

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, March 9 edition.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 6, 2017 @ 11:52 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Suspect yells obscenity, stabs victim in Castro

01_07_Milk_Movie_52_lrg

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A suspect “yelled out an obscenity” at a 24-year-old man and then stabbed him in the arm Sunday morning (February 26) in San Francisco’s Castro district, according to police.

The 1:15 a.m. incident occurred when the victim was walking near 18th and Castro streets and the suspect, who appeared to be 40, shouted at him. After the suspect stabbed the victim, the suspect fled eastbound on 18th, Officer Giselle Talkoff, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

The victim, whose injury was non-life threatening, was taken to a hospital.

The suspect was a white male, but no other details about him were available. No arrests have been made.

Talkoff didn’t respond to an email from the Bay Area Reporter asking whether the obscenity was an anti-LGBT slur.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 3, 2017 @ 5:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Diaz, jailed in assault, set to be released again

David Diaz in his 2016 booking photo. (Photo: SFPD)

David Diaz in his 2016 booking photo. (Photo: SFPD)

David Munoz Diaz, who was acquitted in 2014 of murdering another man during a sexual encounter in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, and then released from jail in September 2016 in an unrelated arson case, is set to be released from custody soon in his latest case, an alleged assault.

Diaz, 27, pleaded guilty Thursday (February 23) to felony false imprisonment and is expected to be sentenced March 16 to up to five years of probation. He’ll be released that day. His probation conditions will include a midnight curfew and up to a year of wearing an ankle monitor.

The case stems from a November 29 incident in which Diaz allegedly handcuffed and bit a chunk out of another man’s scalp while impersonating a police officer. Assault and other counts were dismissed Thursday. Diaz has been in custody since the November incident.

Outside the courtroom Thursday, Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young said that Diaz’s alleged victim had actually been the first to strike during the incident, and Diaz had a “very, very strong self-defense” case.

In 2014, Diaz stood trial for the June 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, in Buena Vista Park. In his testimony, Diaz testified that Canul-Arguello had asked to be choked during a sexual encounter and that he’d accidentally killed him.

Diaz said he’d set fire to a cup in a recycling bin to signal for help. The melted bin was found with Canul-Arguello’s heavily charred body.

Jurors acquitted Diaz of second-degree murder but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, arson, mutilating human remains, and destroying evidence. He was released in September 2014 after spending more than three years in custody. Superior Court Judge Donald Sullivan dismissed the arson count.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, March 2 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 23, 2017 @ 3:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Trump administration rescinds trans student protections

Politico reported late Wednesday afternoon (February 22) that the Trump administration told schools that an Obama directive aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students has given rise to lawsuits and confusion – so it’s pulling it back.

A guidance letter to schools, released by the Justice and Education departments, said the administration has “decided to withdraw and rescind” the Obama directive “in order to further and more completely consider the legal issues involved,” Politico reported.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next month in a case about the rights of a transgender student, Gavin Grimm, in a Virginia public high school. On Tuesday night, the Justice Department advised the justices about the federal government policy change – a move which could lead the high court to drop the pending case and leave the legal issue to be resolved at a later date, Politico reported.

Local officials blasted the administration’s actions.

“President Trump is on a crusade to Make America Hate Again and LGBT Americans must join other people of conscience to stop him,” gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said in a statement. “As a public school parent, I’m outraged and saddened that he would deny young people respect, dignity and the ability to live as their authentic selves. We shouldn’t be surprised given how little regard he gives to public education in the first place. As a San Franciscan, I remain committed to speaking out against hatred and organizing to ensure equality for all. Moving backwards in our path toward equality is unacceptable.”

San Francisco school officials also weighed in.

“Today’s decision to rescind protections against transgender students is a misguided act that will victimize children most in need of our support,” gay interim San Francisco school superintendent Myong Leigh, school board President Shamann Walton, and Mayor Ed Lee said in a joint statement.

Leigh, Walton, and Lee said that “All students deserve to learn in an atmosphere that is free of fear and discrimination. While attending school, no child should feel overwhelmed by the simple decision of which bathroom to use, or fear the consequences of entering a locker room.”

The San Francisco Unified School District has a policy in place that explicitly prohibits gender-based discrimination, a protection that extends to everyone, including transgender students, the statement said. “San Francisco is proud that we were the first City in the country to include those safeguards to our transgender student body. We will continue to honor those policies and ensure that all of our students feel safe and comfortable when they enter our classrooms.”

“We became the first city in the nation to appoint a Transgender Initiatives Adviser to hasten the implementation of policies and protections for the transgender community. At a time when civil rights are under attack, we will continue to work locally to protect all of our residents from harassment and discrimination,” Leigh, Walton, and Lee stated.

— Cynthia Laird, February 22, 2017 @ 6:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Drag group denied service at Denny’s

Nereida Alvarez ("Creme Fatale") and Mitchell Erickson ("Laundra Tyme.") (Image courtesy of Alvarez)

Nereida Alvarez (“Creme Fatale”) and Mitchell Erickson (“Laundra Tyme.”) (Image courtesy of Alvarez)

A group of drag performers say they were recently denied service at a Daly City Denny’s because they were wearing too much make-up.

Some in the group had just competed in the Mother: Star Search drag contest at San Francisco’s Oasis nightclub, and several of them had donned Marie Antoinette-style makeup and dresses. The five friends got to the Denny’s at 2 Serra Monte at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday (February 12).

Nereida Alvarez, 25, who goes by the name Crème Fatale, said when she got to the restaurant, she looked around inside, mistakenly thinking that her friends, who’d taken another car, were already there.

A security guard approached her and said, “You can’t be in here with that face make-up on,” Alvarez said.

She “automatically assumed it was a joke,” laughed it off, and continued talking to the friends who’d come with her.

The guard repeated his statement, but other customers were complimenting her on here make-up, and Alvarez didn’t quite hear him, she said.

Then, the guard said, “I need you to leave,” and she and her friends realized he was serious.

When one of her group asked why they had to go, the guard said, “You can’t be here with that face make-up on. It’s company policy,” Alvarez said.

The man kept repeating that they couldn’t be there. Alvarez said part of the reason she was surprised was that other customers were also made up – it was a Saturday night, and many people had gone heavy on the cosmetics to go out to nightclubs. Alvarez said she and her friends didn’t have that much more make-up on than anyone else in the restaurant.

She and the others eventually walked outside. She called her friends Mitchell Erickson, 25, (a.k.a. Laundra Tyme) and Quinn Monroe, 26, (a.k.a. Scarlett Letters) and told them, “We just got kicked out of Denny’s for being in drag.”

Erickson said that when he and Monroe got there, he asked the guard about not being let in because he and his friends were in drag.

The guard replied that it wasn’t because they were in drag, it was because of the make-up. However, Erickson said that when he asked whether the drag attire was the problem, the guard “got flustered and uncomfortable,” and it appeared he was “afraid” of seeming homophobic.

“He had a very clear problem with it, but he would not say” the issue was their drag get-ups, Alvarez said.

“There was nothing offensive about the way we looked,” she added. “We were all in pink and white … very demure, very covered up.”

Alvarez also said that the guard told them “if we got popped” – or shot – “nobody would know who we were,” as though they wouldn’t be able to check identifications.

“I wasn’t aware this is the most dangerous Denny’s in the world,” Alvarez said to the guard, who actually asked for their IDs.

After Erickson said, “We’re hungry drag queens looking for a milk shake,” the guard told them it would be alright that time, “but you can’t come here a lot.”

Monroe said that when she got to the restaurant, she went inside to ask about why they couldn’t be seated. She was initially ignored, but a hostess eventually told Monroe she’d seat the group. By then, though, they’d decided to go elsewhere.

The group went to a nearby Nation’s hamburger restaurant, where they had no trouble being served.

Alvarez, who didn’t know the guard’s name, said not being allowed into a business because they were in drag was something “I don’t think any of us have experienced” before.

An employee at the Denny’s Friday (February 17) referred the Bay Area Reporter to the restaurant chain’s corporate office, where no one was available.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 17, 2017 @ 4:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro kidnapping suspect’s name still not released

Image: PoliceGuide.com

Image: PoliceGuide.com

Police have still not released the name of the man suspected of pretending to be a cop and kidnapping another man in San Francisco’s Castro district last Thursday (February 9).

According to Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesman, the incident started at 7 a.m. when the 48-year-old suspect demanded that the victim, 38, take him to a local hotel. When the victim refused, the suspect forced him to go eastbound on 17th Street to Noe. He brandished a gun, ordered the victim to sit, and threatened to shoot him if he ran.

The suspect then told the victim to give him his car keys, but the victim refused. A witness observed the incident and called 911. The suspect showed the witness a security badge and stated that he’s a police officer, Rueca said in a summary. Police arrived and detained the suspect. Rueca indicated the arrest occurred in the 300 block of Noe Street, which is near the Fitness SF gym and Café Flore.

Rueca said Monday that police were withholding the suspect’s identity because investigators were still talking to witnesses. As of Wednesday, the suspect’s name was still not available.

The only detail about the suspect that Rueca’s shared other than the man’s age is that he’s white.

The victim wasn’t injured in the incident, and nothing was stolen, according to Rueca.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 15, 2017 @ 4:33 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Man stabbed in Dolores Park; woman robbed in Duboce Triangle

Dolores Park. Photo: Pete Thoshinsky

Dolores Park. Photo: Pete Thoshinsky

A man was stabbed during a fight in San Francisco’s Dolores Park Monday (February 13) and a woman was robbed in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, according to police.

The stabbing occurred at 7 p.m. as the victim and suspect were playing dominoes. The two men got into an argument, and the suspect slashed the victim’s arm with a pocket knife then fled on foot, Sergeant Michael Andraychak, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

The victim, 29, suffered a non-life threatening laceration to his left arm. He was taken to a hospital.

The suspect was described as a 36-year-old Hispanic male.

The robbery occurred at 11:15 a.m. Monday at 14th and Sanchez streets when a man grabbed a woman’s cellphone then got into a “tan or beige car” and drove off with three other men.

The victim, a 23-year-old woman, wasn’t injured in the incident.

The suspects were described as four black males ages 15-20.

No arrests have been reported in either incident.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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