- Second District
With the tragedy in Newtown heavy in the air, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined law enforcement officials, city and other county leaders to urge New Year’s revelers to celebrate responsibly and forego one of the most season’s most dangerous and deadly rituals: shooting a firearm into the air at the stroke of midnight.
“This is a matter of physics,” the Supervisor said. “What goes up must come down.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck elaborated, emphasizing that a bullet falls to earth at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour — more than enough force to kill.
With guns collected from the Los Angeles City gun buyback held Wednesday on display, Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca, County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and City attorney Carmen Trutanich also emphasized that discharging a firearm, even when aimed up into the air, is a felony and subject to stiff consequences. “Don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve in my jail or in Lee Baca’s jail,” the police chief said.
“Think twice about it,” Lacey urged the public. “Don’t be reckless.” She added that offenders risk a $10,000-fine, three years of incarceration and forever losing the right to own a gun.
“This is not a matter of playtime,” the Supervisor said. “Don’t let your celebration cause someone else to lose his or her life. We have had way too much tragedy and don’t need anymore.”
The pain and the horror of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut continues to haunt the nation. So, in an attempt to reduce gun-related violence Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas has requested the creation of a taskforce made up of law enforcement, public health, mental health officials and the countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CCJCC) to develop a comprehensive plan on curbing firearm-related violence in Los Angeles. “The Newtown, Connecticut massacre is yet another horrific example of the gun-related violence we have endured as a nation,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “Just the other day, I met with a grieving mother who lost her 14-year-old daughter in a senseless shooting. We cannot continue to adhere to policies that allow such easy access to guns. We can respect the 2nd Amendment but we must also endeavor to save lives.”
According to the Los Angeles County Coroner, 75 percent of all homicides in Los Angeles County in 2009 were caused by use of a firearm, a trend that is mirrored nationally. In addition, a 2010 report by the Department of Public Health identified homicide as the leading cause of death for 15-44-year-olds. Since 1982, there have been 62 mass shootings and more than 300 million guns in this country—nearly enough for every man, woman and child.
The motion calls for strategies to reduce the stigma related to mental illness and mental health treatment. The motion also calls for enhanced enforcement of existing laws regulating the possession, sale and purchase of high caliber, high capacity weapons as well as make recommendations on revisions to existing laws and regulations governing the sale, purchase, transfer and possession of firearms and ammunition.
The Board also requested that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) will conduct a survey of each of the 80 school districts to make sure they are in compliance with their school safety plan. In addition, the county’s state and federal legislative advocates will report back with proposed legislative solutions for the county.
“I am hopeful that out of this senseless tragedy, we will find the courage and resolve to end this epidemic of firearm related violence,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas.
“The matter is urgent,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The Board of Supervisors today imposed greater oversight on the County Probation Department, which has been struggling to provide services to the inmates recently released from state facilities who now must rely on local agencies for help. Last October, the state shifted responsibility for certain inmates to the counties. Since then, the state has released to local supervision more than 5,000 offenders who were convicted of non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual crimes. The Probation Department, which is charged with providing released inmates with rehabilitative services such as mental health and substance abuse counseling, housing and job training, has had little success in fulfilling that obligation. Since February, the department has referred only 60% of former inmates to services, of which only 15% actually have received treatment.
The Supervisors today called for more accountability from the department. Acting on a motion sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board unanimously called for staff to develop a feasibility plan to ascertain how best to expeditiously increase the number of released prisoners who receive rehabilitative services.
To ensure that this target is reached, as part of the motion, staff is directed to examine clear performance goals for both referring departments and agencies, locate referring County service providers, and ensure participation of community- and faith-based organizations.
Officials from the Probation Department told the Supervisors that significant progress already has been made. For example, 48% of those who need mental health services are now receiving treatment. Implementing AB 109, the state’s realignment program, has been a challenge, said Cal Remington, the department’s chief deputy, but Probation increasingly is mandating that the former inmates comply with orders to receive therapeutic and other services.
“Early on we found that many of these coming out with problems did not have a condition that allowed us to, in essence, mandatorily refer them,” Remington said. Now, he said, the department is implementing the use of low-level violations and sanctions on a case-by-case basis.
Representatives from several community-based organizations spoke in favor of the motion; however, some urged the County to resist creating a structure of mandates and resulting violations that could lead to the re-incarceration of returning prisoners.
“We think it’s a positive step,” said Kim McGill of the Youth Justice Coalition. She added that those returning often are hindered in their efforts to comply. The lack of a valid or government-issued identification card, without which they often cannot access educational, housing and health care services, presents an enormous hurdle for many attempting to comply with Probation’s orders.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas emphasized that having the department clearly spell out its guidelines is essential for a successful reentry scenario.
“The matter is urgent,” the Supervisor said. “If we do not see substantially more people receiving the treatment and services they need, no one will be well served; public safety will be undermined and the cycle of recidivism will continue unabated.
It is imperative, the Supervisor continued, that the County not duplicate the State’s abysmal recidivism rate; about 65% of former inmates return to prison within three years.
It is always a tragedy when someone in our community is killed. It is even more tragic when the victim is a young person of only 16 years of age and the victim of a senseless shooting.
Earlier this year, on February 27, 2011, Thomas Riley, age 16, was such a victim. Thomas was shot and killed in front of an apartment complex in the 1700 block of West 105th Street, in Los Angeles, near the intersection of 105th and Western Ave.
Thomas Riley was hanging out in front of the apartment complex with friends when they were approached by two male blacks who asked “Where you from?” Such a question should not be a death sentence. Before anyone from the group could answer that they were not affiliated with a gang, one of the males pulled a handgun from his waistband and began firing at them. Thomas Riley was shot five times. Thomas was transported to Harbor – UCLA Medical Center. Thomas died as a result of his gunshot wounds.
Thomas Riley was an upstanding young man of good moral character. Riley was not affiliated with gang members, nor had he ever been in any legal trouble. At the time of his untimely death, he was doing one of his favorite things — working with his friends on his mini-bike. The shock and senseless murder of Riley has left his family devastated.
On August 16, 2011, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, at my request, approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Thomas’ murder.
CBS Outdoor Systems at the urging of Thomas’ father Mr. Anthony Riley, has graciously made available and assisted in printing four billboards requesting the public’s assistance in obtaining any information that may assist with the investigation.
To this date, the billboards have been placed throughout the community near the murder scene. The locations of the billboards are:
With your help, our community will remain safe and justice will be served.
(Sheriff’s Press Release is available by clicking here.)
|Murder of Thomas Riley|
|Description and Date of Crime: Fatal Shooting of Thomas Riley – 02/27/2011|
|Location: 1700 block of West 105th St, Los Angeles|
|Reward Amount: $10,000|
|Deadline to Submit Claim to Executive Office: 01/13/2012|
The terms of the reward provide that:
Any claims for the reward funds should be filed no later than January 13, 2012, with the Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors, 500 West Temple Street, Room 383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Los Angeles, California 90012, Attention: Thomas Riley Reward Fund. For further information, please call (213) 974-1579.
Si no entiende esta noticia o si necesita más informacion, favor de llamar a este numero (213) 974-1579.
Information Courtesy of http://www.laco-rewards.org/thomasriley.htm. Please check this site for updates.