Jan 3, 2014

Patrik Griego responds to Laird case dismissal

"Adam and his family are thankful that they can now move forward.  The evidence showing Sgt. Laird was innocent was overwhelming.  The expert EPD hired said that the suspect was rising up when Sgt. Laird pushed him back to the ground.  The two experts that the DA’s office hired said that the force was reasonable and appropriate.  The defensive tactics instructor who trained Adam said he acted consistent with his training in apprehending a high risk suspect in a dangerous situation.  In total, five separate police practices experts reviewed the case and unanimously said Sgt. Laird acted appropriately".

"It is hard to imagine what it must be like to risk your life apprehending a known gang member only to be charged with using excessive force when the suspect stated that he did not even feel the contact at issue.  It is simply bizarre that Sgt. Laird was ever charged with a crime".

Adam Laird case dismissed

Roger Rees from the Humboldt County D. A's office said based on new evidence they are dismissing case against Adam Laird.

Rees said they cannot prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Fr. Eric Freed. A personal reflection.

My new year began as all my days do. I got ready, went to mass. It is my most favorite time of the day. The night before, I had a rare chance to spend some time alone with Fr. Eric after mass. I had become very close to him, particularly in the last year. We are very different and our trust and acceptance of each other, especially our quirks, grew as we got to know each other.

It was like any other day, except his newspaper wasn’t picked up. A window seemed like it was being fixed, there was an area trashed. This has happened before. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Until, Father did not show up for mass. And then our Deacon came in, told us mass was cancelled and why. For the entire St. Bernard’s community, our world was turned upside down for so many reasons.

Usually when I am upset, I write. I share. That was not an option. There has been no time to grieve or mourn for our leadership, for others who are too busy getting out information, dealing with logistics, being there for our fellow parishioners who are having a harder time coping.  All of us at St. Bernards are so grateful to our Bishop, all our local priests, for the leaders in our church community and all who have been a rock for us. For 2 days, the one place we go to find peace, to gather, our real home was a crime scene.

Fr. Eric was a pastor, a friend, family and to those of us who are orphans, a father figure.

This My Word is a small effort to share what Fr. Eric means to those whose lives he touched and the response—mostly very positive. Some that I would have preferred not to address. In the last 2 days, I have struggled with what to write and whether I would. This is not a news story to me. More so the reluctance comes from not wanting to discuss the one area in my life that is private and off limits, and more so because it is not about one person’s grief, one loss, but a community that needs and deserves space and privacy.

The local media has been wonderful in their coverage. Thank you.

In the last 2 days, a brutal crime was committed against an innocent holy man who did nothing but serve his community to his last breath and whose grace and love continues to live on in us and in our actions and in what he taught us. 

I am not going to discuss the suspect, the evidence, the reasons. Loss of life, violence is unacceptable under any circumstances. Emotions are running high and yet most of us have shown incredible restraint.
Instead we focus on Jesus and pray and are thankful because that is was our pastor taught us and reminded us everyday.

Fr. Eric was a very loving man. The following words from Galatians are often quoted: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.  Fr. Eric lived it. Our pastor reached out to all people of faiths, even to atheists; he loved and accepted unconditionally, without wanting to change people.

There are so many misunderstanding about the Catholic Church and teachings. The Church is made up of individuals, diverse. This is not an opportunity to be exploited for someone’s political agenda or opportunity to take pot shots at the Catholic Church as some people have already.

I guarantee you know someone Catholic. Take an opportunity to get to know that person and learn about their faith. This takes years, not a quick moment. As we learned with Fr. Eric’s unexpected death, you never know when you will last see someone.

I start my day with the words Fr. Eric often said to us. With thanks for that first cup of coffee and I thank my Heavenly Father for my daily bread and most of all for the gift of faith and Fr. Eric. As he would say, I will stop here.

Jan 2, 2014

Officially confirmed: Press Release from EPD


On January 2, 2014 at about 12:45 p.m. the Eureka Police Department received
information from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department that Gary Lee Bullock had
been located in the southern Humboldt area and was taken into custody. The 2010
Nissan Altima was also located in southern Humboldt by Sheriff’s Deputies.

Detectives from the Eureka Police Department are currently enroute to the Garberville
Substation to take custody of Bullock and to continue the investigation.

The Eureka Police Department would like to thank our allied agencies, especially the
Humboldt Sheriff’s Department, for their invaluable assistance with this investigation.
The quick and successful apprehension of Bullock was the result of this joint working

No further details regarding the arrest and the vehicle recovery are available at this time.

Waiting for confirmation on suspect arrest

Just spoke to EPD. I hope they have arrested him.

Warrant for suspect in Fr. Eric Freed's murder

By the time you read this post, others may already have information up. And that is okay. As I said I am not in a race to break news, just get out information.

EPD has an arrest warrant out for Gary Lee Bullock, a white male 6'1'' 195 pounds with dark colored hair for the murder of Fr. Eric Freed. Last known address Redway. has a criminal record and it is public for anyone who wants to check it out.

Over 25 police officers and law enforcement personnel worked overnight and are still on the case. Chief Mills said at a press conference, "We will work tirelessly to bring him (Bullock) to justice. Due to ongoing investigation, only certain details were released.

"Fr. Eric did not do anything to precipitate the event," said Chief Mills. There was significant blunt trauma. There is video evidence. There was a struggle. Weapon and "a lot of evidence" has been recovered. No motive and cause of death not determined.

Yesterday Chief Mills said that he didn't think there was "harm to the local community." He still feels that way because "he (Bullock) knows  what he has done and he wants to distance himself from (here)."

Sheriff's office, Humboldt County D.A's office, EPD and other law enforcement are involved in working on the case.

Details of the timeline are in a press release and I am sure will be included in other media coverage.

Jan 1, 2014

Breaking the news is not what is important-St.Bernards Church incident

My new year didn't start well. I am a person first and in this case breaking news is irrelevant. In fact I am not going to report on this except to put some information out for the community that is not being reported and to help get the word out for Chief Mills.
In this instance, I am not a reporter, its personal. This is a private issue.
What I will say is that Chief Mills wants to assure the parishners  that he will expend all resources and investigate the incident throroughly. If people want to come pray and that makes them feel better, Chief Mills said that they need to stay away from the area cordoned off and stay across the street and understand that the police cannot comment or allow people near the area of investigation.

Chief Mills also asked people do not speculate and add to the rumors. If you saw the news you saw familiar faces. I hope people will have the decency to respect others privacy.

Dec 31, 2013

Old Town business Exodus? Updated.

Old Town Market and Deli is for sale. Coco and Cuvee for sale. Updated: Bayfront One has a condo for sale but no other vacancies. Ritz for sale may need more clarification.   Will have new info once I confirm with owner.

These Old Town businesses (except for the Ritz which had been empty then reopened and closed) were around for a few years.

Hue Southeast Asian Cuisine (not in Old Town but another business in Old Town/Downtown area for sale).

This just in December. This is also what is listed. Who knows what other business is considering closing down?

If all the empty storefronts had been jUst food businesses, I would understand. Maybe some of these businesses will have new owners. Let's hope so. As someone who enjoys supporting local businesses, especially in Old Town, when a business closes, I think of the employees.

Maybe time to rethink just food and retail model in Old Town. For the businesses that are still around, here's hoping the New Year will bring them increased business. Old Town has a special place in my heart. As someone who always lived in the heart of the cities I resided in before I moved here, a vibrant downtown area that thrives is what makes me feel most at home.

Dec 30, 2013

Watson denies Beaton's suit against the City, rules invocations do not violate California Constitution


Carole Beaton v. City of Eureka Ruling: On Christmas Eve, the Honorable W. Bruce
Watson of the Humboldt County Superior Court, issued an order denying Carole Beaton’s
Motion for Summary Adjudication against the City of Eureka and granting the City’s Motion for
Summary Judgment/Adjudication on the issue of invocations at City Council meetings. The
Court has ruled that invocations at City Council meetings in general and that specifically Policy
and Procedure 1.25 do NOT violate the California Constitution.

Policy and Procedure 1.25 was adopted by the City on May 1, 2012 in response to a letter
from the ACLU Redwood Chapter requesting that sectarian prayers be discontinued at future
City Council meetings. Since the adoption of 1.25, there has been only one invocation at a City
Council meeting which was delivered by a member of the Hindu faith and a young man sang
“God Bless America” during the time set for the invocation. Judge Watson noted that other than
this one invocation and the singing of “God Bless America” nothing of a religious nature has
taken place at City Council meetings since the adoption of the policy.

Beaton had contended that allowing ANY invocations at City Council meetings, whether
sectarian or nonsectarian, violated three clauses of the California Constitution: the
Establishment and No Preference clauses of Article I, Section 4 and the No Aid clause of Article
XVI, Section 5 of the California Constitution. The Court, following the reasoning laid out in the
United States Supreme Court case of Marsh v. Chambers, held that the City’s allowance of
voluntary, nonsectarian invocations did not violate the California Constitution. Judge Watson,
citing to language from a California Supreme Court case, noted that it did not appear that the
drafters of the California Constitution intended to prohibit legislative prayer:

”Since 1849 the state Constitution has begun with a religious invocation: ‘We,
the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in
order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.’ (Cal.
Const., preamble, italics added; cf. Cal. Const. of 1849, preamble.) This language,
as well as the history of how it came to be included, eloquently refutes the
argument that the framers of the state Constitution intended to prohibit ceremonial

Mayor Frank J├Ąger said he was pleased with the ruling. “Invocations have a place in
history in this country and I do not believe that the City of Eureka should be treated any
differently than the United States Congress or the California State Legislature. The City
welcomes everyone and does not force anyone that does not want to participate in the invocation
to join in.”

The ruling comes after the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Town of
Greece, New York v. Galloway on November 7, 2013. The controversy in Town of Greece
centers on the tradition that commences official board meetings of the town council in which, 30
minutes before the actual meeting begins, the board hears a religious prayer written and
delivered by local clerics asking for guidance and wisdom. The “moment of prayer” is on the
official agenda. The Obama Administration argued in favor of the practice before the U.S.
Supreme Court noting that the House and Senate have official chaplains; the court in 1983
upheld opening prayers in state legislatures; and, that local councils that have religious
invocations should not be required to “police the content of prayers.” A ruling in the Town of
Greece case is expected in late spring/early summer.

Additional comment from Frank Jager who I spoke with:

"I am really happy with this outcome; I have received lot of support from the community through phone calls and emails, " he said. Frank said he appreciates community feedback and support a lot. He concluded his remarks to me by saying, "What is good is for Congress should be good for the State of California."

Personal note:

I have already written a previous My Word on the New York case and my opinion. I am very happy with this outcome as well.