Sunday, August 24, 2014

Northern California Earthquake - South Napa 6.1

At around 3:20 A.M. this morning, the Northern California area was shaken by one of the largest earthquakes since the late 90s. The USGS told ABC News that dozens of aftershocks followed, with one reaching 3.6 magnitude. Many thousands of people are without gas and electric service, per the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa has been receiving dozens of injured people from this event, minor injuries are so far numbered at 70. No deaths have been reported, but we do know of 2 MAJOR injuries in which those victims are said to be in critical condition.

"I've been through a few of these and I've never seen anything like this, particularly in downtown Napa," Dodd said, according to ABC News Radio. "The county building is just in total disrepair, and they've moved it down to the sheriff's office -- so that's where the coordinating all the emergency services for the county."

The fault that generated this quake has been dormant of activity for 1.6 MILLION years. The Earthquake Track website is reporting that there have been multiple earthquakes from northern to southern California over the last few days.

See these screen shots below detailing activity for the last 48 hours previous to today's event:

ABC Television News has this video: 

Watch more news videos | Latest from the US


Published on August 24, 2014 @ 10:38:55 UTC
Northern California Seismic System (NCSS) operated by UC Berkeley and USGS
Version 0: This report supersedes any earlier probability reports about this event.

Magnitude: 5.96 Mw (A strong quake)
Time: 24 Aug 2014 03:20:44 AM, PDT
24 Aug 2014 10:20:44 UTC
Coordinates : 38 deg. 12.85 min. N, 122 deg. 19.15 min. W 38.2142 N, 122.3192 W
Depth: 6.7 miles ( 10.8 km)
Quality: Excellent
Location: 4 mi. ( 6 km) NW of American Canyon, CA
8 mi. ( 13 km) NNW of Vallejo, CA
Event ID: NC 72282711

STRONG AFTERSHOCKS (Magnitude 5 and larger) - At this time (immediately after the mainshock) the probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS is approximately 54 PERCENT

EARTHQUAKES LARGER THAN THE MAINSHOCK - Most likely, the recent mainshock will be the largest in the sequence. However, there is a small chance (APPROXIMATELY 5 TO 10 PERCENT) of an earthquake equal to or larger than this mainshock in the next 7 days.

WEAK AFTERSHOCKS (Magnitude 3 to 5) - In addition, approximately 30 to 70 SMALL AFTERSHOCKS are expected in the same 7-DAY PERIOD and may be felt locally.

This probability report is based on the statistics of aftershocks typical for California. This is not an exact prediction, but only a rough guide to expected aftershock activity. This probability report may be revised as more information becomes available.

Background Information About Aftershocks

Like most earthquakes, the recent earthquake is expected to be followed by numerous aftershocks. Aftershocks are additional earthquakes that occur after the mainshock and in the same geographic area. Usually, aftershocks are smaller than the mainshock, but occasionally an aftershock may be strong enough to be felt widely throughout the area and may cause additional damage, particularly to structures already weakened in the mainshock. As a rule of thumb, aftershocks of magnitude 5 and larger are considered potentially damaging.

Aftershocks are most common immediately after the mainshock; their average number per day decreases rapidly as time passes. Aftershocks are most likely to be felt in the first few days after the mainshock, but may be felt weeks, months, or even years afterwards. In general, the larger the mainshock, the longer its aftershocks will be felt.

Aftershocks tend to occur near the mainshock, but the exact geographic pattern of the aftershocks varies from earthquake to earthquake and is not predictable. The larger the mainshock, the larger the area of aftershocks. While there is no "hard" cutoff distance beyond which an earthquake is totally incapable of triggering an aftershock, the vast majority of aftershocks are located close to the mainshock. As a rule of thumb, a magnitude 6 mainshock may have aftershocks up to 10 to 20 miles away, while a magnitude 7 mainshock may have aftershocks as far as 30 to 50 miles away.

Northern California Earthquake Summary

Location and Magnitude contributed by: Northern California Seismic System, UC Berkeley and USGS Menlo Park

Event Time

2014-08-24 10:20:44 UTC
2014-08-24 03:20:44 UTC-07:00 at epicenter
2014-08-24 05:20:44 UTC-05:00 system time


38.215°N 122.318°W depth=10.7km (6.6mi)
Nearby Cities

6km (4mi) NW of American Canyon, California
9km (6mi) SSW of Napa, California
13km (8mi) NNW of Vallejo, California
14km (9mi) SE of Sonoma, California
82km (51mi) WSW of Sacramento, California

The earthquake is located between two major, largely strike-slip fault systems. The Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system, which is approximately 7 km (4 miles) west of the site, generated damaging earthquakes in 1868 and probably in 1898. The Concord-Green Valley Fault system, which is 12 km (7 miles) east of the site, produced a M5.5 earthquake in 1954; while it has not generated a large historical event, there is strong evidence for recent pre-historic activity. The 1999 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WG99, 1999) concluded that the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system has a 32 percent probability of generating a large earthquake (M6.7 to 7.4) by the year 2030, and the Concord-Green Valley Fault system has a 6 percent chance of generating a large earthquake (M≥6.7) in the same time period.

The earthquake occurred near the north shore of San Pablo Bay. The bayshore areas in the San Francisco Bay region are underlain by landfill and bay mud and have experienced disproportionately greater damage during historic earthquakes. Such damage is caused by soil failure in the fills and amplification of ground shaking by the soft bay mud.

Incoming On-Scene facts:

Credible news sources, and those on the scene in the northern California historic district are saying that historic buildings have sustained significant to major damage in this morning's earthquake.

Rail Service Infrastructure: 

The Amtrak Capitol Corridor service has been shut-down between Roseville and San Jose' due to track inspections and to keep Amtrak passengers and personnel safe.

Evacuation  centers: 

Napa High School gym

Grace Church

Communications Infrastructure:

Communications instructions: DO NOT USE LANDLINES! Emergency agencies are stating that those in the area affected by this event should use other means of communications.

Amateur Radio Service Activity: None heard on the Win System, and no reports of amateur radio playing any role in this event at this time.

This coverage will be updated as more information is verified. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chicago Police Unlawful Arrest - Video Recording

These two sworn members of the Chicago Police Department might very well find themselves in more legal trouble than they bargained for. There is video of this incident, but it starts out AFTER police come on-scene, and the context of this event is hard to establish. At the beginning of the video, we see a man talking calmly as he says "I been there for all my life", followed by a woman speaking calmly, professionally, and with great personal restraint with the on-scene police supervisor. The Supervisor appears to be a Captain.

The audio of the woman starts with "Cause you're in a tough area....I need to figure out a way to address this. Honesty..." Captain interrupts and says "I  understand what you're saying." The woman goes on to remark "we just can't keep, like right now, everybody's leaving and tomorrow's another day. Everybody's gonna come back here tomorrow and it's gonna be the same thing."

As the woman continues to speak, she says "so, we really, just address it so we can do whatever you want us to do." The Captain's response is "Right now, we're just trying to reduce crowds, reduce any potential for violence. So, these guys out here drinking and smoking weed, that's the potential for violence."

Woman: "Well, my thing defense to what you're saying, you'd need to check the call records as far as calls that you get where there has been calls where there's been violence or fighting or anything. Everybody up here is like a family, so, if we do see something that is out of line or out of place, people speak up, this is a like a community, so, I really do not understand, I feel like this is not justified. If there's kids drinking..." and she's interrupted by someone else at the scene saying something that can't be easily made out.

The man doing the video recording now turns the camera to a while car leaving the scene, and says "Alright man, got y'all, for the people, baby" and now a police squad drives by with a uniformed officer inside. The cameraman was already seen by dozens of officers who are quite aware that he's doing the video recording, and they say nothing to him, and the Captain says nothing the entire time.

The woman stats speaking after the squad passes by "where, like, you disperse us, and then everybody goes back, like when you have ten officers walking up and down this area...there's never been a problem with that. I feel like if you've got everybody in one area where they know, they see your presence, and and, you know, that's been going on. And there's nothing going on, you can be here, we don't mind you guys getting out the cars and walking up and down the blocks, and engaging and interacting with us. We don't mind that. We don;t want you to come here and say hey...everybody just leave, because we have nowhere else to go. This is our last place to go where we feel safe. We don't want to go anywhere else on somebody's block where now we're in a range where we can get shot. There's too much shooting going on. But, over here, this is out safety.

I've been doing massage, if you look at this chair, I've been doing massage here for Chicago Public Schools. I service 70 Chicago Public Schools, I service 2,000 teachers. So, hat chair, I wouldn't be here with my chair if I didn't feel like I was safe here, that I could turn my back an do a..."

At this time, a plainclothes female officer with dark black hair pulled back, wearing a grey t-shirt with a black bulletproof vest on top of it, and her name tag on her right on the front of the vest, get out of car# 6408 (car has no beat tag on top, a violation of Chicago Police Department policy), and she yanks the phone / camera out of the camera man's hands, cuffs him, and ask him if he had her permission to record her. The officer then starts speaking spanish in reference to his I.D. The video ends there.

The Legal Aspects of This Case  

In 2012, 300 arrests were thrown out in reference to Chicago public parks, trespassing, and closing hours, after that number of protesters were arrested for being present in a Chicago Public Park. The court held that the statute was unconstitutional on its face and as applied. This is explained by Attorney Jerry Boyle in this video: 

The City of Chicago is appealing this case, and the case is still in court. Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas M. Donnelly ruled that the city unfairly singled out protesters for violating an 11 p.m. curfew in Grant Park on October 2011, when police arrested hundreds of people. The judge said the curfew itself was a violation of the public's right to free assembly.

This piece of case law applies because we don't see the police rounding up anyone else, just these people, and for reasons that are unclear and overly vague. When it comes to time and place restrictions on gatherings, free speech, gathering and dissemination of information, and other protected activities, police have to give orders that are clear, and have a compelling governmental interest. Without such, the police order to disperse is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional on its face and as applied.

Saying that there is a mere potential for x, y, or z, is not a factual finding of a reasonable person in any capacity, it's conjecture and speculation. THAT IS a factual finding of any reasonable person. The police seem to think that a person has to be an attorney to defend themselves or argue factual findings at circumstance, and factual findings at law. Illinois requires that the laws be such that a person of ordinary intelligence can read them, understand them, and make factual findings about what conduct is prohibited, when it's prohibited, and why it's prohibited.      

There are also these pieces of case law in regards to the Illinois Eavesdropping and Wiretapping acts, which also apply directly to this incident: 

People of the State of Illinois Vs. Malongo, which references the court case in which the Cook County State's Attorney got her rear end handed to her by the circuit court, appellate courts, and finally, State Attorney Alvarez's appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in a clear statement made by way of the rejection itself.

The Supreme Court denied certiorari to Anita Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois in its list of orders, allowing to stand a federal appeals court’s injunction against the law, which prohibits audio recording of any part or all of a conversation unless all parties agree to the recording. In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois challenged the legislation when applied to recording police officers conducting official duties, saying the First Amendment protects individuals’ right to openly record the officers.

In the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in May, Judges Diane Sykes and David Hamilton stopped short of overturning the law entirely, but prohibited enforcing the law while it was sent it back to lower courts. Sykes wrote: “The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests; as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees.” Judge Richard Posner dissented. (While the appeal was pending, several news organizations filed a brief urging the 7th Circuit panel to block enforcement of the law.)

See U.S. Supreme Court denial of certiorari here on line 12-318 (PDF File)

Relevant portions of Malongo in the Illinois State Supreme Court:

¶ 20
The constitutionality of a statute is a question of law that we review de novo
People v. Madrigal
, 241 Ill. 2d 463, 466 (2011). We presume that a statute is constitutional and, thus, the party challenging its constitutionality bears a burden of clearly establishing that the statute violates the constitution.

People v. Kitch
, 239 Ill. 2d 452, 466 (2011). In addition, if it is reasonably possible to construe the challenged statute in a manner that preserves its constitutionality, we have a duty to do so.

People v. Hollins
, 2012 IL 112754, ¶ 13.
¶ 21 As an initial matter, we reject the State’s suggestion that the trial court’s ruling in the present case was based entirely on due process. The defendant’s motion raised a first amendment challenge. The trial court gave careful consideration and significant weight to the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Alvarez, a first amendment case. Finally, in its written order, the trial court specifically described the statute as “vague” and noted that it subjects innocent conduct to prosecution; in effect, the court found the statute to be overbroad. While vagueness and overbreadth may be considered in a due process challenge, they are also properly applied in the first amendment context. See,
People v. Sharpe
, 216 Ill. 2d 481,
527 (2005) (if first amendment rights are not at stake in a vagueness challenge, “due process is satisfied if: (1) the statute’s prohibitions are sufficiently definite, when measured by common understanding and practices, to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair warning as to what conduct is prohibited, and (2) the statute provides sufficiently definite standards for law enforcement officers and triers of fact that its application does not depend merely on their private conceptions” (internal quotation marks omitted));

City of Chicago v. Pooh Bah Enterprises, Inc.
, 224 Ill. 2d 390, 442 (2006) (“[W]hen a law threatens to inhibit the exercise of constitutionally protected righ ts such as those protected under the first amendment, the Constitution demands that a more stringent vagueness test be applied. In such a scenario, a statute is void for vagueness if it reaches a substantial amount of constitutionally protected conduct.”).

Moving forward, there are also these gems from case law archives: 

People v. Ceja, 204 Ill. 2d 332, 349-50 (2003) (holding that consent under the eavesdropping statute may be express or implied; implied consent is consent in fact, inferred from the surrounding circumstances that indicate the individual knowingly agreed to the recording). Clark, 2014 IL 115776, 22. and United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 473 (2010) (a statute may be invalidated as overbroad if a substantial number of its applications are unconstitutional when judged in relation to the statute’s legitimate sweep).