Friday, May 30, 2014

Gang Member Convicted on Pimping and Human Trafficking Charges Faces Life in Prison

Domonic Cooper, 34, of Los Angeles, was convicted today of one felony count of Human Trafficking of a Minor for a Sex Act by Force
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  – A documented gang member has been convicted on all counts for his role in the trafficking of a 16-year-old girl in Feb. 2013.

Domonic Cooper, 34, of Los Angeles (see attached booking photo), was convicted today of one felony count of Human Trafficking of a Minor for a Sex Act by Force, one felony count of Pimping a Minor Over 16, one felony count of Pandering by Procuring a Minor Over 16, and one felony count of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, with a sentencing enhancement allegation for human trafficking of a minor by force, fear or duress and gang allegations found true.
He faces life with the possibility of parole in state prison.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez, who is assigned to the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, prosecuted the case.

Sentencing is scheduled June 27, 2014, in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Statement of Facts


On Feb. 26, 2013, officers from the San Bernardino Police Department were on duty when they noticed a scantily clad young female standing on a street corner along Baseline in San Bernardino. Both officers observed her actions for a short period of time. After watching the young female get into a vehicle, the vehicle was stopped and both occupants were contacted and interviewed.
Jane Doe, who turned out to be 16-years-old, disclosed that she was working for a pimp named “Chase” and that he was a member of PPHG (Pimps Players Hustlers Gang).  Jane Doe informed officers that she had met “Chase” a few weeks prior and that he had bought her some skimpy clothing and took her to Los Angeles.  During the time he spent with her, he talked to her about working as a prostitute and told her that it was okay for her to sell her body. 

He informed her that if she was caught, it was only a misdemeanor and it was “no big deal.” Jane Doe eventually agreed to work as a prostitute and provided the proceeds of the prostitution to “Chase.” 

On the day she was contacted by the police, she had been dressed in a fishnet dress with only a bra and leggings.  When she wasn’t making enough money, “Chase” told her to take off the bra and leggings, leaving Jane Doe to work on Baseline Ave. in only a fishnet dress. 


Jane Doe later disclosed to officers that “Chase” had told her that if she ever left him, he would kill her mother.

During the time that Jane Doe was with the San Bernardino Police Department, she had been receiving calls on her cell phone from “Chase.”  A series of calls were made during this time and the defendant told Jane Doe that he believed she was with the police and that she better be a “good ho” and tell them he is her husband.

Eventually, a meeting was set up with “Chase” where he was then apprehended and arrested.  Inside the suspect’s vehicle, police located female clothing, various papers containing gang information relating to the suspect, and condoms that were the same type that Jane Doe had in her possession when she was contacted by police.

Additional Links
For more information about the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, visit
http://ow.ly/xrZ3E

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez Receives Public Service Recognition Award

Pictured Left to Right: Supervising Deputy District Attorney Simon Umscheid, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez, and Assistant District Attorney Gary Roth, following the Public Service Recognition Award for Excellence ceremony May 15

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recognized 45 County employees May 15 during the Public Service Recognition Award for Excellence ceremony at the San Bernardino County Government Center. The annual event recognizes the everyday work of public servants. One employee from each County department is selected for an Award for Excellence, based on outstanding service to the county and its citizens. Deputy District Attorney was recogized for her work in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit:

"Human trafficking is a hidden plague on our community that hinders our County Vision, the quality of life of all our citizens, and the well-being of our most treasured resource, our youth. Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez dedicated herself to eliminating this threat to our public safety and community health by leading our county’s human trafficking prosecution efforts. Melissa works collaboratively with our county and community partners to accomplish the shared goals of prosecuting offenders and helping rescued victims rebuild their lives. Melissa is bringing our County Vision to life and epitomizes public service excellence."

Friday, May 23, 2014

VIDEO: 2014 SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY PEACE OFFICERS' MEMORIAL



If the video does not load in your browser, click here.

IN THE NEWS: San Bernardino County fallen peace officers remembered during memorial ceremony



RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> With bagpipes, trumpets and solemn salutes, about 200 people paid tribute to 57 San Bernardino County peace officers killed in the line of duty in the last 110 years.
It was the San Bernardino County Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony, an annual event held close to Memorial Day.

“Peace officers risk all in the line of duty so that our lives may be a little safer and our homes a little more secure, and when one of them is killed, we all share in the loss,” said Sheriff John McMahon.

Uniformed representatives - from officers all the way up to chiefs - gathered to remember colleagues they’ve lost.
“We had just spoken the night before in briefing,” recalled Rialto police Capt. Randy DeAnda of fallen Officer Sergio Carrera, who was killed during a SWAT raid in October 2007.

Carrera is one of two officers killed on duty from Rialto police. The other was Sgt. Gary W. Wolfley, who died in 1986.

Some agencies, including Barstow, Fontana and Redlands police departments, as well as the San Bernardino County Probation Department, attended despite not having any officer losses in their department histories.

Numerous family members of fallen officers also came to the ceremony.
For Sandra and Robert Mould - parents of fallen sheriff’s Deputy Ron Ives - it has become a tradition to be at the event.

Ives died in 2004 when a motorist ran a red light in Rancho Cucamonga and crashed into his motorcycle.

“I come to honor him, of course, and I miss him very much,” Mould said.
Deputy Daniel Lobo Jr., also a motorcycle deputy from the Rancho Cucamonga station, was killed a year later in a crash while on duty.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Deputy Alex Collins, who was shot during the Christopher Dorner manhunt last year.

The high-profile incident, during which Deputy Jeremiah MacKay and Riverside police Officer Michael Crain were killed, was mentioned by District Attorney Michael A. Ramos.
Ramos created the Crimes Against Peace Officer Prosecution Unit following the incident. He said there have been 2,300 incidents in San Bernardino County involving law enforcement officers being victims of crimes this year, including officers who have been shot.

“We are not going to let that happen without seeking justice for them,” Ramos said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Safety Reminder

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  – Memorial Day Weekend is one of the major periods throughout the year when impaired drivers are on the roads. As we take time this weekend, and particularly on Monday, May 26, 2014, to remember the men and women of our Armed Forces who have died while serving, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind everybody to please drink responsibly and designate a sober driver.

Please take the necessary steps to make sure this weekend is a safe one for everybody on the road. If you see a drunk driver on the road, please pull over and call 911.

Quick Facts

Last year, during Memorial Day weekend, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed 160 DUI-related cases across the county.

Of this amount, 2 involved serious injury.

In 2013, 7,337 DUI-related cases were filed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

Of this amount, 269 cases involved death or serious injury.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2012, across the nation, alcohol-impaired driving crashes took 10,322 lives and Californians witnessed 802 deaths in DUI crashes.

For Safe Party Guide Tips visit the MADD website: http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/safe-party

In The News: San Bernardino County Children’s Assessment Center unveils medical wing dedicated to slain deputy

David Hidalgo, supervising deputy district attorney for the Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Division, chats with Marie Dawson of the Children’s Assessment Center in San Bernardino next to a large canvas photo created in memory of slain San Bernardino County sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay for whom a wing of the center was dedicated.

By Doug Saunders, The Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> Tears were shed as Dr. Amy Young dedicated a wing in the new San Bernardino County Children’s Assessment Center to slain sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay on Wednesday.  “Child abuse is a very dark, ugly and sad thing for a child to go through,” Young said. “Jeremiah was always a ray of sunshine when he was around here.”
MacKay, a Redlands resident, was killed near Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mountains during the manhunt for rogue ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner in February 2013.

“It’s an honor that you all have done this for him,” Lynette MacKay, the slain deputy’s wife, said. “In a way, this was Jeremiah’s favorite place, so thank you.”
Young, the center’s assistant director, and the center’s manager, Nancy Wolfe, also presented Lynette with a canvassed photo of a sheepdog that was inscribed with the phrase, “Heaven holds a special place for those who do the deed, defenders of the innocent in their time of need.”

Prior to the opening of the original Children’s Assessment Center at 1499 S. Tippecanoe Ave., abused children were taken to the county’s Child Protective Services, which wasn’t equipped to handle many of the different and sensitive aspects investigating cases, according to center officials.

Often victimized children suffered unnecessary trauma in the investigation process, they said.
“We’ve found that the people here are great when dealing with children who have been victimized whether its physical or sexual,” San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams said. “They have a talent of talking to children and making them comfortable after a traumatic experience.”

San Bernardino police have an office at the center for detectives to use when investigating sex- or child-abuse crimes.

District Attorney Mike Ramos spoke to the crowd of law enforcement professionals attending the opening.

“I am so proud of the collaborative approach we have formed with our forensic pediatricians at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and law enforcement partners to better serve our most vulnerable victims, our children,” Ramos said. “Like all victims, they deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect at a time when the world around them seems to be falling apart.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Congratulations to Senior DA Investigator S. Beaty who received the Officer of the Year Award from the International Footprint Association today during the Law Enforcement Appreciation Blue Ribbon Breakfast at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino


In the News: Truancy sweep results in 25 citations

BARSTOW • A multi-agency truancy sweep resulted 25 citations and no arrests last week, police said.

The citations were issued to Barstow Unified School District parents or guardians during the sweep on Friday for violating the California Education Code, according to the Barstow Police Department.

The BPD and BUSD were assisted by the San Bernardino County Sheriff ’s Department, San Bernardino County Probation Department and San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. Police say the truancy sweep was part of a series of sweeps conducted during the school year to locate students who are refusing or failing to attend school. A school counselor and the district’s nursing staff participated to assist with problems students or parents may be encountering that would affect their attendance at school.

The participating agencies visited 49 homes within the BUSD coverage area; 25 parents or guardians were contacted and 10 students were contacted during the sweep.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Click here to read more about our Let's End Truany Unit.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Law Enforcement Leaders Gather in Support of High-Quality Early Education


SAN BERNARDINO—District Attorney Mike Ramos, Sheriff John McMahon and Police Chief Jarrod Burguan visited a transitional kindergarten classroom at Lankershim Elementary School this morning to release a research report showing that high-quality early education can cut crime and save California money in the long run. They echoed law enforcement leaders throughout the state who are calling for universal high-quality early education, through the expansion of California’s voluntary transitional kindergarten program, beginning with the 2014-15 budget.

The report, Early Education Cuts Crime and Saves Money, highlights the impact that inadequate access to high-quality early education has on kindergarten readiness, the high school dropout rate and crime in California. The report shows that kids who drop out of high school, become addicted to drugs and commit frequent crimes cost communities an average of $2.5 million over their lifetimes.

“Early education is essential if we want to offer all young Californians a chance at success in school and in life,” said Sheriff McMahon. “If we invest wisely now, we can prevent crime and violence
from happening later.”

Law enforcement officials are working hard to make public safety realignment a success in California, and have cited the need for increased investments on the front end to prevent kids from becoming criminals and requiring incarceration in the long run.  According to the report, students who attended a high-quality early education program in Chicago, which has served over 100,000 children, were 20 percent less likely to be incarcerated by age 24 than similar non-participating students.

“If we want public safety realignment to work in California, we must invest in what we know works,” commented District Attorney Ramos. “Early education has the potential to save money, reduce incarceration and increase graduation rates. This new research report indicates that we could save an average of $22,000 for every disadvantaged student reached.”

Statewide, only 41 percent of eligible low-income preschoolers are enrolled in state and federal early education programs, and only one quarter of all four-year-olds are eligible for the state’s transitional
kindergarten program. Access is even worse in San Bernardino County where only 32 percent of eligible preschoolers are currently enrolled in state and federal preschool programs. There are also 451 violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents in San Bernardino County.

“Too many children are falling through the cracks. We must invest early and substantially in evidence-based solutions,” said Police Chief Burguan. “Time and time again, high-quality early education has been shown to reduce the need for special education, produce more high school
graduates, and cut crime and incarceration rates.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

IN THE NEWS: Film by San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office receives Emmy nomination


By Lori Fowler, The Sun
                                           
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office is known for prosecuting cases against human trafficking. But it soon could be known for an award-winning movie on the subject.

The documentary “Teenage $ex 4 $ale: Human Trafficking in San Bernardino County,” directed and edited by DA’s office spokesman Chris Lee, has been nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award.

In late 2011, Lee was on Facebook when he came across this statistic - “The average age that a victim is first trafficked for sex in the United States is 12-14 years old.”

Then his young daughter walked into the room.

“Seeing that quote juxtaposed with my 8-year-old daughter standing right by me, it angered me, it forced me to learn more,” Lee said. “The next morning I talked to (DA Mike Ramos) and said I’d really like to do something.”

Lee, who is also a filmmaker, spent about a year working on the project. He attended the annual Pimp and Players Ball in Hollywood in 2012, spent his lunch hours filming at Baseline in San Bernardino where human trafficking is known to occur, and went on John stings with local police departments to get his footage.

The 45-minute documentary follows law enforcement officers, members of the California Against Sexual Exploitation of Minors or CASE taskforce and some of the women and girls themselves telling the story of human trafficking on the streets of San Bernardino County.

The film is on the DA’s website at sbcountyda.org.

Filming started in January 2012 and the first showing was a year later at the Kirkorian Theatre in Redlands.

Since then, the film has been shown more than 200 times in six different states. The movie has even aired on the California channel through Charter cable.

“That’s how we’re in this market for the Emmys,” said Lee, who is a member of the Academy. Lee submitted the film for the Emmys, which has dozens of categories from TV news to documentaries.

It was announced earlier this week that “Teenage $ex 4 $ale: Human Trafficking in San Bernardino County” was nominated in the documentary category for excellence in the creation of a formal, structured television presentation with dramatic impact of an event, condition or situation of current, cultural and/or historical significance, Lee said.

The award will be presented in June at the 40th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Pacific Southwest Chapter, which is different than the primetime event in August.

District Attorney Mike Ramos said he couldn’t have been more proud of the film and the work put into it.

“This movie was the spring board for new programs in the DA’s office, like the Stop the John program and the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking task force,” Ramos said. “Those came after the documentary was shown for first time. We all got together and asked what are our next steps.”

Ramos called the film powerful and eye-opening to what is happening in San Bernardino County.

“This documentary inspired not only people and community members across the nation, but inspired this office and this DA to do more,” Ramos said.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Human Trafficking Documentary Nominated for 2014 Emmy Award

 
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s documentary “Teenage $ex 4 $ale: Human Trafficking in San Bernardino County” has received a nomination for the 2014 Emmy Awards. The announcement was made Tuesday by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Pacific Southwest Chapter at a nomination party held at the Mad House Comedy Club in San Diego. 

The film was nominated in the Documentary category for excellence in the creation of a formal, structured television presentation with dramatic impact of an event, condition or situation of current, cultural and/or historical significance.

“When I was younger I spent a year and a half overseas in the Philippines, and I saw first-hand the tragedy of human trafficking and the toll that it took on young girls who could be purchased for ten dollars an hour,” said Christopher Lee, who directed and edited the documentary. “Those stories have always stayed with me, and now there are new stories, sadly taking shape in our own backyard. My hope all along was that this film would somehow inspire communities, law enforcement and government officials to push even harder in the battle against human trafficking.”

The film is a 45-minute documentary that delves into the problem of sexual exploitation in the nation's largest county. From boastful pimps preying on young women to one woman's quest to open a home for female victims, the film highlights a unique coalition of government agencies and how they are reaching deep into the community to eradicate human trafficking.

“I am so proud of the work of my public affairs officer, Chris Lee, and all those who helped create this film," District Attorney Mike Ramos said. "From the undercover filming of the Player’s and Pimp Ball in Hollywood to the survivors who shared their stories, this was a team effort all the way. Ultimately, this is just another outlet to help shine a brighter light on those victimized by the terrible crime of human trafficking.”

The 40th Annual NATAS Pacific Chapter Awards will be presented June 14, 2014, at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad.

Additional Links

To view a copy of the entire film: http://www.sbcountyda.org/ServicesInformation/ProsecutingCriminals/HumanTraffickingProsecutionUnit/HostaScreeningoftheFilmTeenage$ex4$ale.aspx