Thursday, December 22, 2011

Former Sheriff Kari Abbey Gets Murder Charges Dismissed

Ricardo Cordova, seated bottom right.
On Monday, December 19, Judge Ricardo Cordova dismissed murder charges against former Stanislaus County Sheriff, Kari Abbey. Abbey was originally charged with the September 2010 murder of Rita Elias, a resident of West-Side Modesto and the mother of three children. Abbey and Elias became involved in an argument when Abbey attempted to evict Rita from her home, which Abbey's parents owned and managed. During the altercation, Abbey shot Elias several times, killing her. According to the judge, the killing was in self-defense: witnesses testified that Elias stated that she was going to get a firearm to protect herself, and when she returned from her home with a realistic looking BB gun, Abbey shot her to death. After the killing, Abbey's home was raided by the FBI and numerous marijuana plants were found, as well as weapons, steroids, counterfeit cash, and items stolen from the Hayward Police Department. She is also charged with embezzlement of funds from the Sheriff's Department itself.

Kari Abbey
Less than a week after the murder of Rita Elias, protests broke out in West Modesto involving hundreds of people. They included family members of Craig Prescott, killed by Sheriffs in the county jail, and Francisco Moran, shot to death by Modesto police several weeks before Rita. Protests continued for the next several days, as people rallied outside of the Modesto Police station and marched through downtown and outside of the county jail. On October 22nd, over 50 people converged outside of the jail again to rally and march through the streets against police brutality in the Central Valley; a march which included many of Rita's family and friends.

As the facts came out in the case, and it soon became clear that Abbey and her cohorts were using their time in uniform to harass, beat, and threaten her parents' tenants. Witnesses and former tenants came forward to state how Abbey harassed them into leaving, and in some cases, physically attacked them. When those being targeted called the Modesto Police, the cops showed up with gave hugs and more backup for Abbey.
Protest after Rita's murder.
Many local pundits and commentators have used the recent dismissal of charges as a justification of the actions of Abbey. What is interesting is that while these idiots claim that Abbey had the right to defend herself they overlook the fact that Rita Elias was murdered for trying to do the exact same thing. It was Abbey that arrived at Rita's home and began to threaten her. It was Abbey who turned her lights off in an effort to evict her. It was Rita who was brave enough to stand up to a pig who was trying to evict her from her own home and it was Abbey who was the coward; hiding behind a badge and a gun, knowing that by pulling the trigger she ultimately had the power of the state on her side.

While our hearts go out to Rita's family, we are not surprised that the courts have once again let free another murderous cop. The only police officer ever to face murder charges was BART officer Johannes Mehserle, who shot Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station on January 1st, 2009. Only after riots did the city begin to investigate the shooting and bring charges against Mehserle. Even still, Mehserle only ended up doing a small amount of his sentence in protective custody. Likewise, Abbey will probably end up getting only several months in jail which will be spent in protective custody, before being let off.

The message in all of this is clear: police that kill go free, because after all, it's their job. While Abbey faces charges for drugs, embezzlement, and weapons, they will all be slaps on the wrist compared to what normal everyday people go through when facing these same charges. Soon, Abbey will again walk the streets, while the corrupt systems that allowed her to evict, beat, and kill tenants for her parents will be stronger than ever.

Many that read this will ask, where then, can justice be found? If it can't be found in the courts or through the legal system, how can we get it? We must increase the consequences for the police when they beat, murder, and harass people. Communities and neighborhoods must come out of their homes and drive the police out and stop the brutality from happening. People must become hostile to the police in their areas and stop them from carrying out their business. If and when these incidents do happen, we must collectively direct our rage into open revolt. For example, in LA when a Guatemalan immigrant was killed by police, riots erupted that shut down the area where the killing took place and attacked the police station. Such targeted rioting is common practice in Guatemala, where people direct their outrage towards the authorities responsible for carrying out atrocities in their communities. We must also find ways of solving problems and resolving issues without police, cutting off possible contact with them in the first place. Talking to neighbors, settling problems face to face, having each other's backs, and forming neighborhood assemblies and groups to mediate conflicts and deal with anti-social crime all are needed. But ultimately, we must remember that the power of the police comes from the power of the state itself. Only by defending and expanding the power that we create autonomously among ourselves and holding onto it through open rebellion, will we be able to remove police from our lives.


  1. Please join me in seeking the truth in the death of Rita Elias.

  2. Try a law library because open rebellion has historically been proven to not work. Finding a well spoken speaker, that is not you, to promote your cause would be a better option than the uneducated hyperbole you are spewing. Any organization that promotes killing anyone much less cops will not generate the kind of following that people take seriously. Policy will never be written using violence. You do not love your desire to stop police corruption because if you did you would take a route that is proven more effective like learning your constitutional rights and LAWS that have been set into place for your protection. Therefore you are lawless and people that support and participate in community do not want you in it. Historically most law enforcement are prone to corruption. Just as people like you that promote violence and murder themselves are found to be one of those that die young usually suicide by cop. So unless you are promoting people killing themselves you need to change your agenda. Next person that is killed because he used violence to promote this cause is on you. You may as well shoot them yourselves. It would be your fault they were in that position to begin with.

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  3. This government was founded on open rebellion. The US uses massive amounts of violence in the way of war, poverty, repression, prisons, borders and police.

    You seem to not be opposed to violence at all.

    Only who directs is. When the rich do it, it's okay. When the poor do it, it's terrorism.

  4. @ Wayne, why does your facebook have a link to Stanford's site? He's pro-Abbey. He likes to banter on about police brutality one minute and support them evicting and killing people the next.

    @ Person in second post. There are two sets of laws, one for the cops (and corporations, CEO's, elites, etc) and one for the rest of us. Why else would someone like Abbey get off. They aren't not going to do jail time, or if they are, not that much. While millions more rot in jail for having weed or stealing diapers.

    I also don't see anything in the article that says go out and kill a cop. Should we be confrontational and defend ourselves, yes? Should we drive police out and take back our neighborhoods? Yes.

  5. There is no such thing as two sets of laws. But you keep that mentality and we will all read about it in the paper. Or you can find a nonviolent way to take control. If you don't want the cops in your neighborhood kick the drug addicts and gang bangers out. Have you even checked out the statistics on violent crimes in the airport district? Those crimes are not being committed by the police or government organization. They are being committed by lawless criminals that have no problem with killing women, men, and babies. Why can't you, a well spoken intelligent person, help those people defend themselves were there would be no reason for cops to intervene? I don't think the police would even think twice about that area if the crime was not so extremely alarming. So go ahead and promote this and watch as you get people killed. Teach these people how to live and prosper instead of quarrel and kill. I have read a lot of blogs and even though I do not agree with your message I do think you could be a very well spoken community leader. If Carmen sabintino can become mayor with a police record, so could you.
    Back to the Rita Elias case, she was not unarmed, she was not a tenant and defiantly not welcome as the two real tenants testified to that. Those two did not have anyone telling them this either. They have a history of trying to remove Rita from their home even after she illegally broke in through their window. These facts are not the ones you are stating. Rita has a long history of criminal behavior. Rita is the very person you are encouraging people to stand up against.

  6. How would one go about becoming a spokesperson for poor people's rights?

  7. You are already on the right path. Not wearing a mask would help but mainly getting out and getting with people. Establish yourself among all, not the ones you deem worthy, but all the citizens in your community. Help at good banks and shelters and talk to people. Get your name out and just talk. Talk about change. In order to talk about change you must first have an outline of the things you want to change and while police corruptionis your main focus there are many tangible problems that can be solved now. If you interact with this community there is half the battle. Support voting among people that historically do not or do not understand how to vote. Go to community meetings, mask free, and make your statements. People want help. People need help and if you truly wish to help them you must lead them. You are very capable of that. You have a year to get out there and bust your butt to reach as many people as you can. These people will vote for you. Yu just have to want it!

  8. I need to add that becoming mayor right off the bat is not tangible, although obtainable. You need to start smaller like city council. Volunteer at places that are government supported like county welfare agencies, mental health facilities, and law enforcement events. I know your feelings on law enforcement. Interacting with these people will give you a better understanding of what you stand for. The interactions so far have been volatile on both sides. Listen to them. Listen and repeat. You will find that when you are looking for the worse in people you need to do no more than listen. That way you can distinguish the good from the bad and in-between. I also meant to add that it is not a spokesman for poor people, it is a spokesperson for all, equally.

  9. You talk about being involved in the community "without masks" (whatever that means) but most of the stuff on this site is about ongoing and local struggles happening in this area.

    Voting changes nothing. We aren't interested in encouraging people to vote. We want people to self-organize and act directly against the forces that oppress them.

  10. Who's we? Lawless thugs with a sense of faux power? And you think you represent community? Voting means nothing? That is exactly why you are hiding behind masks. Do what you have to do. Your not going to get anywhere with that mentality. Don't vote huh? Then honestly you should not bitch.

  11. This whole thread started with a story from MA about a corrupt former sheriff using violence to kick out tenants and instead the Stanford types (and, wasn't it Stanford's business that just got raided because they were beating up people for not paying their bail-bonds?) turn it into a discussion on why people resisting that is violent.

    This is the same constant argument we hear from the government itself. All violence that comes from the state is sane and justified: immigrant detention centers, violent police, wars, environmental pollution, and so on. When regular people talk about organizing and fighting this system, it's labeled 'violence' and 'thuggery.'

    Being that Modesto Anarcho puts on events pretty regularly I find it hard to see how they are hiding behind masks, but it's a nice mantra to keep repeating when you don't have anything intelligent to really say.

    Voting changes nothing because the problems that we face are problems that are fundamental to the system of capitalism that the state's violence helps to maintain. Widespread foreclosure and evictions, pollution, attacks on immigrants, endemic poverty and lack of basic services, police brutality, these are problems that are a part of the way the system functions. Voting for new managers of the system will not change the system itself - nor will it make the problems stop. We have to stand up and fight for our own interests.

    At times when the struggles of poor and working people have forced the hand of local politicians or even national ones to act, such as when Ceres trailer park residents went on rent strike forcing the Board of Supervisors to pass rent control ordinances, or when millions of people on May Day 2006 including tens of thousands in Modesto walked out of work and school, forcing the withdrawal of draconian anti-immigrant legislation - this was because the elites were fearful of widespread revolt and were in a position to grant concessions in an effort to restore social peace.

    If you're someone who believes that there are no fundamental problems within capitalism, that the system is okay, it just needs new bosses, then populist/wingnut/progressive politicians like Stanford (I guess Stanford doesn't count cause he usually drops out of races that he gets into) or Sabatino will make a lot of sense to you. Vote for them and they'll curtail the worst offenses of the elites or perhaps the cops, or maybe go to Washington to stop foreclosures or fight school closures (or a million other promises). But of course as most people know, the real power in valley politics comes from the networks of powerful heads of business, industry, media, policing, and politics, which work together to advance their own interests - regardless of who is in office. In short, the rich are organized as a class. We must do the same, but realize that politics is not an area in which we can maneuver; instead we fight in the streets, where we work, where we go to school, and where we live.

    Being that the voting population is actually in the minority in the US, perhaps those that refuse to participate in a system that is contrary to their interests need not explain themselves to those that troll websites. If those that voted for politicians were held to the same level, should they be responsible for the wars and occupations started and continued by Obama? The Orwellian laws? The prisons built and schools closed down? And so on...Those that choose to resist directly and refuse to elect their masters need not justify themselves to those that maintain the legitimacy of the state.

    People can complain (and will) no matter what. The problem for you though, is that people are actually doing something about it - which scares you even more. The lessons of Greece, the Arab Spring, Occupy Oakland, they all point not to the ballot box as the way to change society, but in the power and possibility of ordinary people in taking control over their own lives and confronting power and wealth directly.

  12. It's called THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA dumb ass. You and yours are just stupid and maybe you deserve your rights stepped on, you dont use them anyways. Your just a piece of crap and if you think your important you're over-thinking your worth.

  13. Ohhh...hurts! Can I get my politics off of bumper stickers too?

  14. I think you should send a well written email describing these events to Dateline or 20/20 asking for an investigative report that would be televised to the nation.

  15. Murder is a big crime in our society. But sometimes we face problem by our enemy. So if you face this kind of issue then you can go