Category Archives: Benicia Police

Benician arrested for hate crime against 3 black kids outside Raley’s

Male suspect in Benicia arrested for alleged hate crime, DUI

Vallejo Times Herald, By KATY ST. CLAIR, April 15, 2021
Source: facebook.com/StandUpBenicia/

A 20-year-old man was arrested in Benicia on Saturday for an alleged felony “hate crime.”

Patric Knoblich is accused of making racial slurs against a group of minors at the Southampton Shopping Center as he drove past them, police said. He was also booked for allegedly brandishing a replica of a gun and driving under the influence.

According to a post on the Facebook group Stand-Up Benicia, the victims — ages 13, 14 and 15 — were walking their bikes next to the shopping complex when a man yelled from his car, “Hey you nasty (N-words)!” Two passengers reportedly looked on and laughed.

The children say they have a recording of the incident. The Times-Herald listened to the audio and a male can be heard yelling the slur, and also saying “You (expletive) nasty!”

According to the Benicia Police Department, “a short time later, the teens asked the driver why he made the comments and at this point, the driver brandished a realistic-looking airsoft gun” and drove away.

The juveniles claim that when the car came back, the driver also yelled, “You don’t know who you’re (expletive) with, (expletive)!”

The boys told a source familiar to the Times-Herald that they were fearful and went into Raley’s Supermarket to report what had happened. According to the boys, the manager of Raley’s told them to “go home,” though a spokesperson for Raley’s said that is inaccurate and that the store manager called 911.

The Benicia Police confirm that Raley’s did indeed call 911, but after the victim’s mother had already done so.

According to a post on Stand Up Benicia, the boys were frightened and went to the back of the store, where the mother of one of their schoolmates recognized them and took them home. The mother of one of the boys then called 911 and the police arrived at their home.

According to BPD, officers located the alleged driver of the vehicle, Knoblich, whom they say is out on bail for a previous, unrelated crime. Police say the incident is still under investigation.

Knoblich was booked into Solano County Jail on April 11 for misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm replica, driving under the influence and driving under the influence as a minor, and a felony “violation of civil rights.”

Knoblich has been released from jail. The Times-Herald has reached out to the district attorney about the case, but had not heard back by press time.

Video: author Rosa Brooks takes us inside police officer training and culture

By Roger Straw, March 17, 2021

I was taken by yesterday’s Lawrence O’Donnell MSNBC interview of Rosa Brooks, author of Tangled Up in Blue, a “radical inside examination of policing in modern America.”

Brooks is a Georgetown University law professor who mid-career decided to train and serve as a reserve police officer in Washington D.C.   Her inside perspective gives a close-up look at policing, good and bad.

The interview is posted on Youtube, (and here below) with the following introduction:  “Brooks says throughout academy training, police officers are ‘primed to think that a threat could come from anywhere at any time,’ but they must remember their ‘top priority is protecting the communities they serve.’

In light of recent news stories of extremist anti-government views among officers in nearby Vacaville, one begins to wonder about police training and “culture” in the Solano County sheriff department.  Benicia’s former Chief Erik Upson is serious about “community policing” and a “positive police culture.”  Let’s hope his perspective has taken root and continues deep in the culture of our local cops.

Vallejo, Benicia police ready in case of post-election mayhem

Police chief: ‘We hope for peace and civility’

Vallejo Times Herald, By Richard Freedman, October 29, 2020
Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams (Courtesy photo)

The City of Vallejo, in collaboration with the Vallejo police and fire departments, will open their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as a precautionary measure starting Monday.

This action is being taken in preparation for potential civil unrest directly associated with the Nov. 3 election, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

“While there is no immediate threat of unrest, nor do we have reason to believe there will be a threat in the City of Vallejo or surrounding areas, the City must be prepared to respond to any emergency appropriately. The type of emergency will determine the appropriate response to any crisis,” said communications and public information  Christina Lee in the statement.

The Vallejo Fire Department will increase its staff by an extra battalion chief and an additional fire engine to assist with increased call volume if necessary during the EOC activation. The police department will continue to have its mobile field force (MFF) on standby, prepared to mobilize in the event of social or civil unrest to help calm and disperse crowds, Lee said.

Though “the City recognizes and respects our citizens’ First Amendment Rights to free speech … we ask that anyone who intends to exercise these rights remain mindful that COVID-19 remains a threat, especially as we are entering the cold and flu season, which could place those with a compromised immune system at an increased risk for infection,” Lee said, urging citizens to “continue to wear a mask, especially when gathering where social distancing can be difficult.”

Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams issued a statement Thursday afternoon, stating that “while we hope for peace and civility after the elections; hope is not a strategy, and failure to prepare is preparing to fail. We are planning to have a more visible uniformed presence throughout the elections and the following days.  With our Emergency Operations Center activated, we will work collaboratively with all of our city departments, council members, and county partners to protect and serve our Vallejo community.”

Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan said it would be irresponsible to not be ready.

“We want to be prepared just in case there’s going to be civil unrest,” he said late Wednesday. “The extreme right and the extreme left have been saying on social media that they are going to protest the election. We, as a city, need to be prepared for that. We have been the victims of looting and civil unrest in the past and we need to be ready just in case something like that should occur.”

Sampayan said he “absolutely” expects Vallejo agencies to be ready if they are called as mutual aid to surrounding communities.

“I’m confident our police and fire are well prepared for whatever occurs after the election,” Sampayan said.

In Benicia, “Like everyone else, we are watching this election and the days following it closely,” said Irma Widjojo, public information officer for the Benicia Police Dept.

“While we don’t anticipate any issues in our community, we are prepared to have extra staffing available if needed. We are also working cooperatively with other area agencies for any mutual call needs,” Widjojo said.

There is “no special preparations at this time” by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, spokesman Henry Wofford said. “Everything is normal.”