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Fridoon Rawshan Nehad’s family expected the Afghan refugee would die tragically, and he did. But that doesn’t mean the family was prepared for what happened: They’d worried that the man’s mental illness might lead to his eventual deportation to Afghanistan, where they feared for his safety. As long as he stayed in America, they believed, he’d be safe. Nehad was apparently suffering from an attack of mania when he was shot to death last spring in an alley.
The man with the gun was a police officer responding to a call about a threatening man with a knife. Prosecutors say the killing was justified; Nehad’s family disagrees. A newly released video of the shooting — only made public after a court fight — raises more questions than it answers.
We’ve been intensely covering issues surrounding the shooting, which drew intense attention because of the existence of the video. There’s a lot to understand. Now, VOSD’s Liam Dillon explains “what you need to know about the case and why future police-involved shootings in San Diego might play out differently.”
As he notes, “the video provides plenty of evidence that things didn’t have to turn out the way they did.”
Law & Order Roundup: When Cops Kill
• The Washington Post has conducted a massive investigation of 975 people shot and killed by police this year, including several in the San Diego area. In true Internet journalism style, the Post is now out with “six important takeaways” that offers insight into who gets shot to death and why.
Among them: “Mental illness played a role in one quarter of incidents,” “indictments of police officers tripled in 2015, compared with previous years,” and only “six percent of the killings were captured by body cameras.” Also: In 10 percent of cases, those killed were unarmed. At least three were San Diego cases.
• The 538.com data journalism site looks at the 79 U.S. cities with more than 250,000 people and finds that just 22 “provide regularly updated incident data for public consumption” about police cases. San Diego isn’t one of the cities, but others in California are: L.A., Oakland, San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento.
All of those 22 cities don’t deserve a gold star, however: some release data that’s “poorly organized or does not go back very far.”
• After at least three years of study, the city is spending $4.5 million to upgrade its police dispatch system. (U-T)
• Several murders in the San Diego area — including some cases dating back to the 1930s — appear on Listverse’s compilation of “10 Bizarre Unexplained Mysteries From California.” Also on the list: The strange 1994 death of a young woman in Point Loma who seems to have been killed by a human or a shark.
San Diego’s Year of Picking Water Fights
As we continue to examine the year, VOSD’s Ry Rivard takes a look at 2015 in local water politics. The big story this year: battle after battle between the county water agency and the regional water agency. You might have heard that San Diego won a major round in the war earlier this year when a court found the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California charged too much to deliver some water to San Diego from the Colorado River.
“That case got a lot of attention, but some smaller fights did not, even though they also involve hundreds of millions of dollars and affect long-term relationships that may determine who has water and who does not,” Rivard writes.
Rivard’s story provides details about four complex disputes in particular.
NFL’s L.A. Debacle Is ‘Shameless, Repulsive’ and Worse
Deadspin’s Drew Magary, one of the Internet’s best and most entertaining writers, demolishes our pro football overlords in a glorious expletives-undeleted rant titled “The NFL’s Los Angeles Derby Is A Shameless, Repulsive Shitshow.”
“Every week, the NFL goes out of its way to remind you how much it CARES about you, the people of America. They’re working hard on preventing concussions! They’re suspending wife beaters into oblivion! They’re reuniting military families (Awwwwww)… They’re doing all that, and yet this Los Angeles effort is proof of how hollow and disingenuous it all is. This fiasco, right here? THIS, more than anything, is the real heart of the NFL.”
The post also quotes San Diego native and Chargers fan Justin “Shit My Dad Says” Halpern on his expectations for Chargers boss Dean Spanos: “I hope, just like every other person who comes to L.A. to make it, he ends up calling his parents, crying, saying how unfair life is.”
• The U-T has a helpful and profanity-free summary of the Chargers situation.
• U-T sports writer Kevin Acee has lost his damn mind.
Culture Report: North County in the Spotlight
North County’s arts community has long struggled for attention in the shadow of the big players down south, and the decades-long drama at Escondido’s arts center hasn’t helped matters. Now, VOSD’s weekly Culture Report explains, a coalition of arts organizations is working to share resources and dampen rivalries.
The coalition has no money, but it plans to get serious — and get funded — in 2016.
Also in the Culture Report: Big 2016 plans for other arts groups, the resurrection of Kensington Video, New Year’s Eve hotspots and “America’s largest balloon parade.” (Insert your own San Diego-is-full-of-hot air joke here. I’m on break.)
Quick News Hits: Bird on the Lam!
• “SeaWorld Entertainment has scored a legal victory with the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming the company defrauded visitors to its theme parks about the treatment of its killer whales.” (U-T)
Meanwhile, SeaWorld is taking the state Coastal Commission to court over the condition that it stop its breeding program in order to get a permit for expanded orca tanks. (NBC San Diego)
• Here’s some exciting news for drivers: Gas prices have dipped below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country. Here’s some not-so-exciting news: As of a few days ago, gas averaged $2.75 in California, more than any other state, even distant Hawaii and Alaska. The Washington Post talks to a gas guru who says the higher prices here may be due to the long-lasting aftermath of an explosion at a refinery.
• A white sulphur-crested cockatoo named Fred is loose in Carlsbad and hanging out with a bunch of crows, the U-T reports. Fred was a family’s pet for 36 years but fell apart emotionally when he had to live elsewhere, so he skedaddled, as you do.
“He could sing opera, and he could talk like he was talking on the telephone,” one of his former owners said. “It was a one-sided conversation.”
That sounds familiar. Wait … Is my mom a cockatoo?
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.