RECAP: On February 25, 2010, the day after receiving threats, Forte did not yet know what the police were doing. The last thing the police had told him the previous night was that the investigating officer of the Los Banos Police Department, that was on duty in the morning of the 25th, would be given the case by Officer Bowling to investigate.
At 8:00am, and again at 9:40am, Forte left messages with the police dispatch to confirm that his faxes to Officer Bowling were delivered, and that he expected the police to arrest Anthony Donaldson, the issuer of the death threats.
Forte writes a letter to the Chief of Police, Don Knapp, telling him he wants Donaldson arrested, and if he is not, Forte will perform a citizen’s arrest.
At 9:45am, Forte finally speaks to LB Officer Torongo. Forte finds out that they have contacted Anthony Donaldson Bates but have not arrested him. Torongo tells Forte it’s under investigation and that he’s not sure that an arrest will take place.
(Many days later, we found out that according to the police report written by LB Officer Townsley, Townsley had already told Bates at 9:00am that morning, that Forte had wanted Bates charged with a 653M misdemeanor, which is a lie, and therefore, for some reason, Bates had been turned over to the school administration instead of being arrested.)
After speaking to Officer Torongo, Forte contacts his attorney, Mr. Belkin, who confirms again that the threats violate Penal Code 422.
Forte asked Belkin what he thought about Forte performing a citizen’s arrest, which is allowed by Penal Code Section 837, on Bates if the police do not arrest him. Belkin tells Forte he has to be careful because they will do anything to get him on any technicality.
The message is this, if Forte performs a citizen’s arrest as he is allowed to do by law, Bates might say that Forte assaulted him. They will get Forte!
Belkin says that the police department is not doing what they are supposed to, he tells Forte to look at the history of what they’ve already done. He informs Forte that it’s good Bowling said it was a felony investigation, and it can be taken to the FBI.
Knowing the history of hatred and anger Mayor Jones has toward Forte, no matter how well Jones attempted to cover it, Forte knows that Jones, a teacher for the high school, has used his influence over his students before in Jones’ own interest. Forte believes Jones and African American reporter Corey Pride of McClatchy Newspapers are behind the death threats, and have pulled the strings of the police to cover for Bates. After all, they wouldn’t want Bates to spill the beans, right?
[BACKGROUND NOTE: Los Banos High School has had a problem in containing gang related problems. It is a fact that gang fights have erupted there resulting in bloodshed, to the point that a SWAT team was necessary to stop the fights. In addition, Forte knows that there is an Anthony Donaldson in Los Banos that was part of a gang and the rumor was that he had actually sliced a person's throat with a knife. Apparently, this is a different person than the one that sent the death threats.]
Forte knows what the police are doing, [warning for listeners, this audio is Rated R due to language], and tells his attorney Belkin. Belkin reminds Forte that these are the same people that beat Forte up in the courthouses twice before. Belkin will go see Chief of Police Don Knapp.
After his meeting, Belkin informs Forte that Chief Knapp was told by the District Attorney’s Office Assistant DA Turner to charge Anthony Donaldson with a 653M misdemeanor, which is why the police were able to choose not to arrest Donaldson. Turner determined that it was not a Penal Code 422 because there was “no immediate” threat to Forte, as in “right that second.” Here is some case law that indicates that Turner was WRONG:
PEOPLE V GAUT (2002) 95CAL.APP.4TH 1425 was a case where:
1) The defendant was convicted of stalking and making threats against the victim. He continued to make threats against the victim while he was in prison. The defendant was charged with making criminal threats. He claimed that because he was incarcerated and unable to carry out the threats there was no immediate prospect of execution of the threats.
2) Held: The evidence was sufficient to support the finding that the defendant’s threats were specific, unequivocal, and immediate and supported his conviction. [Emphasis added]
Also, PEOPLE V. LOPEZ 74 CA4TH 675 (August, 1999)
Appeal issues: Can future threats be considered immediate force? Are future threats protected speech?
COURT AFFIRMS JUDGMENT.
1) Appellant’s earlier guilty plea and conviction satisfied immediacy element of PC 422. A reasonable person would have believed that appellant, who had a history of assaultive behavior…would use immediate force.
2) Immediate ability to carry out threat is not required.
3) PC 422 did not reach a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech.
For more cases regarding Penal Code 422 cases, click here.
So, what happened to the conflict of the DA’s Office?!? It appears that the DA’s Office has an agenda to harm Forte and will do anything to cover for public officials, in order to discredit Forte.
Forte leaves a message for DA Morse to call. DA Morse does not respond.
By the end of the second day after the death threats were received, Forte had been informed by two attorneys that the threats constituted a violation of Penal Code 422, a felony. It was also confirmed by an LB Police Officer that it was a felony investigation, but by the second day, the DA’s Office instructed the police department that it was a misdemeanor of 654M and the police decided to lie and say it was FORTE that wanted Donaldson charged with a 653M misdemeanor instead.
In fact, Chief Knapp told Forte’s attorney that ADA Turner told him it was a 653m because there was no immediate ability to carry out the threat. Case law shows that a threat being “immediate” is not the same as a person having the “immediate ability” to carry out the threat right that second.
Apparently, Detective Townsley, who investigated and wrote up the police report, did not believe Turner when Turner said it was a 653m due to the lack of immediate ability of Donaldson to carry out the threat. Townsley attempted to explain the charge of 653m as Forte’s own request.
It’s a slight of hand, so quick and subtle, that the public officers thought no one would see! Trick.