How would parents react if they knew their kids were attending community college with convicted violent criminals and gang members?
This is today’s reality and a result of Assembly Bill 109, passed in 2011, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.
There are 55 known street gangs in Sacramento, CA. Two of these gangs clashed at Sacramento City College Sept. 3, leaving one man dead, two others seriously injured, and a college campus in fear.
But the recent shooting at Sacramento City College wasn’t about rival college students in a feud – it was between two rival Crip gangs – the Tongans and Nogales.
Many want to know how and why two convicted criminals were attending the same college as neighborhood kids, instead of serving sentences in jail — because after serving relatively short sentences for assault-with-firearms crimes, two of the “college students” were involved in the campus murder.
What is AB 109?
AB 109 created a controversial program known as “realignment,” whereby “newly convicted low-level offenders without current or prior serious or violent offenses stay in county jail to serve their sentence.”
The so-called “split sentences” under AB 109 mandate post-release community supervision as part of the effort to rehabilitate offenders with community-based programs once a criminal is released from custody. But critics of AB 109 found there is little or no supervision of these criminals.
As evidence of this, in Los Angeles County, nearly 50 percent of inmates sentenced under AB 109 are recidivists, and end up returned to custody.
AB 109 was supposed to shift “low level” offenders to counties. However, in reality, it has shifted high-risk and ultra-high-risk offenders, because the law ignores the offender’s prior criminal history, including serious and violent offenses, according to sheriffs around the state.
“California embarked on a ‘grand experiment’ in 2011 with a massive prison downsizing. Responding to a 2009 order by a federal three-judge panel, California had to reduce its overpopulated prisons by 25 percent within two years,” I wrote in the chapter on crime for Taxifornia 2016, by James Lacy. “This amounted to a reduction of nearly forty-six thousand prisoners within a very short time period.” But the US Supreme Court directed the state to fix health care services and reduce prison overcrowding, and did not order the state to reduce sentences, nor did the court order the state to shift responsibility for habitual felons to counties.
Media Reports Sugarcoat the Truth
The media keeps reporting that the man killed at Sac City College “was a father of two and a student at the college,” and “one of the others wounded also was a student at the college.”
But they were also criminals, with multiple violent convictions, according to police and court records.
Gang vs. Gang
Nearing 4:00 p.m. on Sept. 3, Roman P. Gonzalez and his cousin Rico Ridgeway – both of whom have significant criminal records, but were allowed to attend Sacramento City College, were walking on the college campus, when two rival Tongan gang members spotted them.
What they didn’t know is earlier that same day, the Tongan gang members had committed armed robbery in South Sacramento, and were now trolling the Sac City campus looking for some ladies to celebrate with, according to a police source.
As they the Tongans past the Crips Gonzalez and Ridgeway, who were wearing Crips colors, words were exchanged. Then one of the Crips pulled a knife and the fight ensued. Ridgeway stabbed one of the Tongans. The other Tongan gang member pulled a gun, and shot and killed Gonzalez, while grazing Ridgeway.
Court records reveal Ridgeway was charged with four felonies in 2013, including assault with a firearm. He pleaded no contest to that charge in October 2013, the Sacramento Bee reported. Ridgeway served only 10 months and was paroled in February 2015, state corrections records show.
Gonzalez also had criminal record, charged in 2006 with three felonies, including assault with a semi-automatic firearm, according to court documents. He pleaded no contest to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two years in a California Youth Authority facility.
Gonzalez served only six months of his sentence, but was returned to custody twice for suspected parole violations, according to state corrections records. His parole expired in March 2013.
When police arrived, they saw Ridgeway administering CPR on Gonzalez in the parking lot, but Gonzalez was already dead.
These two guys – gang members – were attending Sacramento City College alongside innocent, law-abiding kids, teachers, and staff. What’s wrong with this picture?
Do you know who your children are attending school with?