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Richmond Confidential looks back on 2014, year for the ages

Long after the billboards come down, the campaign mailers rest in landfills and the New Year’s toasts come and go, 2014 may be remembered as Richmond’s big election year. We are honored to have been in Richmond’s streets and chambers, its homes and schools and everywhere else, helping write the first drafts of history in an important time and place. Chevron Corp. poured an unprecedented $3.1 million into the municipal races only to lose the open mayoral and city council seats to a progressive coalition on every…

Inquest reveals details of Richmond police shooting

Working the graveyard shift that September night, Officer Wallace Jensen pulled his police cruiser over on Stege Avenue and parked out of sight of Uncle Sam’s Liquors. He’d heard reports that locals hung around Uncle Sam’s drinking after dark. His lieutenant had asked him to pass by and disburse crowds. Jensen left his car around the corner to catch potential loiterers off-guard. He never expected what would come next. In the shop, he encountered 24-year-old Richard “Pedie” Perez III, who…

Friends, family mourn Richmond woman killed in Oakland

Things were looking up for Rusamie Ashly Phongphoumy, who had long dreamed of a better life. On the night of Nov. 29, her boyfriend proposed to her. She accepted. The couple made plans for the future. But all that ended the next day, when she was killed in a West Oakland market, allegedly by a jealous ex-boyfriend. The 19-year-old Kennedy High graduate, who answered to her middle name, had been trying for the past few months to end the relationship…

Richmond unites in prayer for 16-year-old lost to gunfire

Frazier, a Richmond High School student and basketball player, was killed last Friday in a drive-by shooting outside his family’s home in North Richmond. As the outpouring of grief showed, Frazier’s death touched the community deeply. It also came as part of a streak of gun violence in the city.

Ized Stewart, “Bag Man,” dies at sixty-four

Joseph Newkirk recalls seeing the weathered face of Ized Stewart often along Barrett Avenue. Known to some as George, and known to others in the Richmond community as “the bag man,” Stewart was a fixture in the neighborhood. Stewart had a distinctive look. He wore layers of tattered clothes. He had a scraggly beard and long dreadlocks often hidden beneath some sort of bag.  His eyes were a distant, faded blue. Since his death of respiratory failure at the age…

Richmond mourns another, while gang tensions remain hot

A crowd gathered in mourning on a street corner in Richmond on Wednesday evening to honor the life of Dimarea Young, a 19-year-old man who was shot and killed on this block the day before. Friends and neighbors, pastors and politicians, police officers and violence disrupters stood side by side, heads bowed. “We place him up,” said Reverend Alvin Bernstein, who was leading the group in a prayer. “We pray for the mother. We lift them up.” A woman from…

Candlelight vigil for Lincoln Plair honors a giving spirit

Until his death, Lincoln Plair would show up each morning at 8 a.m. at the Elm Playlot in the Iron Triangle to pluck broken glass, syringes and other dangerous debris from the sandbox where local kids play. Then he’d leave his daily mark: a series of geometric patterns in the sand, “like a little Zen garden,” said Richard Muro, a staff member and muralist with Pogo Park, a nonprofit group dedicated to making Elm Playlot a safe space for children….

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