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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/8/20, PM


San Quentin COVID-19 Death Toll Rises / Columbus Statue Removed From State Capitol

San Quentin COVID-19 Death Toll Rises 

Another California death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison has died from apparent complications of the coronavirus, according to corrections officers. He is the sixth death row inmate to die of COVID-related complications at the prison.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said 60-year-old David Reed died, yesterday, at an outside hospital. He was sent to death row 2011 in the racially motivated murder of Ricky Mosley in Palm Springs. Reed was white — Mosley was Black.

Nearly 1,400 of the 3,500 people incarcerated at San Quentin have tested positive for the virus — that’s about 40% of the population. Today, Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s visited the prison several times, and officials are actively reducing the population.

“We've been able to decompress that hot- that — it feels like a hospital now — but that prison from 4,051 prisoners on March 1. The goal is to bring the population down to 3076. So from 131% capacity where we were just a few months ago, and now getting it down below that 100% capacity threshold we still want to do more than that, so that we could provide more cohorting, more isolation of inmates. Of course, we have staff concerns as well.”

There have now been 30 deaths from COVID-19 in California’s prison system, according to state figures. More than 5,000 inmates are listed as actively having the infection, along with more than 600 employees.

Columbus Statue Removed From State Capitol

Crews at the California State Capitol removed a statue of Christopher Columbus, yesterday, from the building's rotunda. It had been there for 137 years, but groups representing Native Americans had long wanted it removed.

“It's about time, it's been long overdue.”

Gregg Castro's heritage stems from tribes along California's Central Coast. He says while there have been discussions over the years about removing the statue, this year is different.

“The overwhelming public sentiment has changed, the circumstances have changed, times have changed, and it's more than time for American and California to live up to the ideals that it keeps professing it has.”

Castro says he'd like to see a public discussion regarding what should go next in the Capitol Rotunda.

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.