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The latest victim of the Inland Empire killing fields

by mary shelton Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2001 at 1:21 PM

Ginenne Stover was a bright 18 year old with her whole life ahead of her. Instead, she became the latest casuality of life in the Inland Empire killing fields, when she was shot to death in her own home by Highland Police Department officer Michael Rude.

errorFor the third week in a row, 35 family members, friends and community activists congregated at the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department to protest the shooting death of 18 year old Ginenne Stover, at the hands of Highland Police Department officer Michael Rude.

Rude, 33 told investigators from the Sheriffs Department that he was responding to a 911 phone call, about a domestic disturbance. Accompanied by an Explorer Scout ride-along, he arrived at the residence of Latonia Thomas, her son Charles Johnson, 18 and her two 7 year old daughters. Thomas and Rude were talking on the porch, with Johnson, Rude said, and then allegedly Stover had rushed at him, with a steak knife. Rude shot two bullets, hitting her once in the chest, because he feared for his life, he said. Stover was 411 and 105 pounds at the time of her death according to records, and community members and relatives wondered, how could such a small woman pose a threat to a fully armed, trained officer who could call for backup if needed? Not to mention that an iron security door stood between the officer, and Stover according to the Sheriffs Departments press release.

Other witnesses have said that Stover did not have a knife in her hands, and that she was standing at least 10 feet away from Rude when she was shot. Rude allegedly pushed the family out of the house, and was alone with Stovers body for at least several minutes, then went to remove the two young girls from the house. According to an affidaviat, four knives were discovered next to Stovers body, but Rude had said in his statement, that he saw only knife. There was no explanation as to what she would do with four knives if she had had them with her.

Stover had moved in to live with Thomas, who had attended a nursing assistant program with her, and she and Johnson, after dating over a year, were engaged to be married. The couple and Thomas were preparing to eat lunch when an argument broke out between Stover and Johnson that was resolved by the time Rude appeared at the front door. Stover was an excellent student during her short life, and had graduated from a nursing assistant program, and was handpicked with three other students, in a class of 180 to attend nursing school at Loma Linda University next fall. She had intended to spend her life, giving back to others in her community, with her new skills.

Michael Rude was placed on paid administrative leave, but resumed his duties one week after the shooting took place. He is still the subject of both administrative and criminal investigations, which are ongoing, and are not expected to be complete until well into next month, at the earliest, according to Department officials. He is a five year veteren with the Sheriff's Department.

Protesters gather at the Sheriffs Department as they did last year when Sheriff Gary Penrod hired former Riverside Police Department officer Paul Bugar to work as a dispatcher. Bugar had been the first of four white officers to shoot inside the white car, where Tyisha Miller lay in medical distress. According to another officer, now retired, he had said that he had capped the bitch twice in the head. After weekly demonstrations, Bugar was given a raise and transferred to work in computers. His current location is unknown except that he was transferred out of computers.

The Sheriffs department has a history of officer involved shootings. A dentist trapped inside his truck by officers, was shot to death in Redlands when he tried to back out his own driveway. A man shot to death in the lobby of a hospital in Lake Arrowhead. And many more.

Dial 911 for murder, marchers chanted as they walked in a circle in front of the glass-lined building and surveillance cameras. When they pressed signs on the glass doors, and windows, Sheriff Deputy E. Kellogg and a short Asian-American plainclothed officer objected, saying that the presense of the demonstrators that close to the building was hurting their ability to conduct business and intimidating the people inside. Then the department sent out a group of people to wash the windows so the demonstrators prayed and disbanded until next week.

Sheriff deputies and Highland police officers, who are also sheriff deputies because the city of Highland contracts its services with the Sheriffs Department have been intimidating and harassing the witnesses of the Stover shooting, by constant surveillance, and have been copying the license plates of activist and family members vehicles, looking for drivers to follow, harass and impound. Activist Larry Halstead was pulled over in his van, after a protest against Bugar last year, and it took $1200 to get it back. He also was ticketed on the highway by SWAT team members in a suburban, who took activist Frank Esposito into jail for 45 days, and ticketed the others. The DAs office did not press charges on any of the tickets, Halstead said.

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I support that Cop I support the police Thursday, May. 03, 2001 at 4:42 AM
Blind ignorance can justify anything! Gregory J Bretza Tuesday, May. 22, 2001 at 6:56 PM
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