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DA Nancy O’Malley, fighting for justice, seeks re-election

DA Nancy O’Malley, fighting for justice, seeks re-election
May 11
12:55 2018

FREMONT, CA: A good, well-intentioned person in politics can have a significant impact in many ways. This was illustrated by Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley’s visit to the Fremont Hindu temple on Tuesday, May 1.

Ms. O’Malley, accompanied by the Chief of Inspectors from the investigative division of her office, Robert Chenault and long time FIA/FOG member Joe Johal gave an inspiring update to the community about her work so far. She is running for re-election.

During her college days, she was a volunteer rape crisis counselor.
As the District Attorney for Alameda County, she initiated the testing of about 1900 untested rape kits (A rape kit consists of the DNA samples collected from the victim by medical personnel after an assault).
This contributed to catching the notorious East Bay rapist aka Golden State Killer who was at large for decades, and is connected with around 50 cases of sexual assault and 12 murders.
(The killer was also caught thanks to DNA matching services such as GEDMatch.com -http://www.gedmatch.com- Source: San Jose Mercury News).

Under her leadership and with the help of federal grants, the DA’s office has prosecuted almost 600 cases of human trafficking in Alameda County involving children trafficked since 2005. About 82% of them led to convictions.

She said, “They are not easy cases, of course, the trauma to young people is terrible. One of the things we’ve been able to do is become attractive to funders that want to give us money. They ask us what we do. And what we do is we expand our programs to make sure we are reaching more broadly.”

In recent times, there has been a spate of laptop thefts. The DA’s office helped the Fremont police in their investigation by creating a special team of prosecutors and the police were able to recover about 2000 stolen laptops. Organized criminals were involved in these thefts; many were gangs from Oakland who were formerly into drugs and guns. The stealing of laptops is a lot more – it also leads to identity theft.

Ms. O’Malley emphasized her role in combating hate crimes. At the weekly FIA/FOG meeting, she said, “When Trump got elected, things became very difficult. We already had strong relations with the community to make sure we were responding appropriately and that we were holding people accountable that were behaving very badly and really un-American.”

In the main hall, she was joined on stage by Dr. Romesh Japra and other key FIA and temple committee members – Manorama Joshi, Deepak Chhabra, Rajesh Verma, Yogi Chugh, Joe Johal and her Chief of Inspectors, Robert Chenault.
She explained that her office had been working very diligently on the issue, “When the administration in Washington DC changed, there was a real change in how people treated each other. So one of the things that was important to my office, to serve the community was to create a hotline for people to call if they were a victim of hate crime or if they were a victim of even hate speech because hate speech is just one step away from somebody using violence.”
Her office receives around 50 calls each month pertaining to hate crimes.

Dr. Japra, the FIA Chairman, posed questions on domestic violence and juvenile justice, given that FIA/FOG also had a program, AASRA for victims of domestic violence a few years ago, and conducts a Toy Drive each holiday season for juvenile delinquents.

Ms. O’Malley replied that her department had created a special center for domestic violence in the Oakland/South Hayward area. The main barrier for victims, especially from the expat Indian community, is that they don’t want other people such as neighbors to know their business and often feel, “I am the only person to whom this is happening.”

Her office also makes public announcements in 11 languages and their website is in three languages. As the population demographics are changing rapidly, they have volunteers translate material into other native languages and answer the hotline to ensure victims are safe.

On juvenile justice, the DA said that her office had reduced the filing of juvenile crimes by two-thirds, using restorative justice instead. She observed that kids from immigrant communities often have one foot in their native culture and one in American culture. Her department is a part of high school programs where they try to understand different cultures so that kids don’t feel that they are left out with pent up anger that may explode.

During her temple main hall address, she mentioned the staff increase in her office – from 300 employees when she took office in 2009 to 400 now – mainly in relation to embracing the diversity of their county, the “fourth most diverse county” in the country.

The DA elaborated, “It is important to me as District Attorney that if anyone comes into the office, if they come in contact with law enforcement, that they end up in my office, they see someone that looks like them or has a similar background or they speak the same language. And that way, we are building trust with the community, that maybe did not feel that the District Attorney’s office or law enforcement always worked for them.”

Lakshmi Iyer
India Post News Service

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