[Ppnews] Article on Berkeley shooting

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 24 08:57:56 EDT 2005


Berkeley Daily Planet, Aug 23, 2005


Suspect: Sketch Doesn’t Fit By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR
The attorney for the Oakland man briefly arrested for the 1970 slaying of a 
Berkeley police officer says a composite drawing made of the suspected 
killer at the time of the murder “has no resemblance to the way Styles 
Price appeared during that time. These are not minor differences. They are 
major.”

Price, 56, a retired high school educator, was arrested by Berkeley police 
on Aug. 10 for the murder of officer Ron Tskukamoto, the man for whom the 
Berkeley Public Safety Building was named. Price was released two days 
later after the Alameda County District Attorney’s office said there was 
not enough evidence to bring Price to trial.

While there are no pending charges against Price, the retired Berkeley 
police lieutenant coordinating the case, Russell Lopes, told the San 
Francisco Chronicle at the time of Price’s release that “We are absolutely 
sure, beyond any doubt—reasonable or otherwise—that [Price] cold-bloodedly 
killed Ron. We’re going to prove it. It ain’t over.”

Morris Jacobsen, the Alameda County Deputy district attorney assigned to 
the Tsukamoto case, said that his office is not investigating the case.

“It is presently in the hands of the Berkeley Police Department,” Jacobsen 
said. “The procedure is for the police department to collect evidence and 
then present it to our office. Until that time, we are not involved.”

Price has repeatedly denied that he was involved in the Tsukamoto shooting.

According to Price’s Oakland attorney, William DuBois, Price’s arrest by 
Berkeley police was partly based upon a confession from Don Juan 
Graphenreed, 56, of Oakland. Berkeley police say they believe Graphenreed 
was the getaway driver during the murder. Graphenreed was also released 
from jail without charges being filed.

Last week, DuBois released the 35-year-old composite drawing of the alleged 
Tsukamoto shooter to buttress Price’s claim of innocence. DuBois said the 
drawing came from a copy of the Aug. 22, 1970 issue of the San Francisco 
Chronicle.

Lt. Lopes has said that the composite drawing is one of the factors which 
has convinced him that Styles was the shooter. He has also said that his 
office has a computerized “age regression” drawing that advances the 
composite drawing 35 years, and resembles Price as he currently appears.

“They keep saying this is the spitting image of Styles,” DuBois said. “But 
I’ve seen photographs of my client contemporaneous with the Tsukamoto 
murder. There’s no resemblance between my client and the original composite.”

Price pointed out one major discrepancy between himself and the drawing of 
the alleged Tsukamoto shooter. While the composite shows a man without 
glasses, Price said that he has worn prescription lenses constantly since 
he was 10.

“My eyesight is 2,400-plus,” Price said. “What the normal person can see at 
400 feet, I can only see at 20 feet. I’m extremely nearsighted. I literally 
have to hold something up to my nose to read it. I wouldn’t be able to make 
out someone’s face 10 feet in front of me.”

The composite drawing was based on statements made by a motorcyclist who 
was stopped by Tskukamoto on the night of the police officer’s killing. The 
witness was reportedly within a few feet of both the officer and the killer 
while they held a brief conversation shortly before the shooting. That 
witness died several years later in an automobile accident.

At a press conference at DuBois’ office last week, Price said that “in no 
way do I resemble the assassin” of Tskukamoto.

Price said that he remains “very concerned that the Berkeley police may 
re-arrest me. This has caused me continual paranoia and emotional unease. 
Since no formal charges have been brought against me, it’s like a sword 
hanging over your head. I feel if they can do it to me, they can do it to 
anyone.”

Price said he has never been convicted of any crime, and has lived what he 
calls a “blameless life.” He said that he is consulting with his attorney 
about possible legal action.

Meanwhile, Price’s sister, Anola Price Small, released a statement from the 
Price family to the Tskukamoto family, stating that “my family expresses 
sympathy for you. We cannot believe that the Berkeley Police Department 
would advance their own agenda using your grief. This is so egregious and 
unkind as to be unbelievable. Why they would present false hope to your 
family and accuse an innocent person is beyond comprehension. I believe, 
without knowing your brother, that he would not want an innocent person to 
go to prison for his murder.”

Small called her brother “a productive member of the Oakland community who 
has spent his entire life as a civil rights activist trying to correct 
discrimination and racism. He is a pacifist who would never harm a fly, let 
alone walk up to another human being and shoot him point-blank. Those that 
know Styles throughout our community know that this is not in his character 
to commit a crime like this.”

Small is married to the physician of the author.ˆ

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