Richmond’s ONS: Criminal Charges Against Two Former Fellows
There hasn’t been much in the news about the fact that two former members (fellows) of the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship, a program within the City of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), have quite a number of criminal charges against them.
These criminal charges include more than 30 felonies, including 5 murders in Richmond, 14 attempted murders, 2 carjackings, a home-invasion robbery, 6 armed robberies, and 4 home burglaries. The crimes were allegedly committed by two former fellows in Richmond’s ONS Operation Peacemaker Fellowship between February – September 2016 along with seven associates. The two young men, and the associates, have been charged with the crimes, in two separate cases. The crimes were committed in Richmond, Antioch, San Pablo, Orinda, Pinole, Rodeo, Brentwood, Pittsburg, Danville, Fremont and Livermore.
Let’s connect the dots:
First, you’ll find the basics of how the ONS Operation Peacemaker program works. After that, are two ABC Nightline videos, and a link to a third video that go into more detail about the program. The ABC Nightline videos feature DeVone Boggan, Neighborhood Safety Director of the ONS since it started in 2007 through March of 2016, when he resigned from the ONS.
Also in the videos are two former ONS fellows that participated in the fourth Operation Peacemaker cohort (session) that ended in September 2016, Marrico Williams and Dawaun Rice.
After the videos, you’ll see the current situation regarding Marrico Williams, seven of his associates, and Dawaun Rice. You’ll also find links with information about the crimes and arrests. Finally, you’ll find three Facebook Live Video from 209 Times Facebook page. These videos are from a Question and Answer Session that DeVone Boggan and his Advance Peace non-profit consulting firm held in Stockton, CA this past Friday, September 8, 2017. In VIDEO 3 – Advance Peace Question and Answer Session 2, at approximately the 1:30 mark, a lady asks a lengthy question that includes asking about the Richmond situation, and DeVone briefly addresses it.
HOW IT WORKS: The Operation Peacemaker Fellowship program was created in 2010, and is part of the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) that was created in 2007, in Richmond, CA. The Operation Peacemaker Fellowship is an 18-month program that identifies young adults who tend to be involved in gun crime, and provides them counseling, social services, cash stipends and all-expense paid travel to various destinations around the world, as incentives to not get involved in criminal activity. A member of the program is called a “fellow”, and each 18-month session is referred to as a “cohort”.
Operation Peacemaker fellows can be paid a cash stipend, which is now called the “Life-Map Milestone Allowance”, of up to $1300 per month. After 6 successful months in the program, and meeting certain life-map goals, they can qualify for the financial stipend. Additionally, the fellows can experience “transformative travel” to various destinations throughout the United States and worldwide. According to DeVone Boggan, founding director of the ONS, the fellow’s travel partner is someone who is also in the program, and one of them has tried to kill the other. Rivals are paired up so they can learn how to handle their differences without resorting to violence. The program can be repeated for another 18 months if they are successful.
The ONS doesn’t share information with the Richmond Police Department, because that would ruin the trust that has been built between the street outreach employees, called Neighborhood Change Agents, and the fellows in the program. The fellows are allowed to keep their guns, in order to protect themselves.
Many people mistakenly think that the ONS is run by the Richmond Police Department. That is NOT the case. The ONS is run by the City of Richmond.
DeVone Boggan served as Neighborhood Safety Director, overseeing the ONS, from 2007 until he resigned in March of 2016. He started his own non-profit consulting firm, called Advance Peace, so he could bring the “Richmond Fellowship Model” – meaning the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship program that was created in 2010 – to other cities throughout the United States.
DeVone’s Advance Peace organization currently has a one-year contract to consult with the ONS in Richmond that expires June 30, 2018, and has continued to provide consulting assistance to the ONS since he resigned last March.
ABC NIGHTLINE VIDEOS: Watch the videos below to learn more about the ONS and the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship:
First Video: April 6, 2016 – ABC Nightline:
Second Video: Aired August 31, 2016 – ABC Nightline:
Third Video: (This one isn’t on YouTube, you need to click the link below) Also aired on August 31, 2016 – ABC Nightline:
CURRENT SITUATION: Arrested at different times near the end of September 2016, both young men featured in the above videos are facing a number of criminal charges in separate cases, including murder and robbery.
The Richmond Police Department announced on August 30, 2017 that Marrico Williams, along with seven other young men, have been charged with more than 30 crimes, all over the Bay Area, including the Orinda home-invasion, three murders in Richmond last year, multiple attempted murders, carjackings and robberies.
One of the people that these eight young men have been charged with murdering is Otilio “Nico” Martinez, age 18, killed September 19, 2016 around 11:40PM, in front of a a church on Bayview Avenue in Richmond, just minutes away from his house.
Nico Martinez was shot at 67 times, and was hit 43 times at close range.
WARNING: Below is the ShotSpotter audio of 67 gunshots, provided by Richmond PD, from the night Nico was killed:
Along with the brutal murder of Nico Martinez, they have been charged with fatally shooting 26-year-old Melvin James on August 6, 2016.
Melvin had just finished helping his 85-year-old grandmother unload groceries from her car when he was shot 18 times. Also, the eight young men have been accused of murdering Maxim Biswas, age 30, on August 31, 2016. Please see the following two links:
Richmond Police Dept. Facebook story and video, dated August 30, 2017 – https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1812802782068680&id=189599057722402
SF Gate Story – http://m.sfgate.com/crime/article/North-Richmond-gang-busted-after-highway-12162067.php
Dawaun Rice was also an Operation Peacemaker fellow. He was indicted by the Contra Costa County Grand Jury in May 2017 for the murder of 17-year-old Chrisean “Woo” Nealy last September 16, 2016. Chrisean was visiting a friend at Bella Vista Apartments in Richmond, and Dawaun is charged with fatally shooting him.
Dawaun has been incarcerated since September 21, 2016, when he was arrested and charged with the murder and robbery of Javonte Prothro, age 29, on the morning of September 19, 2016, the same day that Nico Martinez, mentioned above, was murdered.
Javonte was murdered while sitting in his car in the parking lot of Bayview Mart, near Carlson Blvd. in Richmond. Bayview Mart is less then a mile from where Nico Martinez was murdered, on the same day, almost 13 hours later.
Please see the following Richmond Police Dept. Facebook post from May, 2017: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1685733961442230&id=189599057722402
Also see East Bay Times Article from 2017: http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/05/12/richmond-police-charge-man-suspected-of-two-2016-homicides/
ADVANCE PEACE VIDEOS – Stockton Presentation and Advance Peace Q & A Session.
Video 1 – Advance Peace Presentation – September 8, 2017. This is about 47 minutes long.
Video Credit: 209 Times Facebook page
Video 2 – Advance Peace Question & Answer Session #1 – September 8, 2017. This is about 6 minutes long.
Video Credit: 209 Times Facebook page.
Video 3 – Advance Peace Question & Answer Session #2 – September 8, 2017 **This is the video where the Richmond situation comes up, and DeVone Boggan briefly addresses it:** This is about 7 minutes long.
Video Credit: 209 Times Facebook page