Community Members Stand in Solidarity with Block by Block Operations Manager, Shea Gibson

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(L-R) Tod Hallman, Alana Roshay, and Jonathan Wilson Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIME

West Hollywood Black community leaders, including present and former West Hollywood Public Safety Commissioners, and a West Hollywood task force and Advisor Board member, released statements in solitary with Shea Gibson, the Operations Manager of Block by Block.

Following a recent controversy where a local blog dug up Mr. Gibson’s past life from 27 years ago and wrote about his voluntary manslaughter conviction in Georgia, in 1995, community members made statements supporting Mr Gibson for paying his debt to society and serving his time. Support was expressed via statements submitted to this publication.

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Tod Hallman Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIME

Statement by Tod Hallman (Safety Commission Chair)

I am Tod Hallman, and I have lived on the Eastside of the City of West Hollywood for over 30 years. I have been the WEHO East Neighborhood watch captain since 2015, and I currently serve as Chair of our city’s Public Safety Commission.

I was first introduced to Shea Gibson by David Aguliar, who was the Block by Block (BBB) Operations Manager prior to Shea’s tenure in that position. From our very first encounter, I felt completely confident that as David was moving into a new position, we were in very capable hands with Shea Gibson. Since 2019, Shea has served West Hollywood’s residents, visitors, and businesses with passion, devotion and professionalism. Many of you might not be aware that BBB was originally deployed on the Eastside in a limited capacity; however, since the program was so successful, its hours of operations increased, as well as its city-wide presence. Since day one I’ve had a wonderful working relationship with Shea. He’s thorough and has a full understanding of the public safety issues in West Hollywood. With City Council’s recent vote to reallocate Sheriff’s funding to increase our BBB Security Ambassadors, all hell has broken loose. Our once beloved BBB team has found itself in the crosshairs, especially Shea, as his past arrest record was brought to light. I personally find this infuriating as a Black man, for I question: would this be happening if Shea were White? Would we not find more compassion for a man who has already served his sentence? Would we not have asked more questions about the circumstances surrounding his case? With very little information about his past, there were some in our community who seemed to take pleasure in destroying a man’s career and name.

I’m tired of the racist undertones in our current climate, and yes, that includes West Hollywood. Shea Gibson paid his debt to society. Like anyone else, he deserves the opportunity to find redemption and a second chance at life. It’s insulting that his past is being used as a pawn in the current city debate. Shea’s tireless service to our community and a blossoming career are so easily destroyed for some with a political statement to make. A Black man remains too easy a scapegoat, even in this woke, liberal city.

I ask my fellow West Hollywood residents: do not condemn this man or anyone so easily. Accept that there may be a reality in which this man is a different person today than he was many years ago. Ask yourself: would you want to be defined in life by the worst mistakes of your life? Would you want society to throw you away without even thinking twice?

Tod Hallman

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Alana Roshay Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIME

Statement by Alana Roshay (former West Hollywood Safety Commissioner Vice Chair)

I stand with Shea Gibson. As former Vice Chair of the Public Safety Commission I have worked closely with Mr. Gibson during my term and he has been consistently professional and respectful. Mr. Gibson’s commitment to the City of West Hollywood has been proven repeatedly since 2013. It is incredibly disappointing and hypocritical that the same individuals who are now using him as collateral damage to instill fear and panic–not to mention during an election year–are the same individuals who supported him and the entire Block by Block team to handle unmanageable and reoccurring issues the city was facing at Plummer Park, as well as the intersection of La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd. When the city approved to re-allocate ambassadors to these “problematic” areas, the number of incidents were dramatically reduced. This impact was due to Block by Block’s ongoing presence and immediate action. It is unclear as to why Mr. Gibson’s personal history after all these years has been dug up by local media when he has been nothing but an excellent contributor to West Hollywood.

According to Vice President of Operations Derrick Hughes, “Block by Block is in compliance with the City of West Hollywood’s procurement and vendor policies in that we conduct employment prescreening, including criminal background checks, on all job applicants after an applicant has been made a conditional offer of employment. In California, employment screening laws state that employers cannot ask about, or take into consideration, criminal convictions older than seven years. Based on the guidance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if a background check reveals a criminal conviction, Block by Block considers the nature and gravity of the offense; the time that has passed since the offense, or the employee’s completion of any sentence given as a result of the offense; and the nature of the job held or sought.”

It is crucial that we recognize that the action taken by local media failed to acknowledge how Mr. Gibson history complies with EEOC and to further publish Mr. Gibson’s history without provocation perpetuates the ongoing violence towards black men in this country. It ultimately becomes a distraction and divisive during a time where we should be working together.

Alana Roshay

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Jonathan Wilson Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIME

Statement by Jonathan Wilson (Social Justice Task Force Chair)

As a Black man in society, I have to acknowledge my own privilege among the Black race.  While I am a native Angeleno and grew up in Pacific Palisades, among my male cousins, I was among the lucky few who didn’t end up getting caught in the system.  It’s very common for young Black boys to be arrested for something very minor where they may have been innocent or just at the wrong place and wrong time.  Whatever the story is for each person, I have witnessed first-hand how black boys / young men in particular are coerced into making a plead that hurts their record and chances of getting a well-paying job as they grow further into adulthood.  As they get rejected over and over again while trying to find a great job or do the right thing, they become discouraged and often fall back into a cycle that welcomes them with open arms, the prison system.
With that said, while I don’t know Shea personally, I can guarantee you that I know 70% of his story and I recognize that he was hired by Block By Block 18 years after he committed his crime.  He served his time and was able to demonstrate a straight and arrow path.  As a society, we love to place the Scarlett Letter on Black men, driving them back into the prison system, which is the only one welcoming them with open arms.  Let’s give rehabilitated members of society a chance to excel.  They too have families, dreams, and a desire to add value.  The hateful rhetoric targeting Shea Gibson is strictly counter to the focus within the City of West Hollywood. Social justice means equal opportunity for all.  If we applaud actors like Tim Allen, Robert Downey, Jr, and Christian Slater, who are all ex-cons and have turned their life around, I’m sure that we can find it in our hearts to give Shea Gibson a chance to excel in an area where he has demonstrated success and fortitude.
As President Obama once said, “we are the change we seek.”
Mallery Jenna Robinson

Statement by Mallery Jenna Robinson (Transgender Advisory Board Member)

I am in solitary with Shea Gibson as an AfraCaribbean Transwoman and board member for The City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board and believes in their capabilities as a leader.

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Letter of Appreciation from LAPD

On the 25thof of November, Shea Gibson and Cesar Barrios were at an Auto Zone in LAPD’s Hollywood Division when they walked into an armed robbery in progress. Without a second’s worth of hesitation, your folks began efficiently de-escalating the situation. Mr. Gibson stayed inside of the store and began leading citizen bystanders to safety while Mr. Barrios stepped outside and called 911.

Once the suspect fled, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Barrios followed him, from a safe distance, and directed responding officers upon their arrival. After sufficient amounts of officers were at scene, Mr. Barrios and Mr. Gibson began diverting traffic so as to prevent unknowing citizens from wandering into a potentially life endangering situation.

Please pass along my sincere thanks to Mr. Barrios and Mr. Gibson for their valiant actions last November. Their conduct was instrumental in safeguarding the lives of many vulnerable community members and was well in keeping with the level of performance I’d expect from one of our officers here at the LAPD.

With much respect and admiration,
Detective II Douglas M. Johnson
Serial No. 37738
LAPD/Force Investigation Division

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com
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Ron
Ron
17 days ago

The previous publisher of wehoville ran a segment where he listed everyone that was charged with crimes. Does anyone remember that? It made headlines in local media. The takeaway from all that was mostly that it was a d*ck move. Sure, it was public record. And no one could stop him from posting it. He was clumping people with moving violations next to arm robbers. It was frowned upon then in real time and it should be frowned upon now especially when the drudge dates back 30 years. Always question the motive. What was the motive for outing this man?… Read more »

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
17 days ago

Ridiculous. Pediatric sex offenders don’t get to run kindergartens. And Mallery Jenna Robinson can’t spell solidarity.

Last edited 17 days ago by Peter Buckley
POC POV
POC POV
17 days ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

It’s the Gold Old Party defense of safe the children, when the children have nothing to do with this. Read before you post.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
18 days ago

This does make me wonder what is the City of West Hollywood’s own policy for hiring someone to join their staff when they ask the question on the application and/or do a background check prior to an offer of employment.

Ron
Ron
17 days ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

The seven-year policy is not a city policy. It is California law. Companies can’t discriminate for crimes committed prior to 7 years.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
17 days ago
Reply to  Ron

A bit of a fantasy if you REALLY don’t think those who hire see a criminal conviction and immediately put that application in the hard NO stack

POC POV
POC POV
17 days ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ridicule Block by Block for having unarmed security ambassadors and then act like your fear the Black man with the 27 year old conviction when he is in fact an unarmed security ambassador. Let that sink in for a sec. He’s an unarmed security ambassador.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
16 days ago
Reply to  POC POV

Yur crazy as I didn’t even weigh in on this issue.

:dpb
:dpb
18 days ago

This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with removing deputies and replacing with block by block ambassadors which the citizen of West Hollywood are against. This has everything to do with no transparency of process. This has everything to do with the citizens having no choice in it. It’s has everything to do with the hijacking of West Hollywood by outside interests and the virtual city council meetings that did not allow real public participation for 2 years. Mr. Gibson is a true example of turning one’s life around and I for one applaud him… Read more »

Ron
Ron
17 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Regardless of you may feel about the votes of the council. Their decisions on safety and the policing of West Hollywood should not come at the cost of the reputation and livelihood of man who made a mistake 30 years ago, paid for his crime and uses his experience. What was done to him was shameful, whether you believe it was racist or not. It was shameful.

Enough!
Enough!
18 days ago

I would not put Robert Downey Jr.(a former drug addict) in charge of a pharmacy. Nor would I put Mr. Gibson (someone who has been convicted of killing someone) in charge of a public safety group. It’s that simple. He could have very well have turned his life around, bravo to him. But it’s not racism to question whether he should be in the position he’s in given his background. No one cared he was black and was supervisor before. It’s only after we all found out he killed someone in the past. That’s relative and worth questioning. No one… Read more »

POC POV
POC POV
17 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ridicule Block by Block for having unarmed security ambassadors and then act like you fear the Black man with the 27 year old conviction when he is in fact an unarmed security ambassador. Let that sink in for a sec. He’s an unarmed security ambassador.

Enough!
Enough!
16 days ago
Reply to  POC POV

I replied to your same comment below. You don’t get it. You’re so hung up on this guy’s skin color that you can’t hear common sense. I’m done with you.

Last edited 16 days ago by Enough!
Catherine Eng
Catherine Eng
4 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

Thank God we live in a society and country that allows people to evolve and change. I have dealt with Shea Gibson over the years because of security issues on my street, in my area and he has ALWAYS shown intelligence, grace, pragmatism and trustworthiness.

He has a conviction from TWENTY SEVEN years ago- he has paid his debt, he has clearly overcome his past and ‘turned his life around’. THIS is the exact model that American justice aspires to and I applaud and respect this example of the American dream.

Enough!
Enough!
18 days ago

To answer Mr. Hallman’s question would this be happening if the gentleman was white… The answer is absolutely yes. You’re talking about the leader of our public safety group within our city. The gentleman has been convicted of manslaughter. He killed someone. The public has every right to question his appointment. It has nothing to do with race and to bring it to race is absolutely disgusting. You need to get over yourself. As one human to another our public safety is paramount. The fact that this gentleman killed someone and was convicted of manslaughter gives anyone with half a… Read more »

POC POV
POC POV
18 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

Did you not read their statements? You don’t need a law degree to figure out that according to law, sex offenders are never allowed around children, so your comparison is just plain dumb. Especially when it was explained here and on the statement by BBB and at the city council that you can’t discriminate for crimes committed seven years ago. We’re talking about a crime that happened almost 30 years ago, so what’s your point if you can’t pin the equivalence of a sex offense on this guy, who up to this point, everyone seemed to like and respect? A… Read more »

Enough!
Enough!
18 days ago
Reply to  POC POV

If you don’t understand why residents may care about his criminal past (killing someone) and then putting him in charge of a public safety organization then what more can be said? Has nothing to do with his race. No one cared about his skin color prior to this info being unearthed. For someone to scream racism over the public questioning someone with his background being hired for the position he holds is absurd. If he was gay, white, polkadotted purple, people would have the same concern. We are all human. We all want to be safe. Our council has cut… Read more »

POC POV
POC POV
17 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ridicule Block by Block for having unarmed security ambassadors and then act like you fear the Black man with the 27 year old conviction when he is in fact an unarmed security ambassador. Let that sink in for a sec. He’s an unarmed security ambassador.

Enough!
Enough!
16 days ago
Reply to  POC POV

Who said I fear him. I don’t. That’s ridiculous. That’s your narrative. Not my feelings. I question if he is the right person to be in a job that overseas a public safety group within our city since in his past HE MURDERED SOMEONE! Good God, I can’t believe you don’t get the concerns here that perhaps he should NOT be in the job position he is in. No one fears him. Stop making crap up. Stop dividing people by color. Race has nothing to do with peoples concerns over this man’s past and position he holds. Let that sink… Read more »

voting
voting
18 days ago

They seem to be siding with him solely on the basis of their race. This is scary stuff and unwarranted in this community.

Enough!
Enough!
18 days ago
Reply to  voting

Sure does. Which is absolutely ridiculous.

POC POV
POC POV
18 days ago
Reply to  voting

I agree with Alana Roshay. Mr Gison was collateral damage. His life and livelyhood did not matter. Someone was willing to destroy it for a few lousy clicks. That’s what I find scary.

voting
voting
17 days ago
Reply to  POC POV

I disagree with Ms. Roshay. I question her judgment and am saddened by her accusations of racism. The citizens of West Hollywood are rightfully concerned for our safety and have every right to question this employee.

Ron
Ron
17 days ago
Reply to  voting

Come on. It’s a little bit racist.

POC POV
POC POV
17 days ago
Reply to  voting

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ridicule Block by Block for having unarmed security ambassadors and then act like you fear the Black man with the 27 year old conviction when he is in fact an unarmed security ambassador. Let that sink in for a sec. He’s an unarmed security ambassador.