The John Lewis model and what others could learn from it

All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets

Andy Street, the MD of John Lewis, addresses new partners in the new Westfield Stratford City branch
 Andy Street, the MD of John Lewis, addresses new partners in the new Westfield Stratford City branch. All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets, which generate annual sales of more than £8bn. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The John Lewis Partnership is one of the few UK companies where bumper bonuses do not provoke a public outcry.

All staff — from chairman Charlie Mayfield down to Saturday shelf-stackers – receive the same percentage payout which rises or falls in line with its financial fortunes. Last year its staff, or “partners” as John Lewis calls them, received 17% which is the equivalent of around nine weeks’ pay.

The retailer’s employee-owned partnership model operates differently from private-equity backed businesses and stock market-listed companies as instead of profits flowing to the shareholders, at John Lewis they flow to the staff, in the form of the annual bonus. It is not a one-off; according to the Employee Ownership Association there more than 100 UK companies with significant employee ownership, a section of the economy that is worth more than £25bn annually. Other examples include Blackwell bookshops, jam maker Wilkin & Sons and polymers manufacturer Scott Bader.

John Lewis’s ownership structure was established by pioneering businessman John Spedan Lewis whose father founded the business in 1864. He signed away his ownership rights in 1929 to allow future generations of employees to take forward his “experiment in industrial democracy”. His ideas are set out in the company’s constitution which at its heart has the idea of establishing a “better form of business”.

All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets, which generate annual sales of more than £8bn. As the company itself puts it: “Partners share in the benefits and profits of a business that puts them first.” John Lewis’s constitution also lists a formal mission to maximise the “happiness” of its staff. The power structure involves a staff council – for ideas and complaints to filter up to the board – and a weekly magazine where staff can air their views about policies and management, anonymously if they choose.

Tony Greenham, the head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation says it is important that employees should “have a greater say in how their businesses are run, not just a bigger share of the profits”. He said: “The idea that workers have nothing useful to contribute to management belongs to the 19th century, not the 21st.”

Greenham says both privately held and employee owned businesses can contribute to an economy that does a better job of creating social and environmental value over the long run. “A successful economy is one where private interests ultimately serve the broader public interest,” he adds. “What companies like John Lewis demonstrate is that this does not have to come at the expense of commercial success.”

John Lewis staff earn the same as shopworkers at rival chains – but the year-end bonus is a significant top-up. Its directors, on the other hand, are paid substantially less than their boardroom counterparts at businesses such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s. Staff also receive employee perks – worth £70m this year – ranging from holiday homes to sailing clubs, theatre outings, theme park admissions, and even a choir, all subsidised. It also one of the dwindling number of companies to operate a final salary pension scheme which is funded entirely by the company.

The ownership model means it is in the interests of John Lewis and Waitrose staff to work hard as they are the direct beneficiaries.

Companies such as Next are far more profitable than John Lewis but a report by academics at the Cass business school found that employee-owned businesses had a higher rate of sales growth and job creation during the recession than companies in conventional ownership. Over the course of the boom-and-bust period between 2005 and 2009, they generally created new jobs more quickly and were at least as profitable as their counterparts.

The findings — based on a survey of more than 60 senior executives of both types of company, and financial data from more than 250 firms — back up other studies that show that employee owned businesses typically outperform those companies in which employees do not have an ownership stake or the right to participate in decision-making. “The advantage comes from taking a stakeholder rather than a shareholder view of management,” said the study. “Employees who have a stake in the company they work for are more committed to delivering quality and more flexible in the face of the needs of business.”

Urging Peace Talks, Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Total Failure of 16-Year War

“Make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials … adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan,” the letter states.

Children play inside the remains of an old Soviet hotel where they have been living for the past two years, on July 15, 2017 in Rodat District, Afghanistan. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)Children play inside the remains of an old Soviet hotel where they have been living for the past two years, on July 15, 2017 in Rodat District, Afghanistan. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Two and half weeks after President Donald Trump rejected the idea of peace talks with Taliban, the militant group published an open letter to the American people urging them to pressure their government to end the occupation of Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, and engage in peace talks.

The letter, published on the group’s website, denounces the Bush administration’s justification for launching the invasion, as well as the Trump administration, which “again ordered the perpetuation of the same illegitimate occupation and war against the Afghan people.”

“No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram, and various other secret jails and treated in such a humiliating way that has not only brought shame upon humanity but is also a violation of all claims of American culture and civilization,” the letter states.

It goes on to illustrate in numerous ways how the occupation has failed. For example, “3546 American and foreign soldiers have been killed,” it states, and “this war has cost you trillions of dollars thus making it one of the bloodiest, longest and costliest war in the contemporary history of your country.”

“If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan.”It also references United Nations statistics finding that there was an 87 percent increase in drug production in Afghanistan in 2017 and, despite the uptick in airstrikes, the U.S. watchdog the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) acknowledged that the Taliban is gaining, not losing territory.

Further, “tens of billions of dollars” in taxpayer money have been spent on various reconstruction projects, but the money “has been distributed among thieves and murderers,” the letter states. Through the occupation, “the Americans have merely paved the way for anarchy in the country,” referring to the rise in other militant groups.

“If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan,” the letter states.

Ongoing failure for U.S. troops is ensured, the group argues. “If the policy of using force is exercised for a hundred more years and a hundred new strategies are adopted, the outcome of all of these will be the same as you have observed over the last six months following the initiation of Trump’s new strategy.”

“Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogues. America must end her occupation and must accept all our legitimate rights including the right to form a government consistent with the beliefs of our people,” the group says.

The thrust of the message echoes what many peace groups have said—Trump is continuing the failed strategies of his predecessors, and there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The letter comes a day after U.S. intelligence agencies predicted (pdf) that the “overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan Nationa l Security Forces (ANSF) performance, and chronic financial shortfalls.”

Phoenix Goodman and Trinity Tran on Public Banking with Cenk Uygur

TYT Interviews
Published on Feb 2, 2018

Cenk Uygur interviews Phoenix Goodman and Trinity Tran, from DivestLA and co-founders of Public Bank LA, to discuss public banking.

About Divest LA:
Divest LA is a coalition of over 30 progressive, indigenous, and environmental organizations. The movement seeks to end the City of Los Angeles’ financial ties with Wells Fargo for their complicit involvement in fraudulent conduct and predatory practices. Divest LA advocates for greater financial accountability, ethical business practices and for public funds to be placed in socially and environmentally conscious institutions that will protect, strengthen, and enrich our communities.

About Phoenix Goodman – Public Bank LA, Co-Founder:

Phoenix is a Los Angeles-based advocate for a socially responsible public banking system and Co-Founder of Public Bank LA, a grassroots movement aimed at developing one of the nation’s first municipal public bank in the City of Los Angeles. He co-organized the Divest LA movement which successfully lobbied LA City Hall to withdraw its contracts from Wells Fargo as a result of their unethical business practices. He is a founding member of Revolution LA.

About Trinity Tran – Founder Revolution LA & Divest LA, Co-Founder Public Bank LA:
Trinity is the Founder of Revolution LA, the grassroots progressive organization that became the catalyst for Divest LA and Public Bank LA. In March 2017, she created the Divest LA organization to mobilize activists behind the campaign to move the City of Los Angeles’ public funds from Wells Fargo Bank into ethical financial institutions. In just 9 months, the coalition took on Wells Fargo and won, disqualifying the bank from the City’s commercial banking services. In June 2017, she co-founded the Public Bank LA campaign to create a socially and environmentally chartered city-owned public bank.

Berkeley Occupation update

First they came for the homeless

February 12, 2018

So, let’s analyze something.

This homeless led movement was started and grown by people being fed up with how the cops attacked them, and how city’s persecuted them. The response to us by the city is to use the tactics against us that started the movement. Press based on city lies, police, stolen gear, continued harassment of the vulnerable, and no solution coming. Games and delay, as always.

Get a clue, city governments. Change your course, and start representing those who need it, instead of those who don’t. To do otherwise is very short sighted.

Doing all for the profit of those without need while millions suffer is a recipe for civil uprising.

–Mike Zint

Do we Need a Virtual Democracy? (w/Guest Richard Lang)

Thom Hartmann Program
Published on Feb 12, 2018

Could a virtual Democracy be a way to fix our “In Real Life” democracy? Richard Lang seems to think so, here he tells us why, pulling from his new book “Virtual Country”

► Join us on Patreon: where you can also watch a re-run of the three hour program at any time

Beyond Conspiracy – The Terrifying Truth Of Corporate Power

Russell Brand
Published on Nov 21, 2017

Under The Skin #36
Beyond Conspiracy – The Terrifying Truth Of Corporate Power

Having spent years investigating some of the wealthiest people on the planet, journalist and broadcaster Jacques Peretti joins me to discuss the secret billion dollar deals that we never hear about but which are changing our world and revolutionising everything we do.

Unf*ck Yourself From The Modern World with my new book Recovery
Get it here in US:

Pia Mancini at TEDGlobal 2014: How to upgrade democracy for the Internet era

Pia Mancini and her colleagues want to upgrade democracy in Argentina and beyond. Through their open-source mobile platform they want to bring citizens inside the legislative process, and run candidates who will listen to what they say.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

Pia Mancini · Democracy activist
Using software to inspire public debate and enable voter engagement, Pia Mancini hopes to upgrade modern democracy in Argentina and beyond.

Recorded October 2014 at TEDGlobal 2014

I have the feeling that we can all agree that we’re moving towards a new model of the state and society. But, we’re absolutely clueless as to what this is or what it should be. It seems like we need to have a conversation about democracy

in our day and age. Let’s think about it this way: We are 21st-century citizens, doing our very, very best to interact with 19th century-designed institutions that are based on an information technology of the 15th century. Let’s have a look at some of the characteristics of this system. First of all, it’s designed for an information technology that’s over 500 years old. And the best possible system that could be designed for it is one where the few make daily decisions in the name of the many. And the many get to vote once every couple of years. In the second place, the costs of participating in this system are incredibly high. You either have to have a fair bit of money and influence, or you have to devote your entire life to politics. You have to become a party member and slowly start working up the ranks until maybe, one day, you’ll get to sit at a table where a decision is being made. And last but not least, the language of the system — it’s incredibly cryptic. It’s done for lawyers, by lawyers,

and no one else can understand. So, it’s a system where we can choose our authorities, but we are completely left out on how those authorities reach their decisions. So, in a day where a new information technology allows us to participate globally in any conversation, our barriers of information are completely lowered and we can, more than ever before, express our desires and our concerns. Our political system remains the same for the past 200 years and expects us to be contented with being simply passive recipients

of a monologue. So, it’s really not surprising that this kind of system is only able to produce two kinds of results: silence or noise. Silence, in terms of citizens not engaging, simply not wanting to participate. There’s this commonplace [idea] that I truly, truly dislike, and it’s this idea that we citizens are naturally apathetic. That we shun commitment. But, can you really blame us for not jumping at the opportunity of going to the middle of the city in the middle of a working day to attend, physically, a public hearing that has no impact whatsoever? Conflict is bound to happen between a system that no longer represents, nor has any dialogue capacity, and citizens that are increasingly used to representing themselves. And, then we find noise: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico Italy, France, Spain, the United States, they’re all democracies. Their citizens have access to the ballot boxes. But they still feel the need,

they need to take to the streets in order to be heard. To me, it seems like the 18th-century slogan that was the basis for the formation of our modern democracies, “No taxation without representation,” can now be updated to “No representation without a conversation.” We want our seat at the table.

And rightly so. But in order to be part of this conversation, we need to know what we want to do next, because political action is being able to move from agitation to construction. My generation has been incredibly good at using new networks and technologies to organize protests, protests that were able to successfully impose agendas, roll back extremely pernicious legislation, and even overthrow authoritarian governments. And we should be immensely proud of this. But, we also must admit that we haven’t been good at using those same networks and technologies to successfully articulate an alternative to what we’re seeing and find the consensus and build the alliances that are needed

to make it happen. And so the risk that we face is that we can create these huge power vacuums that will very quickly get filled up by de facto powers, like the military or highly motivated and already organized groups

that generally lie on the extremes. But our democracy is neither just a matter of voting once every couple of years. But it’s not either the ability to bring millions onto the streets. So the question I’d like to raise here, and I do believe it’s the most important question we need to answer, is this one: If Internet is the new printing press, then what is democracy for the Internet era? What institutions do we want to build

for the 21st-century society? I don’t have the answer, just in case. I don’t think anyone does. But I truly believe we can’t afford to ignore this question anymore. So, I’d like to share our experience and what we’ve learned so far and hopefully contribute two cents

to this conversation. Two years ago, with a group of friends from Argentina, we started thinking, “how can we get our representatives, our elected representatives, to represent us?” Marshall McLuhan once said that politics is solving today’s problems with yesterday’s tools. So the question that motivated us was, can we try and solve some of today’s problems with the tools that we use every single day of our lives? Our first approach was to design and develop a piece of software called DemocracyOS. DemocracyOS is an open-source web application that is designed to become a bridge between citizens and their elected representatives

to make it easier for us to participate from our everyday lives. So first of all, you can get informed so every new project that gets introduced in Congress gets immediately translated and explained in plain language on this platform. But we all know that social change is not going to come from just knowing more information, but from doing something with it. So better access to information should lead to a conversation about what we’re going to do next, and DemocracyOS allows for that. Because we believe that democracy is not just a matter of stacking up preferences, one on top of each other, but that our healthy and robust public debate

should be, once again, one of its fundamental values. So DemocracyOS is about persuading and being persuaded. It’s about reaching a consensus as much as finding a proper way of channeling our disagreement. And finally, you can vote how you would like your elected representative to vote. And if you do not feel comfortable voting on a certain issue, you can always delegate your vote to someone else, allowing

for a dynamic and emerging social leadership. It suddenly became very easy for us to simply compare these results with how our representatives were voting in Congress. But, it also became very evident that technology was not going to do the trick. What we needed to do to was to find actors that were able to grab this distributed knowledge in society and use it to make better and more fair decisions. So we reached out to traditional political parties and we offered them DemocracyOS. We said, “Look, here you have a platform that you can use to build a two-way conversation with your constituencies.” And yes, we failed. We failed big time. We were sent to play outside like little kids. Amongst other things, we were called naive. And I must be honest: I think, in hindsight, we were. Because the challenges that we face, they’re not technological, they’re cultural. Political parties were never willing to change the way they make their decisions. So it suddenly became a bit obvious that if we wanted to move forward with this idea,

we needed to do it ourselves. And so we took quite a leap of faith, and in August last year, we founded our own political party, El Partido de la Red, or the Net Party, in the city of Buenos Aires. And taking an even bigger leap of faith, we ran for elections in October last year with this idea: if we want a seat in Congress, our candidate, our representatives were always going to vote according to what citizens decided on DemocracyOS. Every single project that got introduced in Congress, we were going vote according to what citizens decided on an online platform. It was our way of hacking the political system. We understood that if we wanted to become part of the conversation, to have a seat at the table, we needed to become valid stakeholders,

and the only way of doing it is to play by the system rules. But we were hacking it in the sense that we were radically changing the way a political party makes its decisions. For the first time, we were making our decisions together with those who we were

affecting directly by those decisions. It was a very, very bold move for a two-month-old party in the city of Buenos Aires. But it got attention. We got 22,000 votes, that’s 1.2 percent of the votes, and we came in second for the local options. So, even if that wasn’t enough to win a seat in Congress, it was enough for us to become part of the conversation, to the extent that next month, Congress, as an institution, is launching for the first time in Argentina’s history, a DemocracyOS to discuss, with the citizens, three pieces of legislation: two on urban transportation and

one on the use of public space. Of course, our elected representatives are not saying, “Yes, we’re going to vote according to what citizens decide,” but they’re willing to try. They’re willing to open up a new space for citizen engagement and hopefully

they’ll be willing to listen as well. Our political system can be transformed, and not by subverting it, by destroying it, but by rewiring it with the tools that

Internet affords us now. But a real challenge is to find, to design to create, to empower those connectors that are able to innovate, to transform noise and silence into signal and finally bring our democracies

to the 21st century. I’m not saying it’s easy. But in our experience, we actually stand a chance of making it work. And in my heart, it’s most definitely worth trying. Thank you. (Applause)

“The Unlikely Activist”

Like many people who have lost loved ones in police shootings, Dolores Piper found that grief can be a gateway to advocacy.

Dolores Piper greets Jeff Stewart, a close friend of Mario Woods, during last summer’s 2nd Annual Mario Woods Remembrance Day. Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle

Dolores Piper greets Jeff Stewart, a close friend of Mario Woods, during last summer’s 2nd Annual Mario Woods Remembrance Day. | Leah Millis, The Chronicle

Sitting in her home last summer, Dolores Piper picked up a pair of scissors and cut the red tape wrapped around a paper bag labeled “South San Francisco Police.”

She had received the package months earlier and left it untouched in a closet. Just opening it and seeing the contents, she knew, would send her flashing back to the worst night of her life. But it couldn’t wait any longer.

Piper reached inside and pulled out a pair of tattered red shorts. She placed them on her dining table. Reaching in again, she retrieved a pair of underwear stained with blood.

The two pieces of clothing were taken off the body of 15-year-old Derrick Gaines, who was shot and killed by a South San Francisco police officer on June 5, 2012.

Piper held in her pain as she looked at her great-nephew’s tattered clothes on the table. She helped raise him from when he was an infant.

“He was a joy in our lives,” she said. “He was just really engaging all his life. I think that was his most charming quality. He was a diplomat. A lot of people thought he had a lot of promise as a kid.”

For many people who have lost loved ones in police shootings, grief can be a gateway to advocacy. For Piper, 75, Derrick’s death spurred her to become a fixture at San Francisco Police Commission meetings. It’s why she’s part of a group working to address racial bias among police. And it’s why she specifically focuses on officer bias against youth.

“It propelled me to look at what’s happened, what policing is about, how our kids aren’t protected by these police, and what suffering is out there among women and men and families who lose their loved ones,” said Piper, who co-owns a food brokerage company.

“I like to be present at a lot of these (meetings). I don’t need to do anything or say anything, but be present there. I feel like that’s really, really important — to be there.”

David Salaverry, co-founder of San Franciscans for Police Accountability, an organization that counts Piper as a member and pushes for police reform, said mothers and other family members who have lost loved ones in officer-involved shootings can make a difference.

“If Dolores and people like Mario Woods’ mother and the parents of Alejandro Nieto are not present in front of the commission, in front of the politicians, in front of the district attorney, then everything is just abstract,” said Salaverry, 66, of San Francisco. “It’s much easier to ignore if there isn’t a victim speaking out. The personal aspect of it is really important.”

Woods was a 26-year-old stabbing suspect whose December 2015 shooting death in the Bayview prompted criticism of San Francisco police after footage of the incident was posted on social media. Nieto, 28, was fatally shot by San Francisco police in March 2014, after officers said he pointed a Taser at them. Nieto’s parents filed a federal civil rights claim arguing that police wrongfully killed him, but a jury cleared the officers of all charges.

In July, Piper attended the second annual Mario Woods Remembrance Day in Martin Luther King Jr. Park in San Francisco. She wore a white T-shirt with the names of at least a dozen people who had been fatally shot by police, including Derrick’s. She greeted Gwen Woods, Mario Woods’ mother, with a smile and a laugh before making the rounds to say hello to the others who had gathered at the park.

“It feels good to be with these people, to learn how to stand up to these institutions and to question them,” Piper said. “And it feels more powerful together.”

On a summer night 5½ years ago, a South San Francisco police officer initiated a stop of Derrick and his friend, who were walking through a gas station parking lot near Piper’s home. The officer noticed Derrick making “furtive gestures” near his waistband, according to a report by the San Mateo County district attorney’s office.

The officer, Joshua Cabillo, suspected Derrick might have a firearm or drugs, based on his movements, the report said. When the officer tried to question the boys, witnesses said, Derrick ran.

Cabillo told investigators that a .45-caliber revolver fell out of the boy’s pants when he tackled him to the ground. The gun was later found to be inoperable. During a scuffle, Cabillo said, he got on top of Derrick and pointed his firearm “several feet from his face” while telling him not to move.

When Derrick reached for the revolver, Cabillo said, the fourth-year officer shot him at point-blank range. Derrick died from a gunshot wound to the right side of his neck and chest, according to the autopsy report.

Steve Wagstaffe, the district attorney for San Mateo County, ruled the shooting was legally justified.

“The role of the district attorney is not to say whether this was a good way to do business,” Wagstaffe told The Chronicle. “We don’t deal with police conduct. Our focus is purely: Was this criminal conduct by the officer, or was this justifiable under the California penal code?”

The city of South San Francisco settled a civil suit filed by Derrick’s parents and agreed to pay the family $250,000, without admitting wrongdoing, said City Attorney Jason Rosenberg.

The district attorney’s report includes a summary of events from two witnesses, Jaime Gotai and Claudia Li, that says they told investigators Derrick was shot within seconds of being tackled by Cabillo.

Li said she turned her head just before the shots were fired, according to the report. Li confirmed that in an interview with The Chronicle, but said the report left out several details that she witnessed that contradicted Cabillo’s story.

Li, 31, of San Francisco, said Cabillo actually tackled Derrick twice. After the first time, she said, the boy ran from the gun, putting him out of reach of the weapon.

“By the time (Derrick) had kind of slid and stopped, the gun was pretty far away. Maybe a few feet away,” Li told investigators the night of the shooting, according to a tape of her interview.

In a second interview three weeks later, Li repeated that the gun “wasn’t near (Derrick’s) hands.”

“What (the district attorney) wrote out was completely different and not what I told them, because I clearly said he fell down and got up again,” Li told The Chronicle. “To say that someone tried to pick up a gun and tried to take down an officer, that is not what happened. That’s messed up.”

Wagstaffe said investigators had taken Li’s statement into account, but that “Officer Cabillo’s description was what we believed the evidence showed and what we believed justified the shooting.”

More than five years after Derrick’s death, Piper still refuses to accept Wagstaffe’s decision to clear Cabillo — in part because of Li’s assertion that investigators misreported her testimony.

“This is a heartache you just never get over,” Piper said. “It comes in waves.”

She says she wishes she had told Derrick, who was half black and part Puerto Rican, to be cautious around police. The thought never occurred to her, she said, as a middle-class white woman.

“I really couldn’t understand the struggles that Derrick had,” Piper said. “I was pushing for him to succeed in this white world.”

Since that night in 2012, Piper has followed Officer Cabillo’s career from South San Francisco — where he spent nearly six years — to the San Francisco Police Department, which he joined in April 2013. He is now assigned to Central Station. 

Joseph Lucia, the attorney who represented Cabillo in the shooting, said Derrick’s death took a toll.

“Officer Cabillo was very affected by this,” said Lucia, whose client did not respond to requests for comment. “He was forced to make a decision that he didn’t want to have to make.”

The shooting is not the only incident in which Cabillo’s use of force has been called into question.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against him and several other San Francisco police officers in 2015 on behalf of a 23-year-old man who said police had assaulted him. According to the complaint, Cabillo and the other officers threw the man to the ground, punched him and twisted his arm while threatening to break it.

The city settled the suit in 2016 and agreed to pay the man $40,000, without admitting any wrongdoing by the officers.

“I feel like he was trying to appear as a hot shot,” Piper said of Cabillo’s actions the night Derrick died.

But Piper’s mission isn’t just to keep tabs on Cabillo, she said. She also wants to protect people like Derrick’s 10-year-old half brother, Michael Red, another biracial child she’s helping to raise.

“I had this naive feeling that Derrick would be OK out there, no matter what,” Piper said. “I almost have a repulsion to the (police) uniform and especially to the guns on their hips. I never used to feel that way, but now I really do. I’m not afraid, because I don’t think they’ll ever bother me, really, but I’m afraid for other people.”

When a family tries to pursue civil action against a police department, Piper sits in the court gallery. When family and friends of someone killed by police rally to protest, Piper marches with a raised fist. She’s present at vigils, memorials, San Francisco Police Commission meetings and other events — all with Michael beside her.

John Burris, a civil rights attorney who represented Derrick’s parents in the civil suit against Cabillo, said he’s become accustomed to seeing Piper at anti-police-brutality events.

“She really has turned into a wonderful activist,” Burris said. “I am more than happy to see her when we have these rallies. She’s there comforting the moms.”

“I’ve met some extraordinary people in this whole movement who are dedicated and have been all their lives,” Piper said. “If there is any hope, it’s the hope of people who just don’t give up.”

Binders of documents and sworn statements from the district attorney’s investigation are still scattered throughout her home. Each day, she wears a pin that includes Derrick’s photo and says, “Justice for Derrick Gaines.”

As a way of keeping him close, she finds a way to bring up his name in almost any social situation.

“I’m here fighting for Derrick,” Piper said. “And I always will.”

Sarah Ravani is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @SarRavani

(Submitted by Ruthie Sakheim.)