Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Money, Money, Money

The PE ran an article, one of those get-to-know-me, feel-good pieces on economic crime detective, Brian Money. Before you get put on the cops beat, you are told to write soft pieces, or profiles on police officers to keep your sources that you need so badly for stories happy enough to keep giving them to you. In reality, however, you most often get the best story ideas from cops when they are unhappy.

It was a pretty good article, on a pretty level-headed officer who except for carrying more meat on his frame than he did several years ago, and wearing the long-sleeved sky-blue shirts which dominate every detective and DA's closet, showing a bit more wear on his face, might be the same officer who got himself in a bit of a pickle when one of his trainees blew the whistle on the police department. Uh-oh!

Former RPD officer Rene Rodriguez trained with four senior field training officers during his short stint with the RPD. Frank Patino, Mike Andrews, Dave Ruddy and Money. Two of them, Andrews and Money, had something in common. They were White male officers married to Black women in a police department which according to a law suit filed by another officer, African-American Roger Sutton, was not very enlightened about interracial relationships.

The reason the commonality between Andrews and Money came to the center of the controversy regarding Rodriguez's claims of racism within the department was because one of those claims was that a White male field training officer had told him that he was married to a Black woman but that he kept that fact a secret from the other White officers. This White male field training officer, along with the others, also allegedly taught Rodriguez how to racially profile Black and Hispanic motorists, or how to work as a patrol officer in the Riverside Police Department. This same officer later denied he had said any of these things when Internal Affairs, and then later the Press Enterprise newspaper started trying to chip away at Rodriguez's credibility and his allegations.

The officer who denied the allegations made by Rodriguez in a 2000 PE article was never named, but several people talked about who it was, and how what he had said, saddened them. Because they thought they knew him.

Sutton, in depositions he gave in his civil law suit Sutton v the City of Riverside said that when he dated several White woman, other officers would tell the girlfriends(but never him)that they did not like or approve of the relationship and the women should break them off. Another Black officer, Mike Carroll allegedly told Sutton once according to Sutton's deposition that Sutton should not push his relationships with White women in the faces of the other officers. Nothing was said or stated in Sutton's law suit about the situation in reverse, White male officers who dated or married Black women.

Well, except for his allegation that when he had spoken one time to Andrews, the other officer had come up to him and said, "What's up, my n____r?" Sutton said in his suit that he was fairly sure Andrews meant the comment as a joke, but that did not make it funny.

This officer's defection after Rene Rodriguez's allegations of racism in the RPD came to light is an unforgivable sin to some people. I consider it expedience. After all, if you want to get promoted in the RPD, you can't mention racism. I don't know if it's true that you can't mention interracial marriage, but it doesn't seem to put you on the upward track to be associated with it. But that's simplified.

Are officers keeping interracial relationships and marriages in the closet in the RPD? Only those inside the blue wall of silence know, and if it's an intolerable environment for racial intermingling, then only those in the relationships know. If they have to be told like Sutton that merely going public in an interracial relationship is shoving it in the faces of white officers' or even worse, being done to deliberately provoke White officers(who are of course, blamelessly racist if they're upset), then no wonder they would remain silent on the issue. Hopefully, that's no longer the case.

I remember talking to a White woman who was involved with a Black man, who died and was being investigated as most Black murders are in Riverside, by the minimum assignment of two homicide detectives. I had recently uncovered in Sutton's law suit an allegation that one of the White homicide detectives involved in her ex-husband's case had made a comment to a White girlfriend of Sutton's who was a former city employee. He had told her that the officers disapproved of the relationship and to break it off. If that is indeed true, then how does that affect how this detective investigates the homicides of people who are intimately involved in interracial relationships?

But then again, another homicide detective was alleged to have stuck his fist out of the window of his squad car and yelled "White Power" at Rodriguez right when he was dealing with a motorist yelling racist slurs at him. Money was present with Rodriguez according to the state complaint, when that incident allegedly took place. I wonder what his version of the events would be, back in 1999 and now.

Apparently, if Rodriguez's allegations involving his field training officers are true, they including Money and Andrews were left with difficult choices, when the spotlight turned unwelcomely on them. Patino, for one, was quoted in a PE article as being upset and offended by Rodriguez's allegations pertaining to him. He was Hispanic himself, so why would he teach other officers to racially profile Hispanic motorists?

In my opinion, the involved officer had told Rodriguez about racism in the RPD while training him, not knowing that his words would ever spread outside their conversations, let alone to administrators who run that same department that has the racism talked about. So next thing, he knows is Rodriguez has gone to Internal Affairs! Eek! What else can an officer in the hot seat do but deny the statements he made to Rodriguez? He sits and watches Rodriguez get driven off of his job to unpaid leave by the wrath of the vengeful officers. Does he want to suffer the same fate? No sane person would want to follow in Rodriguez's tracks so he denies his words, thus in some eyes discrediting Rodriguez and his words. The only problem is with his jumping onto the "Rene is lying" bandwagon with his peers is that Rodriguez was not the only one that this officer had talked to about racism in the RPD. He gave identical accounts of its activities to other people, as he did to Rodriguez and so far has not recanted those accounts. But, the people who remember his words expressed disappointment in them, and in him. He copped out so to speak when it counted. Everyone's career advanced as expected of those who keep quiet. Andrews and Patino remained as field Training Officers. Money was promoted to detective after being placed on the Attorney General's Task Force and life went on.

But, it makes it impossible to take a White officer at his or her word when they talk candidly about racism within their ranks, if that were ever to happen. The moment the heat is on them, they forget they have ever said a thing. After all, would Money be standing in that PE photograph, hands on his hips, looking determined, if he had said to the department in 1999, yeah there's racism here in this agency if that's what he believed. Probably not. Would any of the others who were included in Rodriguez's complaint? More likely, the community would have had to agitate on behalf of two officers instead of one, because if the officers of the RPD are unwilling to respond to 11-10s sent by officers who talk about racism, plenty of people in the community will do that in their stead. But none of the training officers who Rodriguez alleged had taught him racial profiling 101 or how to treat people of color in Riverside stood up to be counted, when it counted. What are they teaching now?

After all, good things were said about Money at least and how he said he viewed the issues of race and racism but if things changed in the heat of an investigation, well then that's something to cry over. Andrews was alleged to have made that racial comment to Sutton, in his law suit. Unfortunately, being in an interracial marriage by itself does not make you immune from racism.

Rodriguez was eventually given a stress retirement after much agitation by the community and eventually hired by Lance Gilmer at UCR. The RPOA tried to block his hiring by UCR but failed. Other officers told Gilmer that they couldn't protect his life from other officers if he hired Rodriguez. But Gilmer hired Rodriguez and they worked together until a detail from 15 years earlier in Gilmer's life leaked out myseriously and he lost his job because he falsely claimed an academic credential he did not have. But, he does still have his life. How his distant past came back to bit him remains one of those mysteries in life.

As far as Money is considered, history is still fresh enough in this person's mind to gaze at his picture and ask, was it you?

link to article:


Rodriguez whistleblows


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