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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Friday, June 10, 2005

Another bounty paid

It's all happened before. White officers kill African-American, and win lucrative life-long retirements from the city of Riverside.

Paul Bugar
Daniel Hotard
Michael Alagna
Wayne Stewart
and now....
Tina Banfill Gould.

Banfill Gould retired last March, receiving a workman's compensation package which will probably allow her to pick up a paycheck for a portion of her salary for the rest of her life. We've seen it before. Officer shoots Black person. RPD flubs investigation. Controversy erupts. Officer gets paid off afer some undisclosed injury pops up after the fact. At least during the Tyisha Miller shooting and its aftermath, the city fired them first.

Banfill Gould's parting words for the African-American community of Riverside were through her union lawyer, Michael Lackie, that she didn't believe that the details of the incident were anyone's business but the police department. With those words, she slapped thre faces of everyone who agitated for justice after Miller's killing in 1999.

Of course, she had reason. Because she had apparently made several crucial tactical errors when she approached the car where sitting inside, was the man she would shoot to death in less than four minutes time. She approached him alone, without calling for backup and did not run his license plate first.

It's tough to blame her, because she's not speaking as an individual, but as a member of a larger department. Part of the RPD police culture, which believes that it is above reproach any time one or more of its members takes a human life. The life of a person of color, particularly an African-American is even worthy of a public accounting. Remember, as former officer David Hackman said, NHI, meaning they aren't really human. Has that attitude changed in six years?

Probably not. No federal, state or county, or city agency can change a racist culture. No department can or even wants to change that culture from within. So what happens?

The city buries its head in the sand. The department pays an "expert" on policing to spin data that points to racial profiling being done by RPD officers into something called, criminal profiling instead. A sleight of hand which fools only those who don't even believe racial profiling ever existed, or those who did, but want so much to believe that the RPD has evolved through their efforts into a success story of sorts. But the success is only in their heads which of course are also buried in the sand.

The OIS Team skirted off with only a hand slap from the CPRC, and nothing from the department, just as it always has been. Just as the department did, when two investigators on the OIS team changed accounts provided by witnesses in another officer-involved shooting, to boost the defense given by the officers that they were in fear for their lives when one of them shot at a moving car. That's a story which deserves its own entry. Suffice it to say that it is truly amazing(not) that the OIS team can botch up, deliberately or through negligence, more than one officer-involved shooting in a year. And these are the ones where the potential misconduct is public. Makes you wonder what it is going on that you don't know. Makes you wonder what will happen when Bill Lockyer uncuts the strings tying his office to the department next March.

But at least one thing resonates true in this latest debacle involving a dead African-American brought to you, courtesy of the RPD. It's beginning to make sense now why so many strict laws were passed restricting access to information pertaining to law enforcement officers and how those laws are used to restrict even further what little information the public can receive. It's got nothing to do with protecting privacy and everything to do about hiding the truth.

Banfill doesn't talk, wins retirement package


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older