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

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In Search of...Racial Profiling

There used to be a show by that name hosted by Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy, over 20 years ago. The show tackled different unexplained occurances like crop circles, phantom hitchhikers and the Bermuda Triangle. Were any of these things real, or not? Some evidence would be presented, but those questions would remained unanswered.

That's how the forum on Racial Profiling or in P.C. terms, Pretext traffic stops took place. Filling the shoes of Nimoy, was Human Relations Commission chair A.J. Wilson, and special guests were Dr. Larry Gaines, from Cal. State University, San Bernardino's Criminal Justice Department and in its entirety, the Attorney General Task Force.

Lt. John Wallace did all the talking for the Task Force, while Sgt. Mike Cook, and Officers Phil Hernandez and Cheryl Hayes forming a rainbow of sorts, sat on the sidelines. About 25 people attended the forum, mostly the same people who attend any meeting that has to do with the police department. Hundreds and thousands of other city residents stayed home. Some who did, said that they were used to the police department holding public forums defending its practices, or trying to sell the rightness of them to the public. The PR train to celebrate the winding down of the five-year consent decree had already began rolling, so to speak.

The discussion began with polite words and an academic focus which was where most of the interest appeared to be. Those who don't give a damn about Chi-squares and variances, but just do not want to be singled out by the police for harassment in the department's search for criminal suspects with only a race and a broad age range to go with, stayed at home. The study and how it was conducted became the focus of the discussion rather than the problem of racial profiling in a police department found to have violated the state constitution while its officers had conducted traffic stops on the public.

When the questions began to be asked, Dr. Gaines started becoming more defensive. And it was only at the end when things began to get interesting. The RPD's agenda involving the annual study was revealed further with each word that spilled out of Gaines' mouth. Even HRC Chair A. J. Wilson appeared to notice and jumped into the fray.

Racial Profiling, back beneath the rock


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