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, August 09, 2005

The other alleged RPD pedophile back to work soon?

First of all, this is not a commentary on former RPD officer Adam Brown who plead guilty to federal charges in relation to his involvement and participation in a child molesation ring in Wisconsin.

Before Brown's outing as a pedophile by the FBI, there was former officer Vince Thomas who had been charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office with 33 counts of "lewd behavior" with a teenage girl, who had been living in his home, over a threee year period. Thomas' case was tried twice, and both times the jury deadlocked after considerable time spent in deliberations.

After the second mistrial, the DA declined to retry Thomas, and dropped the charges. Thomas took that as a sign that it was time to go back to his old job as a Riverside Police Department officer.

Prosecutor Laura Robles remains convinced of his guilt, and expressed some concern about him returning back to his career as a police officer.

The status of Thomas's departure from the RPD has caused some controversy. His attorney Grover Porter said that Thomas had resigned before he could be fired by the department. Deputy Chief Andrew Pytlak said that Thomas had been fired and had planned to contest the department's decision through the arbitration process. Since the criminal case has reached its conclusion, Thomas is free to do just that.

Michael Gardner who chairs the CPRC, was asked his opinion on the matter for unknown reasons. A man of considerable understatement when it comes to questioning the integrity of a police officer, Gardner admitted there could be "some amount of community concern" if Thomas returned to work.

"In reality, it may not be fair if the guy is truly innocent," Gardner said. "If he's not, he probably shouldn't be a police officer anywhere."

So should be be an officer, or not?

It's a question the usual cast of talking heads can not or will not answer, because those who can provide those answers without fear are not usually placed in positions of leadership within this city. But for those who called me to tell me that they had allowed Thomas inside their homes to take police reports with their children in the vicinity, how could or would their fears be alleviated if Thomas returns to work? The truth is, they can not be lessened, simply because two juries were unable to reach a verdict in terms of whether or not Thomas had molested a teenage girl, whose care he was entrusted with as her legal guardian, according to civil court records.

A police officer's character and integrity must be beyond reproach. The standards they must adhere to, should be higher than those of civilians because of the powers they exercise and the responsibilities their positions require them to carry. Can anyone in the community look at Thomas, and not think that he may have molested a child, because while his guilt was not proven, his innocence was not either, and there are always some people on a jury who refuse to convict a police officer even if he clearly committed the crime in question. For some people, the mere idea that a police officer could commit so heinous a crime is too far outside the realm of possibility to even allow them to fairly deliberate on a criminal case where an officer has been accused of such a crime.

Thomas's integrity has been tainted, and that extends to his professional life, so he must never be allowed to return to work in the Riverside Police Department.

DA gives up on trying Officer Vince Thomas on molestation charges


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