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

Contact: fivebeforemidnight@yahoo.com

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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Politics as usual at City Hall

The city council minus Frank Schiavone played to a full house last night, as three important items on the discussion calendar came on the plate. Over 100 city residents, police officers and other city employees sat in the audience or spoke on the three items which purtained to the police department.

(Frank despite the annual contribution of $3,000 from the RPOA PAC obviously had better things to do.)

The police administration had very little to say about any of the three items, prefering to take up the half of the front row and sit like bumps on a log. A man with a love for elephants, and an oxygen tank formed the dividing line between the command staff and the RPOA representatives. Once again, the job was left to City Manager Brad Hudson and his assistant Tom DeSantis. No one really wanted to come up to the podium to address the agenda item on recruitment incentives, until Leach came up to say a few words about the "best of the best" and not sacrificing quality in search of quantity. The command staff and Mayor cited "fatigue" as the reason not to respond to the issue of recruitment. With all the city funds that is going to pay all those tired people in the front row, better excuses are needed.

Pat McCarthy, president of the RPOA and clearly practicing his election speech, spoke about how there was a crisis on the frontlines, due to the increased population growth both from migrations and from the city's annexations of several populated areas. Actually, this crisis was there last year, but the RPOA was too busy spending over $30,000 of its dues to fight Measure II, by scaring the voters into believing that if they cast a "yes" vote, the police officers would not be able to respond as quickly to calls for service. But then, the RPOA did not hold elections last year and any opposing candidates were not on its radar.

Steve Adams, playing to his constituents in the front row, blasted anyone who questioned the quality of the department's officers. Most likely, he was not listening or out of the room taking a phone call(as he often is at meetings)when several residents spoke about how important it was not to sacrifice quality, in search of quantity. Agencies in cities like Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Miami among others learned this the hard way in the early 1990s.

Former RSD employee, Ruben Rasso practicing his campaign speech, fresh from receiving an endorsement by the RPOA PAC said that public safety is his first priority. Judging by his appearance at recent meetings and his list of political contributors, it is his own priority. If elected, then, will he jump in with the GASS Quartet(picked by the RPOA PAC, financed by the members of the RPOA) and focus on development over the quality of city services?

With two elections on the city's horizon, politics was an obvious flavor in the background, as people debated over issues impacting the quality of life of those who live in what is sometimes fondly, but often not referred to as RiverCity.

23 Comments:

Blogger RPD said...

I was there too Five before Midnight...funny I didn't hear anyone go up to the podium and say, "My name is Five before Midnight, Resident of Riverside." hmmm, I wonder if you are one of the same old ladies that talk everyweek about the same old stuff....

Nahh, your a closet activist...no guts...

I'll keep doing my job and wait to see my name in your blog...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:43:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

LOL....laughter is good for the soul you know.

Coming from inside the blue closet yourself....well, I'll surely keep your words in mind.

At least Kevin has guts even though that's not really his name. Though he has been around a bit longer than you.

See you around....dress up next time...and Dave Martin for RPOA president...

Signed, one very old lady....

P.S. there's a very old adage by Mahatma Ghandi, you might like to check out sometime. :-)

**clue, the first letter of the quote is "First..." Now google away!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good old Mohandas really knew his adversaries, didn't he? ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

That, he did.

Too bad they could not include these wise words on the statue of Gandhi dedicated last week. It would save "RPD" some work.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:51:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

But we could use "pick me, pick me, pick me" instead. After all, he's probably said those words a lot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the same cowardly gang who murdered Tyesha Miller in her sleep, then slapped high-fives in the presencve of her family. What can you expect from subhuman scum like that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 7:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can expect them to save your sorry ass when you need help

Thursday, October 13, 2005 4:11:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

No, I can't. And I'm not putting my life on the line waiting for maybes.

I'm sure not going to sit around and say, "excuse me (insert mugger, rapist, assailant, burgular) while I call for this officer who thinks I'm a 'sorry ass' to come and save me."

Or "excuse me, (insert assailant, rapist, mugger, burgler) wait until the officer who calls me and thinks you harming me is "beautiful poetic justice" that he's prayed for, comes to help me.


I've learned to protect myself, since I'm still alive by the time the assailant's or mugger's left with property or fled, and at that point, there's not much for the police to do, except take a report. The incentive to do the report to prevent other people from further harm by a person dissipates when the crime is not taken seriously.

What are you going to do, fight, flee or stay on hold with 9-11?

As for heros, they come in all shapes, sizes, races and professions. I've seen heroic officer, and heroic civilians. The potential for good and bad lie in each person.

I think in some sense the attitudes have gotten better, in part because of the influx of new officers who now comprise higher than 1/3 of the department's sworn forces. But now it's also a numbers game, with the city wanting more people living in Riverside, but wants to keep its infrastructure the same. So even if attitudes are good, it's hard to get around deficiencies in numbers. You need money(which the city found) and will to spend it in that direction.

I think good questions were asked about where this money came from as well. Last summer, the aviation unit was used as a bargaining chip by Leach, the hiring of six officers was seen as excessive and the city's only anti-gang preventive program was on the block.

That's why I told the city council I agreed with the hiring of 50 new officers, and why. But I also said that they needed to keep the current standards in place. Other cities laxed on them especially background and paid the price. We paid the price for our laxer standards pre-1999, with "retirements" not even including those of the officers who shot Tyisha Miller.

I witnessed a brutal assault of a man in the middle of the street detailed on one thread. The officer really should not have bothered to show up at all, for the good he did in ensuring that this asssault and battery(the one compared to a traffic accident by the AB member, lol...)He didn't save anyone from danger, because he was the last one to arrive, which probably was due to the rerouting of the 9-11 calls than his actions. Nor did he lay the foundation for a criminal case that a DA could win. Then people who accuse me of rushing to judgement rush to judgement on the incident without even being there and/or reading any documentation at all. That just serves to reinforce the futility of expecting someone to help you. Or police officers rebounding any criticism by saying, you'll call us when you need us.

Next time, we'll just pull the assailant off the victim, pat him on the head then let him go. I think the eight witnesses including the man who held the guy in the bearhug and the two that helped him will do that next time. Why bother helping another human being, if there is nothing you can really do?

But if the cops who defend this guy's actions of stating that there are no witnesses ever complain that witnesses to crimes are reluctant or don't come forward? They should rethink that stance.

But you know what, it's really, really hard to walk away when someone's in trouble, right in front of me. So much easier said than done. I can't do it.

Experience taught me that well. Besides, by the time they get there, especially considering how police are understaffed, all is left is for them to decide whether to write a report or not.

What is the response time on Code 1 calls now? 11 minutes? Longer for other calls?

What do you do during those 11 minutes? If you are in serious trouble, you fight for your life, first. Call later, since there's not usually a phone handy in situations like this anyway.

(cell phones maybe, but they delay response in actuality b/c of how the 9-11 system is set up for cell phone service)

I put more thought into this response than you, yet another closeted officer, deserved, but I wanted to put that defensive mechanism of yours to rest.

Take care,

Thursday, October 13, 2005 5:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really disappointed Mary. I thought some progress had been made in the thread about Officer Stucker's arrest. That's right - the suspect was arrested.

You still accuse him of "not laying a foundation for a criminal case that a DA could win." We established that you have not read the police report, in full, so you are in no position to make that conclusion. What if page 2 of the report notes that the victim declined prosecution? Or what if he changed his statement later, making him unreliable? What if the suspect never bothered to show up for the court date on his citation and there is a warrant for his arrest?

You have no idea what the disposition on this case was or will be, so a reasonable person will reserve judgment. Obviously you are not a reasonable person...

The responses in the thread detail for you the difference between a "witness" and a "bystander." Everyone who saw the guys rolling around on the ground, in traffic according to you, were bystanders. Your original assertion that an attempted robbery had occured proves that point. You didn't see how it started and neither did anyone else. The full facts were documented by interviews with the suspect and victim. All their information was on the face page and that was sufficient. You take such issue with the box being checked for "no witnesses," but still will not understand what that technically means.

After A#2 blasted you on all of your other silly criticisms of Officer Stucker, such as racism and not caring about poor, transient victims, you are hanging on to the "no witnesses" theory for dear life. Take it easy, honey! Relax! The officer did his job, the bad guy got arrested, and the victim got patched up. Let the justice system run its course (with all of the information, that is.)

Friday, October 14, 2005 9:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What if page 2 of the report notes that the victim declined prosecution? Or what if he changed his statement later, making him unreliable? What if the suspect never bothered to show up for the court date on his citation and there is a warrant for his arrest?"


To state the obvious, there are lot of "what if's" there, describing a report which has been withheld from public scrutiny.

Damned convenient that.

Friday, October 14, 2005 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

Well, if you are the agency, yes, it is very convenient b/c it is the agency's decision to prevent disclosure, unless like A#2, you are an RPD employee. The citizen? It's not. The victim, not.

As for Cohen, I saw him riding on his bike recently, no care in the world. Stucker told him when he put cuffs on that this did not mean he was under arrest. The report said he was cited. It also says the victim was willing to identify the assailantg AND to prosecute. In fact, A#2 claimed that this was actually a citizen's arrest, which in this case given that the witnesses weren't even interviewed, had to be this victim. If he changed his mind, well who would blame him? Why pursue a case that even the arresting agency including the employees that posted here. I had the lesson reinforced once again, you see someone getting beaten in public, you help him. Just leave the police out of it.

Because as A#2 pointed out, a PC 415 is justification enough to get the crap kicked out of you by a man with a history of felony convictions, failed attempts at anger management counseling mandated by the court and domestic violence(hence his "homelessness".)


The second page of the actual report would have been the page that includes personal information on witnesses, but the first page clearly states that there aren't any.

Relax? Oh, all that has been posted here, just proves the original point on the thread. Keep up the good work, on that front.

Friday, October 14, 2005 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

"To state the obvious, there are lot of "what if's" there, describing a report which has been withheld from public scrutiny.

Damned convenient that. "

True. What's more bizarre is that I saw this whole thing happen, as did eight other people. Yet people who weren't there are rushing up to defend as if they have ALL the facts, and they don't. It would be funny, except the incident that led to all this discussion was not.

Truth be, I probably know more of the facts of this incident than they or their agency does, and it should not be that way, in a "model" agency.

The shame is that I've read tons of police reports, and some investigative reports. Even on so called inconsequential crimes(you know, those that are compared to car accidents) and this department has some good, solid and thorough police report writers, which is important to note b/c this is the medium in which they put their police practices into words. This report does not match the quality of those. To say it does, is just insulting, imo.

But I've learned a lot more about WHY the police responded to this beating the way they did, if not the "lessons" that these RPD employees were trying to pass on.

And I still have not received a satisfactory response in all these "what ifs" and static, as to why it's okay to check the "NO" box for witnesses when you have willing witnesses. In fact the rush to defend this action tells me even more that it was wrong.

Friday, October 14, 2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

As to those police reports, not a single complete report was provided by the RPD. They were obtained through court files.

Friday, October 14, 2005 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Sandalou said...

[i]You can expect them to save your sorry ass when you need help[/i]

Yeah right. Provided you aren't a person of color, poor, gay/trans or just happen to live in the wrong neighborhood. Oh yeah, or if the cop finds you attractive and chooses to take advantage of the situation or has an ax to grind because you remind him of his ex.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 5:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary-

You still never address the points brought up against your argument several times now.

#1. Witness vs. Bystander - you didn't see it start and neither did anybody else.

#2. You haven't read the whole report so you cannot judge its completness.

#3. Suspect was cited. A misdemeanor citation is an arrest. You have a problem with him not being booked into the jail? Talk to the Sheriff's Dept. about that. RPD doesn't make the booking rules...

#4. You don't have all the facts because you asserted this crime was an attempted robbery. Talk to the victim because he didn't tell the officer that. Woulda been a felony and woulda been booked...

#5. I did not compare this crime to a car accident. I compared the looky-loo's at a crash scene to you and your "witnesses." Again, bystanders...

#6. There was no "rush to defend" the officer for checking the box for no witnesses. I have walked you through the thought process, because you obviously are not having your own. I carefully described for you what every officer does every day in deciding when a person at a crime scene is a witness with relevent, non-redundant, information. All of your "witnesses" clearly were not. You have the facts of the incident and even this argument all mixed up.

There is no excuse for you to put out such misleading information. You have the rare opportunity to inquire of the victim in this case what really happened and what he told the officer. I guarantee you it had nothing to do with race, economic status, homelessness or your other pet causes. But to acknowledge that would mean you have nothing left to say...

Silence!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

Actually, the officer never asked one witness anything about what they saw, so how would the officer know if they saw it start or not. THAT point has never successfully been addressed by yourself or others here. But then the original point has not been addressed either.

#2) It is the police department that fails to issue more than the first page of a police report, when state law actually allows the release of the entire police report, minus personal identifying information of civilian witnesses. Though in all liklihood, it is the very conservative city attorney who is directing that action, not the police administration.

Page 2 of a report is the witness info page, how many witnesses were listed on that page? Answer, look at the first page. The investigative report is NOT public information. Had I worked for the agency like A#2, I could have gotten the information easily.

3) subjects get booked on battery charges and other similar class A misdemeanors all the time. Some remain in custody until misdemeanor arraignment.

4) I made that assertion based on conversations I had with people downtown who are familiar with Cohen. The victim may not have known the motive, because he was jumped from behind, according to one witness who made one of the 9-11 calls.

All he knew was he was getting attacked and that some bystanders intervened. But he was carrying a printer worth a couple hundred dollars that he had just purchased openly and Cohen had just violated his probation on a meth possession conviction by not reporting to his probation officer and not starting treatment for his meth addiction. You do the math.

Again, that is why talking to witnesses rather than rushing into judgement that they are "lookie-loos" on site is important.

(I believe #5 is in there, and having witnessed a battery AND numerous car accidents, I have to say I've been interviewed more thoroughly for the car accidents than the battery...)

6# Rush to defend, that's what your responses have been about. YOU have less information than anyone else here, yet you are not walking me through it, which you can't because you were not there and you have not read anything. How can you guarantee that it had nothing to do with a "pet cause"(and use of that term alone speaks volumes of its own) with the least amount of information here?

If racism, classism, sexism, homophobia and related "pet causes" were gone from society, then yes, I certainly would have less to say.

As for being silent in my own space, well remember you came here to lecture me because you were asked to. I have not sought you out at all.

Monday, October 17, 2005 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous fascist pig said...

"Silence!!!"

Which is firm confirmation that you're on the right track.

They don't want the truth told, and their ham-handed presentation here only shows how desperate they are to try and silence it. Even by trying to present their sophomoric arrogance as if it constituted some sort of superior enlightenment.

This rhetorical slapstick act of theirs would actually be funny, if these clowns weren't actually given power and authority so far beyond their intellectual or moral capacity to handle.

Of course they want you silenced. The truth hurts. The truth especially hurts tyrants and bullies.

Monday, October 17, 2005 6:16:00 PM  
Blogger Sandalou said...

Silence!!! ???

Who the hell does he think he is? The freaking Wizard of OZ? Just another fake. He should try reading instead of bad acting, he would have gotten some of those answers he wanted. Then again, he won't hear anything to his liking so why bother?

When a police force can't stand the scrutiny of the public, it's no longer there to protect and serve. It's degenerated to a bunch of bullies and thugs. Next stop, the gestapo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 1:50:00 AM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

"A is a well-meaning person that the police rely on when they need support. She's the civilian they would go to first for help. And it is not energy wasted on their part. She does a lot of good work in this city, but her views on these issues are as narrow as she accused mine of being.

That's her choice and her right to do that or say that. If she considers herself a gatekeeper to the truth, then I hope her supporters are at least grateful for her services.

On one occasion, I saw an officer looked uncomfortable and walk away from a bad joke that she told about excessive force without her being any the wiser. She really picked the wrong person to share it with.

That was a good sign among many bad ones. He had guts. A lot of them don't. They have courage to face the forces they deal with on the job, but not to examine their own prejudices and deep-seated animosities towards the public they serve and even towards each other. Courage comes in different forms. Others say they can't, b/c they want their pensions.

the racist jokes thing still has not been addressed here. And after listening to White officers recently testify under oath that there were racist jokes told routinely in the RPD much to the horror of the city's attorneys, it's a subject that should be addressed. Why, is this your humor of choice?

Some of us, after all, prefer funny movies...daily comics, etc.

After all, if you lived on a regular diet of racist, sexist, homophobic humor, it's hard to give it up, because the state does the city's job of implementing its zero-tolerance policy, and tells you to stop.

but much more improvement is still needed.

There was the sergeant who may look uncomfortable when some of his officers make sexist comments to civilians in the field(his discomfort is a good start) but does nothing to stop it. Or the field training officer who teaches harassment as an appropriate action against people officers don't like, by example to the officers entrusted to his experience and judgement.

But then there's the sergeant who chewed out an officer for his behavior towards a person of color in public. That's rare though. That's guts, in action.

If you go against the grain in any way, then you are "disgruntled", "misguided" or a "washout", among other things. This department has punished its whistleblowers, even trying to prevent one of them from getting a job elsewhere several years ago. Talk about not being able to let something go!

The situation is not helped by leadership which promotes officers through administration, who are not familiar with the communities the department serves. This department's next chief could be someone no one really knows at all, given the trend in promotions to management lately that are people pretty insulated from the public and the "troops".

(though after the end of year slew of retirements, there will be a clearer picture.)

We're all people here, good, bad, difficult and ugly, which is part of the challenging of reforming police departments. As people, we have gifts and abilities which make our species unique. But we have baggage to that which comes part and parcel with the good we have. Intelligence and reasoning abilities are coins with two sides.

Racism, sexism, homopobia, classism, antisemitism are unique to our species. You can have people who rise to the occasion and fight these things. Others, who benefit from them and really don't want to address them at all, label them "pet causes".

Or people so deep in denial about racism, they call anyone who challenges them a racist.

Or people who adopt another person's name instead of using their own. If there are officers in this department who don't care that one of their own could be falsely accused of making the comments that they made(and attributed to them, by name choice), then how are we supposed to believe that they care about whether the person they have in custody is guilty or innocent?

Yeah, there's been some slapstick here, because they're scared, angry at the public, at each other, at management, at their union leadership and bewildered at facing a reality where they can not engage in the behavior they were allowed to in the past. There have been quite a few defense mechanisms shown here, which goes back to the Gandhi quote I referred to earlier.

Sandalou:

I really like the metaphor of Oz, very apt!! If you got L. Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll together to collaborate on a book, you'd have River City. Oh, with maybe a few consultations from Chaucer, Harold Robbins and Steven King.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

That's the message that the department is trying to send out now, as we enter into the final months of the stipulated aggreement with the state. Pay no attention. Don't look. Silence.

But actions like that have a tendacy to attract attention, to that man behind the curtain. When Oz told Dorothy etal with fire and brimstone not to look behind the rustling curtain, did they listen? Or did they look? And when they looked, what did they find?

But judging from the posts here, all is not well in the RPD. If things were going as great as the management and the union president(who's kind of management now if some posts here are to be believed) tried to portray in tandem, there would not be officers fighting with each other about an election which will ultimately decide who represents them, on a blog the department is "monitoring".

That's got to be a first.

I read the most fascinating essay on Baum and his book, as political allegory. Very little of that made it into the film of course.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary, I'm glad you've learned to protect yourself. Don't bother calling us for help. If by chance you happen to, we'll remind you that you don't need our help.

& Sandalou, you don't have to worry about any cop finding you attractive. So keep your sorry fantasies to yourself.

Friday, November 04, 2005 8:46:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

Dear Closet Cop:

That's fine. I don't expect nor will I seek assistance from public servants with a laundry list of strings attached and who have made it clear they despise me for daring to criticize an agency's practices. One that's been investigated by federal, state and county agencies and been found terribly wanting.

It's just too high of a price to pay even for my life, unfortunately. To worry about having to protect my life, plus worrying about whether the cop coming out is someone who despises me.

I grew up with friends whose parents were good, honest cops. Never once, did they ever say, we'll protect and serve those....but you have to do this, do this, don't do this, do this, etc. That's a pretty new development in the profession.

have a nice day,

p.s. by the way, with some of the cops following me while I walk like they do, or parking and watching me eat lunch for 10-15 minutes since you began posting on this blog, I guess I don't have to worry about being mugged, do I?

Thursday, December 01, 2005 10:38:00 AM  

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