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, June 28, 2005

Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer and other policy nonsense

While perusing the case file online in the case, The People of the State of California v the City of Riverside, I came upon a copy of Policy 2.23, which addresses the Rules of Conduct. Reading through the list of behaviors that police officers employed by the city of Riverside are NOT allowed to do, I had myself a good chuckle.

Not that I really think that this issue is funny, but that I realize that just because it is not funny, does not mean it is not treated like a joke.

Policy 2.23 states that commission of the following behaviors can result in suspension, demotion or (gasp, but it'll never happen in this life time) termination:

1) The commission of a felony or misdemeanor under any local, state or federal law

Let's see, where to start, because the list is growing....

Victor Williams, 1995, charged with three misdemeanors in connection with a domestic violence incident involving his then-wife, discipline, unknown, but he has been promoted twice since. Assigned to Internal Affairs...and no this is NOT a joke.

Aaron Leigh Perkins charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a "road rage, turned street-justice" incident involving a motorist in 2003. Plead guilty to two, and was slapped with probation and anger management courses. Discipline, unknown. Assigned to grave yard shift as a patrol officer

Melissa Leigh Wagner-Brazil charged with DUI and Hit and Run(misdemeanors)stemming from an injury accident she caused while her blood alcohol exceeded 0.20. Plead guilty to one misdemeanor, received probation and drunk driving counseling. Discipline, unknown. The only employee threatened with termination was the one who leaked information about her arrest to local media. He was ultimately transferred OUT of the police department.

2. Reporting on Duty with intoxicating liquor on breath or drinking any type of intoxicating liquor while on duty

I assume this is different than cops who drink liquor while on the job(i.e. Vice unit) Unknown, as it is assumed that Brazil, etal who drink after completion of their shifts commence their binge drinking on their own time and this assumption was backed up by a source, at least in regards to Brazil and other graveyard officers she drank with off-duty up to the point she entered rehab in December 2004.

3. Consuming any alcoholic beverage on or adjacent to the police department property

See above

4. Reporting for duty or being on duty following the use of a "controlled substance" or any drug(whether legally prescribed or otherwise) where such use may impair the employee's ability to perform assigned duties

Barring former officer and Miller killer Wayne Stewart's consumption of some form of ephidrine, whether cold medication or otherwise, according to his urine test, it is not known how many if any officers show up under the influence of a controlled substance during a work shift. There have been unofficial reports of officers not looking right, having blood-shot eyes, dilated pupils, agitaged by witnesses in their presense, during the graveyard shifts of 2003. Efforts to substantiate these reports were fruitless. Drug testing is performed once every six months and is not random. Only one officer has flunked a "random" drug test in three years and was sent to rehab.

5. Refusal, failure or delay in performing and/or carrying out proper orders, work assignments, or instructions of supervisors without reasonable and bonafide excuse.

Unknown, at the present time. However, several officers including Bill Rhetts(ret.) did say they reduced their work output and duties performed during 1999, in protest of the firing of four officers who shot and killed Tyisha Miller. Michael Watts(ret.) did write in a Press Enterprise Op-Ed that officers had told them they were reluctant to perform traffic stops on minority motorists or perform some of their duties because of the existance of the CPRC. Statistics of the traffic stops done during the past two years do not support this assertion.

6. Disobedience or insubordination to constituted authorities, in the course of conducting lawful department business

Not much information regarding this provision.

7. Criminal, dishonest, infamous, or notoriously disgraceful conduct unbecoming an officer/employee, which might be detrimental to the serviceon or off duty

Criminal, see above. Dishonest? How about an officer who tells a joke about the death of members of a non-white ethnic group overseas to peace activists, but then tells other people that during that interaction, he behaved politely and professionally?

Monday, June 27, 2005

CPRC, inc.

Ground Zero, was the memorandum produced on the Volne Stokes shooting that occurred on May 23, 2003 and has yet to reach its conclusion, thanks to lack of cooperation by various factions of the Riverside Police Department.

First Tina Banfill Gould, who shot and killed Stokes, failed to fulfill her duty as a police officer by providing an account to the Officer-Involved Shooting Team without exercising her Fifth Amendment rights.

The Officer Involved Shooting Team investigators failed to perform their duty as investigators when they failed to receive a voluntary statement from all the witnesses or participants in the Stokes shooting, most notably Banfill Gould.

The Internal Affairs Division failed to perform its duties as an investigative division when it violated departmental policy 4.8 by:

Failing to do an independent investigation of the Stokes Shooting.

Failing to wait to get a statement from a witness(Banfill Gould) until after the Officer Involved Shooting Team had received its statement.

Last week, the CPRC tossed in its two cents in terms of committing obstruction of its own regarding a public report, when during discussion of an item placed on the agenda by Commissioner James Ward, it came to light that Chair Michael Gardner and Interim Executive Director Pedro Payne had met with Chief Russ Leach and presented him with a (not so) final draft of the Stokes memo.

Actually, it was a copy of the memo that both Ward and Commissioner Brian Pearcy had drafted, which included fairly strong language criticizing the department's actions from Banfill Gould, to both investigative divisions.

Then it fell in the hands of Gardner and Payne who stripped it of both words, and meaning, returning a watered-down version to the commission. At some point, as of yet undetermined, Payne and Gardner had conducted a "special" meeting with Leach to "give him a head's up" that the department was about to be criticized. Leach told the two men that the document had better be absolutely accurate. One can imagine what the expressions on the faces of both men would have been, upon hearing those words. Leach thumbed through a document both men were surprised he would even want to read, and found an error which had actually been raised and ignored in discussions at earlier meetings. Ignored perhaps because it was a member of the public who raised it, and not a commissioner.

If this chain of curious events sounds confusing, well, the truth of what really happened is still quite fuzzy. The stories vary, depending on who tells them.

Whether Leach perused the "weaker" version or whether the "weaker" version authored by Payne and Gardner had arisen from Leach's criticism is still unclear as well, though given the timing of that special meeting, the latter scenerio is likely. At any rate, during its last contentious meeting, the CPRC restored some of the stronger text into the memo, even though several commissioners strongly dissented with the stronger text saying that they had "beat up the department enough".

Ward raised two objections at the meeting on June 22. He objected to Gardner meeting with the chief without getting a consensus or majority vote from the commission. He also had an issue with Gardner and Payne making substantive changes to the memo without the consensus of the CPRC. His concerns were valid, but pooh-poohed by most of the other commissioners present, including Pearcy, who said that he commended Gardner for taking both actions. Commissioner Les Davidson who's been a no-show since he castigated me for being too critical of the Riverside Police Department did not offer his two-cents in person. Not too curious, considering his history as an LAPD officer, and his political connections with two city councilmen who oppose civilian oversight: Frank Schiavone and Art Gage. Davidson is not alone in having political connections to City Hall. Gardner enjoys several, as well.

Gardner: ran for a council seat and announced publically that after filing in August 2003, he solicited an endorsement and funding from the RPOA, even while currently serving as a commissioner. The RPOA had its own reasons for stringing Gardner along for awhile, and just because Gardner was seen slapping the back of an RPOA board member at a city council meeting in August 2003, doesn't an endorsement make. That contact would not have been so noteworthy had Gardner and the CPRC not voted to clear that same officer of a discourtesy allegation less than two weeks earlier. I was so surprised at the sight, I left my keys at the security machine, instead of retrieving them. I have learned much since.

Why would any commissioner run for office and seek an endorsement from an organized union trying to dismantle the CPRC?

Davidson: has political ties to Frank Schiavone(CPRC hater) through serving on his campaign fundraising committee(see invitation for Schiavone fundraiser, Oct. 27, 2004) and even after Gage(another CPRC hater)proposed cutting the funding of the commission by up to 95 % last year, Davidson dropped $200 into his campaign coffer on Sept. 15, 2004, only three months later.

Why would any commissioner donate money to a council member who made it no secret how much he despises the CPRC?

Only Bob Garcia agreed with Ward's concerns, the racial divide on the commission emerging once again, under stress. The issue, despite its seriousness and its ethical implications(made timely with the creation and soon-to-be adoption of an ethics code)did not get the public hearing it deserved.

Other questions awaiting answers:

What role did the legal settlement between the city and the RPOA have in the issuance and content of the CPRC's memo on the Stokes shooting and investigation?

What role did several political fundraisers held by certain political candidates which preceded the shifting of the tides in the creation of the Stokes' memo, have on several commissioners with known political ties to those candidates?

Hopefully the answers to these questions will be, none at all if they are ever answered at all.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Intersting link on Tyisha Miller and the RPD

This article appeared online at a Web site and analyzed the killing of Tyisha Miller and the investigation conducted by various Law Enforcement agencies after the fact, especially attempts to paint her as the villainess of the tragedy.


Murder of Tyisha Miller


And its not the fun kind of chills up your spine, monsters in the dark Horror either. I'm talking about Horror among posturing, posing, preening, liberal community, "Racists don't kill people, guns do" type of Horror in California. There are no doubt more movies to come out of California (made by white folks) - as well as finger pointing to the Southern states of the U.S. - regarding racism against dark skinned people.


I'm referring to the recent decision of the state of California to drop all murder charges against 4 white policemen, who saw a woman asleep in her car with a gun on her lap, woke her up, and the second she was awake, opened fire. 4 cops. 4 guns. 4 shots would have been enough for even the most frightened idiot. All 4 of them kept firing until their guns were empty. They fired 24 freaking bullets at 19 year old Tyisha Miller. They murdered her with 12 of those bullets. She was not a criminal, she was not under arrest. Her car broke down and she locked the doors while her friend went to get help. Alone at night, she put her hand gun on her lap in case she was attacked. Well...she was.

Flashlight Follies

This week, I read an article online about how Garden Grove Police Department officers searched a house, turning its contents upside down to retrieve what they considered to be stolen property. And what was the item that was missing? A flashlight valued at $100 that belonged to one of their officers.

Apparently, during the protest between the activists and vigilantes, the flashlight had fallen out of the officer's pocket and officers believed that it had been stolen by a women named Theresa Dang. So, they searched her house, finding nothing.

Only two days before officers showed up at her family's house, Dang and other activists had spoken at a city council meeting, criticizing the department's tactics at the demonstration and an appalling double standard where one of the Minutemen present was allowed to hit four demonstrators with his vehicle without facing charges, yet the activists protesting the minutemen could not even breathe without facing arrest.

All this for a flashlight?

The tale of the missing flash light has a lot of people in even one of the state's most repressed counties in stitches, and yet another O.C. agency has become the laughing stock of the state.

One doesn't want to make minor or belittle the relationship an officer has with this important piece of equipment he or she carries on their belts. While it certainly can not compete with the bond between an officer and their firearm, it still is an important issue.

As the following case shows....

After the LAPD beating of Stanley Miller with a flashlight as the weapon of choice, there was much discussion about whether or not flashlights should be used by officers as weapons to strike at 'suspects' as if they were batons, and not equipment used to illuminate the dark.

In the Press Enterprise, recently, there was an article about flashlights as weapons. It was interesting timing as I had recently witnessed a plain-clothed officer use his flashlight as a weapon against a 'suspect'. I witnessed the incident from inside a bus, stuck in traffic on University Avenue around 6:30 p.m. one evening last month. There was a tall, lanky Black man walking quickly down the street and a short, white plain-clothed officer, who looked a lot like Gang sergeant, Frank Assuma, with long brown hair in a ponytail and wearing glasses. He had jeans, shirt and a vest which said 'POLICE' on the back. He was jogging, then stopping, his radio to his mouth the entire time, but he wasn't in a hurry. Nor was the guy he was pursuing, who was walking fast, occasionally looking over his shoulder. Initially, 100 yards separated the duo. Then the cop caught up to the 'suspect' b/c that guy slowed down and stopped. As he turned, with his hands out in a ---don't shoot me my hands aren't holding anything---posture, the officer pulled his flashlight out and struck him once, hard on the back of his thighs, just beneath his butt. The guy went down on his stomach, the officer jumped on top of him and cuffed him w/o resistance.

From the article: Use-of-force policies for Banning, Beaumont, San Bernardino and Riverside police and Riverside County sheriff's department all state that officers will not use more force than is reasonably necessary to gain control or resist attack.

The man was surrendering, not resisting and certainly not attacking the officer, it was simply more expedient to hit him into submission than do the arrest with the guy standing up. Black men, being the dangerous people that they are, especially tall ones can't be talked to, but physical force must be used against them, is the mantra for most officers. They are never allowed to stand up like white men can. They are lying on the ground, on their stomachs, or they are sitting on the curb, their heads below those of the officers detaining them. Or they are in the back seat of the police car, even for a broken tail light. Always in handcuffs. And the officers never turn their backs on them, ever, like they do with white motorists. The officers' shoulders are never relaxed, they never smile, they never lean casually against their motorcycles or cars unless the motorist is white.

Did you think a state-mandated consent decree was going to change the minds of all these officers about the 'black menace'? Ten million spent on reforms, and where has it gone? Has anything changed, since 1999? Oh, you'll have the white liberals who sit at the negotiating tables with police management claim that it's a much better, much different, much more humane department but face it, the only time they see a police officer drive his squad car in their neighborhood is if there is reports of a person lurking there, who looks like they live in mine. And if they get pulled over by a traffic cop, the cop isn't mentally calculating how many seconds it will take to have his gun out and ready.

Although in Late january 2004, the 'black menace' was a flashlight used by an officer to crack across the face of a Black man, who had the misfortune of trying to steal hubcaps from an undercover police car, in the intersection of Fifth and Market, downtown, according to a man who said he witnessed the incident. He also said that three other apartment residents, witnessed two officers, white, dark-haired, one standing a foot taller than the other pull this man, put him in a chokehold so that his feet were off the ground, and then one of them grabbing his hands while the other whacked him across the temple with a flashlight half a dozen times, yelling 'you messed with my car. you messed with my car." The guy was arrested unconscious, his bicycle left at the edge of the apartment complex for several weeks. Never made the newspapers, but then the witnesses were too frightened to go public. When cops get mad at the actions of adults, they often harassed their children, said more than one local resident.

Probably a graduate from the Aaron Perkins Street Justice training program. You know, the guy who's been busted for a violent offduty crime and still has a job, and the department's blessing.

Inland police focus on reasonable force
FLASHLIGHTS: Agencies say they don't plan to switch to rubberized, smaller ones like LAPD.
02:15 AM PDT on Saturday, August 7, 2004

By TAMMY McCOY / The Press-Enterprise
A police officer searches a dark alley and shines a bright light looking for a burglary suspect. The flashlight serves the purpose of allowing the officer to illuminate the darkness and see if any danger exists.
For some police departments in the Inland area, the luminary device can also serve as a backup weapon.
The Los Angeles Police Department recently announced it will start using smaller, rubberized models after receiving criticism and public outrage of a scene caught on videotape of a LAPD officer striking a burglary suspect several times to the body and head.
Although LAPD decided to change the types of flashlights they issue officers, several Inland area departments are not switching and some officials say their policies focus more on an officer's actions rather than the devices they use.
"We have shootings and we don't ban the use of weapons," Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle said. "But, we are not making any moves to remove any of their equipment. That does not demean what they (LAPD) are doing."
Use-of-force policies
The Riverside Police Department does list the flashlight as a secondary impact or improvised weapon in its use-of-force policy.
Riverside police Sgt. Larry Gonzalez, with the department's training division, said a flashlight is considered a secondary weapon, to be used when a baton is not available or readily accessible.
When officers use flashlights as weapons, he said, they must explain their actions in a written report.
"Because it is designed to illuminate," Gonzalez said, "it's an improvised weapon."
Other Inland agencies consider flashlights a weapon of last resort, officials said.
Riverside County Sheriff's Department use-of-force policy does not list flashlights or many other items as weapons. The department policy does focus on the weapons being used defensively and only "when necessary and justified," according to its use-of-force policy.
The Redlands police department's use-of-force policy focuses on the reasonableness of an officer's application of force, regardless of what weapon is used, said Capt. Tom Fitzmaurice.
In use-of-force instances, he said, the officer has to articulate why the level of force used was appropriate.
"It could be a fist, a foot, a flashlight, a Taser or a gun," Fitzmaurice said. "The officer is trained to use the minimum amount of force necessary to overcome the resistance."
Use-of-force policies for Banning, Beaumont, San Bernardino and Riverside police and Riverside County sheriff's department all state that officers will not use more force than is reasonably necessary to gain control or resist attack.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department allows flashlights to be used as weapons, said Chip Patterson, public information officer.
He said there are no plans to change departmental policy with regard to flashlight abuse or composition.
"It's not an issue for our department," Patterson said.
The Riverside police department has had some experience with flashlights used as a weapon.
An arbitrator ruled in 1996 that a Riverside police officer was wrongly suspended for hitting a man in the head three times with a flashlight.
The officer struck the suspect, believing he had a gun in his waistband, during a struggle that followed a vehicle pursuit and foot chase, according to transcripts of the arbitration ruling. The arbitrator ruled the officer's fear that the suspect had a gun in his waistband was real. Riverside's current policy states that the flashlight can be used as a secondary weapon but they also need to explain the situation in a written report.
Gonzalez, with Riverside police, said they recently conducted a routine training focused on the appropriate way to use the flashlight without causing serious injury to a person. Officers will avoid striking a person in the head, neck, throat, spine and groin areas to prevent serious injury, according to the policy.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department does not teach its personnel to use flashlights.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Earl Quinata said that instructors at the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, which trains sheriff's recruits, do not use flashlights in their weapons training curriculum.
"We don't train with it," Quinata said. "It's an luminary device."

(However, a 'luminary device' such as a flashlight or a lamp in the hand of a suspect can be deemed enough of a threat by a RSD sheriff deputy to shoot that person dead as happened inside a convent in Redlands in 1999)

Type of lights
The most commonly used flashlights are the rechargeable models or ones that use four to six size D batteries.
A Maglite flashlight using four D batteries weighs 38.8 ounces (two pounds and 6.8 ounces) with batteries and is about 15 inches long. A Maglite using six batteries weighs 50 ounces (three pounds and two ounces) and is 19 inches long, according to the Maglite Web site.
Some Inland law enforcement agencies issue specific types of flashlights to officers while other departments allow officers to chose for themselves.
Riverside County does not issue flashlights to deputies, sheriff's spokesman Quinata said; deputies select and purchase their own flashlights.
Redlands and San Bernardino police officials said their officers use rechargeable flashlights.
Redlands police are issued a rechargeable commercial-grade heavy metal flashlight that provides enough light and stays charged for an entire shift, Fitzmaurice said.
"It needs to be this large to keep a charge for the whole shift and give off a light that's powerful enough for when you're out in a field searching," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Staff writers Paul DeCarlo, Richard Brooks, Rocky Salmon, Stefanie Frith and Elena Arnold contributed to this report.
Reach Tammy McCoy at (951) 368-9642 or

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What's the bounty for sexual abuse?

The latest chapter in the pitiful saga surrounding former Det. Al Kennedy took a rather unfortunate turn when presiding Judge Stephen Cunnison in Riverside County Superior Court denied petitions filed by both parties. Because of his ruling, the decision made by an arbitrator to reinstate Kennedy without seniority or backpay stands.

This is bad news for the residents of the city of Riverside, because Kennedy had been fired by Chief Russ Leach in 2001 for admitting to sexual misconduct with a rape victim on a case under his investigation. The woman filed a civil rights law suit alleging coerced sexual relations under the color of authority, battery and other violations. The city settled with her shortly after, for $25,000.

So what's the city to do now?

The city council has three choices. It can reinstate Kennedy back on the force, or it can dig back into his professional history and drag out a convenient physical or psychiatric injury to retire him on. The only option, and by far the least likely is that the city council could vote to appeal Cunnison's ruling at the state court of appeals.

Given that Kennedy was a veteran officer with nearly 30 years on the force, the most likely outcome of this travesty will be a retirement. He will probably wind up with half of his highest annual salary without taxes each year for the rest of his life. What is called, a bounty. The bounty for committing sexual misconduct with a woman, is a great one in this city. Sickening as it is, it would be far better than returning this disgrace back into the fold of the police department.

Now, with the decision made, the case heads back into closed session probably in the upcoming weeks where the city council will hear its options and make its decision whether to pay another bounty to yet another White officer who screws up. Then these same council members will hang out at the annual auction held by the Rape Crisis Center as if they did not just pay off a man who if not a rapist, surely falls under the category of creepy sexual predator. Capt. Michael Blakely, who is on the board of the Rape Crisis Center will act as if he weren't the one who only recommended a written reprimend as discipline for Kennedy's actions. The double standard between civilian sexual predators and cop sexual predators will continue undisturbed.

Travails of Al Kennedy

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Is the department's audiorecorder policy toothless?

Last year, the CPRC recommended that the department expand its audio recording policy to include all professional contacts patrol officers and their supervisors had with the public. After some stalling, the department ultimately refused to implement this policy. When members of Chief Leach's Advisory Board expressed a wish to discuss this issue, Leach shut the door on that dialogue when he said it was a policy decision made by him.

His disinterest in expanding this policy echoes that of RPOA president Pat McCarthy who has been quoted in the Press Enterprise as being opposed to any expansion of the policy which dictates when the officers' digital audiorecorders must be turned on.

The audiorecording policy was the brainstorm of State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who included this reform in the stipulated judgement between the department and his office.

The policy stated that officers were to turn on their recorders during every professional contact they initiated with a member of the public, unless doing so posed a threat to their safety or that of others. It was written during the first six months after the stipulated agreement had begun, and the necessary equipment was purchased for the department's field operations division.

Unfortunately, there was nothing written in the stipulated agreement governing the implementation of the required policy, and problems arose almost immediately. Officers refused or forgot to turn on their audio recorders. Even as many community members and members of the CPRC implored them to turn on their recorders for their own protection against false complaints, officers still failed to push the "on" button. Several commissioners went further and said publicially that if more officers followed the policy, then the CPRC would be able to exonerate more officers on complaints. This plea, like all others, was ignored by those who it was supposed to help.

Pleas like this were useless, because the officers adhered to a stubborn police culture which dictated that their business and how they conducted it was not anyone else's business. Another manifestation of the us vs them mentality. The likely source of the boycott against the use of the audiorecorders probably was the field training officer division, which would tell the probational officers to forget what others told them and then the FTOs would explain to their pupils what their job was really like. Field Training Officers are the gateway to, and the translators of police culture.

The first incident that attracted my attention was reported by a Black homeless couple, who were approached by Officers Camillo Bonome and Scott Borngrebe at the downtown bus terminal, for the usual, are you on parole or probation line of questioning that Black people from many different walks of life in Riverside are familiar with experiencing. It ended allegedly in an assault and battery of the woman, by Bonome, or of Bonome, by the woman depending on which version of the events is true. What caught my attention immediately upon reading the police reports submitted by Bonome and Borngrebe and signed off on by Sgt.(and watch commander, it turned out)Dave Reeves. If what the officers wrote about their recorders was lost on Reeves, it was not on most civilians who reviewed the information, including it turned out, the CPRC. The couple had filed a complaint with that commission and it had been assigned to Reeves(surprise, surprise) to investigate even though he had initially tried to discourage the woman who had been arrested on COC charges from filing the complaint against Bonome and Borngrebe.

What really set off a red flag on the incident had to do with the issue of the audiorecorders and their status during the incident.

Bonome and Borngrebe have a few things in common, besides working together for the same agency. Both are experienced, and both have been awarded with the Medal of Valor(law enforcement's highest honor)in different years. You would think that they know what the rules are and how to follow written policy. But did they?

Bonome admits right up that he not only neglected to turn on his recorder, but he left it in the car, not due to a memory lapse on his part, but for his partner to download.

Borngrebe had a similar problem, as he expressed in the following words.

Officer Bonome and I had just finished a call and I was downloading our audio recording devices onto the computer when he observed two subjects sitting on luggage dollies directly underneath a ‘no loitering’ sign at the bus station. Officer Bonome stopped the patrol car and contacted the two subjects while I was finishing the downloading of the recorders. As I finished the downloadings, I looked up and saw Williams kick Ofcr. Bonome in the groin,”

One wonders why the rush to deal with a couple of Black folks who were only loitering. Why not wait until the several seconds spent downloading your recorders into the computer is completed before approaching the subjects. Either they will still be loitering, or they would have picked up and left, therefore not loitering anymore. Still at least Bonome could not wait.

I found out recently that this was one of the first complaints submitted to the CPRC that had actually attracted their attention to the issue of whether or not there was compliance with the written policy governing their usage. More complaints followed, where the same issue was raised. There were partial recordings, or absent recordings, as well as cases where multiple officers failed to turn their recorders on during the same incident. Even in one case, an allegation of an altered recording.

Finally, in August 2003, then city manager George Carvalho said, enough is enough and imposed a zero tolerance on violations of the audiorecording policy. Still, according to several members of the CPRC, violations continue to occur.

For example, according to the CPRC, there has never been one single audiorecording of a fatal officer-involved shooting, even though the shootings of Anastacio Munoz, Robert McComb and Rene Guevara originated from situations where it was required that the officers turn on their audio recorders. The same is true of at least several of the nonfatal shootings involving police officers during the past several years.

In 2003, Officer Bill Crutchfield shot twice at a fleeing Black man who he alleged aimed a gun at him twice. Crutchfield's bullets hit the man twice, once in the back of the thigh and once on the inside of the thigh. Even though the incident began as a "consensual pedestrian check" conducted by himself and Sgt. Guy Toussaint, neither officer ever turned on their audiorecorders during the entire incident. According to the summary of Crutchfield's interview written by Det. Greg Rowe, Crutchfield said he never turned on his recorder and examination of the device showed absolutely no recordings on it for that day.

The incident occurred around 6 AM and it is not known what time Crutchfield's shift began that day because as a member of the department's PACT team he probably works a different schedule so maybe this shooting occurred at the beginning of his work shift. On the other hand, much of what PACT team members do, is initiate contacts with members of the public, most often those who are either on probation or parole. When Toussaint and Crutchfield initiated their contact with the subject, they did not know his identity or whether or not he was actually on parole. They saw a Black man walking towards a Black woman. Toussaint's report stated that the man was "walking at a fast pace and had his right hand clenched in a fist and swinging his arms erratically"

Toussaint, who supervised Crutchfield, also carried a digital audiorecorder, but like his subordinate, he also did not activate it, according to the statement he gave to Det. Rowe. It is not clear whether his recorder was void of any recordings for that shift as well.

It is also not known whether the department excused the failure of both men to activate their recorders as mandated by the policy, or whether they held them accountable. If sergeants are failing to activate their recorders in accordance with written policy, then what are the consequences, because if there are none, then it is no wonder that the patrol officers are also failing to comply with departmental policy.

Audio recorders are neutral portrayers of what goes down during an interaction between police officers and members of the community. They can exonerate an officer's conduct or damn it, depending on the circumstances. They can determine whether or not he is honest, or brand him a liar. No wonder so many officers feel the power that these simple electronic devices hold. No wonder it intimidates them so much.

But accountability through technology only comes through their use. Without that, then there are nothing more than expensive wires, metal and plastic paid for at taxpayers' expense. An investment by us in a system that bares no teeth.

Honey I left it in the car excuse

What's up with the RPD?

Inside the department are murmers of turmoil surrounding an investigation of at least one officer.

After receiving my second phone call about this unknown investigation, I scratched my head, wondering what it was all about.

Who was under investigation?

How many officers were involved?

Who turned them in to Internal Affairs?

Because of too-stringent state laws surrounding the confidentiality of peace officers' personnel records, the public can never know what lurks in the files of those who police their streets, and interface with the community at large. You can never learn whether or not the officers on the beat have had complaints sustained for anything from discourtesy, to false arrest, to excessive force. All this is done not to protect the public, but as a courtesy to those powerful peace officer unions, which along with the correctional officers unions have become the state's most powerful union lobbyists. These confidentiality laws also allow officers to keep their complaint histories private, except from prosecutory agencies, grand juries and Pitchess Motions filed by defense attorneys. Beware of what you don't know, that the cop who pulled you over on a traffic violation might have a sustained complaint for harassing women.

Then there are those behaviors that even when the officer is caught engaging in them, the complaints are never sustained. Lying, whether on a police report, in court(known as "testi-lying")is rarely sustained on, but some of those reports, it's not possible to read without rolling your eyes. My personal favorite is the officer with three hands, four legs and an identical clone.

(Ironically, only a month ago, I encountered an officer who joked that he didn't have enough hands to carry things)

Or the six reports filed by officers on the same incident which are virtually identical, meaning they were either written by robots, or in congress.

Still, how does one find out if the police officer who they interface with on the street has a history of trouble?

Some of them are easy. They ooze trouble. They wear it right next to that other badge on their shirt. Inevitably, if you were to have access to their personnel files, they would either be riddled with complaints, or if they were the darling of the supervisory unit, they would be bereft of complaints, particularly during that period of the department's history when it majored in circular filing of citizen complaints.

Other times, the task is much, much more difficult. Sometimes luck plays a part in your discovery.

Take for example, Det. Joseph Miera, a gang enforcement officer, who recently was the subject of an internal investigation conducted by the Internal Affairs Division. The only clue that this investigation actually took place is the declaration given by a Riverside County public defender who was submitting a Pitchess motion. What is not known, is why Miera was being investigated, and who inside the department became suspicious enough about how he was doing his job to report him to a supervisor and the Internal Affairs Division.

If it is true, according to the Pitchess motion, that the Internal Affairs lieutenant contacted at least one inmate at county jail about Miera, rather than have one of the unit's four sergeants handle it, then this raises questions as to how serious this investigation is.

Ironically, at the same time Miera was being investigated, his supervisor, Sgt. Frank Assuma attended a meeting of a subcommittee at the Casa Blanca Community Action Group and spent time attesting to the honesty and integrity of the department's gang unit, amidst criticism of that unit and its detectives, especially Terry Redfern. Redfern, who was the subject of at least one complaint, had allegedly approached witnesses at a criminal trial who were testifying for the defense and intimidated them. That complaint filed by two women went before the CPRC, but judging from the looks on some of the commissioners' faces when the two women spoke before the body last December, it's fairly obvious that they had already decided to exonerate Redfern. People are reluctant even to criticize members of the Special Investigations Units, because of the difficulties of their jobs, yet these are the divisions where the importance of ethics and integrity come into play the most. In no other assignment, are officers facing so many temptations to stray onto the path of corruption and other forms of misconduct. If scandal erupts in a police department, the epicenter is usually either the gang or narc unit. On a really bad day, both. It is far better to nip problems in the bud early on.

Miera's fate is unknown, as are any of the details of the investigation launched against him by Internal Affairs, let alone his guilt or innocence when it comes to any allegations of misconduct. The Pitchess motion filed by the public defender was granted by the judge who then imposed a gag order on the attorney, prohibiting him from releasing any information. Once again, the shroud of secrecy falls around another officer and because of this secrecy, even if Miera is innocent of any wrong doing, one can never look at him the same way ever again. Far too often, when officers are guilty of misconduct, the department turns a blind eye to them or downplays the problem. The public, of course, is none the wiser.

Still, this doesn't answer the questions which arise when the rumour mill buzzes with noise regarding trouble in the beleagured RPD. Or maybe it does.

Text of 832.7 from FindLaw:

832.7. (a) Peace officer or custodial officer personnel records and
records maintained by any state or local agency pursuant to Section
832.5, or information obtained from these records, are confidential
and shall not be disclosed in any criminal or civil proceeding except
by discovery pursuant to Sections 1043 and 1046 of the Evidence
Code. This section shall not apply to investigations or proceedings
concerning the conduct of peace officers or custodial officers, or an
agency or department that employs those officers, conducted by a
grand jury, a district attorney's office, or the Attorney General's
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency shall
release to the complaining party a copy of his or her own statements
at the time the complaint is filed.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency that
employs peace or custodial officers may disseminate data regarding
the number, type, or disposition of complaints (sustained, not
sustained, exonerated, or unfounded) made against its officers if
that information is in a form which does not identify the individuals
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency that
employs peace or custodial officers may release factual information
concerning a disciplinary investigation if the officer who is the
subject of the disciplinary investigation, or the officer's agent or
representative, publicly makes a statement he or she knows to be
false concerning the investigation or the imposition of disciplinary
action. Information may not be disclosed by the peace or custodial
officer's employer unless the false statement was published by an
established medium of communication, such as television, radio, or a
newspaper. Disclosure of factual information by the employing agency
pursuant to this subdivision is limited to facts contained in the
officer's personnel file concerning the disciplinary investigation or
imposition of disciplinary action that specifically refute the false
statements made public by the peace or custodial officer or his or
her agent or representative.
(e) (1) The department or agency shall provide written
notification to the complaining party of the disposition of the
complaint within 30 days of the disposition.
(2) The notification described in this subdivision shall not be
conclusive or binding or admissible as evidence in any separate or
subsequent action or proceeding brought before an arbitrator, court,
or judge of this state or the United States.
(f) Nothing in this section shall affect the discovery or
disclosure of information contained in a peace or custodial officer's
personnel file pursuant to Section 1043 of the Evidence Code.

832.7 and other codes

previous entry on Miera

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

You've Got Mail......

Fan mail:

(source: Los Angeles Indymedia}

stupid f***ing hippies!
what a fucking moron. Im a skinhead and i have friends in the p.d. here in riverside. most police support us, and do not wish for us to be locked up. To say so is just ignorant. You damn liberals with your assumptions that all skinheads are illiterate white trash, you people are whats destroying this once great nation. And just to beat you to the punch, I am college educated, and in business. Now thats what I call "white power"!!

Woah, I can tell Joe, by the way your grammar and spelling prowness, lol. Not exactly news though, is it?

Stop it now
Please stop all your separatism. Stop your racism, stop your numbers game.
Why don't you become 'color blind,' isn't that what you expect of others. Several of the black officers that were hired because of affirmative action, ended up in jail...woops.

----color blind cop

Actually, it wasn't racial affirmative action that got Philip Graham in the RPD, it was his athletic prowness on the football team that did the trick. He had been a star running back at a Colorado university and the RPD wanted him to play on their intramural team.

Thats interesting. Tyhishit's blood was full of dope and alcohol. She also had 3 guns in her car. 1 was stolen. Do a freedom of info act release on the proerty sheets. Check the former PE NP articles.


Who must have been at roll call the day, Sgt. Al Brown(ret.) referred to Miller in that way.

The Black Voice shouldn't get the information. It would be too difficult to understand the ebonics version of the truth. Besides, they can't spell.
I’m excited for all the officers, and know that they will get awarded "big big bucks" for their (now official) wrongful termination.
Thanks to the leftnecks and colored people that hate whites and the police... the officers will be rich.
Thyisha was a dangerous heavily armed (several guns,) drug infested, drunk driving felon in progress.
Her girly friends will miss her though. But someday, they will be reunited with Ty-eat-shit Miller

--More JOE --

who again, must have been at roll call when former Sgt. Brown referred to Miller that way....

Thanks for helping the RPD 5
Now all four of the RPD officers including the Sgt, will all be very wealthy due to wrongful termination law suits.
My friends LAPD Sgt Stacey Koon, and Ofcr Lawrence Powell are millionaires due to what the liberals did to them.
The liberals keep hitting them, but in the long term they are causing these terminated cops to win big time. I love the liberals.

Rev. Billy Rhetts,

formerly known as Bill Rhetts the cop

False Propoganda
As the Chairman of the Grand Jury investigation of Sgt. Preece and the others involved in the shooting of Tyisha Miller, I found it to be a terrible tragedy of circumstances, but the officers acted appropriately, within their limited level of training. Sergeant Preece was only on the scene for 20 seconds, in the middle of the implimentatioon of the officer's poorly devised plan to disarm the woman.
When the Sergeant arrived, he saw another SWAT trained Corporal on scene and believed that HE would have stopped any poorly planned tactical maneuver, before it was put into place. He didn't and he was not punished by the police chief.
The termination of the officers, and the sergeant, were so egregious, that I had asked the district attorney's office to instruct the Grand Jury on how to prepare a "Writ of Accusation" against the chief for "Misfeasance and Nonfeasance of Office." Don't judge people until ALL of the facts have been released! Believe only a third of what the "Free Press" reports!

Bill Burnett

the objective, fact-finding grand jury chairman who after his stint ended, co-wrote a book about the Tyisha Miller shooting with none other than....Gregory Preece.

Did Preece sell out a fellow cop?

After reading depositions given by three of the officers involved in the killing of Tyisha Miller, in relation to a federal law suit, I saw the following chain of events coming, so when I found this excerpt on Bill Barnett, taken from the site of the publishing company that printed Sgt. Preece's memoirs:

Preece's memoirs

Bill Burnett, who chaired the Riverside County Civil Grand Jury when it investigated the RPD, made the following comments online about Sgt. Gregory Preece(ret.) and the actions he took upon arriving onscene right before Tyisha Miller's death, at the hands of four officers.:

"When the Sergeant arrived, he saw another SWAT trained Corporal on scene and believed that HE would have stopped any poorly planned tactical maneuver, before it was put into place. He didn't and he was not punished by the police chief."

Bill Burnett(Chair and co-author with Gregory Preece, "Justice for None"

Preece's latest fall guy for his own misconduct at the scene of the Miller shooting, is Corporal Ray Soto, a 20-year veteran currently assigned to the Canine unit.

So, we have a sergeant who is the assigned supervisor for all these cops, showing up at a scene where something is going down, and he yields his command to a corporal?! No offense to Soto who did have 18 years on the force at that point including SWAT experience and training, but he is not the one in charge. The sergeant is in charge! RPD policy states that the sergeant is in charge, not the officer with the most years of experience! Not the canine officer, whether or not he has been trained in SWAT tactics! Soto arrived not too soon before Preece did, and probably did not have time to take control of the situation.

Blame Soto for his own actions including his decision to entertain the troops at the GIB with "banned in the U.S.A." shooting videos from his own personal collection only if what the officers said in their depositions were true about the tapes in question being his personal property.

After all, what better way for officers to bond after a shooting than to sit together and watch police officers shoot people, usually people of color, on the tube. If you couldn't cheer or hi-five at the scene of an actual shooting, why not do so viscerally at a video-taped one? It was a way for the Tyisha Miller killers to feel like part of the club. Any doubts they had that what they had done was murder, would be washed away clean by the baptism of officers sitting together and watching shooting videos. Others would reminisce about their own shootings, if they were lucky enough to belong to that esteemed club.

But Soto was not the designated supervisor onscene that night. He was a good soldier. He did not mention anything about the behavior of Preece and the other officers after the shooting, for whatever reason. He praised Preece greatly, in the index of Preece's memoirs. I wonder if after realizing that Preece built him up as the fall guy, Soto felt like taking that all back.

Preece was the sergeant onscene, and he failed to supervise properly. In fact, he led the officers in racist behavior after the shooting. And when he covered up the beating and near drowning of Jose Martinez , was Soto standing around for him to blame for that? Of course not. Blame the supervisors who wrote their misgivings about Preece's ability to supervise on his annual evaluations but still dispatched him out in the field as...a supervisor.

Sorry Bill, but Chief Carroll fired Preece because of violation of several RPD policies including the failure to adequately supervise the other four officers. Soto played no role in that process because he was not the onscene supervisor, nor is there any evidence presented by anyone that he participated in making racist comments during or after the shooting, ergo the lack of disciplinary action taken against him.

The Sutton files: the RPD post-911

The RPD since 9-11

With all the scapegoating and hatred vented towards Muslims and Arab-Americans after the 9-11 attacks, one would hope that the LE forces would not add to the hysteria around them. That hope was squandered on a select group of RPD officers, who couldn't put their racism aside while offering their 2-cents on the issues:

Let's start with Officer Deborah Foy probably one of the most emotionally questionable officers out on the streets today, based on the behavior she exhibited when she had a meltdown at a public event held on June 30, 1999. Foy rose into prominance that infamous day, when she tailed and attacked a man who was circulating fliers critical of the police department. She just grabbed them right out of his hand, and when he protested, poked her finger in his chest and said "I will do what I wish." A chief from another agency had to intervene, and when he saw Foy and six other officers including Jon Start standing around the man, he whipped out his cell phone to call former Chief Jerry Carroll to tell him, an officer had lost control. Carroll sent then-Lt. Jim Cannon out to handle it.

A complaint was filed, which was investigated by then-Det. Skip Showwalter and then- Sgt. Meredith Meredyth.

After an arduous I.A. investigation, one allegation was sustained, the other not sustained and she received no discipline, according to her words in a Dec. 27, 1999 Press Enterprise article. Interestingly enough, when I went to the station for my interview on the IA investigation in connection with Foy, I encountered a woman who was there to file a complaint against Foy, for stalking her, she said. She was sued as well, by the man who filed the complaint and when his lawyer, Mark Blankenship, talked to Chief Leach, and he said that Leach admitted to him that he thought Foy was a "horrible officer."

Not horrible enough to be kicked off the force, or persuaded to take an early retirement from the job.

Still, Foy was Public Safety officer of the month of May in 1999. By that time, she had at least five personnel complaints filed against her, according to individuals who came forward after her exploits at Wednesday Night hit the pages of the Press Enterprise. So someone's pulling for her despite her vices.

Foy apparently doesn't like Muslims or Arabs/Arab-Americans very much.

Here are her alleged words, according to a deposition given by Roger Sutton as part of his law suit, Roger Sutton v the City of Riverside scheduled to begin trial at a courtroom near you.

"What are you going to do if a towel head sits next to you" --Officer Debora Foy to her daughter as related to officer Derwin Hudson. (source: Sutton vs the City of Riverside(RIC346348) deposition of Roger Sutton, 11/1/02)vol: 2, pages 252-56)

"Those people need to just go back home"--Officer Debora Foy"
"This is their home"----Roger Sutton
"No it's not. They need to go back to their own fucking country." --Foy(source: Sutton vs the City of Riverside(RIC346348) deposition of Roger Sutton, 11/1/02)vol: 2, pages 252-56)

The irony of Foy's comments is that they were made in the breakroom, which is adjacent to the roll call room, recently wired for video feed to the Chief's office and I.A. Why is it wired? Because Atty General Bill Lockyer ordered the department to do so b/c of the proliferation of racial and sexual comments in the roll calls, not just by rank and file officers but especially by the sergeants who, you know, are supposed to serve as role models for the officers.

Another officer with strong biases against Arab-Americans and/or Muslims according to Sutton's deposition,is Offr. David Martin, an 11 year veteran from the Long Beach Police Department(the bastion of tolerance for people of color---NOT!) who had also served in the military overseas as a reserve.

"20 million Muslims aren't worth one American." --Officer David Martin to Officer Richard Aceves(source: Sutton vs the City of Riverside(RIC346348) deposition of Roger Sutton, 11/1/02)vol: 2, pages 252-56)

in other words, Muslims=NHI...Paging Offr. David Hackman, from Orange County....

"We need to drop a bomb and blow up all the Muslims"--Martin to Richard Aceves(source: (source: Sutton vs the City of Riverside(RIC346348) deposition of Roger Sutton, 11/1/02)vol: 2, pages 252-56)

Why is it when cops threaten people, it's a joke? Anyone else does it, it's a violation of PC 422?

Why is it during a time period when Riverside Muslim Centers were threatened with violence, is an officer allowed to run around advocating violence against Muslims?

And Hudson, Aceves, Yo! Why aren't you reporting these racist remarks? Why the silence? Did you join a law enforcement agency just to become one of the boys? Tittering quietly at the racist and sexist jokes, knowing the price the department and the community paid for the same behavior after the killing of Tyisha Miller?

Another enlightning comment on people of color came courtesy of Officer Chris Lanzillo, as he drove his squad car down University Ave on March 19, 2003. Lanzillo, who is fond of heckling at protesters and trying to provoke confrontations with them, pulled his car up to a group of protesters from RCC, and made the following comment, using his fingers to demonstrate bombs falling.

"It's too late to protest. The bombs have already started to fall, ha ha" --

Then, after he was done harassing peaceful demontrators and instructing the probational officer under his supervision, Lanzillo drove off quickly. He is never one to stick around when he harasses people, a tactic he no doubt passes down to the officers he trained. Several demonstrators later said that he had made it a routine to stop his vehicle at University and Main sts. every Wednesday night to provoke them. In fact, one of the concerns expressed by the demonstrators to a member of Chief Leach's advisory committee addressed Lanzillo's antagonistic behavior and his tendacy to act out like a teenage boy. By this time, I had received another reminder of what they meant.

Some people obviously never grow up, and when they are assigned power and equipped with weapons, it's no joke. And if they are acting out just to get attention, that changes little in that equation.

But still, their jokes are not to be messed with by outsiders.

Don't take our jokes away from us! We do love our humor! We think it's funny when people of color die, or get killed!

Wonder what their attitude would be if officers told jokes about 'white' bullets...'Beverly Hills' death wails, Fourth of July celebrations spent throwing whites into lakes, or hanging up fliers which state, be the first honkey on the block to own........never mind that would never happen.

Were any of these comments ever investigated? Of course not. Sure, perfunctory investigations(wink,wink) were done by I.A if even that. Of course, nothing is ever meted out...well a promotion or two maybe. I.A. has only two purposes:

1) protect crooked cops
2) punish cops who whistleblow on 1.

That's it.

Sgt. Bruce Blomdahl did not find the last comment made by Lanzillo offensive or prejudicial at all. Of course, he was too busy waving the pom-poms during the investigation to actually do any actual...investigating.

Alas, such is the life of a field sergeant assigned to investigate one of his brothers. Tough indeed.

The RPD goes to Court: Cast of Characters

Just in case, the law suit, Roger Sutton v the City of Riverside goes to trial inside a courtroom in Riverside County Superior Court any time soon, here are some production notes including a partial listing of the show's cast of characters.

Bill Burnett:
Served as the chairman of the civil grand jury from July 1999 to May 2000. He undertook an investigation to study the administrative review and morale of PD including complaints of racial discrimination. Internal Affairs provided files and documents relating to complaints of racial comments by RPD officers to civilians and members of the grand jury including Burnett would pick them up.

~October 1999, Burnett went to the RPD to pick up documents from I.A. As he left, Lt. Robert Meier came out of his office and added a manila envelope to the rest of the documents, and said, “you might find this interesting.” Upon returning to the office, Burnett opened up the envelop and found a copy of Roger Sutton’s file. It included his entire disciplinary actions and grievances as well as a detailed list of complaints, inquiries, incidents and investigations involving Sutton.

“I was puzzled and did not understand why we had been given the documents regarding Roger Sutton because they were not related to the issues we were investigating and to my knowledge, they had never been requested.”

Soon after, Burnett asked Meier why he had given him the Sutton file even though it was not requested nor was it related to the investigation. Meier said that Sutton was dating a white woman who was the sister of John Tavaglione. Meier said that Dana had supposedly made a racial comment to her about her relationship with Sutton. The comment might cost Dana his job. Meier refered to Sutton as a “troublemaker.”

“the occasion on which Robert Meier gave me a copy of Roger Sutton’s file was the only instance in which I was given documents by the RPD that were entirely irrevelent to this particular grand jury investigation.”

Although considering that Bill Burnett was not only the Chair of the Riverside County Grand Jury, which investigated the department(see report on link list)but also an author, it is questionable where his allegiance lies. Especially when you considered that the book he authored, was called Justice for None and was co-authored by none other, than former RPD sergeant, Gregory Preece.

Gregory Preece's Memoirs

Lt. Alex Tortes
long-time officer, who joined in part because of the way officers treated people in the Eastside neighborhood where Tortes grew up. He was promoted to lieutenant with Ron Orrantia and Meredyth Meredith in 1999, which led to a furor among nine White male sergeants who naturally thought the promotions were theirs. Their temper tantrums led to them filing grievances with the city. And did the city fight their allegations of reverse racial and gender discrimination just like it fought the racial discrimination experienced by minority employees? Of course not. Behind closed doors and out of earshot of then Chief Jerry Carroll, the city council negotiated with the sergeants to promote three of them and pay the rest of them off. When the community found out and opposed these actions, the city council backed off the negotiations, which caused the sergeants to sell their tale to the U.S. District Court. The city, however, ultimately settled with the disgruntled White sergeants, because as it knew, the truly oppressed person in society is of course, the White male.


(Rene Ramirez made allegations of racial comments)

1996-97: Tortes and Ron Orrantia and Darryl Hart filed a racial discrimination claim with the EEO board.

When Tortes and Orrantia were promoted to lieutenant in April 1999, the command staff did not attend their ceremony. Tortes received negative treatment and feedback through emails and other means. No positive feedback from Deputy Chief Audrey Wilson and other command staff members. He had no problems with the rank and file. He is still receiving negative treatment as of January 2002. He was put on night shift even though that’s supposed to be by seniority. Told he lacked experience. –told by Audrey Wilson.

He asked to go to school b/c they paid for one lt. to attend and was repeatedly told to “pay your own way. You can’t go” by Audrey Wilson. He felt excluded, not allowed to participate in decision making or to provide imput. He and Darryl Hurt had both experienced what they call the “exclusionary rule.”

New Captain Dave Dominguez allowed him to do things. Tortes’ first positive experiences were with Dominguez.

Ron Orrantia was forced to retire by Audrey Wilson his direct supervisor and others.

“I’m finally referred to being the last of Jerry’s kids(by other lieutenants). We were promoted. I’m the last one.”

Sgt. Ed Blevins, Internal Affairs

His only investigation involved Rene Rodriguez.

He had received a memo from Lt. Jim Cannon who had met with Rene Rodriguez about perceived treatment that Rodriguez had experienced.

Rodriguez said his mistreatment had started at the academy. Poor grades on written product, and no recommendation for hiring.

Other allegations included:

FTO Dave Ruddy made him eat at a separate table during lunch breaks and taught him racial filing of Mexicans by telling him that Mexicans didn’t have licenses. Black officers were not allowed to work together or sign up for shifts.

Mike Andrews(FTO) taught probational officers how to racially profile black motorists with cornrows or jerrycurls.

Carl Turner said that the officers should turn their radios on to rap stations in honor of Tyisha Miller.

Tattoo references, were they swastikas? Not sure, long sleeves in summertime.

Hackman, Preece and Brown admitted to making the comments. Hackman was suspended. Brown was suspended. Preece was fired.

Bryan Dowell, made comments about Blacks, n-words, Blevins said he didn’t like to hang around him b/c he didn’t care for Dowell.

Cheryl Tavaglione:

Told Jay Theuer who was a friend of hers. Richard Dana came to Tava Lanes w/ Mike Smith one day. Dana was a family friend but stopped coming by after her husband died. She told him she ha a boyfriend, but didn’t think anyone would go with her b/c of her family.

Dana said, “if I had known you were going to start dating, I would have found you a brown haired browneyed, olive-complected man to go out with?"

When Cheryl told Sutton, he was furious about it. Bob Arnold snubbed him. She also said that Sgt. Darryl Hurt said that it was going to make it tougher on all of us, in regards to their relationship with “all of us” referring to Black officers.

Commander Richard Dana

Racial comments were Al Brown, Bill Rhetts and Dave Hackman.
Brian Money was married to a Black woman and was upset when Rodriguez made the allegation that he couldn’t tell anyone about his wife.

Aaron Perkins put the stink bomb in the car. Got a written reprimand b/c the act was not determined to be racist and he had put stinkbombs in other cars.

Al Brown was suspended for his comments that he admitted

Bill Rhetts was not disciplined b/c they considered comment inappropriate but not racist.

I.A. determined that Rodriguez had not experienced worst treatment on the basis of race.

Investigated Jim Cannon for leaking memos to Ameal Moore, Lee Wagner, Mike Smith and others. He was investigated by Lt. Meier, the same officer who leaked Sutton's entire personnel file to Barnett(see Barnett and Sutton declarations).

Hall who advocated for Sutton said he would drop the complaint against Dana if he was restored to the canine unit.

Lt. Jeffrey Collopy

believed Sutton should have been dealt with or terminated a long time ago.

(Maybe that's why during the Motion for Summary Judgement, Collapy(sitting with his officer son)smirked at the few parts of Judge Richard Field's decision that backed the department then looked upset when Fields upheld the majority of Sutton's case.)

Sgt. Skip Showalter
Present during interrogations of Rodriguez.

“He never wanted to own up to the fact that he had made his own mistakes and then maybe that’s the reason why but he seemed to be focusing on the fact that people were harassing b/c he was black.”

Showalter had reason to be bitter. His coworker and friend, Bill Rhetts was one of the officers being investigated for allegations of racist comment, because of Rodriguez.

Rhetts' homophobic, racist Web site, IPOC Ministries, still hosts an essay written by Showalter as it had in 1999. His essay is not racist or homophobic, or offensive, but the site that hosts it is both of these things. When I asked Showalter about this in 2000, he simply said he wrote the essay and put it out there for anyone's use. Showalter's essay being posted on Rhetts' site led to then Chief Robert Luman's decision to investigate the Web site.

Interestingly, Showalter and other IA personnel investigated Rhetts for several different internal investigations for 18 months and did not sustain one of them. Rhetts eventually took a stress retirement.

Showalter's essay

Frank Patino, Field Training Officer:

upset that he was alleged to teach Rene racial profiling of Hispanics. Why would a Hispanic officer do this?

Lt. Darryl Hurt

Second highest-ranking African-American officer and close friend of Gregory Preece. Hurt's advanced up the administrative ladder by playing it safe, which has brought him criticism, most notably his decision to testify on behalf of Preece during his arbitration hearing. For a man who wrote in Preece's memoirs that he dislikes racial politics, he's not above using them himself. He's come a long way since the frustrated officer who filed a claim with two other officers in 1997, protesting the promotional practices of the RPD. Would he recognize his former self, some have asked.

Heard probably more than a dozen racial comments. Last time was late 1980s. Comments were made in groups, parties, getogethers, choir practice(post-work drinking parties).

“You can’t be thin-skinned to work in LE.”

There is a lot of things to put up with. Do you go around crying or do you suck it up? Said you would be at a disadvantage if you reported comments.

links on Sutton case:

Judge refuses to dismiss Sutton suit

disparities in handling of law suits by race

City appeals Sutton's $200,000 award

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Exhibit C or Humor, RPD style?

Sitting on the desk is Defendant's Exhibit C, used in the case of Roger Sutton v the City of Riverside (RIC346348)which is scheduled to begin trial on Monday, June 27, at 8:30am. In all liklihood, the trial will either be postponed to the fall or the law suit filed by the former RPD officer will finally be settled by both parties in lieu of putting the beleagured police department on trial.

Regardless, Exhibit C consists of a piece of paper that was put on display at several police facilities during 2001 and 2004, according to Sutton's law suit. In 2001, it hung on the Field Training Officer's division's bulletin board inside the Personnel and Training officem, which was housed along with the other administrative offices at the Orange Street Station. First spotted by Sutton in January 2001, it remained in place, through the months which immediately preceded the city's decision to enter into a stipulated agreement with the state to reform the police department. According to his deposition, Sutton tried to address the issue of the flier, but no one would listen to him. Not the police chief who's office was down the hall, nor the deputy chief, who occupied an office next to that used by the police chief. Internal Affairs, which back then also occupied space on the second floor of the Orange Street Station paid no heed either, according to Sutton. On March 6, 2001, the day the stipulated agreement began, the document still hung on the bulletin board at the Orange St. Station, as it would until it was finally removed two months later.

Homeboy Nyte Lyte flier

It disappeared for a while, before resurfacing last spring, this time at the Lincoln Field Operations Station, according to Scott Silverman, Sutton's attorney.

What is on this flier that made it so objectionable to Sutton, if not to the administrators who occupied the second floor of the department's administrative headquarters? The flier is a spoof of a newly designed night sight(or Nyte Syte as spelled here)because according to the Museum of Hoaxes Web site, the Birdman Weapons Systems doesn't exist.

The flier caused a stir in several places before it was determined to be a fake.

Gag that Faked out Town

Excerpts in italics

Before realizing the HoMeBoY apparently isn't an actual product, Loupassi, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, was outraged.

"I believe that is indefensible, and I'm part of the pro-gun lobby," he told a reporter.

Before discovering he and others had been fooled, Loupassi was going to contact state and federal agencies to investigate Birdman Weapons Systems.

Bill Dunham, agent in charge of the Richmond office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said his agency has been familiar with the Birdman site for some time. He said it's believed to be a satire, in part because it doesn't give prices or any opportunity to buy weapons.

He said some of the weapons described could not be made legally. He also found the site's high number of "hits" - more than 100,000 in the past year - a bit disturbing.

"It puts ideas in people's heads," Dunham said. "We don't need any more creative weapons than there are."

Of additional concern to many people, was the racism implied in birdman's products, particularly against African-Americans.

He noted other night sights are available, and Birdman suggests they be used for shooting people, particularly young black males. "This gun show was held within a mile of predominantly African-American communities," he said.

Discussions of what happened took place at forums including Free Republic

Rightwingers comment on Birdman controversy

***caution, racist text at site***

The flier caught the attention of at least one RPD officer, and his name was printed on top of the flier that eventually became evidence in Sutton's law suit. The file name was DaveSmithHomeboy.jpg. In his deposition, Sutton mentioned that there was a Dave Smith who worked at the department as a detective. Whether or not, he put the flier on display at the involved facilities is unknown. All that is known is that he did not create it on his own. Sutton explained in his deposition that he was offended by the flier's use of venicular and spelling that he said was derogatory towards African-Americans. In a department with a history of racism, which inevitably spilled over into the jokes officers told one another, this flier was a reminder of how the past continued to rule the present, despite the state's oversight over the department.

It's ironic that the flier ended up displayed on the bulletin board provided for the Field Training Officers, of the department, given that after the firing of the four officers who shot and killed a Black woman in 1998, almost all of them submitted resignations in protest.(see link on Riverside County Grand Jury's 2000 report on RPD)

How many trainees of all races and genders walked into the P & T office and saw this flier hanging on the board? How many officers working at Lincoln Field Operations saw this flier hanging last year? Was this really the portrait of the new, improved, racially sensitive RPD that politicians and police administrators have been working so hard to paint?

If the city doesn't settle the case and instead fights it inside the courtroom, a jury of 12 people will pass judgment on all the elements of this case, including Exhibit C, which was actually submitted by the defendant, the city of Riverside, during its deposition of the plaintiff, Sutton. Ironic, that after four years of turmoil that stemmed from long-denied racism inside its police agency, that the city would want to use as its alleged trump card, a flier that has already been criticized for being racist against African-American men elsewhere. So much so, that its author, the elusive birdman, had to issue a statement on it.

Birdman's comment on racism of ads at Free Republic:

" I certainly hope that nobody out there really thinks ANYTHING on my website is "racist" or advocates that one race is better than another. If anything, the opposite is true. I don't think any particular race is any more stupid than another. Many times people are way too fast to play out the race card when they don't have all of the facts. This is an easy way out of having to use their brain. In Richmond VA, this is the obvious case ...and that is a true shame. All I did with this website was to make something that nobody would really know how to categorize, and also point out a few areas in mankind's psyche that need some serious work.

Given that this flier has been displayed at several facilities owned by the city of Riverside, Birdman just might have a point here, if he includes the officers at the RPD who believe that a faux weapon designed to hunt African-American males is humor worthy of being posted at their workplace. There most definitely are a few areas in mankind's psyche that need some serious work.

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

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Selling(Out) of Project Bridge

It all looked good at the Finance Committee meeting where three city council members listened as over a dozen people spoke in support of the popular gang intervention program, Project Bridge.

How quickly things change.....

Last Friday, a group of non-profit representatives gathered together at the Youth Services building on Magnolia around the bed where Project Bridge remains on life support, with only six months left to live. They agreed that they would have to pull the plug on the program to save it, then change it into a new organizion which would be independent of city funding and interference.

Chief Leach loves or hates Project Bridge depending on who he talks to. He loves it when he talks to community members. He hates it, when he presents the police department's annual proposed budget to the finance committee with the majority of the police union board sitting behind him. He loved it last year, when he told the council, to fund it or close its doors in six months. He hated it, when the PE reporter who wrote the latest status report, asked him his opinion on the thorny subject. The cops don't like it, in popularity it's on par, perhaps with those damn digital audio recorders, and at this point in Leach's tenure, they run the show.

However he feels about Project Bridge, Leach isn't above using the preventive componants that define it to make the department eligiable to apply for a multi-prong and highly competitive state grant, which would give the department's gang suppression unit, 2/3 of the $500,000. The strategy being, that the preventive elements of the gang issue are fine, but only as long as we can use them as carrot sticks to beef up the suppression componant of gang control.

In the meantime, gang-related shootings rock the neighborhoods of both Casa Blanca and the Eastside, in recent days. Black on Latino and Latino on Black, since most gang violence is racially based, and has little to do with fighting over turf. With kids now looking at these gangs, and having little else to do, gang violence which is often cyclical will continue. The preventive elements which cost money now, save much more money later on, when it comes to gang suppression, an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. If the preventive programs that are in place disappear, then the city will not be able to finance all the officers that will be needed in coming years, and Sgt. Pat McCarthy and his successors at the helm of the RPOA and Dan Bernstein will have to turn their ride-alongs into a regular practice to apply pressure on the city to increase the number of officers it hires and deploys.

Suppressing young Black and Latino men has been a regular pasttime for RPD cops. Putting together preventive programs that involve interaction with the younger kids, does not come as naturally to a police force, that is predominantly white and at the end of the day, retreats to all-white enclaves in southern Riverside, or when they earn enough money, south-western Riverside county.

to be continued....

Project Bridge has now been incorporated into the Park and Recreation Department and is part of the latest Eastside Strategic Plan. It is no longer on life support.

summary of Project Bridge from Riverside police department:

Project Bridge - $861,28
The Office of Justice and Juvenile Delinquency Planning (OJJDP) continues to provide funding to support the very successful Project Bridge program. Project Bridge is a collaborative effort between the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Juvenile Probation, the Riverside Police Department, and the University of California at Riverside. The goal of this program is to provide youth with positive alternatives to gangs and to foster and strengthen healthy lifestyles for children and their families. The OJJDP is working closely with the city of Riverside to make Project Bridge a nationally recognized model gang prevention, intervention, and suppression program.


The saving of Project Bridge?

Project Bridge is falling down

Driving While Transgender

I came across this article on a Web site where Sgt. Steve Johnson addressed the transgender community. A transgender once told me of a bad experience with the Riverside Police Department which he felt kept harassing him because they sensed something "different" about him but couldn't identify what it was, but it attracted them to him like bees. Very unfortunate for him.

Some excerpts of the article:

"The nature of our business dictates that not all contacts [with the Police] will be positive". And, he admits, "There has not been a lot of training on [transgender issues] in the Police Academy.... Police Officers are human. Some of us are going to respond properly, some not." But a greater sensitivity on the part of Crossdressers to the difficult job police face can go a long way towards disarming a potentially tense situation.

In other words, excuse officers their bigotry. Bigotry is only human, whether it's towards race, sexual orientation or gender identity. Crossdressers have to be sensitive to bigotted cops, but cops can just do as they please. The elements of Community Policing in action, folks.

Many crossdressers worst nightmare is a traffic stop or other detention by a Law Enforcement Officer. Many feel they cannot tell the truth about their situation, for fear of harassment or embarrassment. "But cops are the wrong people to lie to....The worst thing you can possibly do is lie," Officer Johnson stresses. Police are trained to look for "Red Flags" when they stop an individual. For example, multiple ID cards are one. What activity would you be involved in that would necesitate changing your identity?

You have the choice to lie, or tell a cop you're not really a woman, or a man? Considering that transgenders have been beaten by cops just for being transgenders, it's a tough choice. What is the cop going to do with the truth? Let you go, or mistreat you, b/c he or she's only "human" and doesn't get the appropriate training on transgenders.

Moreover, "The majority of transgendered people I come into contact with are transvestite prostitutes on University Avenue," he candidly admits. Many of them have drug habits and carry concealed weapons". Many police by instinct assume any crossdressed person is one of these. And, unfortunately, "It does you folks an injustice".

By George, Steve Johnson, you've got it! Transgenders are prostitutes! Just like all Black people are criminals, because a few of them are. Only Whites are allowed to be judged as individual people by cops. Instinct is just another word added to a long list of words to substitute for prejudice and bigotry.

It was suggested that Police Academy training include sensitivity training on Transgender issues. But, Officer Johnson admits, "They go thorugh such intense training, I don't know if they'd even give you a day". The P.O.S.T. system (Police Officers Standards Of Training) has a very rigorous procedure to add anything new to their curriculum. There are also budget and time constraints as well.

We're too busy and have too many important things to do to learn how to treat you as human beings, and not either street criminals or sexual deviants.

Police oficers are trained to have a COMMAND PRESENCE, a necessary tool in confrontations. This is often mistaken for hostility. But remember, "Your behavior dictates how I will respond. If you're low-key, professional and dignified, I'll act the same way".

Confrontations? How come cops don't call their interactions with white straight non-transgendered people, "confrontations"? No matter how low-keyed, professional and dignified a transgendered person acts, if he or she is dealing with a bigotted, ignorant cop, his or her dignified person can still get mistreated or even beaten.

Transgenders: Another "criminally profiled" group...

Transgenders according to Sgt. Johnson

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