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

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Links and places

Mel Opotowsky, former managing editor and ombudsman for the Press Enterprise wrote an Op-Ed featured in the Aug. 26 edition of that newspaper, on how reporters' attempts to get information and public records pertaining to the arrests of entertainers and politicians are often thwarted by law enforcement agencies. His laundry list included the incident involving Congressman Ken Calvert who was sent home(without a note) by Corona(CA) Police Department officers after being caught inside a vehicle with a prostitute. The only thing surprising about this sorry episode is that the police officers actually let the woman go as well. Too often, it's the "johns" who receive preferential treatment in these situations and the women who go to jail. Also mentioned was the newspaper's thwarted attempts to obtain the audiotapes of the 911 phone calls and written police reports in relation to the fatal shooting of Tyisha Miller by four police officers in 1998.

Here is a really old court case that was found on the California First Amendment Coalition site. It's about a court case that was filed in 1980 after an incident involving KSDO radio station and a story it ran based on information from an unnamed source involving an investigation conducted within the Riverside Police Department. Apparently, the station's employees had received information involving the alleged complicity of the Riverside Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in an alleged heroin smuggling operation based in Baja California, all the way up to the highest level of management. It is not clear whether the investigation was actually done, or whether the whole thing was a smear tactic used against the agency by a high-ranking member of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, as alleged in the law suit. KSDO survived a law suit filed in Riverside County Superior court by individuals trying to get that information and a later appellate decision.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which regularly sends lateral officers to Riverside's police department including two who were alas, apparently fired last year for misconduct has its very own blog. The brainchild of current chief, William Bratton, it gives regular updates on the LAPD's business, at least that which is fit to print.

The LAPD does blogging

Speaking of the LAPD, if you are an officer there and you believe you have been retaliated against for participating in wage-related litigation, here is your chance to be part of a class-action law suit that has been filed against the police department, the city of Los Angeles and apparently everyone in between.

A study by the Los Angeles Times shows that in the LAPD, police officers are nearly as likely to be shot by each other through accidental shootings than by criminal suspects. What this article or this one do not address is how other studies have shown that disproportionately Black police officers have been shot by White police officers in the LAPD and other agencies. Well known incidents of this racial "friendly fire" have also occurred in Providence, R.I., Norfolk(VA) and Washington, D.C.

The FBI keeps statistics on fatal accidental shootings that occur involving onduty officers, including this from 2004. However, many of the Black officers who are shot "accidentally" are either off-duty or in undercover assignments and thus are not included.

Still in L.A., there is a blog on the homeless situation there. It was created by a man who has served on enough committees and task forces involving homeless issues in L.A. County to probably serve as a better spokesperson for the governmental officials than the homeless. It has links to many useful articles detailing the homeless issues in L.A. from police crackdowns on Skid Row to "living while homeless" legislation passed by city officials. As Los Angeles goes on these issues, so does the rest of Southern California.

Coming in from San Francisco are reports that one of the officers who was the brainchild behind several infamous racist, sexist and homophobic videos which became the center of a scandal last year has put his film making skills to use again and has created a 27 minute long "defense" video. Here, Officer Andrew Cohen explains that there was another side to the police officers involved in that incident and he has adopted the oft-used excuse, "those violent criminals made us act racist, sexist and so forth" to explain his and his colleagues' shameful conduct.


This will show you what I'm all about and what the department is about," Officer Cohen said at a screening of the video on Wednesday. "The officers that were suspended are nothing like the accusations."

Well, you know what they say. A picture is worth a thousand words and those first ones Cohen and his friends produced left a lasting impression. He also mentions(or plugs) that he has made several "educational" videos about the SFPD and which ones would those be again?

At this site, the Police Assessment Resource Center, is tons of information on consent decrees, stipulated judgments and other mandated law enforcement reform processes. A series of reports is located on the right hand side of the home page, including a national survey of civilian oversight(Yay! Hiss!) and studies done on Portland Police Bureau and Milwaukee Police Department among others.

Another good resource for issues of gender in policing is the National Center for Women and Policing. On site there are articles dealing with different issues, from the recruitment and retention of female officers, to studies regarding the prevalence of domestic violence in the law enforcement profession.

Here is an excellent report on how to recognize sexual harassment in the workplace, if you are a female law enforcement officer.

What you can do if harassed

Sexual harassment in law enforcement unfortunately remains a serious problem beginning at the academy and continuing onward into the departments including here and here.

One police chief responds.


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