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

Monday, November 13, 2006

Contacts and contracts

Another day, another LAPD video tape. The week, indeed had just begun.

The Los Angeles Times has written another article about another incident captured on video tape. This time, it was a man sitting inside a squad car who was peppersprayed by an officer. The officer, who was only identified as "Guiterman" has already left the department for a job out of state and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has dropped charges of resisting arrest and battery of a peace officer against the man in the car.

Video of pepperspraying incident dismays officials

This incident has already been the subject of an extensive investigation by the department. Apparently, department heads were "livid" when they viewed the tape of transient Benjamin Barker being peppersprayed after being handcuffed and shoved in a squad car.


The videotape shows Barker in handcuffs as he is bent over a patrol car. As the officer pushes Barker into the car, Barker can be heard saying, "Why am I going to jail?"

Once Barker is in the back seat, he starts shouting "I can't breathe! I can't breathe! Don't spray me!"

One officer is heard saying: "He knows what's happening."

Another officer takes the pepper spray canister from his belt, shakes it and leans in to apply it to Barker's face. The officer then closes the doors of the patrol car and steps back. Barker is seen holding his face up to the car window, his features contorted in pain.

Like in the case involving William Cardenas, the department again grappled with reconciling the differences between what it watched on video and what its officers produced for the written record.


In the arrest report, the officer described Barker as combative, and said pepper-spray was used after Barker spat on him once and attempted to spit on him when he was in the patrol car. The video is shot at an angle that makes it difficult to determine whether Barker spit at the officer, but there is no physical assault seen from Barker. The tape shows the officer take the pepper spray out of its holster the raise toward Barker's face, but the actual spraying is obscured by shadows.

The exact location of the incident also initially differed in the police report written by a supervising sergeant, in comparison to what was shown on the video tape.

In the arrest report, Guiterman said Barker sat in the back of the patrol car but with his feet on the ground outside the car.'Barker remained rigid and took a deep breath and began to spit at me. I moved my head to the left an avoided the spit," he wrote. "If I had not moved it would have struck me in the face.. The spit landed on my right chest/arm pit area."

He said Barker then cursed at him.Fearing that Barker might spit at him or kick him, he said he sprayed Barker twice with two one-second burses of the pepper spray.

A sergeant supervising the scene said in the initial police report that the incident had occurred as they stood at the rear door of the car. But the report was later corrected to say it took place inside the car.

And the week's still getting started.

In Riverside, two memoranda of understanding between the city government and the Riverside Police Officers Association go to the city council for a vote today, Nov. 14.

This contract came after more than six months of arduous negotiations involving both the union's police unit and its supervisors unit. Talks broke down during the summer, when the RPOA alleged that the city had acted in "bad faith" after members of the city management team divulged information regarding the RPOA's negotiations to the city's other unions during similar talks. In response, the RPOA filed a law suit in August and later filled the seats in the city council chambers with its membership at a city council meeting. Soon after, it was alleged that the city council had asked Assistant City Manager, Tom DeSantis to excuse himself from the process and the process went more smoothly after that, finally resulting in an agreement. Most of the city's unions agreed that this was the worst summer of negotiations in recent history as unions either held strike votes, filed civil litigation or showed up in large numbers at city council meetings asking for fairer treatment.

At a later city council meeting, members of both the RPOA and the city government expressed a huge sigh of relief.

City Council Agenda, Nov. 14

Click item #19a(addendum)

Available in laserfiche or pdf format

Some of the terms of the contact for rank and file officers and detectives include the following:

Salary increases:

4% raise on Sept. 8, 2006

4% raise on July 1, 2007

3% raise on July 1, 2008

Medical benefits(including dental) over 2006, 2007 and 2008:

Single: $471 $471, $480

2-party: $705, $775, $850

Family: $935, $1024, $1122

Premium Pay:

Bilingual, motor and METRO team: 3%

Collateral METRO, sniper team and hostage negotiations team: 1.5%

POST certificates: 7.5% for intermediate and 12.5% for advanced

Community Policing incentive: $1,500(one time)

Canine handlers pay to increase to 15 hours overtime pay

City's contributions to retirement trust fund:

$50/month for active participants on July 1, 2006 to be increased to $100 on Jan. 1, 2008. Officers with 15 years in the department who take industrial disability retirements will be eligiable to receive benefits from this fund, once established.

Supervisory Unit contact negotiations were also completed. The following are some of the terms of that contract.

Salary Increases:

4% raise on Sept. 8, 2006

4% raise on July 1, 2007

3% raise on July 1, 2007

Medical benefits(including dental) over 2006, 2007 and 2008

Single: $471, $471, $480

2-party: $705, $775, $850

Family: $935, $1024, $1122

Premium Pay:

Motor and METRO Team sergeants: 3%

Collateral METRO sergeants, sniper sergeants and Hostage Negotiation Team sergeants: 1.5%

POST certificates, Intermediate, 7.5% and Advanced, 12.5%

Community Policing incentive: $1,800

City's contributions to retirement trust fund:

$50/month for active participants on July 1, 2006 to be increased to $100 on Jan. 1, 2008. Officers with 15 years in the department who take industrial disability retirements will be eligiable to receive benefits from this fund, once established

The negotiations between the city and the Riverside Police Administrators Association appear to be ongoing. The law suit filed by the Riverside Police Administrators Association last July comes up for discussion in closed session at the city council meeting today as well.

Pursuant to a memorandum between the city and the RPAA in March 2004, the salary range for a top step lieutenant will be maintained at a level 29% higher than that of a top level sergeant and the salary range for a top step captain will be maintained at 15.74% higher than a top step lieutenant. This memorandum was the basis of the law suit filed by the RPAA.

Speaking of contracts, the city council voted on Nov. 7 to approve a motion authorizing City Manager Brad Hudson to sign a professional consultant agreement with former AG consultant Joe Brann and Associates, LLC that will not exceed $150,000 and will expire June 30, 2008. Brann's role according to the city council report will be to issue quarterly reports to the city council as well as review and evaluate the progress of the police department's implementation of the Strategic Plan. He will also assist the department in creating policies, protocols and staffing requirements for the Audit and Compliance Bureau.

Report on contract


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