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

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rallies and retirements

Thousands of people showed up to march down 5th Avenue in New York City to protest against the Nov. 25 fatal shooting of Sean Bell, 23, by five New York Police Department officers.

Among those in attendance were community leaders, religious leaders and elected officials including at least one from the United States Capitol, according to the Boston Herald.

Thousands protest NYPD shooting


“This is not just a New York City problem,” said U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, who was near the front of the march. “This march gives people a chance to speak out.”

And they spoke out through their silence, and their numbers. Many carried signs and others just marched quietly down the streets of the city, amidst the tourists and shoppers who watched them, some of them taking photographs.

March coverage:

New York Times: Protesters take to streets

Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III comments on the NYPD officers who killed Bell here. He calls them "ignorant savages" and other commentators call them "animals" or "pigs", but they're not any of these things, any more than are the people who are dehumanized by law enforcement officers who label them in a similar fashion as not being human. Animals are animals. People are people.

To call them that reduces people to the level of those police officers who call people of color either "savages" or "animals", a behavior which itself has been the subject of many protests including those which erupted after the fatal shooting of Tyisha Miller by four Riverside Police Department officers in 1998.

Not that there aren't law enforcement agencies who don't ultimately reward that type of behavior in their officers when they think people aren't paying attention and that's a large part of the issue. There are some things that money can't fix and one of them is a department's culture particularly if it permeates into its management.

Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle handed a pink slip to one of his management employees this week, according to the Press Enterprise, an action which perplexed many people.

Assistant Sheriff Stan Sniff who had headed field operations for the entire agency was handed his walking papers. This action sent shock waves throughout the halls of power in Riverside County.

Roy Wilson, a county supervisor had this to say in the news article.

"I was shocked," Supervisor Roy Wilson said of Sniff's departure.”

His colleague, Marion Ashley was also dismayed.

“Everyone knows Stan and thinks the world of him," Ashley said. "It's hard to understand but we don't know everything that went on."

Ashley did say that the board had no power to investigate the actions of another elected official and Doyle's people say that he is in an unfair position because he is not allowed to comment or discuss personnel matters.

At least one individual interviewed said it was a strategic move on Doyle’s part because Sniff was planning on running for sheriff in the next election.

"The department has been robbed of a very ethical, honest, intelligent leader," Dye said.

Usually Riverside County agencies simply banish those who politically oppose their elected bosses. Did Doyle go one step further? Stay tuned.

Press Enterprise columnist Cassie McDuff explores the issue of work-related disability retirements and why so many of them are being given to Redlands Police Department officers in her latest article here.


“Statewide, the rate of public-safety disability retirements is 30 percent to 40 percent, according to the California Public Employees Retirement System.
Redlands is known as a safe community, with an enviably low crime rate compared with neighboring cities. So why do its police suffer an inordinate number of work-related injuries?
You could understand if San Bernardino police officers were getting hurt frequently, with that city's gang problems and high crime. But Redlands?”

McDuff urged the city of Redlands to investigate why so many of its police officers had received disability retirements and then to do something about it. If she can track down a copy of the Riverside Police Department's Annual Report from the Chief(which was done only one year), she would find that the number of disability retirements given to police officers between 2000-2002 easily outnumbers age-related retirements. Some have blamed that high number on a purported post-Miller exodus or purge, but that is just speculation on their parts.

So it doesn't seem that uncommon, what does is that here, people are actually scratching their heads over it.


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