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, January 13, 2007

What's past is prologue part 3

Don't do this again, was the reprimand given out to Los Angeles Police Department officer Steven Garcia by one member of the department's board of rights panel that recently exonerated him for the shooting of Devon Brown.

Only that warning had been given by Capt. Bruce Crosley to Garcia before the Brown shooting came before the board, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Officer who shot Devon Brown had been warned before


In the previous disciplinary proceeding against Garcia, he received a severe 44-day suspension for, among other things, intimidating a witness not to testify against him in an excessive-force case.

The presiding officer, Capt. Bruce Crosley, issued the patrolman a stern warning: "You may rest assured," Crosley told Garcia, "that any recurrent incident will likely end your career with this organization."

A warning that rang hollow as is usually the case, it turned out. Crosley and his board have decided to give Garcia yet another chance to not screw up again.

This revelation is sure to shore up confidence in the LAPD's ability to both investigate and hold accountable its own officers, not. When it comes to maintaining credibility over its ability to do these things, the LAPD has hit a bad patch during the past few months, which among other things has seen a former head of its internal affairs division become the subject of an internal investigation.

The decision of the department's board of rights panel to overturn the finding of the police commission sparked an outcry both from city officials and community leaders and has launched a drive to change the process which will make its presence felt all the way up in Sacramento.

Kudos to the city officials including the mayor in Los Angeles for defending the police commission in this situation and for challenging the process. Your counterparts in RiverCity could learn from your example and do like with the Community Police Review Commission instead of what they are actually doing the opposite without even bothering to check first with the majority of the city's voters who placed the commission in the city's charter. The city residents did this in 2004 to send the city council a message, let it be.

Periodically, there will be a posting on the status of the three officer-involved shootings(and any future ones) by police officers employed by the city of Riverside. There's been much inquiry about the timeline of these shootings and how that fits in with the one year statutory period on disciplining officers involved in them if they are found to be out of policy. Even though the city has not responded to inquiries on this issue, it still remains a topic of concern and interest among city residents, so there will be regular status reports posted here.

Riverside Officer involved shooting death timeline update:

"You don't know how to manage Looking-glass cakes," the Unicorn remarked. "Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards."

(To be continued...)

---Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass: And what Alice Found There

Lee Deante Brown: April 3, 2005, 285 days so far, 80 remaining, CPRC investigation suspended by city indefinitely, law suit pending

Douglas Steven Cloud: Oct. 8, 2006, 97 days so far, 268 days left, CPRC investigation suspended by city indefinitely, law suit pending

Joseph Darnell Hill: Oct. 19, 2006, 86 days so far, 279 days left, CPRC investigation suspended indefinitely by the city, law suit pending

The interesting thing about the flurry of officer-involved shootings sparked through contacts by officers with unarmed individuals that has happened in Riverside as of late is that I have had more civil rights attorneys from all over ask me what's going on in Riverside and with its police department in just the past few months than happened during the last six years. Thanks to recent actions taken by the city against the CPRC, that trend will probably continue if not increase.

Like sharks that smell blood in the water? If so, then expect to see more of the same in the months to come. The script that the city is currently following on addressing these shootings and related issues is the sort that makes civil rights attorneys very happy and very rich, to the detriment of those who both shop Riverside and who had hoped that this money would instead be spent on addressing the city's aging infrastructure in the face of increased migration and annexations.

If the CPRC is no longer able to launch independent investigations into officer-involved deaths, it appears that 42 U.S.S.C. 1983 and other civil rights laws will be taking its place. Between the two, allowing the CPRC to do its own independent investigations would have been a hell of a lot cheaper to the residents of Riverside in the long run. No better time to reflect on that than this year, which is an election year.


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