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

Friday, July 18, 2008

Douglas Steve Cloud: The transcripts

The Community Police Review Commission in Riverside is currently investigating and reviewing two fatal officer-involved shooting cases from 2006. It's also currently waiting to see if it has permission from the city manager's office to investigate the July 11 death of Martin Gaspar Pablo. Because the commission has placed the case on the agenda of its next meeting as a "discussion" of purview, I would think not.

At any rate, there was a vote recently to place on the commission's Web site copies of the work product of the investigations into the shootings of Douglas Steven Cloud and Joseph Darnell Hill.

Much of the information placed on the site so for involves the Cloud case, which has been under discussion by the CPRC for several months now. There's many documents involving both the Riverside Police Department investigation and the CPRC's own investigation located at this site.

Here is the index for the police department's own written record of its criminal investigation. It's been funded with city residents' tax dollars including the material it's written on and the people who conducted it. The link to the main criminal case book may be currently a broken link, but the other links involving the case book material seem to still be working.

You can access the transcripts of all the interviews given by witnesses as well as voluntary statements given by police officers to the Riverside Police Department's Officer-Involved Death team here.

The audio recordings of those interviews are located here and here.

The interview reports for witnesses interviewed by the CPRC's investigator, Butch Warnberg can be found here.

The photos, surveillance video tapes and audio recordings of police radio traffic can be found in this index. The photos include autopsy photos which are quite graphic.

These depositions were given in the civil law suit, David Roland Cloud Etal v the City of Riverside.

In the criminal investigation, the police department detectives interviewed the officers who were at the scene but who were not directly involved in the incident leading up to the shooting. Many of them arrived either just before the shots were fired or at about the same time or just after.

Officer Brian Crawford

Oct. 8, 2006 at 9:05 p.m.

Crawford was about to complete his work shift as a field training officer when the "211" call came over the radio. He and the officer he was training got back in the car and took off towards the Home Depot. Crawford then heard a radio call that the vehicle had been located and he soon came up the crashed vehicle and another squad car parked nearby. Two officers were leaving that car and running up to Cloud's car. Crawford parked his car and he and the other officer ran to Cloud's vehicle and just as Crawford arrived at the driver's side, shots rang out.

When questioned further by Det. Cobb, Crawford said he had taken the longer path around Cloud's vehicle because the back tires were spinning up mud and other debris.

"Um just kind of got splattered with mud and the car was whining, was loud as hell, rubber was flying all over the place, but anyhow and then I-like I said I got to the driver's side of the window."

The only officer that Crawford saw who fired his weapon was Officer Nick Vazquez. He thought he heard four to five more shots fired after that.

Officer Nay Mann

Oct. 8, 2006 at 9:21 p.m.

It's his first day at work.

Mann was riding with Officer Brian Crawford, his phase one field training officer when the call came out on the "211" just as their shift finished. They parked their car near the crashed vehicle belonging to Cloud and got out of the car. Mann grabbed his baton and put his hand on his gun and then positioned himself behind a squad car.

He saw three officers at the vehicle yelling and screaming at Cloud who at some point swayed his hands and then no more than six or seven seconds later, the gunshots were fired. He couldn't identify which officer had fired his weapon.

"Um almost point blank to ah-to the um-subject fired. I looked at the officer but at this time I don't-it's-it's a blur to me right now."

Officer Eric Meier

Oct. 8, 2006 at 9:10 p.m.

Officer Eric Meier had just started his swing shift when he got the radio call and headed off to Home Depot. The only information he received about the robbery call was its code number. He heard Officer Nick Vazquez get on his radio and say that he had spotted the vehicle. Meier said that Vazquez hadn't sounded relaxed on the radio. He soon saw other squad cars some with sirens in and saw people running in the street. He saw the crashed vehicle and Officers David Johansen and Vazquez standing next to it but couldn't remember seeing anyone else. Meier started running to the vehicle from 30 yards away. As he approached, he heard gunfire and saw the two officers with their guns pointed at the vehicle's driver side window. The tires were spinning on the car and dirt was everywhere.

He took cover and the wheels finally stopped spinning. He then approached with the canine officer and other officers and saw that Cloud was dead inside.

Officer Navar

Oct. 8, 2006 at 7:38 p.m.

His second day at work.

Navar was training with Officer Jeffrey Derouin and they were driving back to Lincoln Station when Derouin heard the radio call. They saw the crashed vehicle and other officers. They all had their guns drawn so Navar drew his too. As he approached, Navar saw one officer try to pull Cloud out of the vehicle and heard the engine rev up. He drew himself to the side because he felt he was in a crossfire situation and then saw a single gun discharge from one of the officers. He heard two other shots as he tried to take cover. He saw a group of officers approach the car with a canine.

Field Training Officer Jeffrey Derouin

Oct. 8, 2006 at 10:24 p.m.

Derouin was training Navar at the northern part of Riverside when the "211" call came over the radio. When they arrived at the scene of the crashed vehicle, Derouin noticed several officers by the car struggling with the driver. About two seconds after Derourin left his own vehicle, he saw the officers back away from the car and heard gunshots, two to three rounds. He and Navar took cover to avoid being in a crossfire situation while the car was throwing up debris. Derouin and Navar then watched as other officers approached the vehicle to clear it and the two officers then began separating witnesses from one another in the dealership and telling them not to talk to one another.

When asked about the seconds before the shooting, Derouin said he saw about three officers struggling and then heard gunfire volleys from two different guns.

Officer Philip Sears

Oct. 8, 2006 at 10:30 p.m.

Sears was heading to the "211" call in his squad car. He said by the time he got to the scene of the crashed car, he was the fourth unit to arrive. The wheels on the vehicle were spinning and throwing up a lot of debris. Sears ran past the vehicle and saw three officers standing by the car and the silhouette of someone inside the car. Stennett had his hands on Cloud. Sears felt the debris come down on his arm so he took cover behind the red truck that had been struck by Cloud's car. He heard what he thought was backfire but what turned out to be multiple gunshots. There were other units responding behind him and officers got out of their cars with guns drawn.

Sears moved away because he didn't want to be shot at in a crossfire situation.

Sgt. Rene Ramirez

Oct. 8, 2006 at 8:56 p.m.

Ramirez was working the swing shift as one of the field sergeants and was at Lincoln Field Operations Station when he got the "211" call. He also heard an "11-10" call for backup. Ramirez drove out towards Lincoln Street to where he heard the call out giving the description of the vehicle and the direction it was headed. At an intersection, he heard on the radio that the vehicle had been located. He saw the crashed vehicle caught on a downed palm tree. He saw four officers, Nick Vazquez, Dave Johansen, Eric Meier and possibly Brett Stennett. He then heard two gun shots that he believed were fired by Vazquez.

Ramirez took cover from debris flying in his direction. The officers retreated to the auto dealership building and Ramirez put the call of "shots fired" out on the radio, calling for medical assistance. He waited with Johansen, Vazquez, Meier and Mike Mears, the canine officer. After a lieutenant arrived, they went with the canine to the car and found Cloud deceased.

When asked about the position of Vazquez and the trajectories of the shots fired, Ramirez said that Vazquez was directly facing the driver's side door.

When you cross a street including a crosswalk in Riverside, you are truly taking your life in your own hands. But in Corona, police officers there are doing a sting to crack down on motorists who speed through them even while people are crossing.

They did that once in Riverside but after a little while, the police department halted its own operation because it felt it was too dangerous for its officers. That was the reason given at the time this took place a few years ago anyway.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board is all gungho for the new medical building where Chinatown once stood.


The Riverside Chinese Cultural Preservation Committee wants the building moved back from the corner, to leave the archeological site undisturbed. But that proposal clashes with the city's design plans, and construction would still require digging up the entire site anyway, because of unstable soil. The Planning Commission last week gave the preservation committee another 30 days to work on a compromise with the developer.

Riverside would learn much more about the history of its Chinese community by excavating the site, however. An empty lot says little about the people who once lived and worked there. Artifacts can help tell that story far more effectively. Jacobs has already agreed to a full archeological excavation before construction begins.

Riverside cannot save every piece of history without risking civic stagnation. But the city can allow development and still preserve the heritage of Chinatown -- and in a way much more tangible than an empty lot.

However, the site's not just a local historical site, it's registered on the national record of historical sites as well. A fact Riverside should be celebrating, before demolishing.

A man received a $500 ticket for speaking English poorly.

After a lengthy investigation by federal law enforcement agencies, the verdict is that Cook County jails are fostering very poor conditions for prisoners.

(excerpt, New York Times)

Grim images peppered 98 pages of federal findings from a sweeping 17-month investigation about the jail, a West Side complex of buildings, the oldest of which once housed Al Capone, that is now temporary home to about 9,800 men and women.

The investigation by the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice and the office of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney here, found that the jail had systematically violated the constitutional rights of inmates. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the jail, strongly denied that.

Among dozens of glimpses of life inside the jail, the federal investigators wrote of an inmate who, after exposing himself to a female officer in July 2007, was handcuffed, then hit and kicked by a group of jail officers. Some inmates were not given their mental illness medications for weeks, the investigators said, while others were given such drugs without records of why. In August 2006, an inmate’s leg was amputated after an infection beneath a cast went untreated.

“You can’t have conditions where people are dying and being amputated,” Mr. Fitzgerald said at a news conference.

Not exactly news, but Maryland State Police Department officers spied on activists who opposed the Iraq war and the death penalty.

(excerpt, Washington Post)

Organizational meetings, public forums, prison vigils, rallies outside the State House in Annapolis and e-mail group lists were infiltrated by police posing as peace activists and death penalty opponents, the records show. The surveillance continued even though the logs contained no reports of illegal activity and consistently indicated that the activists were not planning violent protests.

Then-state police superintendent Tim Hutchins acknowledged in an interview yesterday that the surveillance took place on his watch, adding that it was done legally. He said Ehrlich (R) was not aware of it. "You do what you think is best to protect the general populace of the state," said Hutchins, now a federal defense contractor.

The 46 pages of single-spaced typed records were released this week to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which sued the state police in June, claiming that it had refused to release public documents that shed light on surveillance of peace activists. The civil liberties group learned in 2004 that a state police intelligence unit was monitoring Baltimore peace groups that had protested at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade that year.

The records show that undercover agents collectively spent 288 hours on surveillance activities over 14 months from March 2005 until May 2006.

"To invest this many hours investigating the most all-American of activities without any scintilla of evidence there is anything criminal going on is shocking," ACLU lawyer David Rocah said at a news conference in Baltimore yesterday. "It's Kafkaesque."

The consent decree involving Cincinnati and its police department is just about over.

(excerpt, Cincinnati Enquirer)

Green gives Cincinnati police credit for making a "tremendous amount of progress," while warning against backsliding or assuming police reforms have been fully accomplished.

"We believe that it is time for outside monitoring to end," Green said in his 21st and next-to-last report. "The CPD continues to head in the right direction and continues to improve the quality of and engagement with problem-solving in the department. While the CPD will need to do more to be able to claim that problem-solving is its principal crime-fight strategy and more to earn the trust of all Cincinnati citizens, many CPD members have expressed a readiness for this to happen."

Monitoring began in 2002 with the so-called Collaborative Agreement, signed by the city, the police union and a group of plaintiffs, with the approval of federal Judge Susan J. Dlott. >
The agreement was set to end last year, but the ACLU asked for it to be extended for a one-year "transition period" to hone the department's crime-fighting policies.

Dlott will confer today with Green and the parties to the agreement about whether the "transition year" should end next month.

Let's just hope the community stays activiely engaged in this process if and when the city government forgets it was ever under consent decree or that there were ever any problems.

In Denver, the Latino police officers there are filing another racial discrimination lawsuit against the city.

(excerpt, Denver Channel)

In February 2006, the Colorado chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) filed a formal complaint arguing, among others, racial discrimination, disciplinary issues and promoting hostile work environments against Latinos.

"To date there has been little progress to correct these practices," said Leonard Mares, vice president and EEO chairman of the NLPOA Colorado chapter.

"Our complaints of discrimination are given little attention or simply ignored. Based on the ongoing discriminatory practices…we filed a federal lawsuit."

During a news conference Wednesday, the NLPOA played a small portion of audio from a training video, which the association called "shocking and graphic" and "further demonstrates both the historical presence of discriminatory practices and hostile work environment that officers are subjected to on a regular basis."

The Denver Police Department denied that it discriminated or retaliated against any employees, saying, "The Police Department works hard to foster an environment of diversity and tolerance, treat its employees fairly and without bias, and follow its policies and practices of non-discrimination and non-retaliation."

In a statement, spokesman Lt. Ronald R. Saunier said the Department disagrees with the allegations and will "vigorously defend against any and all legal actions filed."

City and county attorneys always make comments like this after lawsuits are filed right up to the moment the cities or counties either settle the lawsuits or lose the their shirts at trial.

An officer who worked for Charlotte's police department was fired after his shooting was found to be outside of policy.

Slow response times if I don't get my coffee. So said one lieutenant in Daytona Beach, Florida, so he lost his job.

(excerpt, Local6)

An internal police investigation found that Daytona Lt. Major Garvin received free coffee for about two years from a city Starbucks coffee store.

However, when recently denied free coffee from new management, Garvin allegedly told managers that he could change the police department's response time if they refuse to give him complimentary drinks.

Garvin is accused of saying, "If something happens, either we can respond really fast or we could respond really slow. I've been coming here for years and I've been getting whatever I want. I'm the difference between you getting a two-minute response time, if you needed a little help, or a 15 minutes response time."

However, when confronted about the comments, police said Garvin agreed to take a polygraph test.

When asked whether or not he threatened managers with adverse response times, Garvin responded, "no."

But polygraph test results suggested that the officer was lying, Local 6's Tarik Minor reported. Garvin was then fired.

Was Minneapolis Police Department officer Mike Roberts entrapped?

More tasers in Pennsylvania.

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