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, August 03, 2008

Just another Monday morning

If you've ever wondered how you can participate more fully in keeping your elected government and its agencies accountable and transparent, there are organizations online that are very active in both doing so and also educating people on the tools that can help them to do it as well.

The California First Amendment Coalition was an organization that was once headed by Terry Francke and it served as a watch dog over the state's "sunshine" laws and their enforcement by different cities and counties.

The two areas of focus for the CFAC have been the Ralph M. Brown Act which addresses access to public meetings and the California Public Records Act which addresses access to public documents and information.

The site includes templates to assist people in writing letters to governmental entities for public information.

CPRA Request Letter

Brown Act Cure and Correction Letter

You can also contact the legal hotline with questions on the "sunshine" laws, though priority is given to those with annual memberships to the CFAC. It might be helpful to check out the FAQ sections first to see if your question can be answered there.

Speaking of the CFAC, the organization is seeking nominations for its annual awards. The deadline is Sept. 1 for nominations which can be sent utilizing the following methods.

By e-mail to,

By regular mail to AWARDS, c/o the California First Amendment Coalition, 534 Fourth St., Suite B, San Rafael, CA 94901.

If you have any nominations or ideas for nominations for any of these awards, send them to the addresses above.

The three current awards given out by the CFAC are listed below.

The Bill Farr Award is given each year to an individual or group who has performed exemplary work to advance free speech, free press and public access to government.

Beacon awards are given to other individuals or organizations who have fought to keep government meetings or records open to the public and by supporting the First Amendment’s fundamental right of free speech.

The Darkness award (formerly known as the Black Hole award) is reserved for individuals, government agencies or other institutions that have acted to thwart free speech, public participation in government or access to meetings or public records.

Riverside itself was a winner of one of these prestigious awards in 1999, but alas, its city hall was the recipient of the Black Hole Award in large part due to its decision to hire a public relations firm to act on its behalf with media outlets in the wake of the Tyisha Miller shooting.

CFAC also has its own blog for further information about issues which impact the laws which ensure that the citizenry has access to information about its own government and to insure that those governmental agencies abide by these "sunshine" laws.

Francke ultimately left the CFAC and became a leader of another state watchdog organization Californians Aware which provides many of the same services as CFAC. Its resources are here including helpful links and the infamous state audits as well as the even more infamous local audits including two years worth of audits done on law enforcement agencies all across the state on how accessible they are in terms of obtaining public information. The different agencies were graded on different criteria and then those grades were averaged.

This includes the 2007 law enforcement agency audit. The Riverside Police Department received this grade.

Compare that grade to this earlier grade received by the police department. Not much improvement there but there's still hopes for next year.

The organization also has its NOVA awards.

How to be a Cal Aware watchdog is a way for residents of California to be more involved in holding their governmental agencies accountable by monitoring their actions.

Cal Aware also has a blog.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff is worried about the current rift between his agency and Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

A man who was tased by Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies remains hospitalized.

One of the highest ranking financial officials in Riverside County is in serious trouble for allegedly misrepresenting himself as a certified public accountant when in fact he was not. His only certificate was one from Georgia which expired decades ago.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Both the board and the Riverside County DA's office declined to say whether they had received complaints about Kincaid, citing the need for confidentiality in investigations.

"The rules are there. The rules are on our Web site. It is very clear," Hersh said, adding: "If you are not a certified public accountant, why would you put that by your name?"

County Supervisor Bob Buster said not knowing the law is not a valid excuse, especially considering the role of the auditor-controller's office as a watchdog over county operations.

The office's responsibilities include authorizing county financial transactions, managing payroll and independently auditing county boards and departments.

"It could well be a very serious issue that needs to be reviewed," Buster said.

"They are supposed to set the gold standard," he added. "A lot of agencies will be audited by them and held to a high standard. They have to be above reproach."

Buster did mention in the article that it was possible that he and others on the county board of supervisors might have to bring it to that forum for review.

The annual Inland Empire Non-profit Conference will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 8:1 a.m.-4:45 p.m. at the Marriot Hotel in downtown Riverside. There will be seminars providing information on developing skills and resources that will help people involved in non-profit organizations.

In Milwaukee, officers searching the locker of another officer found $100 that had been missing from money taken in a sting.

More feuding between the police chief and independent police auditor in Eugene.

The review panel in Silk Plant Forest probing into the handling of an assault case by the police department might have a subpoena for a former detective who worked on the case.

An off-duty San Diego Police Department officer who shot a mother and her son in Oceanside will be facing criminal charges.

(excerpt, San Diego Union-Tribune)

It marks the first time in 13 years in the county that a law enforcement officer, either on or off duty, has been charged with a crime for shooting someone while acting under the color of authority.

The officer, Frank White, fired five rounds into a car driven by Rachel Silva in the parking lot of a Lowe's store March 15, culminating what Oceanside police have described as a road-rage incident.

Silva, 28, who authorities say was intoxicated and driving on a suspended license for a previous DUI conviction, was hit twice in the right arm, and her 8-year-old son was struck once in his left leg.

At his arraignment yesterday, White pleaded not guilty to one felony count of grossly negligent discharge of a firearm and one misdemeanor count of exhibiting a firearm. The first charge carries two enhancements for causing great bodily injury to Silva and her son. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.

In Wichita, Kansas controversy has erupted over allegations that three police officers made racist comments while off-duty at a party.

The local NAACP chapter had some harsh words in response.

The following is a copy of a Press release issued this morning to 93
local reporters, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, and the entire
Wichita City Council
Contact: Kevin Myles; Wichita NAACP President
Email: Kevin@wichitanaacp. org
phone: (316) 655-9282

Date: 06/21/08

The Wichita NAACP Calls on the Wichita Police Department and Chief
Norman Williams to terminate officers overheard making Racist and
Bigoted comments

As recently reported, the Wichita Police department has suspended
three officers for making a series of Racist and Reprehensible
comments which were overheard and reported by a neighbor. These types
of comments undermine the public trust and are indicative of an
underlying hostility towards one of the very communities the Officers
are sworn to serve and protect. Expressions of Hatred and Bigotry
should not be tolerated within the ranks of our Public Safety officials.

We understand and appreciate that Professional Standards is now
conducting an investigation into the matter; which we will closely
monitor. However, we wish to go on record stating that if the Wichita
Police Department and Chief Norman Williams attempt to 'sweep this
under the rug' by quietly returning the officers to duty, it would
send a strong signal that such behavior is condoned by the leadership
of WPD.

The Wichita Police Department should have a zero tolerance policy for
racism and misogyny and it is our hope that the leadership in the
Police Department will resolve this matter accordingly. We are
therefore calling upon the Wichita Police Department and Chief Norman
Williams to act in the Public's interest by terminating the officers
upon the conclusion of the investigation.

The press release and other information is also located in the NAACP's blog.

Indiana State Police Department officers who assaulted a gay man have been fired but will not face criminal charges.

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