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, August 01, 2008

Links, places and things

If you can read this blog right now, then you probably don't have IE 6.0 as your browser of choice. Unfortunately, the stat log that's used on this site has crashed and taken IE with it, leaving many IE users and all IE 6.0 users may be receiving an error message that states, "operation aborted" and can't open this page. Apparently, the stat log service changed some code and forgot that IE browsers produce error messages if the changed code appears at a certain point within the site template.

The only solution is to download Firefox or Opera until it's fixed. If you can read this, then you're not having a problem and if you can't read it or access this site (not to mention other affected blogs), then you don't know what the problem is.

Former United States Marine and Riverside Police Department officer, Jose Luis Nazario, jr. is facing manslaughter charges in relation to the killings of Iraqi detainees in November 2004. His trial date is currently set for Aug. 19 at the federal courthouse in downtown Riverside.

This site has archived various documents filed in this court case including this motion filed by Nazario's attorney to oppose the new trial date.

Who issued the radio order? That's a question that many have been asking in connection wit this case.

A Canyonlake elected official who was the target of a probe is running for election again. He misused the city's issued credit card but apparently has paid the money back and has tossed his hat in the ring. Voters have short memories, he's clearly hoping. We shall see about that soon enough.

Three more council members in Riverside County's newest city, Wildomar are probably relieved to hear they won't have to run for office again in November. But alas, the reprieve is a brief one.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The Wildomar man had sued the city and asked the courts to force the city to immediately draw up districts and put three council members up for re-election in November. All five council members started serving their terms July 1.

Schwartz said in his ruling statement that it would be "absurd" to expect council members to go up for re-election right after they started serving their terms.

Attorney Amy Hoyt, who represented the city in court, said the city will now proceed with setting up a process to create districts.

"We are going to follow the law provided and work to get these districts together," she said.

Attorney Dimetri Reyzin, said it was a partial win for his client, Ste. Marie, because the judge ruled the next election should be in June 2009, not 2010 like city officials argued.

"The city said it needed at least a year to make districts," Reyzin said. "The judge said, 'No, you don't.' "

Other prospective candidates in local elections are packing those war chests so that they can spend lots of money to try to win seats.

Recently, a San Bernardino Police Department sergeant alleged that his department was illegally detaining people, but a judge refused to lower bail in a hearing involving some of those defendants. He said that the department had been doing it for a while.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The illegal-detention issue arose during a bail-reduction hearing meant to reduce the bail for all seven defendants from $1 million each. Police have identified the seven as gang members, and each has been charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana for sale and street terrorism.

"People want to see San Bernardino cleaned out," said Deputy Public Defender David Menezes, among the many attorneys who watched the hearing from the audience. "But it has to be in a constitutional manner."

Deputy Public Defender Samuel Knudsen, who represents 27-year-old Carl Edward Alexander, said in court that he expects his client isn't the only suspect San Bernardino police have illegally detained.

"They're scooping people off the street and holding then without phone calls, and without charges, for hours," Knudsen said outside the courtroom. "It's a misdemeanor to do that."

Previously, The Press-Enterprise had obtained an e-mail from Sgt. Mike Desrochers saying Lawrence had a history of detaining suspects without charges and leaving them in jail overnight.

Another document shows suspect Greg Parker in a San Bernardino police log as being "on ice" and held on unknown charges. That department's jail is separate from the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Fontana Police Department supervisors have reached a new labor agreement. They get a new contract and some pay raises over the next several years.

Actress Lindsey Lohan had harsh words for Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton for referring to her as "gay".

(excerpt, Associated Press)

Police, you shouldn't get involved in everyone else's business when it comes to their personal life. It's inappropriate," Lohan said in a video shot by paparazzi Friday and posted on In the footage, Lohan and gal pal Samantha Ronson are trekking through the Los Angeles Airport on their way to catch a flight to Chicago.

The day before, Chief William Bratton said the paparazzi have become less of a problem thanks to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lohan leading more moderate lifestyles.

"If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God, and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue," he told KNBC-TV.

When asked to clarify his comments about Lohan, Bratton used the tried-and-true "I have a gay friend" only it was a family member and I'm a proponent of civil rights, only it's gay and lesbian rights.

The family of Kevin Wicks, a United States Postal employee shot and killed by Inglewood Police Department officers who apparently came to the wrong house on a 911 call, is planning to file civil action against the city.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Wicks' daughter and mother, who have rallied the support of community activists, insist that Ragan and three other officers went to the wrong apartment in the 100 block of North Hillcrest Boulevard. They also contend that if Wicks was in possession of a weapon, it was because he lived in a dangerous neighborhood and was concerned for his safety when he responded to the knock at his door shortly after midnight.

Outrage over Wicks' shooting intensified after it was revealed that Ragan was one of two officers involved in the May shooting of three unarmed men that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Michael Byoune.

The recent shootings in Inglewood by police officers led to the city's government voting to hire the Office of Independent Review from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to conduct its own probe.

An Orange County Register columnist has taken offense at county sheriff, Sandra Hutchens decision to take back over 400 ceremonial badges given out by former sheriff, Mike Carona.


It's not as if the PSR badges have caused any significant problems. PSR volunteers are repeatedly warned that the badges confer no special privileges, and that any abuse will get them immediately kicked out of the program. According to sheriff's officials, in the past several years there has been only one documented case of a PSR possibly trying to "badge" his way out of a jam.

So, why take away all the PSR badges? According to sheriff's officials, it's a problem of perception.

You see, the PSR program was started by disgraced former Sheriff Mike Carona, and at the beginning it was largely a club for Carona's political supporters. Some of them – not all, but some – didn't really provide any significant services to the department.

That's no longer the case. In recent years, Sheriff's Department officials in the Community Services Division worked hard to buck the political pressures in the Carona-era department – sometimes at risk to their own careers – and implement higher standards for participation in the PSR program. The vast majority of PSRs today are simply ordinary men and women who want to serve their communities.

But the negative perception persists, not so much among the general public as in the news media. For example, a recent L.A. Times editorial criticized the program and declared that "few of (the PSRs) actually helped the department" – this about a group that, as I said, has contributed 20,000 hours of time in the past year.

So, in an effort to purge the department of any Carona-era taint, Hutchens announced plans to revamp the PSR program – starting with confiscating the PSRs' badges.

And while they don't really care about the badges – it's not like they're 6 years old and need shiny badges to feel cool -- the PSRs I've spoken with find the whole thing more than a little insulting. To them, it's as if the new sheriff is lumping them all together as badge-waving, do-nothing Carona cronies who can't be trusted to behave properly.

There's been a couple of developments in the case in Georgia where a deputy's wife was allegedly killed by a man trying to rob her who was then killed by her husband.

The District Attorney's office is quiet about the case which is about a month old.

Derrick Yance did have to submit a DNA sample to investigators.

Grand jury testimony is continuing in a special proceeding in relation to former Bolingbrook Police Department sergeant, Drew Peterson. Peterson's current wife has been missing since Oct. 28 and his third wife Kathleen Savio was killed in her bathtub several years ago. A recent attempt by Peterson and his attorneys to get his weapons charges case tossed out failed.

Some police officers from Minneapolis raided the wrong house and in return, they've received medals for heroism. The only surprising thing about that is when people hear about cases like these and assume it's anything new. It's an old civil rights attorney joke that when officers get sued or in trouble in the spotlight, they almost invariably win awards during the duration. The most notorious incident was back after the fatal shooting of Irwin Landrum in Claremont, California. The officers who shot him alleging he was holding a gun (which interestingly enough was traced back to a deceased former police chief) later won awards for city employees of the year. Awards that were later rescinded by the city after much outrage, though the two officers got to keep the cash prizes.

Atlantic City will be paying out $95,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said that she was drugged by police officers.

(excerpt, Press of Atlantic City)

Last week, City Council voted to settle the lawsuit, which claimed Sara Mulrooney received a prescription drug from two on-duty city officers in April 2006. Mulrooney, who was 20 years old at the time, later passed out and smashed her face on the Boardwalk, suffering fractures to her face and nose and dental injuries.

According to the suit and other city documents, Officers Rick Lasco and Russell Bouffard invited Mulrooney into their patrol car, which was stationed near Casbah nightclub at Trump Taj Mahal on April 8, 2006.

Lasco allegedly gave Mulrooney a pill, which was later determined to be Tramadol, a strong painkiller that can cause dizziness, drowsiness and possible seizures and is not supposed to be consumed with alcohol. The pills were later found in Bouffard's jacket.

Once the two officers' shifts ended, the three entered the nightclub where Mulrooney allegedly began drinking alcohol in front of the officers, despite her being under age at the time.

Mulrooney soon became dizzy and was brought back outside by Lasco before she lost consciousness and fell face-first to the Boardwalk. The lawsuit was filed about two years later.

A police union in Montgomery County is blocking the installation of video cameras in squad cars.

Riverside is still struggling to get similar equipment in its police department squad cars. It had promised to install cameras while the stipulated judgment with the state attorney general's office was winding down and actually allocated $500,000 from the general fund to pay to do so. However, it's now over two years later and the department still only has about 13 squad cars equipped with these devices, the same number it had in January 2006.

A response to the department on the racial and gender makeup of its field training officer division wasn't granted or denied but apparently ignored or at least not included by the police department in its response. On the other hand, the department did grant portions of the CPRA request which provided useful information about the guidelines involving training in that unit as long as it didn't have anything to do with sexual harassment.

Now that the City Attorney's office appears to be screening all CPRA requests and the city manager's office will receive copies of responses to CPRA requests addressed to them from the City Attorney's office rather than respond to the request themselves. For example, if you write a CPRA request asking for the operational budget of the Community Police Review Commission during the next fiscal year, the response you won't receive is one from City Manager Brad Hudson's office. What you will see is a letter written and signed by City Attorney Gregory Priamos and CC-ed to Hudson and one of his assistants, Tom DeSantis instead. Are the individuals earning six figured salaries for allegedly managing the city including its budget incapable of adequately responding to CPRA request? One would think that DeSantis would understand how to perform this function given his experience as Riverside County's public information officer. In contrast, the police department's public information officer Steve Frasher is well versed and rather good at performing this duty before the procedure changed.

And what Priamos' letter will state is directions to go to the city's Web site and check out the recently passed 2008-09 preliminary budget. The catch is that you won't find the operational budget information for the CPRC in that report under the city manager's office's budget since that office ditched including line item budgets for the different divisions and opted instead to lump it (and hide it?) under the entire budget for that office.

And as for information to back comments made by DeSantis in response to disturbing audit by consultant Joe Brann involving the police department's staffing issues, you'll again receive a written response from Priamos directing you back to that budget report which doesn't exactly produce figures that look like they are the basis for where DeSantis got his rather generous interpretation of the currently budgeted officer to supervisor ratios for example.

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