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

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday morning roundup

"It was, you know, a decision we made because it was the outcome that's the best. So it was, it was a decision. You can't play Monday-morning quarterback, bro."

---Former U.S. Marine Sgt. and Riverside Police Department officer Jose Nazario to former Marine sergeant, Germaine Nelson about the shootings of Iraqi detainees in Fallujah, during a phone call taped by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

I had the experience this past evening of walking through the neighborhood and watching someone in a black sports car toss what looked like a bottle out the window in the street in front of a house and then after watching it bounce up and down, it exploded like a bomb, filling the night air with a chlorine or bleach type smell and giving me a splitting headache. Fortunately, there was no injuries or property damage. The car had sped off before the big boom.

A family living in that house came running out to see what had happened and during the conversation, an ex-boyfriend was mentioned. I did suggest that they report it to the police but they didn't want to do so. Whatever it was, it was very loud.

Former U.S. Marine and Riverside Police Department Officer Jose Nazario was interviewed by the Associated Press about his upcoming trial on federal manslaughter charges.


Nazario is the first military service member who has completed his duty to be brought to trial under a law that allows the government to prosecute defense contractors, military dependents and those no longer in the military who commit crimes outside the United States.

"They train us, and they expect us to rely back on that training. Then when we use that training, they prosecute us for it?" Nazario said during an interview Saturday with The Associated Press.

"I didn't do anything wrong. I don't think I should be the first tried like this," said Nazario, whose trial begins Tuesday in Riverside, east of Los Angeles.

In the interview, he said he had been called to the police department to sign a performance evaluation and while signing it, he was grabbed from behind by other police officers, handcuffed and turned over to the Navy. His trial is scheduled to start in the Riverside branch of the U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

In January 2007, while under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, Nelson agreed to telephone Nazario and ask leading questions so agents could tape Nazario's responses.

According to court documents, Nelson asked Nazario if he should take a lie detector test if asked about the killings. The documents provide a partial transcript.

Nelson: "I mean, we had the right orders, didn't we?"

Nazario: "Yeah."

Nelson: "Who gave us the orders though?"

Nazario: "That . . . is coming from the battalion commanders. We got to get from point A to point B and we ain't got time to throw [anything] on the truck 'cause we moving."

Later on, Nazario explains: "It was, you know, a decision we made because it was the outcome that's the best. So it was, it was a decision. You can't play Monday-morning quarterback, bro."

Nelson and Marine Sgt. Ryan Weemer are being tried on murder charges under the military system. The allegations came to light when Weemer was being given a polygraph for a job position with the Secret Service. When asked what was the most serious crime he had ever committed, he detailed the incident which allegedly took place in November 2004 in Fallujah.

Here's some news that might make prominent politicians weep. Because of the difficult economic climate, development firms who donate money to political candidates might have to cut back on their spending.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"There's a time when you make major donations to a variety of charities and political candidates, and there's a time when you play it very low key," said Stephenson, a major donor to Temecula City Council members, as well as Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.

"From a financial standpoint, this is just not the year to support anybody."

Paul Grover, managing partner of Strategic Land Advisors in Irvine, said with land values dropping, investors are holding back operating funds, including those used for donations

Given the preponderance of development firm donors in Riverside's very own political races, it's going to be interesting how this ahem, development factors into next year's city council and mayoral elections. Will it change the entire face of campaign contributions, fundraising and even strategy? What campaign donors will fill this huge gap? Will everyone be forced to go "grass-roots"?

Since the Governmental Affairs Committee's attempts to tinker with the current election system failed due to public protest, the election next year will follow the same schedule as Election 2007 with entries being taken in early 2009 by the city clerk's office, a mailin preliminary (and possibly final) round election in June and any final runoff elections taking place next November.

Is it an endurance test? Yes. But the longer the election cycle, the more it evens the playing fields for the races so that the incumbent isn't overwhelmingly given the edge as they certainly would if plurality elections had been installed.

Campaign disclosure statements are public information so you can go to the city clerk's office at City Hall and check them out to see how much money is contributed by development firms to your elected representatives. Looking up candidates' campaign disclosure statements which are put out regularly can reveal a lot about that candidate and is something voters should do before the election.

If you need further information, contact City Clerk Colleen Nichol through the city council's number at 826-5991 or email her at You can even get electronic copies of campaign donations from this office now.

If you're interested in tracking fundraisers for the local candidates, this site will provide information on several upcoming events.

Speaking of campaign contributors, Gary Rawlings died last weekend. He had made campaign donations to different political campaigns over the years but as it turned out he made a lot of anonymous charitable donations as well.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3847 Terracina Drive, Riverside. The family requests donations go to the church or to the Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery.

On Saturday, a Hemet couple visited the Riverside National Cemetery to pay respects to a father who had been a POW in World War II, only to have their car stolen with their beloved dog inside. Yesterday, the car and the dog were found but apparently the dog had been left by the thief to die of heat stroke in the car.

Rialto is looking into getting a gang injunction to join cities Cathedral City and Riverside.

Residents of mobile parks in the Inland Empire have started a coalition to fight for their rights feeling that there's no advocates out there on their issues.

Is a WalMart Supercenter coming to Redlands? Expect some protesting there if that's the case which is usually what happens when WalMart comes to town especially when it super sizes.

The Orange Punch blog comments on Sheriff Sandra Hutchens' new policy on concealed weapon permits stating that essentially she's ended the practice.

Hutchens has been implementing policy changes in an attempt to distance herself from her predecessor, Mike Carona who gave out tons of political favors to his supporters and is now facing trial on federal corruption charges. Never a dull moment during her stint as the new sheriff in town for sure!

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