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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Friday, November 14, 2008

Did the RPD racially profile a fellow officer?

"The only thing that saved me that day."

----Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Wayne Guillary, who was allegedly forced on the ground at gunpoint by a Riverside Police Department officer on his own property. He made this comment while showing the audience at an FBI town hall meeting his department-issued badge.

"We should plan for the worst and hope for the best."

---Riverside County Supervisor Jeffrey Stone, on the fiscal picture.

A conference room at Riverside's Medical Clinic was packed with people attending a town hall meeting with representatives from the FBI's offices in Los Angeles and Riverside. Intermixed with questions on different aspects of the FBI, were stories told by those in the audience about experiences ranging from hate crimes, to contacts with law enforcement officers to mortgage fraud.

One gentlemen, an African-American, stood up to ask a question about how the FBI and Department of Justice handled law enforcement misconduct because he had a story to tell about his experience with the Riverside Police Department. Some people sighed, looking at watches until one gentleman stood up and said he wanted to hear this man's story. This man told the audience about what happened to him one day while he was sitting on his own front lawn in one of Riverside's upper-scaled neighborhoods.

He said he had been sitting with a woman, talking and telling her about the great things about the United States of America, the greatest country on earth. They noticed a squad car driving slowly down the street and saw the officer looking at them with what they felt was great disdain. He told the woman that he was sure the officer would turn around at the end of the street and come back and stop in front of his house.

And sure enough that's exactly what happened. The officer parked his car, got out and immediately demanded to know what they were doing there and then told the gentleman he had to leave because he was trespassing.

But the man was on his own property, he said.

Then, the officer whipped a taser at him and told him not to come closer. Then, the officer pulled out his gun. He told the guy to get on the ground and the man did. The man did ask the officer if he could crawl onto the grass because his face hurt from touching the hot pavement. The man was detained and his wife asked the officer what he had done wrong.

That's a question that it's likely in coming days or weeks more people may be asking. At the meeting, the FBI representatives and the Press Enterprise reporter in attendance paid much closer attention to his story after what he said next.

The man said the only thing that saved him from going to jail that day was this, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a police badge and ID card. The badge was from the Los Angeles Police Department and his ID tag read that he was Sgt. Wayne Guillary. He said that he had hired an attorney and had filed a complaint but that very little or no information was provided by the police department about the incident.

As he talked about his experience, the room became quieter and more and more people focused on what he was saying. People were shocked when he revealed at the end of his story that he was employed by the LAPD as an officer. They said afterward, if a police officer can be treated like that on his own property, what hope is there for anyone who's not a police officer? Was he treated like that because he's Black and didn't look like he belonged in an affluent neighborhood, as allegedly said by the officer? His wasn't the only story told about the Riverside Police Department but it was one with an ironic twist to it.

It's not uncommon for police officers especially those who are Black to report being stopped by police officers and treated as if they are trespassers or criminals including on their own property or to be pulled over while they're driving and detained. Unfortunately, Black police officers have even been shot to death while off-duty or working plain-clothed assignments in different cities including Providence, Rhode Island and Oakland or assaulted including in Long Beach where one plain-clothed officer was shoved through a glass window. But some people are shocked that police officers particularly those who are Black and Latino can be viewed as criminals on sight as quickly as those who aren't in law enforcement.

Of course, this incident remains to be investigated (and perhaps will be aided by the audio recording taken by the police officer that's mandated by departmental policy in these circumstances) and hopefully it will be by more parties than just the police department which employs the officer. And that the investigations examine whether or not racial profiling took place. Perhaps a look at the department's training of officers in this area could be examined as well. The since-dissolved stipulated judgment mandated annual training in the roll call sessions but it's not clear whether that training or anything similar is still taking place.

In addition, this same agency has been promising to release its latest report on its traffic stop study for about two years now and has yet to actually produce it, even though the money allocated to pay for it was provided to the police department out of the city's general fund in the summer of 2005. At this point, one could ask, will this latest study ever be released?

Whether any investigations are conducted by what's left of the Community Police Review Commission, the FBI, Department of Justice or the State Attorney General's office, this is an incident that has already attracted some degree of attention.

Claims for damages have been filed in connection with several fatal officer-involved shootings by Riverside County Sheriff Department deputies at Soboba reservation.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is searching for one of its correctional deputies who's wanted in connection with an alleged sexual assault. So far, the department has only located a vehicle belonging to him.

Why Riverside needs a medical school. One man's reasons.

In Riverside, bus riding is at its all-time high. In part due to higher gas prices and having to cut back on spending on gas because of the recession.

But in other news, many counties and cities will have to do more with less when it comes to spending money.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"Money is drying up," said Dean Arabatzis, San Bernardino County's chief financial officer. "The base is eroding. That is nightmarish."

The county assessor's office is estimating assessed valuation -- used to determine how much is paid in property taxes -- which is expected to decline from $181.8 billion this year to between $172.5 billion and $175 billion for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1.

That's a drop of as much as 5 percent -- a plunge greater than the 4 percent decline the county experienced in 1994, the only other time in 30 years where the tax rolls shrunk.

"In looking at the numbers, we are going to experience one of the worst years in decades," San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus said. "We are seeing it across the board countywide."

The drop in San Bernardino County could translate into a $20 million combined hit to the county, cities and special districts. Property tax revenue funds a large share of discretionary services that local governments use to fund services such as police and fire protection.

A similar story is playing out in Riverside County, which saw a 22.5 percent spike in property tax revenue just two years ago. Officials are now projecting a 5 percent drop, by far the county's biggest decline since 1978.

That would mean the countywide assessment would drop from $243 billion to $231 billion.

With ballots remaining to be counted, elections in Lake Elsinore and Menifee are too close to call.

But Menifee doesn't want to waste a single minute of promoting itself as a new city.

The controversy over racial profiling in Palo Alto continues in the wake of public comments made by the police chief about telling officers to stop Black motorists.

Two more officers in the Polk County Sheriff's Department have been suspended.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older