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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A not guilty plea and a warrant is unsealed

Just in, my first hate letter of the day about writing about Forman is here. And yes, this individual has a name though he chose not to share it with us. In fact, he's got different names all much cuter than he is and an ISP appeared on my site within 20 minutes of when the comment occurred that's been a source of similar comments in the past including one about how the LAPD beat Mexicans up like pinatas during the May Day incident. Sounds like a charmer doesn't he?

But I'm not the only one who knows what's likely to be his real one. In fact, I would guess I was more along the lines of the last one to know, not the first and it was a bit of a surprise because this individual wasn't on the radar. That really helped him a whole lot and it harmed me.

What kind of creep writes about following someone in a neighborhood for two weeks and writes about what they are wearing with the sole purpose of scaring them?

Was it him? Was it "we"? I do know this individual wrote that he could "smell the funk" coming from me a mile away and that he constantly wrote, "I'll pray for you" and so forth. I also know that he wrote something very hostile and nasty to someone else. Maybe he should pray for himself if he's reduced to writing disgusting comments like these ones, to rid himself of that habit.

Or what they're wearing at a city council meeting? Bud, I think it's time to look in the mirror at himself and you can choose to do so privately if he doesn't do it for his audience. I think it's time for everyone who's stood for you and covered for you to look in the mirror as well. And as for "we", I think I know who they are too. After all, it's not the first time someone's made insinuations based about me based on one sentence I said or wrote or they think I said or wrote or they got bored and imagine I said or wrote. In fact, there's only two individuals who seem to spend time doing so or so I've been told by many, many people. You might not like what you see there in that mirror either.

So now Shelton follows one of RPDs officers through the courthouse? Sits close and eavesdrops on a handshake between a prosecutor and the officer?


Her true intentions ring out again. She is infatuated with the thought of an officer being charged with sex crimes. "This cop abused his authority," she screams. Just like he (that authority figure from her past) did to me!" Oops.

You might ask why. We have a hunch. Maybe she's reliving her Army days? Yeah we know all about that. Don't act surprised.

Sick, Shelton. You really ought to get some help with your spirits of the past. oh and get some clean clothes and get yourself clean. Your disgusting.

Is this creepy? Yes. Is it trying to be creepier than it is? Yes, to that too. Does knowing who is probably responsible make it less so? In this case, no it doesn't. The opposite in fact and unfortunately for good reason. But to me, he's just a number. One of quite a few faceless people who harassed via Craigslist, email and on this site during the past three years because they hate this blog so much.

The thing is, the first thing insecure guys reach for when trying to harass women or get our attention is to make crude comments about your physical appearance as if we care about what some online guy who for all we know could be jacking off at the time he writes about his comments. Now isn't that disgusting? In actuality, he's not all that to look at either but I'm not one who values a person's worth based on looks like he is. Although a hair cut might help in his case and if he lost the soft sole shuffle.

As for defining what's disgusting, go back and reread what you wrote and perhaps I can assist you and post more stuff that you also have written here and let's talk about who's been disgusting here again. The sad thing, is I'm not even the only one who was on the receiving end of your prosy vitriol. You like to spread the wealth around but then when you have an endless supply of that, you can afford to be generous.

The thing I've learned from being terrorized by your ilk is how different so many people are from being a rock dweller like yourself and how many individuals don't engage in your behavior and don't look favorably at those who do. In fact, individuals have apologized for me on your behalf, whether they even knew who they were apologizing for or not. The words, "nasty", "embarrassing" and "crazy" in reference to you and your kind didn't come from my lips.

That helped balance out the garbage and filth that you spewed at least a little bit and put your contributions to the process in their proper perspective but if you meant to scare me, you did do that. The second thing I've learned, is that all the systems in place protect you and not me and that there's no reason for anyone to feel confident in them.

It's sunny outside today and beautiful but you'd have to crawl out all the way out of that rock buried deep in your swamp to see it and that's too much. What a shame for you. But how nice for the rest of us if you just stay there. You and "we".

And if this creep, meaning you, is a friend of Forman, a buddy, a comrade or just a supporter, you're not doing Forman a hell of a lot of good by writing filth like this on his behalf. You should be supporting him in person, in court, in public not hiding behind semi-anonymity on the internet like the creep you've proven to be three years a little past the day of your first comment published. Because someone might just think he's just like you and that's not fair if that's not the case. In fact, that's a disservice to him. But you won't do that, because you know the rock won't allow you to do that. In fact, you will probably continue to spew more filth because face it, you've got plenty left and little else.

Nah, too much of a coward then. Too much now.

But creeps like this and you have so many people looking out for them, protecting them and blocking them that all the person on the receiving end can do is to keep blogging even if it pisses them off that they do crawl out from beneath their rocks deep in their swamps. And individuals who creep like this and spew disgusting garbage just serve as an eloquent reminder of why it's so very important to keep a spotlight on the department and this city.

"I have absolutely nothing to say about Officer Forman. It will be dealt with by me expeditiously,"

---Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach, to the Press Enterprise

Riverside Police Department Officer Robert Forman plead not guilty in Riverside County Superior Court on Nov. 12 to two counts of oral copulation under the color of authority and one count of sexual battery, which are all felonies under the state penal code. The charges stem from allegations made against him by three different women between February and May this year.

In a separate hearing, Riverside County Superior Court Judge James T. Warren issued the ruling on whether or not the arrest warrant against Forman should remain unsealed, as another judge, Jean Leonard had ordered on Oct. 14.

After hearing from different sides including attorney Alonzo Wickens who represented the Press Enterprise's appeal to have the record unsealed, Warren decided to uphold that motion and unseal the arrest record on the condition that the victims' names, personal information about them and personal information about Forman included on the document be redacted before it's unsealed.

At an earlier hearing held on Nov. 10, Wickens said the sealing of the record mystified him as he couldn't understand why there was a blanket sealing of the warrant and not just a redaction of any identifying information involving the victims. Judge Thomas H. Cahraman had issued a continuance upon the request of Forman who was present without his attorney and asked for more time.

The arrest warrant was unsealed and information about what led to the allegations was made public. Forman allegedly either gave the women drugs to get them to perform sexual acts or they felt fearful of arrest, according to an article posted on Belo Blog.

More details of the alleged incidents were provided involving the three unidentified women. One had been stopped by him at a convenience store while smoking crack and was given speed by him in a bag and told to sit in a squad car. Forman drove her in his vehicle and she performed a sexual act on him at a park. He then paid her money and asked where he could bust a drug dealer.

Two more alleged incidents were also detailed in the warrant. A second woman had alleged she had contact with Forman while reporting a rape. At one point, he allegedly gave her alcohol to drink in his squad car. She went to another car with another man and received $100 from him without performing a sex act.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

She walked back to the patrol car, and the man confronted Forman. That resulted in an altercation to which other officers responded, the documents stated.

The man left and the woman walked away.

Shortly afterward, Forman drove up to her and said the man was waiting down the street. Forman told her she needed to be in his car for protection. In an alley, Forman attempted to kiss and touch her, the documents stated. She got out of the patrol car.

A third woman said she met Forman when he and his trainee responded to her apartment for a reported hostage situation.

While investigating, officers found syringes and evidence of fraud, the documents stated. The woman was on probation and feared going to jail.

Forman hung a pair of her underwear on the dartboard in the living room. In the bedroom, he found a piece of lingerie and said he would return. He said, "I want to see you in this," the documents stated.

Later that morning, he returned and said he told his trainee that he went out for coffee.

The woman complied with his request to perform a sex act so she would not go to jail, the documents stated.

"I was scared. ... I was intimidated," she told investigators.

The department confiscated his uniforms, his squad car and equipment to conduct testing but was waiting for test results to come back at the time the warrant was written. Forman was arrested and posted $50,000 after being booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center.

At the time this happened, Forman was a patrol officer who also apparently worked as a field training officer. In the third incident, it's mentioned that he had been assigned to train a newer officer who apparently was with him in the vicinity of the apartment while these alleged actions by Forman were being done. If so, what did this trainee do in this situation? Did he or she witness anything suspicious or potentially criminal and if so, did he or she report it? And when Forman allegedly ditched his trainee and told him or her that he was out getting coffee, what did this other officer think? Did this person say anything about that? Was there anything to say?

What kind of climate does the Riverside Police Department have when it comes to officers feeling comfortable or even able to report misconduct or suspected misconduct done by another officer? What is the process? Who do they go to and is it one that works to protect them or does it work to punish them? Does it depend on the circumstances or who complains?

Past statistics released by the police department to the Human Relations Commission on citizen complaints and internal investigations in 2000 and 2001 (during the department's brief period of glasnost on this issue) seemed to show that the sustain rate on the latter was much higher than that of the former.

These are questions that have been asked many times by different people and some times answers are provided in carefully worded statements and other times through what actually happens. Historically in the department like other law enforcement agencies, the two haven't always matched.

In a case involving a Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputy, Dave Kushner who is being prosecuted for criminal charges stemming from alleged sexual assault offenses several years ago, another deputy witnessed Kushner inside his squad car with one of the alleged victims in a manner which aroused his suspicion. This deputy didn't testify at Kushner's preliminary hearing but it's assumed that he might at Kushner's trial if it takes place. What's the climate of the Sheriff's Department been like since this deputy became known for his involvement as a witness in this case? Is it the same or different than the police department?

And when it comes to how women are treated, the news that Forman worked as a training officer of newly hired officers including possibly those who are women women is also noted. If it's true (and at this point, these are alleged incidents in the legal system) that Forman was involved in sexual abuse and assault out in the field, what about his interactions with other women including female officers he might have trained? Are there questions which need to be asked about that? And who will ask them if need be?

If it's indeed true that Forman offered a woman drugs for sex, where did he get his drugs? On the street, from his own personal use or from an evidence locker?

Incidents involving allegations of sexual crimes like this one open up a lot of questions not to mention many concerns, only few of which might be answered and it remains to be seen what those answers will be. All that can be hoped for is that the courtroom serves as a venue where the truth comes out and every one's opportunity to tell it (or not because defendants aren't required to testify) is unhindered by the process.

The family of Marlon Oliver Acevedo who died Oct. 31 after being in the custody of Riverside Police Department officers disputed the police department's version of events leading to Acevedo's death.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Elizabeth Lomeli, 23, Acevedo's girlfriend of five years, was back home on Cypress Avenue with their children, 2 and 4 years old, after trick or treating. She looked outside and saw police wrestling with Acevedo.

Riverside police Capt. Mark Boyer told the Community Police Review Commission that Acevedo was in the street yelling at cars when officers arrived. He raised his fists and walked toward the officers, who struck him with retractable batons.

Lomeli said she and Garay ran outside. One officer had a knee in the back of Acevedo's neck and another was putting on handcuffs.

They put on a leg restraint and then used a stun gun to shock him, Lomeli said.

"He was moving a little bit and they Tased him," she said.

Lomeli said Acevedo was kept on his stomach until he was rolled onto a gurney and put into an ambulance.

"When he wasn't moving no more we knew something had happened," Lomeli said.

Boyer said Acevedo was kept on his side after he was restrained.

At a briefing in front of the Community Police Review Commission, Capt. Mark Boyer who heads the department's investigations division provided the department's account.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Marlon Oliver Acevedo, 35, was screaming and standing in stopped traffic on Cypress Avenue in Riverside about 9:45 p.m. Friday, Boyer said.

Police do not know why Acevedo was screaming at traffic. An autopsy report will not be complete for about eight weeks.

When police approached, Acevedo raised his fists and walked toward the officers. Officers Koehler and Ratkovitch struck Acevedo in the knees and legs with retractable batons, Boyer said. The officers' first names were not provided.

Acevedo punched Koehler in the right eye and Ratkovitch shocked Acevedo with a Taser, Boyer said.

The officers then handcuffed Acevedo and called for medical aid, the captain stated.

While waiting for paramedics, Acevedo began kicking and the officers requested another officer, Boyer said.

Officer Heiting arrived and assisted in restraining Acevedo with a device called a "hobble" that controls the legs.

Boyer said Acevedo was on his side after he was restrained.

When paramedics arrived, the handcuffs and hobble were removed once they realized there was a medical emergency, he said.

Boyer told the commission that several witnesses backed the accounts of the officers' versions of the incident, but it's not clear whether Lomeli and other family members who witnessed the event were included on the list of agreeable witnesses. Were they? And if they were omitted as witnesses mentioned by the department, why so? Do they have a vested interest in the situation because they are relatives? Perhaps, but so may the involved officers.

The CPRC of course was forbidden from initiating an investigation into the Acevedo as dictated by Section 810(d) of the city's charter by the Riverside City Council which apparently through active involvement of several members and passive involvement by the remainder directed City Manager Brad Hudson to issue a directive barring the commission from investigating independently any officer-involved death until it receives permission from Hudson and/or the police department.

So the very troubling Acevedo case joins a growing list of officer-involved deaths that won't be investigated by the CPRC until months or even a year or so from now, because of actions ordered by elected officials involving direction given to the city manager's office and city attorney's office.

An interim director's been hired for Riverside's art museum.

The Moreno Valley Police Department tries a new approach addressing gangs, through intervention.

Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona's federal corruption trial saw a witness testify that Carona involved himself in a controversial sexual assault case.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

On Wednesday, he told jurors that Carona tried to make good on the political favors after Gregory Haidl was arrested in connection with the July 2002 sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl during a party at the family's hilltop home in Newport Beach.

Haidl said he recalled thinking at the time "that they at the very least owed me this."

The attack was captured on videotape, and the case drew national attention. Gregory Haidl and two teenage friends were ultimately convicted and given six-year prison sentences. All have since been released.

Haidl's reconstruction Wednesday of what happened behind the scenes in his son's case puts Carona much closer to the case than previously reported.

He said Carona supported Jaramillo's decision to drive to the San Bernardino home where the younger Haidl was living with his mother and intervene as Newport Beach police questioned the teen. He said Jaramillo kept Carona apprised by phone of what was happening.

"He felt it was fine that George had been there and acknowledged that George had been in touch with him and was keeping him posted," Haidl said.

In San Diego, the police chief there is fighting the use of steroids. Law enforcement officers use them to put on physical bulk, but disturbing problems have arisen from their abuse.

(excerpt, San Diego Union-Tribune)

He said steroid abuse has seeped into police agencies nationwide, but few departments test their officers for the drug.

Aggressive outbursts, excessive use of force, poor judgment and serious health problems have been associated with steroid abuse among officers. Not to mention the fact that the drug is illegal.

“It's gone far beyond the sports field,” said Gary Green, a leading steroid researcher at UCLA's Olympic testing laboratory and a consultant to Major League Baseball. “And it has big implications for law enforcement. This is someone who has a firearm, who is entrusted by the public. We certainly want them to be as healthy as they can be.”

The San Diego Police Department does not test for steroids in pre-employment screens or random drug tests, but officers could be tested if they are suspected of abusing steroids.

Bob Kanaski, San Diego assistant police chief, said steroid use was an issue in the department in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I haven't seen anything of that nature since then,” he said. “Which is surprising, too, because we are very close to Mexico, which is probably one of the largest providers of steroids.

“I think we've done pretty good education on what steroids can do – what they can do to your body and to your future,” Kanaski said.

Not much information provided on the Tuscon Police Department lieutenant who's been placed on administrative leave after separate investigations by the FBI and the department's internal affairs division were initiated.

No more moonlighting for Baltimore Police Department officers, a decision which has its labor union seeing red.

(excerpt, Baltimore Sun)

But Bealefeld says the business owners rely too much on the officers and not enough on private security. Long-standing rules prohibit police from working inside businesses where alcohol is served, and Bealefeld worries the current arrangement leaves the off-duty officers to handle situations that have already gotten out of control.

"We got into this notion that it made more sense to hire off-duty cops because you'd have more cops all over the city, and ostensibly the city would be safer," Bealefeld said. "It's just not so. What's happened is that the businesses have transferred their responsibility onto the Police Department ... and that's not a responsibility or a liability I'm willing to assume."

Last year, off-duty officers working overtime security details killed armed men outside the South Baltimore hot spot Club Mate and inside a downtown parking garage. Last week, the city approved a $50,000 payout to an Edgewater man who accused six off-duty officers of beating him outside the Power Plant Live area.

And in late September, a 21-year-old Towson University student was beaten into a coma at the Iguana Cantina, which typically employs a half-dozen officers outside on busy nights.

"When people wind up in a coma in a club that I have cops working secondary at and no one knows anything, or cops are throwing unruly, drunken, disorderly, combative, violent patrons out on the street, only for them to shoot and stab and kill each other, is unacceptable," Bealefeld said. "I have a simple answer: My cops won't work at businesses that sell alcohol."

Law enforcement departments are tackling the issue of how to deal with police officers returning from military stints in combat zones.

A Pennsylvania State Police trooper alleges he was retaliated against for providing information in an internal affairs investigation.

Police officers sprayed other officers with tear gas during protests at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year because they didn't know that some of the most unruly "activists" were actually officers. To leave the demonstration undetected, they believed they had to stage a fight with a police commander, which brought on the pepper spray in their direction.

(excerpt, Denver Post)

On Thursday, the ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to Denver's Independent Monitor, Richard Rosenthal, asking for the Internal Affairs Bureau to conduct an investigation of the pepper-spraying incident.

"The actions of the undercover detectives on Aug. 25, 2008, may have had the effect of exacerbating an already 'tense situation,' as their feigned struggle led nearby officers and the public to believe that a commanding officer was being attacked by protesters and that the situation necessitated the use of chemical agents," says the letter, written by ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass.

"Such actions may have escalated the overall situation by causing officers on the scene to fear that the protesters threatened their safety, when in fact, the struggle was only between uniformed officers and undercover officers," he wrote.

Unfortunately, harassing female officers especially newer ones is all too common and in Clayton County, Georgia, the department didn't fire a male officer who sexually harassed a female officer but demoted him instead.

(excerpt, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Henry Derbyshire, a 28-year veteran of the Clayton County Police, was demoted from sergeant to patrol officer after investigators found he violated the county’s sexual harassment policy.

“He said she made some remarks that misinterpreted,” Police Chief Jeffrey Turner said. “He lost $15,000 in pay and was demoted to fleet maintenance. We took action and in my opinion, it was appropriate action. She wanted him terminated, but she doesn’t make those decisions.”

But now the Clayton County Commission wants to know why Derbyshire still has a job and was not prosecuted.

County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell asked the county attorney to look into the case after the victim complained to him last week.

“I have questions about this entire matter,” Bell said Monday. “The credibility of our police department is of paramount concern to this government. I am outraged.”

Every person should be outraged at this load of bull crap. Why? Look what the male officer apparently did to that female recruit who was just trying to do her job.


Concerns about sexual harassment arose in August when a 36-year-old female recruit complained about Derbyshire, then a recruiter and internal affairs investigator. The recruit passed the police qualifications test but never returned to complete the hiring process.

Derbyshire, who is divorced, was interviewing the woman for a job when he told her she was beautiful and asked her to dinner. The woman claims Derbyshire stuck his hand down her pants, sucked her breasts and kissed her mouth and neck, according to a sworn statement.

The woman told investigators she pulled away and told the officer to stop, but he refused.

Derbyshire admitted to kissing the woman’s “exposed breast” and neck, but denied the other allegations, according to an investigative report.

“I’m telling you I kissed her on the neck. She never pulled away and just a kiss on the top part of her breast and that was it,” Derbyshire told internal investigators. “I know it just happened. It was an attraction there.”

In most states even Georgia, that's sexual battery. In this department, it's simply "boys will be boys". If they seriously can't bother to give their women a working environment where they aren't groped, then they should at least equip their female officers with a cattle prod or better yet, a taser to protect themselves. Because the department isn't doing its job. In fact, if the demoted officer blames the female recruit for his own discipline and loss of pay, the harassment could even escalate. After all, there are officers who do blame others for being caught in their bad behavior and respond accordingly.

But you do have to hand it to Clayton County Sheriff's Department, at least they demoted the sergeant. In most other agencies, they'd have killed the messenger either by firing them or running them out of the agency.

The New York City transit officer who testified before the grand jury which is investigating allegations that several NYPD officers sodomized a man in a subway station, is thinking about cooperating with authorities.

The FBI will be hosting a public forum
this weekend.

FBI Town Hall

When: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Where: Riverside Medical Clinic, 7117 Brockton Ave., Riverside

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