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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Politicians, forums and rallies, oh my!

Over 100 people attended the aforementioned town hall meeting held by the FBI at the Riverside Medical Clinic. That was the meeting where a Black Los Angeles Police Department sergeant provided his account of being forced to lay on the ground at gunpoint by a Riverside Police Department officer on his own front lawn. He has filed a claim with the city, which in many cases serves as a precursor to filing a law suit.

It was an interesting gathering, as many people whether Muslim or not had many questions about the FBI in the wake of 9-11 for representatives from both the Los Angeles and Riverside offices. The event was held with the Multicultural Advisory Committee which works with the FBI and itself consists of different community and religious organizations.

Included in the article are the usual comments labeling Muslims as terrorists and newly elected president, Barack Obama as a Muslim. And then there's some inaccurate information presented as factual.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Am I missing something? 99% of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been commited by Muslims from the Mideast, are we supposed to 'stick our heads in the sand' and pretend this isn't so???

Actually that's not even factually correct. About 99% of all the terrorist attacks in the United States have been committed by domestic terrorists born inside the United States including the Ku Klux Klan, anti-abortion organizations (i.e. Lambs of God), extremist environmental organizations and individuals like Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh who come from militia backgrounds. It sounds like if anyone's been "sticking their heads in the sand", it's this guy which in his case is a larger issue than with most individuals. But there's actually individuals who believe that Obama's going to lead the "radical Muslims" to overthrow the country and you'd be surprised at who some of these individuals are who are stating these things.

Yes, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this individual gets his information from FOX News.

Hundreds marched on the streets in different cities in the Inland Empire in protest of the passage of Prop. 8. The Press Enterprise article inspired some interesting discussion. Of course, it inspired some bigotry as well.


With southern california burning, the pro sodomy activists are taking emergency services away to "protect" them. How self-centered me,me,me,me,me,me, pieces of crap they are. Me first, me, me, me gay first then all others. Get a clue sodomites, it ISN"T ALL ABOUT YOU! Let our state alone. Go protest in some gay-friendly state.

Still, one person gave an eye witness account of Riverside's own rally and march.


I attended the rally yesterday in downtown Riverside. In your article it was stated that about 250 people were there. I heard a count of 700 and they were still counting. It was estimated that it was more like 1,000 at the rally.

For Riverside's Gay Pride Festival the PE said that "hundreds" attended. The fact is that 2,500 people paid to attend the event.

The Press needs to get their facts straight before a story in printed.

Now it's time for EQUALITY for ALL.

For the anonymous individual who's exploiting the dangers of the California fire season (which is actually year-round in recent years due to the current drought) to stump his own bigotry and hatred, a lot of attention and rightfully so is being paid to the most recent round of brush fires arising from the Santa Ana wind conditions. It shouldn't have to be said but it's always important to practice and remember fire safety procedures not just during fire season but year-round as well.

The Inland Empire Weekly has this article on the situation involving the departure of Greyhound Bus Lines from inside the boundaries of Riverside. The article states that if Greyhound leaves on its presently scheduled departure in January of 2008 then Riverside will join a rather elite group of cities its size or larger who don't have Greyhound stations. Those being Aurora, Colorado and Plato, Texas.

And now, Riverside.

So much for being a cosmopolitan city when Riverside can't even compete with 48 other cities its size or larger which have Greyhound stations. The article discusses how many elderly and/or disabled individuals who rely on this transit system for transportation between different cities will be disenfranchised by Greyhound's departure. But somehow these individuals have been labeled by the city government as criminals, vagrants and drug dealers when very few individuals who ride Greyhound fall into that category from that group of 80,000+. That's ironic considering that many of the complaints have been from the side of the open-aired terminal that's allotted to the Riverside Transit Agency. But it's not surprising considering it wasn't that long ago that the city council was ejecting and barring elderly women from city council meetings or ordering police officers to escort them away from the podium for exceeding the three-minute speaking rule.

It's interesting trying to explain to people who live in cities larger than Riverside and even some that are smaller why Riverside is losing Greyhound. I mean, people say Riverside is trying to expand its horizons and grow, yet it can't even handle an intercounty bus system? In a future posting, there will be some guidelines to follow if you're ever in that situation of having to explain why a city of 300,000 will no longer have a Greyhound bus station.

Not to mention paying someone a high six-figure salary during a recession to address this problem like City Manager Brad Hudson and all he can come up with for a "solution" to assist over 80,000 people is Dial-A-Ride? This would be great material for a comedy sketch on some late night show if it weren't so sad.

It's losing it because it doesn't want to be reminded that elderly, disabled, or poor families even exist let alone congregate downtown to buy tickets and take Greyhound. It doesn't want to admit that it's not up to what other cities its size can handle and that's a transit hub within its heart. One possible option provided by Riverside Police Department Chief Russ Leach was to put a substation there which is an idea worth thinking about. There's enough rumors flying around at the moment that the police department is moving portions of itself into that square block anyway.

And how has this all played out at City Hall? Not very well.


Efforts to re-locate Greyhound to another part of the city went nowhere.

“We have tried to work extensively with the city,” says Wambaugh. “They asked us to vacate by January 31.” Wambaugh would not say who did the asking.

The closure is apparently a done deal, but some Riverside residents, notably well-known city gadfly Karen Wright, are convinced the expulsion can be reversed. Wright has been tirelessly spreading the word about the closure by hectoring council members, passing out handbills, and posting messages on Craigslist.

“This is a wrong-minded decision,” Wright said at the November 4 meeting. She went on to criticize the lack of transparency in the dealings with Greyhound, saying the public at large had not been consulted. As a last resort, Wright asked residents to vote on whether Greyhound should stay or go.

“If we can vote on rooster issues—which was a non-issue—the city can certainly put on the ballot, [an] item for whether or not Riverside needs a Greyhound station.”

This prompted a response from Ward 2 Councilman Andy Melendrez, who had to recuse himself from the city discussions because he owns a business within 500 feet of the Greyhound station. Melendrez was responding to emails he had received from elderly constituents concerned about the closure. He asked City Manager Hudson for a comment on any future costs for the city regarding this matter.

“I don’t think we are ready to release that information at this time,” Hudson said. When Melendrez pressed Hudson on when the information could be released, Hudson said merely, “As soon as it’s executed.”

Nancy Hart, Ward 6 Councilwoman, was apparently not part of the discussions, either. She chided Hudson. “I’m just curious as to whether in your ‘discussions’ you are thinking about making provisions for a bus line between here and the new Greyhound station wherever it might go.”

It's interesting that Hart is now saying that she's curious about these discussions because the issue had been discussed both in public at meetings and behind closed doors as the city council has met several times to discuss litigation filed in connection with Greyhound. She was there when several city council members on the same dais were making jokes about personally transporting Greyhound passengers to San Bernardino's bus station before casting a vote to disenfranchise over 80,000 riders a year.

But let's look back at Hudson again.


“I don’t think we are ready to release that information at this time,” Hudson said. When Melendrez pressed Hudson on when the information could be released, Hudson said merely, “As soon as it’s executed.”

This city probably has the only government that can be treated like that by its direct employee and not really press on getting a straight answer in response on a civic issue. Instead of calling Hudson on the carpet for not being more specific, once again they appear to be confused about who works for whom in this equation.

Ever play poker? This is what's known as pulling a bluff. But who on the dais is going to call it? So far Melendrez has come the closest to at least trying to do it.

Fortunately, Election 2009 is right on the horizon and the city has the chance to elect itself some representatives who might be more up to the ability of handling this task. And hosting his debut event as the first Ward Four candidate to declare that he's running for that city council seat next year was Paul Davis who held an event in Mission Grove on Nov. 16.

A registered Republican and former law enforcement officer, Davis decided to run after some of the recent actions taken by the city council including its decision to raise the electric rates for city residents.

More information on Davis is here.

Speaking of the city council, it's meeting again and in closed session, is discussing a lawsuit filed by Jon Lonberg. Lonberg is the individual who keeps the city honest on its application and enforcement of the American Disabilities Act. If you see a wheel chair accessible curb at an intersection in Riverside or one being constructed, chances are it's there because of the efforts of this gentleman and others who have filed ADA lawsuits in federal court.

The Los Angeles Police Department isn't just struggling to test its rape kits, but also it's having problems with fingerprint analysis.

Former Bolingbrook Police Department sergeant, Drew Peterson's lawyer is pushing the prosecutor of his weapons' charges case to hand over its evidence.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

But Peterson's attorney Joel Brodsky questioned the timeline of how the gun case unfolded. In February, police revoked Peterson's firearm owner's identification card after a judge ruled that his firearms should be returned because Peterson had a valid FOID card. In May, Peterson was arrested for owning the rifle on the eve of learning from the judge whether the guns could be turned over to his son Stephen, an Oak Brook police officer.

Brodsky is requesting that prosecutors turn over documents from the time leading up to the charges against his client.

"This timeline proves with more than sufficient evidence that the reason to do this is to punish Mr. Drew Peterson for exercising his constitutional rights," Brodsky said.

Peterson, who is the suspect in his missing wife's disappearance, has said she ran off. Authorities are also conducting a murder investigation in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson maintains his innocence and has said he used the rifle as a SWAT team member for the Bolingbrook Police Department.

Will County Assistant State's Atty. Dede Osterberger argued against giving the defense "privileged information."

"We strongly argue against this case, judge, because we think that the defense is engaging in a fishing expedition," she said.

Police chiefs declare war on steroids in some cities.

(excerpt, San Diego Union-Tribune)

To some police officers, the use of anabolic steroids is all about protecting themselves and the public.

But top law enforcement brass around the country are learning that the implications of a police force on steroids are far more frightening, Phoenix police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey said.

Humphrey talked about the trend yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 11) at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in downtown San Diego.

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."

A woman is suing the New York City Police Department for $3 million after she was pepper sprayed and arrested for climbing down an "up" stairwell.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Naeema Screven says she was only trying to catch her train, which was pulling into the station, when she zipped down to the A line platform at the Broadway station in Brooklyn.

One side of the stairway was designated "down" and the other side "up," the complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court said.

The "down" side of the stairway was crowded, so she admits she crossed under the yellow tape to the "up" side.

When she reached the platform, she was stopped by Officer Elix Hernandez and asked to show identification.

When she was told she was being arrested, the suit says, she flipped open her cell phone to call her mother and was doused in the face with pepper spray and handcuffed.

"I think if I did something wrong he could have given me a warning," Screven, 21, told the Daily News. "I never thought in a million years that something like that would happen to me."

Police say the problem wasn't that she flipped open the phone - the problem was she flipped out.

"She began to yell and scream, causing public alarm," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

"The woman then started swinging her arms, preventing the officer from handcuffing her. The officer used pepper spray to aid in effecting the arrest," he said.

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