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, December 08, 2008

Comments and commissions

More news about the city of Riverside's layoffs which were apparently under reported to and by the Press Enterprise last week as including only one layoff last week and seven total since the fiscal year has begun.

It's believed that the city laid off at least four employees last week and at least 10 full-time total, even though the city manager's office and at least one councilman believe that the city has only laid off seven employees in all. This number was comprised after adding the previously announced six employee layoffs plus one that was announced by Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis last week.

Fire Department: 1

Police Department: 1

Mayor's Office: 1

General Services: 1

More layoffs are likely and it looks like the finance department might be the scene of more of them, even though several key positions inside that department have been left vacant which caused some members of the Human Resources Board to express concern about these vacancies including one in the workman's compensation division. At least one board member recommended filling these positions, but that's unlikely to happen given that in reality, many positions across the city have been frozen as they become vacant and the city's bracing for another round of layoffs potentially as early as January when the city hits the midway point in its current fiscal year.

Don't be surprised if there starts to be an increase in retirements and transfers involving employees as well.

The city of Riverside is being sued by a developer over a contract to build Arlington Heights sport park.

The Big Threes of City Hall's reactions.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City Manager Brad Hudson told the council on Nov. 18 that Stronghold was scored the lowest among all the bidders. He also said officials did not believe the unauthorized release of the bid pricing information invalidated the rest of the contract-award process.

"It had no effect on the outcome at all," he said.

Priamos would not discuss the merits of Stronghold's case because it is coming to the council for discussion in closed session tonight.

Councilman Frank Schiavone, who was absent from the Nov. 18 meeting, would not discuss the Stronghold case and whether the city should start the bid process over.

But in general, he said, "The integrity of the process is fundamental to democracy."

"Democracy", what a fascinating word that's been sorely lacking involving discussions on other issues where all the discussion has remained behind closed doors at City Hall.

The Community Police Review Commission which is awaiting its announcement from the city council either this week or the next that it will be discussed in some public forum, meets again this Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

One of the agenda items will be the discussion of the final draft of the public report into the October 2006 fatal officer-involved shooting of Douglas Steven Cloud.

Both the commission and city of Riverside exonerated Officers David Johansen and Nicholas Vazquez in the shooting. However, before that happened, the city paid off the second largest settlement in a police-related lawsuit in recent history, when the city council approved the $800,000 settlement approximately 18 months after the shooting took place, which also placed this litigation high on the list of the quickest lawsuits to be settled in recent city history.

So did the city really exonerate these police officers for the Cloud shooting? Well, yes and no. Yes when it came to backing the exonerated findings of both the commission and most likely the police department (which has only found one fatal shooting out of policy in the case of Tyisha Miller). But the large payout does speak for itself especially given that this settlement was hammered out quicker than the one involving a lawsuit filed in connection with the Tyisha Miller shooting.

Teresa Cloud, who was Doug's mother spoke before the commission many times and talked about how as part of the settlement the city had promised to examine the hiring and training of the city's police officers and to use the shooting of her son as an example of what not to do in a similar situation.

City Attorney Gregory Priamos denied that the city had made these promises, essentially trying to brand her a liar in front of everyone at the meeting. But she remained resolute despite his words and his complaints to one of her attorneys about her comments at the meeting and pushed for better policing practices.

Interestingly enough, the commission came out with a recommendation quite similar to Cloud's push for a training scenario to be used by the department in the future. Even though it's the most anemic policy recommendation ever produced by this body, it's a somewhat ironic closure to a shooting that troubled many people and judging by the check signed by the city council, the city's risk management division most of all. But the commission's handling of the shooting didn't make concern about it go away.

Now the waiting begins until Priamos figures out what to say about them for bringing back a somewhat similar issue that Teresa Cloud had during the settlement of her case and at commission meetings.

The discussion about the filing of a claim for damages by a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant against the city of Riverside for $5 million continues here with over 35 comments since the article was published. As usual, the discussion's been passionate on the issue as it always seems to be with issues involving the Riverside Police Department.

(excerpts, Press Enterprise)

There is serious animosity between Riverside P.D., sheriff's and d.a.'s office and off duty L.A.P.D. and L.A. county sheriff's who live in the area. Numerous times they have arrested and filed weak cases. They have been caught engaging in prosecutorial misconduct. Their investigators have been caught engaging in misconduct to make weak cases stronger. With more attention on these incidents, perhaps more light will be shed on other citizens in Riverside County who have their civil rights violated. Check with any major department in the United States and you will find if Mr. Guillary had resisted arrest and generated a criminal report, he would have been arrested. This covers you for civil liability. It dosen't seem to be that unsual for agencies in Riverside County to write reports well after the fact to cover up inapproriate acts or make weak cases stronger. Where is the probable cause for the contact and detention. We have laws to prevent this for a reason. To many good people have been swallowed up in the system of Riverside County, causing a back log of epic proportions.

This just smacks of the outlaw cops on the force that keep demanding any chief that attempts to corral them to step down or they"ll use a "vote of no confidence" to discourage any effective management of the force. I remember back a while a young white man by the name of Chris (who's last name will be left off) was involved in a vehicle crash with an off duty officer who chased him down around the streets of orangecrest. Who then attempted to pull a gun on young Chris after getting involved in a fistfight with him. Luckily someone seeing chris yelling for help as he was chase called for on duty officers who arrived just as the gun was pulled. All the evidence showed that the accident was the fault of the officer A quick phone call from the chief of RPD to his parents to (keep this out the news) and all of this was swept under the radar for the fine citizens of Riverside not to see. Ignorance is bliss.
Corruption runs rampant throughtout the citys government. Watch and see how this too goes away.
By the way that area this latest incident occurred? It wasn't too long before that development was built that a flyer inadvertently showed in my mailbox touting how the commining development had a very low percentage of black, hispanics (they pointed out that it was 2.1 mi from casa blanca) and asians their were in the surrounding area. And even explained the racial makeup of Harwarden Academy??? Discrimination, subtle, and low key just the way many people prefer.
And now some would rather focus the attention on the home the this fella lived in??? Lets see how well some of his white brethern live within Riverside and surrounding counties. You's be surprised.

after reading the article, i took a neutral approach..should the officer have asked for id; should the officer have checked with the owner to determine if he hired them to be on his property;even if it was not Guillarys property can the officer order someone off a non complaining person property; a bible salesperson was an independent witness and confirms Guillary's account; and how come the officer did not order the male white neighbor off his property a few doors down..
the only rational answer..RACIAL PROFILING

The article stated that Guillary's employer, the Los Angeles Police Department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident. As of yet, no criminal charges have been filed against him since the Oct. 7 incident, which is a bit unusual for the Riverside County District Attorney's office to wait that long to file a case but it's not unprecedented.


A week after the incident, the LAPD launched an investigation of Guillary because of the report filed by Riverside police. Guillary has not yet seen it. His supervisor shared snippets with him about his resisting an officer, balling his fist and assuming a fighting stance -- all false, Guillary said.

Several neighbors told him that LAPD officers have since come to question them.

A complaint was sent to the Community Police Review Commission in letter form so that body will be looking into the matter at a later date as well as the police department's internal affairs division.

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein wrote on the Guillary incident asking where all the transparency over the police department has gone. The answer is, it went away with the consent decree.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

We need to know much more and right now the city is being less than up front. It fits a pattern. Over the last few weeks, City Hall has made it clear that, when it comes to matters of police conduct, Riverside civilians should mind their own business.

City Hall has ordered the citizen police review commission not to investigate officer-involved deaths until law enforcement wraps up its own probes. It harbors a bogus fear that professional investigators, dispatched by the police commission, will tromp all over crime scenes.

The later an investigation begins, the more inconclusive it is likely to be. City Hall's edict undercuts the police commission, whose legal mission (endorsed by voters) is to "promote effective, efficient, trustworthy and just law enforcement in the City of Riverside ..."

And now, in the Guillary case, the city tersely dismisses an incident that has provoked the same charges of racial profiling the city faced in 1998, when RPD officers shot and killed Tyisha Miller. (The 10-year anniversary of that case, which the city eventually settled for $3 million, is 20 days away.)

Haven't we been through this enough? The stonewalling, the spinning. The tight-fisted central control. (At least the city hasn't hired a PR firm. Yet.)

"Publicity campaign" or not, Guillary's allegations are serious and haunting. If he's all wet, City Hall should tell us why and tell us now.

The incident involving Guillary was blogged about
here on this site last month.

A joint project to create facilities for the currently feuding Riverside County District Attorney's office and the Riverside County Public Defender's office in French Valley has run aground but not due the current war of words. It appears that the current developer on the project has run out of money.

Is Temecula participating in a land grab?

The corruption trial of a former Murrieta councilman continues as his ex-wife takes the witness stand.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Julia Enochs took the stand for more than two hours Monday under cross-examination by Virginia L. Blumenthal, who is defending former councilman Warnie Robert Enochs.

Julia Enochs remained composed during her testimony, speaking softly and never raising her voice.
Story continues below

Blumenthal interrupted her frequently, telling her to "just answer the question," and Julia Enochs constantly responded, "What do you mean?"

The federal corruption case of former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona continues since it's severed from that of his mistress. A former Newport Beach Police Department officer testified about

$23,000 for five special badges. Another witness testified how he won that wager with Carona.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

Ghaby "Gabe" Nassar, a businessman who said he ran the Star E Media Corp. in Lake Forest, said he won the bet, and secured badges for donors.

For winning the wager, Nassar said, Carona and assistant sheriff George Jaramillo gave him $100 in cash and penned "We'll never doubt you" on the bill. The trio also snapped a photo to remember the day.

Nassar, who was the 27th witness to testify in Carona's federal public corruption trial, said he thought up the idea for the money-for-badge program around 2000 or 2001.

"(Jaramillo) said 'that's a great idea, I should have thought about it a long time ago','' he testified.

Nassar said he wagered with Jaramillo and Carona that he could raise $25,000 by getting five contributors to pay $5,000 per badge.

Live blog coverage of the Carona coverage here.

Two of the New York City Police Department officer facing grand jury indictments are turning themselves in.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Officers Richard Kern and Alex Cruz were told Monday morning that they both were being indicted for assaulting Michael Mineo in a subway station Oct. 15.

A fellow cop accused Kern of inserting his police baton between Mineo's buttocks as cops tried to arrest and cuff the tatoo shop worker for allegedly smoking marijuana.

Kern's lawyer John Patten declined to discuss the indictment. Kern, 25, has previously denied he acted improperly.

Mineo originally said it was Cruz, 26, who violated him as he lay face down in the Prospect Park station - but NYPD transit Officer Kevin Maloney testified before a grand jury that it was Kern who wielded the baton, sources said.

"My client steadfastly maintains his innocence and he observed no misconduct," Cruz' lawyer Stuart London said.

Not much is known about the indictments which are expected to be released tomorrow.

(excerpt, New York Times)

Stuart London, the defense lawyer for Officer Alex Cruz, who also was involved in the scuffle, said on Sunday that based on the investigation and the allegations against Officer Kern, he expected that his client may be one of the other officers charged. But he stressed that Officer Cruz had committed no misconduct whatsoever in connection with the matter.

“I have not been contacted by the prosecutors and I have no idea if any charges will be brought,” Mr. London said. “But I hope if my client is charged, he will receive the same amount of media attention when he is exonerated.” Nonetheless, the indictment was still sealed, and the identity of the two other officers who have been charged remained unclear

After the officers are indicted, Mineo is going to be filing a lawsuit.

(excerpt, Newsday)

Kevin Mosley, who is representing Mineo, 24, said he could file a notice of claim with the city - a necessary first step - as early as today after Hynes announces the charges. Mosley said he is preparing a federal civil rights lawsuit but has to give the city 30 days to investigate the claim before he files any complaint with the court.

"In terms of the dollar amount it is not an insignificant case," Mosley said. "It was a life-changing event for this young man, mentally and physically. . . . He has been hospitalized twice, and mentally he is still struggling."

Join us for… A SILENT VIGIL for PEACE

A quiet, respectful, interfaith, inter generational event ~to move toward a culture of peace and nonviolence ~to honor victims of past and current warfare ~to honor peacemakers everywhere ~~~ Sunday, December 14, 2008 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. On the Front Lawn of the downtown public Library Mission Inn Ave & Orange St Followed by Hot Beverages, Music, and Holiday Snacks for all... With Bill Hedrick and Matthew Crary

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