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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Questions continue to be asked in the Guillary case

The Riverside City Council will be meeting again for both afternoon and evening sessions on Dec. 16 and among other things will be setting a public hearing for next month to determine whether or not the elected officials will be getting pay hikes. It's very unlikely that anyone currently sitting on the dais will be foolish enough to actually push for a pay hike especially the four individuals whose seats are up for reelection next year.

Also on the consent calendar for the evening session is a resolution to add an amendment to the conflict of interest regulations involving city employees.

In closed session, the city council will be briefed on the $5 million dollar claim for damages filed by Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, Wayne Guillary against the city and police department. City Attorney Gregory Priamos has already announced that the claim is frivolous and the city will deny the claim, an action that it takes involving the vast majority of claims that it receives so it's hard to read too much into that. The police chief has already told Dan Bernstein from the Press Enterprise that the allegations were unfounded so that investigation must obviously be completed as well and if Guillary filed a complaint through the Community Police Review Commission then that case should come up for its own discussion and deliberation process fairly soon. It's great news that this complaint can be resolved so quickly and make its way up the chain of command so quickly as well for final resolution, in light of the 100-200 or so days that is the current average of days it takes a complaint just to reach the CPRC. And that the results of this investigation have been made public, clearly in the interest of transparency which has been sorely lacking in the police department as of late.

The only problem is, is it the truth? Because it's not necessarily the truth that's transparent.

And just like the city council has apparently remained mum and apparently refused to provide comments to the Press Enterprise on its upcoming retrospective on the 10th anniversary of the fatal officer involved shooting of Tyisha Miller by four police officers, it will remain silent on this situation. Why? Because allegedly the elected officials have little or nothing to say about what the city and the police department have been through or done in the past 10 years and it has nothing to do with them. That echoes similar attitudes that were held by elected officials in the troubling 1990s which led to the initiation of pattern and practice investigations by the federal, state and county investigative bodies.

There will be more discussion of this disturbing dynamic and how it developed in future postings but several recent incidents have got community members discussing how much things have changed with the police department since the shooting in 1998 and the end of the city's stipulated judgment with the state attorney general's office in 2006 even if the city council have opted out of it all.

The claim stems from an Oct 7 incident where Guillary was allegedly held on the ground at gunpoint by a Riverside Police Department officer who had asked him and a woman he was talking to on his own property to leave and continue their discussion at a local park. Both Guillary and the woman who sold bibles door to door were African-American. Eight other police officers responded to the situation and Guillary was released without arrest and to this date, no criminal charges including resisting arrest have been filed against him in Riverside County Superior Court eight weeks after the incident took place. The police department at least at its management level seems more preoccupied with the internal investigation initiated by the LAPD than its own.

But on the eve of the anniversary of Miller's death, this incident has caused a great deal of concern in the communities, even as the leadership in them remains quiet on the issue. City residents in different neighborhoods talked about this incident even as their leaders haven't said one word in public. Just as some of them talked not long after the incident happened and before it came to light even in this blog. Rumors of a troubling incident in one of Riverside's more affluent neighborhood had been making their way through the city, just as they had about an equally troubling incident allegedly involving an off-duty police officer in Orangecrest had been in that area of the city. Some details about that alleged incident were posted anonymously on the comment thread of one of the Press Enterprise articles on Guillary.

Incidents involving African-Americans who live in affluent neighborhoods and their negative contacts with police officers in this city have taken place before, but haven't made the newspapers. Whether it's a Black woman reporting that officers follow her as she's driving down the streets of her neighborhood or the son of a well-known Black minister who was pulled over near Mission Grove and told by officers he didn't look like he was from the neighborhood, incidents like these have caused people to ask just as they have in the case involving Guillary whether or not the city's police officers have been taught or trained that not all African-Americans are poor and not all of those in wealthier neighborhoods are there to commit crimes.

Allegations arose that in the late 1990s, retired Sgt. Al Brown made comments during roll call sessions which were racially offensive including one about a Black woman who was a student at University of California, Riverside who had complained about a traffic stop. Brown allegedly said that the only way that woman could be a university student is if she'd been on welfare. Other sergeants had allegedly made offensive comments during roll call sessions as well, to the extent that one of the requirements of the consent decree entered into with the state was to place cameras in the roll call room that allowed the police chief and other officers to watch the roll calls without being there.

Hopefully, those days aren't anything but memories. But when you have a disturbing incident take place and the investigation of the officers' actions are the bottom of the list of priorities provided by the police chief, it makes you wonder. Is the incident true or false, remains to be seen but the words of the police chief while meant to point out that no it was not, just served to make it appear that the department's doing damage control through its leadership even if it's not. That's what a lot of people are saying in the neighborhoods even as their leaders don't ask questions.

The debate continues here.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

thanks -kindjustice- but you can keep your wake up calls for yourself, I think you need one more than anyone here. and -kcgirl05- you should hit the dictionary again to look up a few more words that you dont understand, and then use them repetitively in your comments. Have fun with that. But on to more logical responses, whoever proclaimed something about spending taxpayers dollars, yada yada yada...well lets see genius, police, as well as everyone else that is legally employed in the state of California pays taxes, police arent exempt, and if in fact this $5million figure is payed out (im pretty sure any LAPD office can retire off 5 million) where do you think the money will be coming from? You dont think that it will trickle down to taxpayers? thats just ignorance on your part. Come on people, is this guy really deserving of $5million for ignoring the law and dealing with the consequences ? Check this perspective, lets say that the officer involved took Guillary's "word" and allowed him to enter the home to "locate" his identification only to find that he wasnt the home owner, and rather then return to the officer with his I.D. and badge, he took the occupants of the 'million dollar estate' hostage ? Then who would all of you arrogant people be pointing fingers at ? In this screwed up world you cant predict anything, these guys put their lives on the line everytime they clock in for work, not many people can say that. Nor can they explain to the family members of slain officers who have died in the line of duty simply because they gave someone the benefit of the doubt, gave them the opportunity to right a wrong, only to have their lives taken by some harmless looking person who turns out to be a homicidal maniac. There's your "wake up" call KINDJUSTICE, its called reality, GET A GRIP !

Chief Leach, this matter is not just about racial profiling. Had Guillary been an ordianry citizen(for a lack of a better term)and not a police officer, he would have had his butt kicked, arrested and booked for something he didn't do. Think about RPD did? They sent a "fraudulent report" to his employer in order to get him in trouble with the LAPD. We as ordinary citizens/community members don't have a badge and ID card. If Guillary did not have those items he would have gone to jail, and so would we. It is an abuse of power, a violation under the color of authority and done so under your oversight.

Some more delays in the renovation of the Fox Theater project in downtown Riverside.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

he city is spending as much as $30 million to renovate the historic Fox Theatre, which opened in 1929, converting it into a 1,600-seat performing arts center. The project is part of efforts to revitalize downtown and make Riverside the "City of Arts and Culture," as designated by the City Council.

The renovation is on schedule, but "we're lagging a bit on where we'd like to be on the programming," Gardner said.

Officials also decided to delay the opening so it wouldn't compete with the annual Festival of Lights, which runs from the day after Thanksgiving until around New Year's Day, he said.

A probe into a heated exchange between two Banning city councilwomen ruled that racism was not a factor according to the city's own investigators.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Hanna issued a statement Friday in which she wrote: "Although I am pleased the investigator has found absolutely no basis of racial discrimination or bias on my part it doesn't remove the stigma of having to confront such a horrible charge. I want to state this as clearly as I can -- I emphatically reject racism of all forms of illegal or unethical bias."

She wrote that she has apologized to Franklin "for any behavior that was perceived as aggressive."

Franklin said by phone Friday that she is "very disappointed" in the investigator's conclusions.

"I did not think it was a valid investigation," she added. "I don't know of anyone of color being interviewed," other than herself.

A former Riverside County fire fighter has been sentenced after being convicted of embezzlement.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral requested Burton be sentenced to 12 years in prison because of the amount stolen, the fact that he was a government employee, and because he altered the budget to gain more money that went to favors for friends.

Cabral said Burton was responsible for about two-thirds of the theft.

Warren said he understood the seriousness of the crime but added that Burton did not have a criminal record and had been a leader in the Fire Department.

Defense attorney Rena Wallenius said after the sentencing that her client was honored for service during the Vietnam War and for his time with the Fire Department. She called the punishment severe and said prison will be difficult for Burton.

"He accepted responsibility for this loss, unlike many others who contributed to it," she said in a written statement.

Restitution is going to be determined by the financial services division. Wallenius said Burton has been offering to pay back the money and plans to pay as much as possible.

Cabral told the court that Burton had promised to make a $25,000 payment to the Fire Department.

Former San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger defends his spending habits while he held his political office.

Another former San Jacinto Community College Police Department officer has joined in on the ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit filed by several others.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The latest terminated officer, Scott Jensen, spoke at a community college trustees meeting Thursday afternoon about his complaints. Jensen said his probation had been due to end Tuesday.

Jensen said earlier in the day that he was handed a letter by college Police Chief Kevin Segawa that said Jensen "failed to report the misconduct of Mark Medina," a police corporal.

Jensen said Medina threatened to get him terminated if he complained. He said the letter stated that was no excuse for not reporting Medina's conduct.

The three other former officers filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the college district and two employees on Tuesday in Riverside County Superior Court, according to court records.

The plaintiffs are probationary Officer Ron Navarreta, who was terminated in September; probationary Officer Chris Kuhl, who left in June; and Pedro Gonzalez, a volunteer.

The federal corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona continued with the revelation that his former aide, George Jaramillo will not be testifying for the United States Attorney's office.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

The former assistant sheriff of Orange County also was expected to be a star government witness at the trial of his former boss Michael S. Carona, who was the county’s three-term sheriff until his indictment last year.

But federal prosecutors Tuesday ended widespread anticipation about whether he would actually take the stand by confirming that they will wrap up their criminal corruption case against Carona this week without calling Jaramillo as a witness.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Brett Sagel and Senior Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Julian, who have called dozens of witnesses since the trial opened seven weeks ago, did not reveal any reason for their decision.

Interpretation from courtroom observers is varied: The government is so confidant in its case that it is simply unnecessary to call Jaramillo to the stand; Jaramillo is such a risky witness that Carona’s attorneys could have a field day during cross-examination, undercutting his worth to the government.

A Salem Police Department officer was suspended after an arrest he conducted appeared on YouTube.

(excerpt, Boston Channel)

The video titled "Bad Salem Cop" showed Puleo using what police called a "neck grabbing takedown" in his arrest of a 21-year-old Swampscott man.

The investigation found that Puleo was justified in making the arrest because Travis Markarian ignored repeated warnings to disperse after downtown bars closed for the night. However, the report calls Puleo's actions "improper and intemperate."

The video, which had been viewed more than 55,000 times on YouTube, shows Puleo walking across the street, pointing at Markarian and yelling "Get the (expletive) out of here now!"

As a woman attempts to pull Markarian away, Puleo grabs him by the throat and pulls him to the ground.

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