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

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ten years later: When past meets prologue


"When she went to the party that night, she gave me a kiss, and that was the last time I saw her alive. I haven't been the same since my baby died."

----Delmer Miller, to PEOPLE magazine, 1999

"We received more help from more sources than we ever could have imagined, and everyone worked as a team toward a common goal. We haven't achieved total victory yet, but we're getting close."

----Former Riverside Police Department Officer Wayne Stewart, 2002 to PORAC after an arbitrator reinstates him and Michael Alagna in the police department.

"What experience and history teach is this--that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it."

---Georg Hegel, 1770-1831, German philosopher

As the 10th anniversary of Tyisha Shenee Miller's death approaches, there's been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about where the city is and how far it's come since that tragic shooting forced it to reexamine its police practices beginning in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 1998.

Some say the police department today is vastly different than that which existed 10 years ago. Others say that the police culture remains intact inside a law enforcement agency which experienced an 80% turnover in employment in the years following both the shooting and the stipulated judgment imposed by the state attorney general's office in 2001. The fact that so many officers either resigned, retired or were persuaded to leave shouldn't be so surprising as it mirrors similar exoduses in other cities including Los Angeles which has been under a federal consent decree since 2001. In fact, some of the LAPD officers came to Riverside and lateraled into the department, from one consent decree to another.

But in the past few months, a series of incustody deaths, the neutering of Riverside's civilian oversight mechanism, the further shielding of the police department and an alleged racial profiling incident have caused people to ask more questions about the status of the police department nearly 10 years down the road from the Miller shooting and nearly three years out of its court-mandated reform process with the state.

Here is one recent comment that appeared to be in response to the recent incident involving the Black Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who alleged he was racially profiled by Riverside Police Department officers. It's been a common sentiment expressed in Riverside lately.

(excerpt, Inland Empire Craigslist)

10 years later very little has changed with the RPD. The culture is still the same. The state needs to come back in, clean things up, and stick around for a while to make sure the PD doesn't relapse. Of course it would help if the City would allow the CPRC to do its job.

A lot of talk has been raised recently about what the state had done, what it was supposed to do and whether it had done what was needed to modernize and reform a police agency long the setting for a racist and sexist police culture as well as long-term neglect from the city government. A lot of talk has been raised recently about whether or not the Riverside Police Department still needs to be placed under some form of oversight or whether it's truly moved on. Only two years after it completed one form of oversight, the same questions are being raised again in light of recent events. Not the kind of discussions that would be wanted around the 10th anniversary of the fatal shooting that brought upon that oversight.

But Riverside's not unique in that regard. The city of Pittsburgh entered into the first consent decree in history stemming from the Violent Crimes and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which allows the federal agencies to impose consent decrees for patterns and practices of problematic behavior and operations inside law enforcement agencies and how they interface with the communities around them.

(excerpt, Department of Justice, text of act)

Section 210401 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 (Police Misconduct Provision):

Sec. 210401. CAUSE OF ACTION. UNLAWFUL CONDUCT.—It shall be unlawful for any governmental authority, or any agent thereof, or any person acting on behalf of a governmental authority, to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers or by officials or employees of any governmental agency with responsibility for the administration of juvenile justice or the incarceration of juveniles that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

CIVIL ACTION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL.—Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of paragraph (1) [sic] has occurred, the Attorney General, for or in the name of the United States, may in a civil action obtain appropriate equitable and declaratory relief to eliminate the pattern or practice.

The DOJ's COPS division provided its perspective of the consent decree in Pittsburgh which was somewhat different than that provided by city residents who at least were surveyed for this report by the Vera Institute.

Now in 2008, community residents are trying to turn key components of the since-lifted consent decree into law. This arose from ongoing discussions beginning after the dissolution of the bifurcated consent decree several years earlier. But it illustrates how concerns about the removal of court-mandated outside oversight can impact communities who often feel estranged from the process to begin with. Part of that is because the nature of utilizing the courts to push reforms on law enforcement agencies is often kept between the suing government agency and the government agency being sued. The community residents may be listed collectively and namelessly in the title, "People" but that's about it. For the most part, the community which is cited as the focus of these decrees is some distant third party while all the power players like local governments, law enforcement agencies and the outside oversight agencies play their roles in an evolving situation. That's one reason why these concerns are felt after decrees and judgments are dissolved and why actions are taken to try to continue the reform mandate as is the case in Pittsburgh.

So what do the people concerned about their post-consent decree police department want in Pittsburgh?

(excerpt, Pittsburgh City Paper)

"What we're looking to do is [make] the work of 1997 not be in vain," said Tim Stevens of the Black Political Empowerment Project, speaking at an Oct. 21 Pittsburgh City Council hearing. "We don't want to depend on who the mayor is or who the police chief is or what their prejudices may be."

Established one police chief and two mayors ago, the federal consent decree was designed to improve the way the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police tracked officers' actions and the handling of public complaints. The move was prompted by a class-action suit alleging police brutality, but the city was released from federal oversight in 2002. Stevens and others, from the Black and White Reunion to the local NAACP and ACLU, opposed ending federal oversight in the first place -- and they've been pushing to enshrine the decree's provisions in city law ever since

"If professionalism is at a higher level and the issue of police-community relations becomes a top priority" for police and the city, Stevens added after the meeting, police "will be more comfortable going into the community and the community will receive them better. Many police officers do approach [people] in a professional manner. But some don't."

These comments sound like they were made in Riverside during the past several weeks or months. In fact, there's not that much difference really between two cities on opposite sides of the country.

In October, the Pittsburgh City Council received these concerns from the city residents. Several city council members asked for further information on the codifying process, which is one step above either ignoring the concerns or telling people that they've been "received, reviewed and filed" away. Another word for saying they've been ignored without actually coming forward and admitting it to the constituents. That puts Pittsburgh one step above Riverside at least in this regard in that the response the city residents redressing their government was different than happened in this city.

Given that the pool of post-consent decree law enforcement agencies is fairly small, Pittsburgh's has attracted quite a bit of attention. As will Riverside by other cities and states given that it's in an elite class of departments placed under some form of outside oversight and a member of a very exclusive group of departments placed under a state consent decree. Although it's likely that the city of Maywood, California will be next on the list to fall into that category.

The People of the State of California v The City of Riverside

In 2001, the state came in, instituted through the court system structural reforms to change the pattern and practices of the police department and watched the police department for five years until the stipulated judgment was dissolved in 2006. At the time that took place, the city council pledged in a workshop held in late March to rise to the challenge of maintaining and building upon the reforms implemented under the state, reforms that cost the city at least $22 million. At the end of the period of the judgment, the department had made a lot of progress particularly in renovating its infrastructure and implementing better training of its officers. The department was able to create and implement new training to address issues arising out in the field and address the components of the police department including its citizen complaint process which violated state laws.

So it came out of its consent decree in better shape in many ways than it went into it. But there were some essential issues including those involving parties at City Hall which no decree could ever fix especially if the parties involved had no issue with the way they conducted themselves. Those issues would soon reemerge again once the watchful eye of the state attorney's office was gone and people on the dais and at City Hall had to stop acting so concerned about the future of the police department.

The city council voted 7-0 to do so and waxed eloquently enough throughout the meeting both how much more astute it was than its preceding councils and how committed it was to ensuring the police department's continued growth.

Of course, summer came and the city promptly forgot its promises. Perhaps another round of marquee billboards congratulating them for passing measures to promote Riverside Renaissance erected around town like a traveling show drew their attention away from what City Manager Brad Hudson wasn't doing to ensure that its wishes regarding the future implementation of the department's five-year strategic plan were carried out. And the funny thing, is that when Hudson does go astray or in this case tried to change his marching orders, the city council doesn't rein him in or redirect him effectively or even at all. Instead, a member or two will try to run interference for their wayward employee. It gives credence to the often-quoted phrase that the city manager runs the city council, the tail wagging the dog in the city of Riverside.

That's what happened in the summer of 2006, mere months after the dissolution of the consent decree. While the city was still in its honeymoon period after the ball and chain, the foot on the neck of the city had been removed (as it was viewed by some), it quickly forgot what it had promised. After the hallelujahs died down, the city started slipping almost immediately into older patterns and the city council stopped caring. I wrote some bloggings about it, including one titled, "What would Bill Lockyer think" that apparently someone in his office read. After all, even now I still get occasional visits from the California State Office of the Treasurer, which is Lockyer's newest political title to my site.

I guess they were wondering what exactly was going on in Riverside and why both the city government and the community weren't doing anything to keep the progress moving forward where it needed to go. Going away doesn't mean completely turning your backs, after all. Several Riverside City Council members committed themselves to holding Hudson's feet to the fire on the mandate they had passed to implement the strategic plan and did what they should have done in the beginning.

You can change all the faces on the dais, and Riverside one and in some cases, more than once to try to foster more responsible behavior from a governmental body. However, the patterns and practices of the 1990s didn't disappear with the decade or through the consent decree. For all practical purposes, this city council makes the same mistakes as its predecessors did. They put the department back on the shelf after they were done playing with it, to gather dust while they reached for another toy. In fact, even the Community Police Review Commission gets more playtime from some of those on the dais these days than does the police department.

What was the city council doing in the 1990s again?

They were cutting budget expenditures during an economic downturn, milder than this one. The staffing levels in the department dropped including those at the supervisory level and the department failed to grow or keep up with the exploding population from migrations and annexations around it. Community policing couldn't grab a foothold in the department. Racial and sexual discrimination lawsuits were filed from among its ranks, alleging hostile working environments, "exclusionary rules" and glass ceilings in the promotional process.

The city council was passively aggressively challenging the city's only form of civilian oversight at the time, which was the Law Enforcement Police Advisory Committee. In its report to the city council, the Mayor's Use of Force Panel in April 1999 stated that LEPAC was a form of civilian review but that attempts by various entities including the Public Safety Committee to institute discussion of policy changes involving LEPAC and civilian review in the city received the same "read and filed" response that current Mayor Pro Tem Rusty Bailey gave to CPRC Chair Brian Pearcy's recent letter on behalf of the commission just last month.

What's interesting about the interaction between LEPAC, the Public Safety Committee and the city council in the 1980s when this started was that it instituted a much firmer and longer-standing precedent for the Public Safety Committee handling these policy issues than had been recognized earlier. In light of the claim apparently made by the Governmental Affairs Chair Frank Schiavone that only his committee has jurisdiction, it appears that precedent-wise that clearly hasn't been the case at all.

But at any rate, the attempts to weaken the CPRC by members of the city council and their direct employees, the city manager and city attorney, mirrors those attempts to do like to LEPAC in the 1980s and 1990s before the Miller shooting. In fact, if you read the opinion piece authored by Schiavone and Council members Steve Adams and Nancy Hart, you'll see their definition of the CPRC's role and responsibilities as matching those of LEPAC, meaning when they look at the CPRC, they don't see what's charter-mandated, they see a policy recommendation machine. How's that for some deja vu? The thing is, they probably think that they came up with the idea but what they've shown instead is that history's probably not one of their better subjects.

The city council members of the 1980s and 1990s couldn't know that their actions to weaken an already weak form of civilian review and to table the issue of developing a true civilian review board would play such a large role in discussions that would take place after a tragic critical incident involving the police department. They didn't know that their neglect of the city's law enforcement agency would either. But it appears that the current city council hasn't learned from its predecessors' mistakes on that avenue either. And since that's not the case, the city's clearly not there yet to the point where it can responsibly even discuss these issues let alone make decisions about them. Because unlike their predecessors, the current city government can't position its argument on being ignorant.

Public safety's budget is probably safe for the rest of the fiscal year because no one who's seriously thinking of running for city government is going to make further cuts of its operations and personnel (through freezing positions) while the violent crime rate including homicides appears to be increasing. But the damage that's been done so far won't be impacted by merely keeping the status quo. Questions have arisen about the staffing levels including at the supervisory levels, most particularly involving the dual issues of officer to supervisor ratios and utilizing lieutenants as watch commanders 24/7.

For the latter, the incidence of shifts where the department staffs sergeants as watch commanders should be decreasing from the 15% that was about the percentage cited in an audit conducted by consultant Joe Brann last June, only because the cuts to overtime expenditures rendered the use of sergeants as financially prohibitive. Lieutenants on the other hand aren't paid overtime so they are more likely to fill those shifts. Even if they've worked other assignments on other shifts that day.

In June, Brann who was hired after the dissolution of the stipulated judgments had expressed caution in that he recommended that the city immediately address issues involving its staffing levels. He gave a lot of positive observations in his audit but said that in order for these developments to keep going in a good direction, the issues of the department's staffing levels impacted by freezes, injuries and personal leaves in both the civilian and sworn divisions had to be addressed in a way that relied on long-term planning rather than short-term fixes. You could feel the temperature from the leadership in that room drop about 20 degrees.

Then Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis sitting in the big chair responding citing some figures he allegedly pulled out of the budget (though some people say they were pulled out of somewhere else) reducing the ratios of officer to supervisor down to lower numbers without bothering to tell his own employers let alone the public that this was due to staffing reductions at the officer level which artificially lowered the ratio. Attempts to get documentation in writing of two different sets of officer to supervisor ratios resulted in responses from the police department and city attorney's office which produced documents or referential links which didn't contain the requested information.

The city council didn't really respond to that and they haven't responded publicly since despite numerous requests by myself to bring these staffing issues up for discussion at Public Safety Committee and the City Council. Emails to elected officials on this issue were only responded to by one or two council members who said that they had asked the city manager what was going on individually but not for a public discussion. But if you can't get a public discussion about the recent changes impacting the CPRC, it's not likely there will be any public forum on the department's staffing levels. It's like Dan Bernstein said so well in his column, "We Can Handle the Truth"

(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.)

The increasing lack of transparency with the police department goes back more than a few weeks, it goes back to several months after the dissolution of the stipulated judgment. Documents that the police department used to release in response to CPRA requests can't be found while searching for them now. What Bernstein observed has been rewoven into the city's fabric in the last year.

But what has been known by the public about the staffing issues raised by more than a few people including Brann? Very little.

The city council meeting in June was the last one with an audit Brann presented to the city council six months before the expiration of his contract. Maybe as long as he provided good news to the city council and city manager, his audits were useful to them but when he expressed concern on one issue, no further audits were deemed necessary for the remainder of the contract and if that's the way the city makes its decisions, then that's too bad for the police department and the residents of this city. It would have been useful to have a final followup audit within the contract period to further address the concerns that he had raised in the prior report and see if any work had been done to deal with them but that didn't happen. And unfortunately, that was the only way whether or not the city council, city manager's office and police department addressed those issues at all would be discussed in a public forum. It shouldn't have to come down to that and it wouldn't if the city government had truly learned from its predecessors' mistakes.

It wouldn't be the first time the city treated an expert it hired to assist it with a city department like that and it won't be the last.

The issue of racial profiling is one that's been raised, here and with the renewed interest of the ACLU in the police department's operations in recent months. The national coordinator of the Racial Profiling division in the ACLU, King Downing, attended the CPRC meeting last week. Questions have been asked on the comments on these Press Enterprise article threads and other sites about the police department's cultural diversity training which has been renovated and revamped several times in the past few years. The current program created through a professor at the University of California, Riverside is more top-secret than a CIA briefing as far as the public is concerned. The police department representatives say in public that the officers taking the training love it and give it good reviews. But then you have to ask, give what good reviews?

The reason there's renewed interest in the status of this training and that involving how officers conduct pretext stops in Riverside is because of a recent incident that was reported here and in the daily newspaper.

And what's striking about this case is how the police department responded to it when it came to light. The police department's statement released by former public information officer, Steve Frasher was that it couldn't respond to litigation. Yet, Chief Russ Leach told Bernstein the following,

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"He's launching a publicity campaign to exonerate himself from misconduct (that will be found by the LAPD)."

I was surprised to read about Leach's comments because I didn't expect him to take this route because in the past, he was careful about avoiding making those kind of judgments. I thought if he would respond at all, it would be to say that the department was conducting its investigation and that's all that could be said about it. His comments could be based on the truth of the incident or not, it's not clear what is the case at this point in time. But they are still unfortunate, because they are reminiscent of how the department behaved after the Miller shooting when releasing information on the shooting to back the behavior of its officers which were the same officers later fired by the department for misconduct.

The line, "she was drunk" or "she was on drugs" among others were used by the department later came back to haunt the agency when five police officers were fired in connection to this incident including the supervising sergeant and revelations of racist comments made by officers at the scene were brought to light by one of their own. Were they true? Perhaps, as toxicology tests showed but citing them so early in the investigation damaged the community's look at the department's investigative process as anything but trying to rewrite a bad incident early on. And as it turned out in this case, allegations were sustained that led to the firing of five officers. Still, there's this strong perception that too often is based on reality that departments can't investigate their own employees.

But the department was left doing all the talking after the Miller shooting because the elected leaders couldn't open their mouths either individually or collectively without hiring a public relations firm to teach them how to be civic leaders. And the first thing that the department did was focus on negative comments about Miller as it had done on earlier similar cases.

It's unfortunate that the same thing is happening in the Guillary case because whether or not the incident is ultimately proven to be true or false, the comments made labeling it as false without providing evidence of that has tainted the investigation and any ability to trust it. At the same time, the city is saying that the CPRC can't investigate officer-involved deaths within a week of when they happen because it risks damaging the integrity of investigations even though they can't cite a single case when this ever happened.

And judging by the comments and conversations so far, it seems like the comments made about the outcome of an investigation which hasn't been completed yet are almost as much a part of the problem as the incident could be.

The discussion on that incident which resulted in a $5 million claim being filed by Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Wayne Guillary continues here.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Chargedsrt8: First, looking at the responses from the majority of people that have made a written contribution to this article about Guillary, it’s apparent that you are the only person with a conjecture that appears derisive. Moreover, it has come into view that you support the actions of RPD. You have not exclaimed vehemently in writing about the vicious and pernicious injustice that Guillary and his visitor (both African Americans) experienced with the unknown RPD officer on his private property. And may I add, a right that is guaranteed and protected by the 4th Amendment. Furthermore, you are more concerned about the 5 million dollar claim than the significance in demanding justice for 2 human beings who were dehumanized and demoralized by an RPD officer, his supervisor (and possibly by the responding officers). According to the many written responses, these contributors have voiced their concerns about debasing encounters with RPD. Many seem to believe that nothing has changed. We as a people must send a prodigious statement to RPD and their “agents” that we will not tolerate the cover ups, abuse of power and corruption of our elected leaders and law enforcement officers.

Secondly, let us be clear, let us not be deceived, race is the most explosive issue in American life, the most difficult dilemma in American Society. It’s America’s rawest nerve. The majority of unarmed people that have been shot and killed by law enforcement officers across this country have been African American. In 1998, (10 yrs this year) here in the City of Riverside, Tyisha Miller was shot and killed by RPD. Just this year (2008), two unarmed African American men were shot and killed by RPD and an unfortunate death of a 20-year old African American male in the City of Anaheim (simply, an unfortunate an accident). Additionally, Just this year, RPD settled a 1 million dollar lawsuit with one of their own, an African American officer who was claiming race discrimination. If RPD is discriminating against officers of color from within their organization on the basis of race, then it leaves me with a belief that RPD will mistreat the community of color.

Lastly, it has been my experience that municipalities demand immediate change of their police and fire departments/agencies when they have to payout large judgments/settlements. Talk is cheap. Money changes things and holds managers accountable for their lack of progressive oversight and management of their personnel. Therefore, if it takes 5 million to correct one officer’s severe and earth-shattering mistake, then so be it. In 2001, RPD was in a state consent decree and fulfilled it in 2006. It obvious, some of the officers have forgotten about it. Conversely, there was a literary genius from Oxford Mississippi, named William Faulkner who said, “The Past is never fully passed.” Left to chance that a diminutive settlement will correct RPD’s behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. People of color like Guillary, can’t afford to take that chance. Dr. King said, “injustice anywhere, it a threat everywhere.”

And as far as “GET A GRIP!” is concerned, it has been my experience that “great spirits will always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Actually, the two African-American men who died in shootings were Lee Deante Brown and Joseph Darnell Hill who were shot by police in 2006. This year, four Latinos died in custody, with two from shootings. And the Black Riverside Police Department officer, Roger Sutton, received his $1.64 million from a jury's verdict in 2005. But that aside, this commenter raises the issue of whether money can be used as a tool of accountability to instill reform in law enforcement agencies.

Whether $5 million paid out in the Guillary case if racial profiling and excessive force were indeed used, will stem those behaviors. The only problem with that line of thinking is that the vast majority of lawsuits that are paid out on in Riverside involve settlements which include provisions involving confidentiality either in terms of the monetary amount the city settled for or any other terms. The money paid out is done so by insurance companies or if the city is "self-insured" which Riverside is now then the tax payers foot the bill. Unless the people who actually pay out on these lawsuits for bad practices by the city and its police officers start asking questions or raising concerns about doing so, then it's not likely settling these cases including Guillary's would do much to improve any problematic behavior by police officers.

Kindjustice, That you for that informative search of the subjects past. Too often these events are made to seem just a complaintant looking for a payday however, the truth is if these officers are held accountable it may change the behavior of hundreds of impressionable new recruits. The illigal method of policing must be done away with. I support a well trained crime reducing police force but the bad apples must go to show that this behavior and violation of department policy.Laws and a persons civil rights will not be tolorated amd mmust be inforced from the top down. I know Leach found himself in hot water himself some years ago however he must show leadership now and rid this agency off rougue cops. RPD Officers ...Those that are good I want to hear from you. Speak up against officers that are ruining your departments reputation by casting a blimish on it's officers. Break the code of silence for the sake of law abiding citizens!

One of the officers did break the code of silence in 1999, Rene Rodriguez who is no longer in the police department. His experience is not one that would exactly inspire other officers to come forward and report misconduct. The department says yes they do and yes we have policies in place to protect whistle blowers and then it proceeds to show the world how its actions may not always support its words.

Rodriguez discussed his experience whistle blowing in Riverside's police department on 60 Minutes so the rest of the country knew about it too.

"Bad apples" or "rogue" officers might indeed exist but it's how they are handled or treated or dealt with which shows whether problems in a police department are individualist or systemic. You want to know which is which, watch how the "good apples" and "bad apples"are treated. Watch which officers get positive recognition from the department and which ones don't. Each community knows who its good and bad apples are in their neighborhoods when they interact with these officers over time. There's a lot of compliments about officers in most neighborhoods in this city but not all of them.

let's forget about the fact that Wayne Guillary is a supervisory police officer for LAPD himself. The most important fact is that Wayne Guillary is an American Citizen that was minding his own business on his own property on a nice day in a nice neighborhood. The fact that a Riverside Police Officer thought that it was OK to violate Wayne Guillory's CIVIL RIGHT'S by displaying this militeristic superior attitude by ordering him of of his own property. I guess this officer who has been brainwashed by the system couldn't believe that an Afro American male could be successful enough to actually be a resident in this perticular neighborhood. I wonder how many caucasion residents in the neighborhood were told to get off of their own property by the officer "NONE". For those of you who dont know, there is such a thing as consensual encounter, that all police officers,sheriffs, Highway Patrol etc are trained to use as a way to communicate with citizens in the community, in a positive manner. If this officer had been trained properly by the Riverside Police Department, the officer would have used this technique to exit his car and approach Guillary and talk to him in a friendly manner. There was no immediate threat, a man was just sitting on a wall on his own property talking to a female who could have been the man's wife. But then again im assuming that the Riverside Police Department is interested in the cival rights of the citizens of The City of Riverside. I wonder how many other complaints the officer has that the Rivrside Police Department has been brushed under the carpet. It's a sad day when the Riverside Chief of Police, the watch commander and the field Sergeant who was at scene could not recognize that a citizen's right's had just been violated and are not professional enough to admit it. Oh yeah, as for the City Attorney that said Guillary's complaints have no merit, I guess protecting Riverside's pocket book is more important than having the intestinal fortitude to stand up and tell the police department they were wrong in this case. This is a blatant case of racial profilining and an attempt to cover it up. If the police department filed a false police report to aid in covering up of a potential civil rights violation, everyone connected to writing, reviewing and ok'ing of that report should be fired. This case should be reviewed by Local State and Federal authorities. Good luck Mr. Guillary the right's of not only Afro American citizens, but the rights of all citizens of Riverside County are at stake, be safe.

This raises interesting points. What was the demeanor of the officer when he approached or first addressed Guillary and the woman? Was it "friendly" or was it adversarial right away? People assume that it had to be adversarial or else the officer didn't do his job right but if you're approaching from a "customer service" perspective as claimed by the city, then the "friendly" approach would seem to be what would be used in this case. But was it?

To be continued....

New York Times still keeps an archive on its coverage of the Miller shooting and its aftermath.

The San Jose Police Department needs to publicly release the records on drunk driving arrests amid much controversy about the high number of Latinos arrested.

(excerpt, San Jose Mercury)

Simple questions

The Mercury News' reporting on this subject and analysis of the available arrest data have put two very simple, if uncomfortable, questions at the feet of local public officials:

# Has the police department been making large numbers of false arrests for public drunkenness?

# If so, are Latinos much more likely to be the victims of these bad arrests?

According to state law, people cannot be lawfully arrested for public intoxication unless they are so intoxicated that they are a danger
to themselves or others or are obstructing use of sidewalks or streets. Officers must document these facts in a police report. Therefore, the obvious starting point for any serious examination of whether police are misusing this law is to review the police reports for these arrests. As the Mercury News reported, there were a whopping 4,661 of them in 2007. Fifty-seven percent of those arrested were Latinos.

The law is crystal clear that police officials have the discretion to release these records. But in the absence of a strong local sunshine ordinance in San Jose, as exists in some other California cities like Oakland and San Francisco, they do not have to do so.

The double murder trial of former DeKalb County Sheriff's Department deputy Derrick Yancey has been delayed. He's on trial for the June 7 shootings of his wife, Linda and a day laborer, Marcial Cax Puluc.

Initially Yancey claimed he shot Puluc after the man had shot his wife while trying to rob her in the basement of the house but after an investigation, a grand jury indicted him on two counts of murder.

Last month, the case was assigned another judge.

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