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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mail call and meetings

I've received this "love" letter at Inland Empire Craigslist. I hadn't received one in a while (with the last being after I blogged about Officer Robert Forman by someone upset that I had done that) but this one is a zinger.

Someone actually is commenting not on any posts I've written but for some reason I don't understand they are talking about my breasts! Yes because what a woman says or writes has nothing to do with her brain and everything to do with her breasts! Which are called by this nameless charmer (and with his rhetoric, he must certainly be a hit with the ladies), "little lumps" which is a nickname for them I have to admit I've never heard before. He then continues onward by saying that they've (because it's not a "he", it's a "they") been paying close enough attention to my breasts on "recent cold days" where he says they are more noticeable. And that I haven't made enough efforts to restrain the little buggers. I've been so delinquent in my efforts to force him to stop looking at my breasts whoever he is that now the poor guy has gone off and thrown up.

Small breasts on women are the bane of men who spend their time looking at skin magazines and pornography and take those standards and use them on women who are of course, supposed to look like women who've been airbrushed and perhaps had their breasts sawed open and injected with implants (leaving those who've had the surgery in pain for weeks or longer) so they can fit this ideal. In reality, women's breasts are all different shapes and sizes and fortunately for the propagation of the species, men's tastes differ in them as well. Many men grow up and leave their idealistic views of what women should look like with their adolescence. Unfortunately, some like this individual clearly don't and they make sure that the female gender knows it.

Yet strangely enough these same men often try to portray themselves as God's gift to womenkind.

But seriously, who wants to have anything to do with a man who makes derogatory comments about women's breasts solely to make them feel less like women? If this guy acts like this in public, he probably spends a lot of nights alone at home wondering why women don't see the real "him". Oh but we do. Most women just don't think an individual like this one is worth investing the energy and time to set him straight on a few things.

Women should never feel ashamed of their breasts, small, medium or large and I explained this during a preliminary interview with a national magazine that forwarded my comments to 20/20 which invited me to appear on an episode about women and how they felt about their bodies. I volunteered to talk about very personal things because I believe that too many women feel ashamed or are made to feel ashamed because they perceive that their breasts or their legs or faces don't match up to highly idealized images put out by the media. Women disproportionately experience eating disorders in large part because they're trying to force their bodies to achieve some mold that it can never obtain and women die from them.

Unfortunately, the episode was scratched. Maybe the reality of women sharing these feelings and not hating their bodies or wanting to change them through surgery wasn't quite ready for prime time. But it's important for women to speak out and keep speaking out on these issues so that those who follow us don't buy into this one-size-fits all ideal for women's bodies.

It's kind of funny the juvenile tripe that shows up like this that is aimed at denigrating a woman's physical appearance in lieu of providing any argument of substance but I've really grown used to it. It's kind of sad that there are individuals who instead of looking at women as people simply ogle their breasts and then make commentary about them. Some of them are blatant in that when they address women, they look at their chests not their faces. Others like this witty wonder likely reserve their commentaries to online because if they went up to women's faces and made these comments, they'd probably get their faces slapped.

Still, imagine how you'd feel if some individual who claims to have seen you some place started showing online at some site being anonymous and making statements about your body parts? That's just creepy. There's no other words for it.

How did statements like these get associated with writing blog postings? Oh yeah, because women can't blog without it coming down to how our body parts stack up.

Here's the brilliant prose right here. In case it does get flagged so no one misses out on how succinct it is.


Whats the matter. Mary can dish it out but she cant take an itty bitty (oh there i go again) criticism? Lets see how strong she really is and lets see howlong this one stays up. Really liked the suggestion that cup sizes be added to the save riverside poll.

When it comes to one of our favorite shriekers, FBM, we already know that she doesn't waste the time or effort trying to restrain those little lumps. Yup, they're out there for anyone to see if they have keen eyesight cuz their so small. But theyve been more noticeable on recent cold days. Just a bit too nippie, huh, Mary? Yuck i think Ive made myself want to barf.

If a woman's anatomy makes this poor guy want to barf, then that individual has more serious psychological problems than can be addressed in one blog posting by an unlicensed professional. But like I said, you really have to be strong to blog as a woman (and it's mostly female bloggers who are harassed) and as a woman in Riverside.

He's not the first anonymous commenter who ranted how my physical appearance made him want to barf. Another anonymous harasser once said they wanted to barf after watching me walking for two weeks in the Eastside, describing my clothing and then imagining what my underwear looked like. The purple sweater I wore that time that was described in that posting? I tossed it and never wore it again. It was weeks before I even walked in the Eastside again. Then I had some anonymous creep writing what I was wearing in the City Hall elevator.

Upon searching the Craigslist site (which can be difficult when there's lots of activity), there's one other posting written that mentions breasts (in reference to the Save Riverside Poll mentioned in this comment) and it's in response to a female poster who asked for poll questions. This person also lower cases the name of the organization, "Save Riverside" like in the case above.

Here he seems to be trying to make a love connection and at first you think that perhaps he wandered to the wrong section of Craigslist.

Hey Susan,

How about we have a poll on save riverside to see what the average cup size of the female riverside residents. In fact, why don't you go ahead and send me a copy of their response along with weight and contact information. . . oh and don't forget the portrait.

Yeah, that would be a whole lot more entertaining for us guys than the usual boring polls save riverside has.

- Tootles.

But his motive is to harass a female poster by making a crude sexual comment.

By the way, I disagree with one comment that the posting about me was written by anyone sitting on the city council dais because when I was getting cyber harassed in 2006, one of the few people who did express his sympathy about it was Councilman Frank Schiavone and despite my criticism of him, I did appreciate that. Just because someone harasses you for criticizing an elected official doesn't make that official responsible any more than in the case of anonymous harassers who claimed they were doing it on behalf of individual police officers. One officer was actually embarrassed by what some anonymous coward was doing purportedly in his or her name.

But this particular writer seems pretty familiar to me right down to signing his name on the second post including the way it's spelled not to mention how he misspelled "they're".
This individual said that I was not strong enough to allow his comment to stand but I have no intention of taking it down and would ask people to refrain from flagging it. In fact, to ensure that more people bear witness to this posting that's so profound in its intelligence and wit, I made the decision to bring it here because frankly, Craigslist is just not an adequate enough showcase to such brilliance by itself.

The real problem is that I can write it here but some people can't take that so what they do is they go post anonymously on some site usually something creepy that indicates, 1) they know who I am and what I look like and where I am and 2) they try to write something derogatory or threatening to discourage me from blogging.

And I don't usually blog about breasts on my site but some bullshit just needs to be called and that's that any woman should be expected to feel ashamed of her body.

Over 30 people including representatives from labor organizations and Casa Blanca residents demonstrated at the Magnolia Policing Center near Tyler Mall against a raid by ICE which took place at 6 a.m. near Madison and Evans in Casa Blanca in Riverside. Leaders of different day laborer organizations as well as Casa Blanca residents spoke during the protest. The target of the raid were undocumented Guatemalan immigrants who frequented some of the businesses including Home Depot looking for work. Very few of the immigrants detained were from Mexico.

Signs waved included:

ICE tears families apart at 3 a.m.

Stop racial profiling

Watching were the Central Neighborhood Policing Center (which includes Casa Blanca) Commander Bruce Loftus, Lt. Bob Meier (formerly the commander of the Central NPC) and several Central Investigations Bureau detectives.

Leaders of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network including Pablo Alverado said that over 40 undocumented immigrants were arrested for different citations including riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, blocking the sidewalk and loitering. They said that they were present when it took place and that several of those arrested were "clubbed" and that both Riverside Police Department officers and Border Patrol agents were involved in the operation. They said they then went to the police station to ask what was going on and the police representatives said nothing was going on and they had no knowledge that the arrests and detentions had taken place. The information provided that the raids had actually take place didn't come out of the police department until 12 hours later, they said.

One local resident said that she was on her way to her grandmother's house to drop off her children before she went to work around 6 a.m. Her teenaged daughter saw it first on Madison and Evans and said, "Did you see this mom?"

The resident then looked and saw officers lining people up and yelling at them. She said it was still dark but she thought the uniforms being worn by the officers were tan and green. If so, that would match uniforms worn by the United States Border Patrol agents.

For years, many community leaders in Casa Blanca and other organizations have been struggling to build a day laborer center there but with much resistance from City Hall and several said that their elected councilman, Frank Schiavone wouldn't come to their meetings. Police officers said there had been complaints of loitering and one Casa Blanca resident said that was because the community had been trying to work in getting a day laborer center built but City Hall had not responded during the past few years.

Alvarado and others said that they had videotaped the entire incident and had forwarded their concerns and evidence to their legal counsel who would examine it and see if any illegal practices or other violations had taken place. If so, they would file a lawsuit.

Loftus said that the officers were working on a POP (problem oriented policing) project that day as he had done when he was a POPs officer. The Border Patrol had not notified the department and that he didn't even know that the operation had taken place until 8 p.m that evening (which was about 14 hours or so after it had started). About 12 people had their IDs checked and were released. Another 11 didn't have identification and were taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol and one individual was driven home by a police officer. If that's true, then at least half of the individuals were arrested and detained for nothing more than misdemeanors who weren't undocumented immigrants at all. And it wasn't clear from information provided by Loftus how many of those who failed to produce ID and were taken down to the station were actually turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

This Press Enterprise article stated that the police department said it did its own independent sweep of the area later that same day.

U.S. Border Patrol has already deported legal residents and even citizens who were Latino that they collected from county sheriff departments including people with mental or learning disabilities and illnesses who can't communicate with deputies who immediately assume it's because they don't know English. One mentally disabled man spent weeks in Mexico while his family who were citizens like he was spent their financial resources desperately trying to find him.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department correctional deputies in Banning allegedly threatened one Latino man in custody with deportation even though he was actually a citizen. He was a man who was taken to Banning bruised all over parts of his body from being struck by a baton by a Riverside Police Department officer who arrested him in the Eastside last year that the Banning Detention Center sent a deputy to photograph his injuries so they wouldn't be blamed on their handling of him.

What's interesting is that the police department has complained in the past(and loudest of all has been Chief Russ Leach) about how difficult it is for certain populations in Riverside to come forward as victims and witnesses of crimes to assist police and that's a very serious problem that should be addressed by communities and police. One city resident complained at the Community Police Review Commission meeting last week about how the majority of homicides of the 20 committed last year remain unsolved, including the murders of two Latino teenagers in the Eastside in December (although it was implied in a recent Press Enterprise article that East Side Riva was responsible). But if that killing was Latino on Latino then why was there so much tension at two local high schools which include large populations of Eastside teenagers as their students, between Blacks and Latinos? Where was that tension then coming from and why did it erupt after the shooting?

Does that tension which led to the police responding with officers to quell it indicate that whoever shot those two teenagers on Enterprise Street were actually Black or are perceived to be such by community members? Family members have said that the trail is currently cold. A couple hoped that the city council could put up a reward in hopes of receiving more information about the case. That would be great if the city council could do as it's done on other cases and maybe that would help the police department.

But some of the mixed messages coming out about what's going on in the Eastside are perplexing.

People including police representatives in the past have even claimed that they're are no Black gangs left, that if there are any, they are passing through from Moreno Valley, San Bernardino County or even Los Angeles. And Black community leaders have said during the past several years that this is what they've been told. But is that really the case?

Latino residents in the Eastside have said that Black gangs are still present in their community and that they feel that if injunctions were filed, then they should have been filed against any or all feuding gangs. Black residents say the violence was bad enough, that like the Latinos, they were afraid to go outside lest they become targets. Latinos say that the latest crackdown on the Eastside feels like "marshal law" while some Black residents say it makes them feel safer perhaps because the crackdown in the Eastside seems almost entirely geared (at least the way it's being sold to the press) as against Eastside Riva which is Latino.

Two teenaged girls walking alone at night on their way to a youth training center, the same night that a man was beaten and robbed on Third Street only several blocks away from the Caesar Chavez Community Center said that they felt uncomfortable walking there even when a police car was parked in the lot doing a pretext stop. Why, they were asked. They looked at the police car and said they were afraid of the police.

Are two young girls who are afraid of the police likely to be calling them to report information on a homicide they might witness or about a crime they might have experienced? What impact might this have on crimes that are currently unsolved or future ones?

What's happening in the Eastside and how Latinos are being treated because some of their members are gang members while members of Black gangs aren't even mentioned as existing let alone being named, is a contentious issue. An arrest was just made on Latino gang members who police allege shot two men who community residents said were Black who were walking a dog earlier this month.

The men were wounded and the dog, killed. However, no arrest was made in the case of the two male teenagers whose (in an article by the Press Enterprise) death was linked to Eastside Riva. No one in the department said that those responsible were members of that gang but the allusion was there, because the gunmen might have believed these two men were members of Eastside Riva gang. That was the reasoning given by the police. So what about those who shot them, who may not have even been Latino for all the public knows? Because many of the shootings in the Eastside have been interracial over the years.

For at least 10 years, when there were murders and nonfatal shootings in the Eastside, they were mostly interracial. Black on Latino. Then Latino on Black. Back and forth, tit for tat in waves that could continue unspent for months. Beginning usually but not always during the summer months, not long after schools released their students for the year. Intensifying every third year or so.

Has the picture truly changed since then? There's no mention of any Black gangs being involved even as the East Coast Crips spray painted signs and walls in the Eastside in 2007 and 2008 laying claim to a huge chunk of the Eastside, stating that they were ready to "bang" with anyone who challenged them. This wasn't long after the temporary and then permanent injunctions were filed against Eastside Riva.

In a city where gang violence has increased and not just in the Eastside and the city's handing off the intervention and outreach responsibilities of its Project Bridge program to its parks' directors because it's fired Project Bridge employees. Police enforcement is important but so are gang intervention and prevention programs and active involvement by communities in the lives of the children who live in them. Including in cases where the parents aren't available or involved for a variety of reasons, who might fall between the cracks because the networks that exist for middle-class families might not be there for poor or working class ones.

If people want to have the debate about undocumented immigrants as they already are on the comments sections related to these articles, then that's fine. Go for it. The perspective that I'm interested in examining is looking at the communities of undocumented immigrant who with about 4.5 million of their counterparts already live and work here and their relations with law enforcement agencies and officers just as that goes for other communities in the city. And how do their experiences as a community that might not be engaged in community policing compare with other communities which may or not be in the same circumstances?

The Press Enterprise did a very good article about how the Riverside Police Department's domestic violence division handled a case involving an undocumented female immigrant who was being abused by her husband and there's language against the Violence Against Women Act and other laws which provide visas to victims of crimes impacting women so that they will come forward and report them. That was a policing success story, helping a female crime victim from a vulnerable population.

Stories have circulated about how Guatemalan immigrants have been the victims of hate crimes including assaults by Whites in some neighborhoods including Orangecrest (and in that area of the city, "white power" tattoos and twin lightning bolts are worn on bare arms in public). If this is the case then this is a terrible thing as any assaults would be, but if the victims are too scared to tell police what happened to them or are too scared to tell police what they've witnessed, then the police department has failed in its mission to protect and serve the public in this city because the sales tax which goes to pay for police budgets isn't just contributed by citizens or legal immigrants.

Many crimes including violent crimes are solved (or not) because of people who come forward sometimes during the most difficult circumstances (if it's family involved) to talk to police about what they know or what they saw or heard. If it's not for people from all communities doing this, many crimes would never be solved at all.

But what facilitates this communication? Trust or distrust of law enforcement by communities? Trust or distrust of communities by law enforcement? And what can be done to improve these interactions?

What roles are played by community leaders? And what roles are played by members?

Demonstration at City Hall in Riverside against the raids and arrests on Friday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.

The investigation and discipline of officers involved in shootings in the Inland Empire was the subject of two articles in the Press Enterprise.

Investigations of shootings by officers unfold over a period of months. Actually it's the review process that takes that long. If you look at case books on criminal investigations of officer-involved deaths, you'll find that the vast majority of the investigation and the paperwork it creates is done the first week or so.

If officers are disciplined for onduty shootings, there is no way to know. Since officers' actions are backed up by the law enforcement agencies pretty much from the first day, that in itself provides the appropriate answers. Either that or these agencies aren't being truthful with the public by upholding the officers' behavior in the press and disciplining them for policy violations in secret.

The Press Enterprise filed its lawsuit to unseal the search warrants related to the investigation of San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus but the presiding judge just said no to opening them.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Douglas Elwell stood his ground this morning, saying that public disclosure of such documents could harm an ongoing investigation.

Elwell sealed 10 search warrants Jan. 14, the day before investigators unexpectedly found methamphetamine inside Postmus' Rancho Cucamonga apartment. Investigators were initially searching for information relating to Postmus' political activities.

Elwell said he weighed the public's right to know against the secrecy needed to protect the investigation when he sealed the warrants as well as the documents justifying their execution.

Elwell said publicly releasing even selected portions of the documents could bring harm to a person he did not identify in court.

"There was no way I could make this more tailored," Elwell said. "There was some possibility the safety of that person could be endangered."

The trial has started with opening statements in the case of a former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy who while off-duty shot his friend to death while returning from a night out.

(excerpt, Belo Blog)

A San Bernardino County prosecutor on Thursday told jurors that Christopher Sullivan put his service gun in the mouth of Cesar Valdez and pulled the trigger after a night of drinking in April 2006.

His attorney argued that Sullivan, 26, only held the gun as he stood in front of his Upland home, and it was Valdez, 24, who pulled the gun to his mouth and caused the weapon to fire.

When it rains it pours in Oakland

The situation with Oakland's police department continues to deteriorate after the resignation of the police chief and the federal probe announced against the supervisor of Internal Affairs. And now documents have emerged that indicate there was a coverup of a beating of a man nine years ago.

(excerpt, Oakland Tribune)

The FBI is investigating Amaro's death, and police last week suspended a senior officer, Capt. Edward Poulson, with pay as his role in the matter is probed. Poulson is suspected of kicking Amaro and then ordering subordinate officers to lie about it.

Administrative charges against Poulson were sustained for interfering in an internal affairs investigation. Then-Chief Richard Word changed a recommendation to fire Poulson to a two-week suspension.

Last year, Chief Wayne Tucker put Poulson in charge of Internal Affairs. In announcing his resignation Tuesday, hours before City Council members were scheduled to call for a no-confidence vote on him, partly because of the Poulson matter, Tucker said he would have fired Poulson if he had been given the same choice as Word.

But Tucker also described Poulson as his best choice last year to head Internal Affairs.

A separate confidential document City Attorney John Russo wrote to City Council members in 2005 stated that Poulson was "permitted to issue directives concerning the investigation to the other officers who were being investigated even though he was (the) subject of the investigation."

Tucker on Tuesday ripped council members for criticizing his decision to promote Poulson even though they had been briefed on the Amaro case.

Russo declined to comment on the document Wednesday, saying "it speaks for itself." Poulson, who has not commented since his suspension a week ago, could not be reached.


Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at City Hall, the city council interviews prospective candidates to fill vacancies on the Board of Public Utilities and the Community Police Review Commission.

Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m., the Governmental Affairs Committee meets to discuss the investigative protocol for the CPRC. City Manager Brad Hudson submitted this report on his proposal to use Long Beach's own protocol to direct "reviews" (as he never mentions the word "investigations") of officer-involved deaths. The report contains many flaws in its historical facts which is to be expected because it was drafted by individuals who weren't in Riverside when the CPRC was created through a vote taken by the city council and to compensate for that short-coming did a very poor job of researching local history. I have to admit that after reading the report, I had a good old belly laugh especially over the invocation of the legal proceedings surrounding the current governor of Illinois. And then I found myself hoping that Hudson's protocol does make it to the full city council. It's pretty and it's grand, brilliant in its own way and more than worthy of the $285,000 per year in tax dollars going to pay Hudson's salary.

But then again, the Titanic was all these things too before it hit the iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the ocean, because it was beautiful, grand but alas, also contained several key flaws in its design.

This was pretty much anticipated by those following the case of the BART officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant on New Year's Day but now the officer's own attorney is saying that his client may have mistaken his gun for his taser.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older