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, March 29, 2009

CPRC training, behind closed doors?

"Officer Sakai would call me personally. I always appreciated him and the rest of the officers because they always came by and told me how the case was going. That young man has always been there for me and my family."

----Melva Fonteno about Oakland Police Officer Daniel Sakai who grew up in Big Bear.

"Black people are marginalized by the city and hounded by the police."


While reading the latest round of monthly reports on the activities of the Community Police Review Commission, I noticed some interesting inconsistencies between one of the monthly reports and the minute orders for a meeting where training had taken place. Both written records were kept in relation to the Feb. 11 case review and special meetings.

According to the CPRC's monthly report issued for February, the CPRC's commissioners were giving training documents addressing case law for use of force policies including that of the Riverside Police Department which included the citation of the judicial cases of Graham v Conner and Tennessee v Garner.

However, if you examine the Feb. 11 minutes, you won't find any mention of any of the above training or documents being received by commissioners certainly not in an open session. On that date, newly sworn in commissioner, Robert Slawsby had held up a piece of paper and referred to it as from a use of force training that he had just received. He did so to prove he had gotten trained as a commissioner but one piece of paper to show for receiving training on the department's use of force policy just isn't that impressive. Or perhaps it wouldn't have been that impressive several years ago.

However, given that he had just been appointed to the commission, that meant that any training on this issue took place would have been done during that closed session. However, a copy of the agenda for that day shows that there's no listing for any use of force training during either the closed or public sessions of the meeting. And there's no explanation if the training did take place in closed session as to why that took place because it would seem well outside of the limited circumstances for having closed meetings under state laws.

Back in the days of relative transparency before all this latest micromanagement began, whenever any training was provided to commissioners including case law pertaining to the use of force policy, it was always placed on the agenda the appropriate time ahead of that meeting and it was always conducted during a public session. But those days are gone at least for now, as members of the city council and their direct employees have micromanaged the eight-year-old commissioner to a shell of its former self.

But the use of force training wasn't the only training that was given that day. Only, the other form of training that was given to commissioners is at least referred to consistently between the minute orders and the monthly reports.

The taser training which was also mentioned in February's monthly report was also detailed in these minutes for the Feb. 11 meeting. But not the case law training in association with the police department's use of force policy.

That's not the first time there's been an allegation made about an apparent inconsistency between what was scheduled to take place in a closed session meeting and what took place. Former CPRC Commissioner Jim Ward expressed concern about a reference to the public report of the fatal shooting of Joseph Darnell Hill which apparently was made alluding that there was discussion of it during one of the closed session meetings. However, the Hill case was never included in any of the written agendas for the closed session meetings.

The selection process for Ward's replacement which must come from Ward Two will be done on April 7, which doesn't give the city council much time to find a puppet to fill in the huge shoes left behind by an individual who had given the CPRC nearly eight years of devoted service.

A forum on police accountability issues will be scheduled some time in early May. More details as they become available.

Coming soon are the following postings in relation to the CPRC.

Making the Grade? A performance evaluation of the CPRC manager (based on the standards set by the job description created by the city manager's office in its 2007 job search) and how the current stacks up to the preceding directors/managers.

Censorship and the CPRC: How the commission's unable to draft its own agenda without having agenda items vetoed by the dynamic duo.

Parallel investigations/divergent interests: The campaign to eliminate independent investigations of officer-involved deaths by the CPRC. Who the players are and who's getting played.

The San Bernardino City Council was praised by the editorial board of the Press Enterprise for basically not fighting within the ranks, which is an accomplishment I guess.


McNeely could not arrive at a better time. Mayor Pat Morris, who noted Reno's renewal on frequent business trips, recruited McNeely to similarly transform San Bernardino. With unemployment in the region above 12 percent and the central city plagued by blight and crime, economic growth and downtown rejuvenation are dire necessities.

The new manager's arrival also would be an excellent time for council members and the mayor to put aside their frequent divisions to focus on developing the city's civic and economic life. McNeely's succeeded in Reno in part because of solid council support. The San Bernardino council has spent most of the past year splitting votes on decisions including spending cuts and personnel issues. But division seldom invites development.

McNeely will need civic, community and official support to apply to San Bernardino the formula that worked in Reno. But given that backing, city residents have good reason to be confident that McNeely can bring San Bernardino a brighter future.

How are city and county employees handling furloughs imposed to balance the budgets? In many different ways. Meanwhile, Redlands has been the subject of national attention because most of the city departments agreed to take furloughs.

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein discusses the tales of the two counties.


RivCo supes are getting tough! After our story revealed one of the Big Five -- Supe Jeff Stone -- lets his super volunteer staffer (who also happens to be his well-paid campaign consultant sister) use a county car, the other four threw their support behind tough new rules for use of county vehicles.

Bill Luna, the county chief exec, may propose that supes' staff members surrender their take-home county cars. Oh, no!

Oh, yes! I'm sure Supes John Tavaglione and Marion Ashley will go along -- especially if it diverts attention from their county-owned $50K SUVs. But if Luna tries to repo supes' rigs with heated leather seats, sun roofs, moon roofs and DVD players, I'm guessing all bets are off.

Are digital dash cameras installed inside police cars good or bad for police officers? In practice, they have served as both.

The Dallas Police Department uses cameras that sound similar to the ones that are installed in every squad car used by the Riverside Police Department. Because of the stipulated judgment with the State Attorney General's office, the department was required to install 10 cameras within one year and make a serious effort to come up with funding for installation of an additional 25 by March 2006 when the judgment was dissolved.

However, only three cameras were installed and the number stayed at that level for several years even after the city council allocated at the judgment's 11th hour, $500,000 to outfit the rest of the fleet, an action that was just taken not too long ago.

(excerpt, Dallas News)

Cameras, both in-car and wielded by bystanders, have "had a huge impact in being able to provide independent visual documentation of the incident," said Sam Walker, a national police accountability expert.

"If the officer did the right thing, then it's good for us to know that and have some independent documentation," he said. "If the officer was in the wrong, then it's good for us to know that. This is what's been lacking in most police use-of-force incidents. Traditionally, you would have had a he said-he said situation. As the cliché has always been, the tie goes to the officer."
Also Online

In-car video:

Moats is stopped outside hospital (edited)
Officer shoots man after Oak Cliff chase
Man is beaten by police at McKinney’s Manor House Apartments

Zach Thomas: Same Dallas officer mistreated my wife

In the Powell-Moats incident, without the video or if a Plano officer hadn't witnessed part of the traffic stop, an Internal Affairs inquiry might have gone nowhere. The Plano officer reported the incident to his supervisors.

"It would have been their word against [Powell], and it probably would have ended up being inconclusive," said Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson, who oversees the city's seven patrol stations. "The in-car camera systems bring a different view."

March Air Reserve Base's museum is hoping to provide a new home for the space shuttle, Endeavor when it's mothballed after its last mission. That shuttle is the one of first choice because an astronaut from the Inland Empire flew on it. The other one that will be donated to a museum after the space shuttle program is shut down in 2011, is Atlantis. Discovery is going to the Smithsonian Institute and both Challenger and Columbia were destroyed in accidents.

Former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson is angered by the appearance of memorial ribbons for two of his wives.

(excerpt, Fox News)

Peterson's neighbor Sharon Bychowski, along with 20 others, put white and purple ribbons on trees in the development Saturday afternoon. Soon after, Peterson cut the ribbons off four trees, Bychowski told the Herald News.

She put up another four, and they were again cut down. This continued throughout the weekend until Peterson called the police late Sunday afternoon.

"Drew called, complaining streamers were being put on the trees in the parkway," Teppel said. "He wanted them down because it is against village ordinance."

But, the ribbons weren't violating any ordinance and police didn't take action, Teppel told the Herald News.

Peterson allegedly started taking pictures of the group and got into a confrontation with at least one person who was hanging the ribbons, the newspaper reported.

"They're a bunch of liars and low-life (expletives)," he said of the group who repeatedly placed the ribbons on the trees. "There's not a job between them."

The latest is that Peterson is engaged to a young woman who would be his fifth wife and that the State Attorney General's office has issued another announcement that charges may soon be filed in the case of one of his wives. But this office has made similar statements before, usually about every six months. If charges were to be filed, most likely it would be stemming from the homicide of his third wife, Kathleen Savio who was killed in her own bathroom inside a locked house.

After the fatal shooting of four police officers, a deeper look into Oakland.

Election forums:

March 30, Residents for Responsible Representation (RRR) is hosting a Candidates Public Forum for Ward 6 Candidates at La Sierra Public Library

The three candidates for Ward 6 Riverside City Council are:

1. Ann Alfaro
2. Nancy Hart
3. William Scherer

Place: La Sierra Library on La Sierra Avenue
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Date: Monday, March 30, 2009

The Group and Latino Network Sponsor Riverside City Council Candidate Forum - Saturday April 4, 2009 -Stratton Center/Bordwell Park - 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

The oldest living Kentucky Derby winner dies at 25.

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