Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like an election year!

The Riverside City Council met and the item which created the most contention was perusual one scheduled on the consent calendar during the relatively speedy meeting which clocked in at about 90 minutes from its invocation to the "receive and file" discussion calendar to the reports of regional governmental meetings.

That was item #15 which incidentally wasn't pulled for separate discussion by anyone on the dais but which apparently created some of the largest inundations of complaints through the city government's email accounts in recent history. One council member who put it on the agenda allegedly got more email for it than for any other issue (including that ill-fated foray into electric rate hikes which twisted and turn depending on whether an election cycle took place or not) and another, allegedly received nearly 1,000 emails in just a few days.

The issues debated involved restrictions being placed on yard sales and garage sales, but apparently after the city's email system was inundated by irate people including voters in Wards Two and Four, the "clarifications" of municipal code as they were called were amended so that an updated written report was released not long before the meeting started. It was confusing to follow only in that you had a written hard copy issued last week that stated one thing and an oral report (which City Attorney Gregory Priamos did say was added online the afternoon before the meeting) which stated another. The word, "clarifications" is one that is often intricately tied in with the word, "amending" and that other word, "micromanagement".

So after people spoke during public comment on this contentious item, Schiavone said, "It's unusual for me to do this" and commented after each person spoke. Actually, it's not so unusual for him to do that, it's just that he hasn't run for election in a while so it's not happened as much lately. However, it's common enough so that if there's ever an amended version of the Riverside City Council drinking game, this statement if said by Schiavone is worth two sips of your drink of choice when playing at home. But after he did this "unusual" action enough times at this meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Melendrez put a hammer to it and told Schiavone to save his "questions" until the end of public comment. That caused a few people in attendance to blink because the absent Mayor Ron Loveridge never put his foot down in a similar fashion.

Another one for the drinking game is two sips for every time an elected official uses the word, "clarifications" and three sips if it's Schiavone.

It's silly because if a council member goofed when putting an item in the city council meeting agenda and it elicits a public outcry, then the city council member should just admit it and then say how he or she will make it right. That seems like the more prudent thing to do in situations like this one rather than rewriting history assuming everyone's forgotten it.

Election years are so glorious because they tend to create more than a few of these Tuesday afternoon amendments to controversial agenda items. But several councilmen tried to stamp out the fire before it could turn into another Electro-Gate. Did they succeed? We might find out after June 2.

But then some people use lunar cycles to guide them. Riverside of course uses election cycles.

This is the amended report for the agenda item on an issue which for all we know could have come close to shorting out the city council email delivery system with its relentless volume. But apparently, this is what was actually voted on.

Riverside Police Department Capt. John Wallace, Lt. Ken Raya and Sgt. Rusty Stump showed up representing the Special Operations Division which oversees the K-9 unit. Since Officer Mike Carroll's dog, Max, 10, died of cancer last week, the city used money from its Canine Trust Account to purchase him a replacement. The dog, Rocco a "talented" Belgian Malinois, is currently in the States undergoing training in preparation for his new career after originally being born in Europe. Through its vote in the consent calendar, the city council approved the purchase of the dog.

The K-9 division is one of the department's smaller ones and typically has among the lowest turnover with most K-9 officers leaving through promotions. The experience level of K-9 officers in the police department ranges from Officer Brad Smith with five years to Officer Ray Soto with over 18 years in the unit. Other officers interested in joining this unit often wait years to have an opportunity to apply for appointment, often facing competition from other officers. One candidate for example, Officer Kevin Feimer, has waited at least 6 1/2 years and often participates in agitation training which is when the officer wears a thick padded suit and the dog is either agitated or commanded to apprehend him.

The two police officers in charge of handling the graffiti enforcement, Det. Kathy Nelson and Officer Steve Warlick appeared on the "receive and file" graffiti enforcement report while Public Works Director Siobhan Foster delivered the oral presentation. The discussion calendar items passed so quickly that if you sneezed, you'd probably miss both of them.

Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Melendrez presided over the meeting in Mayor Ron Loveridge's absence in a somewhat tentative manner, allowing the men to exceed the three-minute speaking limit on several occasions but holding the female speakers to that same limit.

A Riverside County Superior Court judge heard arguments on a lawsuit filed by Riverside Councilman Frank Schiavone against City Clerk Colleen Nichol. At first the hearing was scheduled for Dept. 2 in the downtown courthouse but it was continued and moved to Dept. 10.

Here is a link to the Schiavone lawsuit which received its first airing inside a courtroom on March 17 at 8:30 a.m.

According to the online site for the courts, here is the minute record.


Here's some interesting trivia. Stewart who is serving as Schiavone's lawyer is the former city council member of Moreno Valley who is partnered with Michael Geller, who tried to change that city's charter. Stewart and Schiavone also served on the March Joint Powers Commission together.

Tuszynska is representing Davis, who is considered a "real party" in this writ.

Davis' response to Schiavone's lawsuit against Nichol has been added to the online court records. In his response, Davis said he received little notice that litigation was initiated and that Schiavone had asked the courts (and was later granted) a shortening period.

The document also challenged Schiavone's contention that probationary law enforcement officers weren't considered real officers, stating that they fulfilled the same duties as permanent employees with the only distinction that they could be fired "at will".

He includes a declaration that he was employed both by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Riverside Police Department where he worked with currently employed officers, Bruce Loftus, Patrick Young and more than one Toussaint brother.

Davis includes documentation that he placed on his Web site including his last evaluation from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and a resignation action form from the Riverside Police Department as well as a certificate of completion from what is now Ben Clark Training Academy.

Schiavone did his "unusual" action at commenting on public comment after the speaker has spoken on the issue of him suing Nichol which he said was his only avenue of taking legal action. He also said his action of suing on the writ didn't cost the taxpayers any money. It's so nice to know that Priamos who's currently representing Nichol in this proceeding's agreed to work pro bono including the costs of any materials needed.

However, if tax payer money is being used to defend Nichol from this lawsuit against her, then it's worth the expense if for that reason. The hardest working city clerk in the state deserves an award, not a lawsuit.

The lawsuit was detailed in the Press Enterprise. It's the first lawsuit filed on behalf of the current election season.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Davis said his opponent is splitting hairs.

"Clearly," said Davis, "I was a police officer."

"For him to tout his failures to keep a job at either department as law enforcement experience is disgraceful," Schiavone said in a written statement. "It's like someone talking about their military experience that was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces."

In Davis' final performance evaluation from the Sheriff's Department, supervisors rated him as competent and said he is "progressing at a very acceptable rate."

The final personnel action from Riverside said that Davis resigned to take a new, higher-paying job in finance. The supervisor checked "doubtful" about whether he'd rehire Davis.

Davis said that the city might have been upset because of his quick departure. "Doubtful doesn't mean 'no,' " he said. "It means 'maybe.'

Okay, so you've got one councilman who's so sure that Davis "washed out" or exercised a "failure to keep his jobs" but hasn't provided the source of this information, although he stated in this unattributed posting at Craigslist that this information came from public records. The problem with that is that in order for the records issued publicly to be in compliance with state law (using the interpretation of that law practiced by City Attorney Greg Priamos), they can't include information about the reason behind an employee's departure. Priamos takes it a step further than the legal counsel in Riverside County and doesn't believe that Riverside can even divulge that the person resigned. If you read the two response letters issued by both law enforcement agencies included in the lawsuit, you can see this slight difference in information provided.

It could very well be true that Davis "washed out" or was a "failure" but more information needs to be provided to substantiate it and it's problematic when an elected official running for office claims that public records provided him with this information as if the records stated this clearly. And that's partly noted by using the same argument that Schiavone himself used to question his rival's law enforcement background.

That article not surprisingly elicited some comments.


I know little about Davis. Only that he couldn't possibly be as bad a choice as Schiavone.

Unlike the last Ward 4 election, no coin flip necessary for this one.

The same Frank Schiavone who is NOT fit to lead the City and sells out the City to business interests and DOES NOT represent the people who cast votes for/and against him, and sold a bill of goods on the failed DHL mess, dares call a person false and misleading? Tell the truth Frank! YOU ARE OF LITTLE INTEGRITY YOURSELF.

The discussion of the controversy has also continued here.

One person called it "character assassination".


Too bad the posters who seem to be City Council incumbent Frank Schiavone supporters are using character assassination by spreading misleading and or false information as a campaign platform.

Rather than being a negative to City Council challenger Paul Davis, this commonly used tactic by Riverside's engrained politicians, will backfire on Frank Schiavone who is struggling to keep his job on Riverside City Council.

An incumbent candidate who is not out there fighting tooth and nails on an ongoing basis for basic city services like the Greyhound Bus Service likely will not last long in City Council. Frank Schiavone said he got the Greyhound issue to the Transportation committee meeting, and that things may be happening behind the scenes, but that isn't transparency and what citizens can't see we are unlikely to believe.

Frank Schiavone was long and loud and frequent in his ADVOCACY for Riverside's roosters. But roosters were a non issue that passed due to a misinformation campaign to which Frank contributed heavily.

But faced with a REAL TRUE TO LIFE issue that will SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT citizens lives, we do not hear FRANK.

He seems pretty silent.

Could it be because the Greater Bay Area Chamber of Commerce has an office directly next door to Riverside Greyhound and wants Greyhound out? Is it possible that that power packed group has had an influence that has quieted Frank Schiavone when the citizens of Riverside need his help the most.

A reasonable person on the street might just think so.

A self-identified retired Los Angeles Police officer who lives in Riverside weighed in on "real" police officers.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

I am a retired Police officer from LAPD (30yrs) and now live in Orangecrest.Just read the PE where Paul Davis wants to call himself a "Police Officer" and did not successfully complete probation.I went to his website and see the deception in his reference to a law enforcement background.This is a perfect example of why there is probation.

Other person debates whether police officers should run for office at all.


This is my personal opinion of former and current law enforcement people running for political positions. I don't care for any ex or current law people being involved in politics. They usually end up being real jerks who usually are corrupt or only use the position for personal advancement or personal gain. They usually disregard the voice of the people, are arrogant, racist, sexist, pompous, jackasses with a domination complex. Very similar to one of the people on the dias right now.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that Nicol rocks. She's an excellent city clerk and it's too bad she's being sued for any reason. If Schiavone could argue these issues on the campaign trail like most political candidates do, then there wouldn't be a reason to sue her at all.

After all, he's managed to dictate the direction of the Community Police Review Commission mostly through the Press Enterprise and hasn't yet filed a lawsuit to do what is best done in another venue.

I got some fan mail here for writing about the lawsuit filed by Schiavone.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

FBM obviously putting a positive spin about Paul Davis elaborate law-enforcement (ahum) career. FBM biased against Frank Schiavone, yes.
Face it, Paul Davis is a phony. FBM you need to be more objective to legitimize your blog reporting.

It's not "Breast Man" at any rate. Hopefully, it's someone who can elaborate on which public record states that Davis had "washed out" while employed as a law enforcement officer, meaning that he was fired or resigned upon threat of termination from employment, which is what Schiavone is claiming. The two responses from city and county law enforcement agencies which employed Davis specifically stated that they were unable to provide any such information about these two possible outcomes, true or not, due to state law including PC 832.7. So did this information if it's as true as Schiavone claims it to be come from another source? Did someone violate the sanctity of this state law and provide this information? I would think that law enforcement officers everywhere would be concerned if something like this happened just on the sake of consistency or principle if not objectivity.

What it looks like on paper is that his tenure in the Riverside County Sheriff's Department doesn't appear to have been a problematic one in terms of his conduct. The picture involving the Riverside Police Department is less clear because no evaluation was provided in that case but back then, the police department did them annually and in some cases not at all, according to allegations raised by former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer in his litigation against the city involving the police department in 2001. Part of the resultant stipulated judgment includes a mandated reform that states that evaluations of officers are to be performed at least once annually.

If this issue could be clarified further by yourself because you seem to know something the rest of us don't, it would make it easier to follow this campaign trail which is certainly off to an interesting start.

I could prove how "objective" I am by jumping on the bandwagon that a lawsuit against a city employee is a necessary campaign tool for a candidate to achieve what could easily be accomplished at candidate appearances or public forums or that an individual is a "phony" based on some rather insubstantial evidence.

Thanks for your feedback and thank you for reading!

Riverside Police Department officer responded to 15% less false alarm calls.

Was a mountain lion spotted on Mt. Rubidoux?

The Anaheim Police Department officer who shot and killed Julian Alexander last year
won't face criminal charges

A way to better track deputies is being sought by the Denver Sheriff's Department.

(excerpt, Denver Post)

The issue is raised in the annual report from independent monitor Richard Rosenthal, which is scheduled for a City Council committee discussion Wednesday.

Rosenthal, whose office monitors internal-affairs investigations of uniformed personnel at the police and sheriff's departments, said in the report that the Police Department has put in place a personnel-assessment system that does a better job of monitoring officers.

The police database tracks arrests, training, education, use of force, leave and overtime, traffic collisions, pursuits, secondary employment, civil liability information, commendations and complaints.

In contrast, Rosenthal said, tracking use of force by sheriff's deputies is cumbersome.

"During the course of monitoring Sheriff use-of-force complaint investigations, the Monitor's Office noted that it was not possible for Internal Affairs to obtain copies of use-of-force reports by looking up specific officers," the report says.

He said a deputy told an internal-affairs investigator he had used similar force in a similar incident. The investigator could not find that use-of-force report, Rosenthal said.

An Albany Police Department officer confesses he used cocaine.

(excerpt, Albany Times-Union)

Towsley told internal affairs officers that during the 2008 Super Bowl on Feb. 3, he used cocaine while at Graney's Bar, a popular spot for off-duty cops and politicians.

The arbitrator ruled that termination was an acceptable penalty. "You failed to keep your private life untarnished and failed to obey the laws of the country, state, city and department."

Albany attorney David Ehrlich, who represents Towsley, said, "My client and I disagree with the content of the arbitrator's decision, and he continues to look at all his options as to how to proceed."

The report notes that police Commander Daniel Colonno described Towsley "as an informal leader in his squad and one of the more seasoned and level-headed officers. He is an officer supervisors went to when they needed something done with a level of expertise."

The circumstances surrounding the cocaine use drew questions from the arbitrator. The officer said he went into the men's room, noticed a pile of white powder on the sink, dipped his finger in the powder and tasted it, then rubbed some on his teeth and gums.

That testimony "was so unbelievable as to be absurd," Cole wrote. She suggested, "This story conveniently places no responsibility on Towsley for obtaining the controlled substance and relieves him of the responsibility of being questioned about his source."

The fatal shooting of a 73-year-old Black man in a town in Louisiana by police officers has attracted outside investigators because eyewitness accounts contradict the version of events provided by Homer Police Department.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Now the Louisiana State Police, the FBI and the Justice Department are swarming over this impoverished lumber town of 3,800, drawn by allegations from numerous witnesses that police killed Monroe without justification -- and then moved a gun to make it look like he had been holding it.

"We are closely monitoring the events in Homer," said Donald Washington, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Louisiana. "I understand that a number of allegations are being made that, if true, would be serious enough for us to follow up on very quickly."

Monroe's friends and relatives say they still don't understand why the neighborhood patriarch ended up dead.

Four witnesses said he was sitting outside his home in the late afternoon on Feb. 20 -- clutching a large sports-drink bottle -- when two police officers pulled up and summoned over his son, Shawn.

Shawn Monroe, who has a long record of arrests and convictions on charges of assault and battery but was not wanted on any warrants, reportedly ran into the house.

One of the officers, who had been on Homer's police force only a few weeks, chased after him and reappeared moments later in the doorway, the witnesses said.

Meanwhile, the elder Monroe had started walking toward the front door. When he got to the first step on the porch, the witnesses said, the rookie officer opened fire, striking Monroe several times.

"He just shot him through the screen door," said Denise Nicholson, a family friend who said she was standing a few feet away. "After [Monroe] was on the ground, we kept asking the officer to call an ambulance, but all he did was get on his radio and say, 'Officer in distress.' "

A Chicago Police Department officer blogs about that death here. He goes under the moniker Det. Shaved Long Cock, which I have to say, is the most creative one I've seen an officer use so far. What else is there to say?

Here's a lovely comment by an anonymous person in response to the blogging on the shooting in New Orleans.

(excerpt, Shaved Long Cock)

Anonymous said...

but these guys are the same ones that if a black man raised his voice at them they would shit themselves! YOU SHIT YOURSELF OLD MAN MURPHY.


We are all racist black officers and hispanic officers pick on whites too especially from the suburbs but thats not racist right?

But then the critics of these commenters aren't any better.


Anonymous said...

fuck the police. hang 'em high.

But Det., Freud-would-have-a-field-day, spends most of his time blogging about the Chicago Police Department in his postings and offers feed back on how to fix it in his commentaries which accompany his postings.


This news blip was suggested in a comment in the comment section.

Now there are a few bosses on the CPD that if the worse they did was what this NYPD Lt. did - It would be a blessing. The guy prays a lot, pisses on himself and see demons, big deal! We got bosses where the police department has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in sexual harassment lawsuits filed by other officers. And not only are these bosses still on the job, many have even promoted higher afterwards. We have alcoholic bosses, some even doing Coke (Cmdr. TRIGG???) and others who have shot and killed their wife thinking it was a burglar (Sure you did!) and these are just a few that I care to mention. Some are so bad I am not going to make then public. Give the guy back his badge and gun. The worse he will do is shoot a demon in his office. And just like some police shootings we have handled, we will even make it a justified demon shooting!

Officer it wasn't my fault. My driver was off today so I had to try to drive while rolling a fatty blunt, holding the 40 ouncer so it wouldn't spill and try to talk on the cell phone while doing this all!

I like the way the police said that the pedestrian was by the crosswalk but not sure if he was crossing legally. Anybody who has seen somebody struck by a car knows full well even if the pedestrian was walking right down the middle of the crosswalk, he is going to be a distance away from that crosswalk after getting struck by a car.

WHAT'S THE OLD JOKE ON THIS ONE??? How many Mexicans does it take to make a Bently sparkle and shine? One, if you hit him hard enough! Sorry Leftisthebest - Didn't mean to bring back old memories!

Not to be outdone, a Chicago Police Department sergeant also blogs.

The costs of lawsuits in New York City filed involving police misconduct have been tallied.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

The city shelled out $35.2 million last year in settlements over charges of improper police action, up 40% over the previous year, a report out Thursday from city Controller William Thompson shows.

And that figure isn't likely to fall anytime soon: The number of people who planned to sue the NYPD hit an all-time high last year.

"These are remarkable increases. They raise serious questions as to whether the NYPD is out of control," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The number of notices of claim filed against the NYPD - the first step in a lawsuit - has climbed 22% in the past 10 years, hitting a historic high of 6,274 last year, the report found.

Lieberman blames aggressive stop-and-frisk practices for the rise, but a police source said many claims are for property cases, like a squad car damaging another vehicle.

Still, the NYPD's payout increases outweighed those of other city agencies.

A Newport Police Department officer who was the subject of rumors that he was gay won a $1.2 million award from a trial jury.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

"The one thing he's always wanted to do is be a police officer," Girardi said. "There's a certain sense that this jury validated the reasonableness of the complaints he made. I guess that might make going back to work a little bit easier."

McDonell's successor, Chief John Klein, issued a statement saying he was glad to have the trial behind him so the department could return its full attention to protecting Newport Beach citizens.

"The Newport Beach Police Department is a strong, professional department that is appreciated by our citizens and highly respected by other law enforcement agencies," he said. "That reputation has been earned by the many talented people in the department who are dedicated to this community."

Yeah, yeah that's great news but hopefully after being stung in the wallet, the department will be all that and a bit less homophobic as well.

Another lawsuit has been filed in Rochester involving "gay bashing" by police officers who have refused city representation because they are suing the city themselves.

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