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

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Links and things from sea to shining sea

Another month, another letter in the Press Enterprise by retired Riverside Police Department Det. Granville "Bud" Kelley who despite despising the Community Police Review Commission and calling it a variety of colorful metaphors in his letters and calling for its disbandment has applied to serve on it several times. He's also been a member of Chief Russ Leach's Advisory Board.

The possibility that untrained people tromping around an officer-involved shooting site could contaminate evidence may be "nonsense" to Chani Beeman, of the Community Police Review Commission, but as a former homicide investigator with the Riverside Police Department, I can tell you that it could be a reality ("Key term in board issue unclear," March 1).

Investigations are better left to the professionals. There is sufficient time later for the review commission to look into the matter. Beeman's suggestion that a commission investigator sit in during Police Department internal-affairs interviews also lacks common sense and smacks of interference.

The commission has been an albatross around the neck of the Riverside Police Department since its inception and should be voted out by the residents of Riverside, just as it was voted in during a time of mass hysteria.



Interesting letter, but all reports indicate that no crime-scene trampling CPRC investigators have ever been seen at any of the 12 investigations, preliminary or complete, conducted of officer-involved deaths from 2002-2008. And there are currently no reports of any crime-scene trampling investigators in the vicinity at the moment although City Hall and Police Chief Russ Leach are apparently ringing some alert that this is a serious problem as all the parties in this controversy return to addressing each other not directly but through the local media, in the wake of the Governmental Affairs Committee which ended in a stalemate on Feb. 4.

The Riverside City Council met and conducted some business. Most of which as usual was on the consent calendar of its agenda and not up for discussion.

A controversial ordinance limiting picketing was finally approved by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The ordinance, supported by Supervisor Jeff Stone and representatives of the Church of Scientology, prohibits protesters within 30 feet of the property line of a residence they are targeting in unincorporated Riverside County. The rules are scheduled to go into effect in 30 days.

"I can't support this ordinance," said Buster, the only supervisor who voted against it. "I hope you can clarify it if it does go into effect, because it seems to me it is going to be really a problem for everybody to try and interpret, and eventually you are going to spend a lot of money in court."

New Menifee mayor pro tem, Darcy Kuenzi has created a committee of people to figure out how to be a city.

San Bernardino County is planning to trim its budget again.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

San Bernardino County supervisors approved three cost-cutting programs Tuesday that trim the workweek of the county's administrators and offer cash incentives to employees to retire before the next fiscal year.

The ordinance signals that county negotiators will seek similar concessions in coming contract talks with the unions that represent county employees, authorities said.

"We want to set the tone," said Andrew Lamberto, head of the county's human resources department. "We are prepared to take these cuts as a ... group."

Lamberto said formal talks with the San Bernardino Public Employees Association would open in late March.

The union represents more than 12,000 county employees. As well as possibly asking for a cut to workers' hours, county negotiators may request that employees forgo a 2.5 percent pay raise scheduled for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"We haven't asked anything like that formally," Lamberto said. "The county has a menu of cost reductions (to choose from)."

Bob Blough, general manager of the employees association, said he hopes that county negotiators are open to exploring a full range of options, which do not include layoffs, as the county grapples with a roughly $80 million budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

More on the case involving the videotaped beating of 15-year-old Malika Calhoun by King County Sheriff's Department deputies. I've gotten some emails on this one including links to different blogs and articles.

You can read the transcript of her interview where she talks about what happened to her. The deputy who was videotaped throwing her around and on the ground and then punching her appeared in court to plead not guilty to an assault charge.

(excerpt, Huffington Post)

CHEN: And then what was the exchange going on between you and the officer in the cell during the beating?

M. CALHOUN: He first, when he first came in, where I kicked the shoe off at him, and I was about to take my other one off, he said, you know, it's assaulting an officer. And that's when he charged in and started beating me. And I was yelling. I was like, this isn't -- I'm not resisting. I'm not resisting. And he said, whether you're resisting or not, that was assault.

Then he just kept doing it and kept going and going.

CHEN: Why did you kick the shoe off at him?

M. CALHOUN: Because my arms were folded, and I was upset with the way he was talking to me. And I was talking back to him. And I just took it off. And I was ready to take off my other shoe, and then that's what happened.

CHEN: Did the shoe hit him?

M. CALHOUN: No, it didn't hit him at all. I was standing in the inside of the door, and he was standing holding the door open. Didn't hit him, and he was saying that it made blood pockets and stuff, and it didn't even hit him at all.

CHEN: Tell me about the beating. How hard was it?

M. CALHOUN: It was horrible, like my head hit the wall when he first came in and kicked me. And then my head hit the wall in the back. And then he kept -- threw me to the ground, was pulling my hair constantly.

And it was just horrible.

CHEN: Were you screaming for him to stop?

M. CALHOUN: Yes. I said, I'm not resisting. I'm not resisting.

CHEN: And what did he say?

M. CALHOUN: He didn't say anything back until after, when I was like, I didn't resist. And he said, well, it was still assaulting an officer.

Resetting expectations in the Malika Calhoun case from Injustice in Seattle who's written on this incident since it unfolded.

An update from Behind the Blue Wall on the situation involving the woman who blogs on law enforcement-related domestic violence who received threatening emails allegedly from a West Palm Beach Sheriff's Department deputy a while ago.

Another blogger harassed which was read by nearly 8,000 people just accessing that link during the first few weeks it was posted here after being linked at a variety of other blogs.

She filed complaints with that agency, Tacoma Police Department and the FBI and received a letter from the city of Tacoma that no charges will be filed in that case. The Blue Wall of Silence prevails again.

In New York City, a former military veteran is applying for a spot in that police department but has a felony conviction in his background.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Spec. Osvaldo Hernandez earned a 98.235 on his June test - which includes a 5-point credit for his military service in Afghanistan, lawyer James Harmon said.

That places Hernandez 25th on the list of applicants.

"He got a very high score. He's a thoughtful guy. He's an intelligent guy," Harmon said.

"We expect that Hernandez's number will come up for selection consideration in the coming months."

Hernandez, 26, of Corona, Queens, has been determined in his pursuit of an NYPD badge, although he was sentenced to eight months in jail after a 2002 bust for carrying a loaded gun in his car.

NYPD policy bars police brass from hiring applicants with felony convictions.

In November, the decorated soldier - who served his country with the 82nd Airborne Division - convinced the judge and the prosecutor who put him behind bars he was a changed man.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron granted Hernandez a "relief of civil disability" certificate, restoring Hernandez's right to carry a gun.

A jury awarded $3 million in the case of a mentally ill man who was tased 18 times by police in Texas.

In Minneapolis, a tasing of a man there was ruled a homicide.

(excerpt, Star Tribune)

Quincy DeShawn Smith, a former radio DJ, died around 12:45 a.m. Dec. 9 after a confrontation with officers who had been called to the 1000 block of Knox Avenue N. on a report of a domestic assault involving a man with a gun. He struggled with officers as they tried to arrest him and was Tasered.

Shortly after Smith was subdued, he experienced a medical problem and later died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The cause of death released by the medical examiner Wednesday was "cardiorespiratory arrest complicating physical exertion with law enforcement subdual and restraint." While the manner of death was listed as homicide, medical examiner Andrew Baker cautioned that the definition of homicide is not tantamount to murder. "In the medical examiner world, it simply means that other people were involved in the individual's death," he said. "It doesn't imply that it was murder or malfeasance or acting outside the scope of professional conduct."

The medical examiner's release did not say whether the Taser shock was a factor in Smith's death.

Officers were arrested, fired and/or charged with sexual offenses in North Carolina,San Jose,Florida and Georgia. Some people might say it's mentioning cases like these that are the problem but I think most of us would agree that it's officers who engage in this misconduct who are the problem.

A court in Nebraska upheld the firing of a state trooper because he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

(excerpt, Associated Press)

Justice John Gerrard wrote that Robert Henderson voluntarily associated with an organization that uses violence and terror to oppose the state's founding principles of equality and tolerance.

Henderson, a trooper for 18 years, was dismissed in 2006 after the patrol discovered he had joined a racist group. He told an investigator he joined the Knights Party - which has described itself as the most active Klan organization in the United States - in June 2004.

An arbitrator said Henderson was wrongly fired, but Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront overturned that decision.

Henderson's attorney, Vincent Valentino, argued to the high court that arbitrators, not judges, have the final say.

Gerrard wrote that while it's not the role of a court, generally, to set aside an arbitrator's decision, it is permissible for a court to "refuse to enforce an arbitration award that is contrary to a public policy that is explicit, well defined, and dominant."

Justice Kenneth Stephan wrote in a dissenting opinion that the courts overstepped their bounds by overturning the arbitrator. Stephan said Henderson had kept his beliefs well hidden while on the job and there was no evidence those beliefs interfered with his impartial enforcement of the law.

A New York City Police Department officer has been indicted after being caught on video camera assaulting a handcuffed man last July.

(excerpt, Newsday)

Officer David London used his baton during an encounter with Walter Harvin, 29, who "did not pose a physical threat" to the cop, Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said in a statement. Landon has 15 years on the force.

Harvin, a U.S. Army veteran, suffered multiple cuts and scrapes, prosecutors said.

London, 43, was arrested Wednesday and pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to charges of felony assault, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing, as well as making a punishable written statement, a misdemeanor. He was was released without bail and told to return March 5

London was placed on modified duty 10 days after the July 28, incident at West 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

The officer charged Harvin with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors dismissed the charges after a probe revealed the officer falsified details in the criminal complaint filed against Harvin, authorities said.

London said in the complaint that Harvin was physically aggressive against him and London's partner, prosecutors said. A New York City Housing Authority surveillance video contradicted the officer's account, prosecutors said.

London faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted on the felony assault charge alone.

Some police officers working in different agencies in New York were caught up in a shoplifting sting.

(excerpt, Mid-Hudson News)

Two of those arrested are police officers.

Computer software, razors, and other items of small size but high retail value, including flat screen TVs, were taken.

"Our surveillance indicated this was almost a nightly event in the past several months," said District Attorney Frank Phillips. "We've got two small truckloads of property that was seized as a result of search warrants that we are in the process of inventorying and securing."

On Tuesday, November 4, investigators from the Orange County District Attorney's Office, members of the Walmart Investigations Team, and police from the towns of New Windsor, Newburgh and Montgomery executed seven search warrants at several locations and recovered large amounts of stolen goods. A large amount of the stolen property had been sold on eBay. eBay officials cooperated in the investigation.

Charged were Bryan Dunn, 36, of Maybrook; Kevin Burchell, 27, of Montgomery; Clifford Barber III, 41, of Walden; and LaQuionus Pressley, 29, of Newburgh.

Burchell is a Village of Tuxedo police officer. Barber is a town of Montgomery police officer.

A police officer in Massachusetts whose assault of a man appeared on YouTube was suspended for conduct unbecoming of an officer.

(excerpt, The Boston Channel)

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

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

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

"The force used in this case, while not excessive, was certainly not proper and customary," Capt. Paul Tucker wrote in his report. "The (profane) language used has no place in a professional police agency."

The New York City Police Department hired two female officers who are identical twins.

During an NTSB hearing on the Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth last year, the text messages sent and received by the engineer killed in the crash were released.

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