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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Bradley Estates Affair: The Day After

***UPDATE*** Human Remains were found with a blue plastic barrel nearby in the Des Plaines River in Illinois. Tests will be done to see if it is Stacey Peterson, the missing wife of former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson

I would have loved to have attended the Riverside City Council meeting on May 19, to hear the oral report on the police department's family justice center which sounds like a very worthwhile endeavor staffed by great people including from the police department but alas, the vertigo has limited my activities somewhat. It's a bit hard to get out when a lot of the time you feel like you just got off the Disneyland spinning tea cups. But anyway, City Manager Brad Hudson apparently at some point made a comment about the future of staffing inside the police department in the wake of the city's budget cuts. What he said was that there would be very few staffing cuts in public safety positions and that those left unfilled would be mainly at the management levels.

But that doesn't make sense, because there are already cuts that have been made even at the bottom ranks of the sworn positions including at least 19 officers. At the supervisory level, which is a step or so up the ladder from the officer level, there's been at least three sergeant positions (and at one time more than that) and one lieutenant position that have been frozen. Above that at the management position, there has been one deputy chief (or classified captain's position) that has been frozen for over a year now. As far as freezes involving civilian positions, there's been at least 25 or more positions left vacant in the civilian side.

How many management positions exist in the police department? This current chart is almost a year old but there's about seven sworn management positions (assistant chief, deputy chief and other captains) and one sworn position in the civilian side. The assignments of most of the sworn officers remain the same on the chart except for an exchange in assignments between Lt. Steve Johnson and Lt. Mike Cook.

So is Hudson essentially saying that these positions would be eliminated? That's unlikely, but if he's saying that vacancies created in any of these positions would remain unfilled, that doesn't seem likely either. And those realities make you wonder what kind of reductions at the "managing" level that Hudson was talking about pertaining to the police department, which has taken harder hits at the supervisory levels (with at least four current vacancies) than at management (which has one current vacancy). Maybe he could be a bit more specific next time.

At any rate, this situation as always bears close watching.

There's some interesting commentaries going on at different sites after the publication of this article by the Press Enterprise, which isn't surprising because it's been the topic of a lot of conversations offline as well.

This comment seemed very interesting, as this anonymous individual who calls himself simply the "Riverside Press Club" called the citizen advocacy group, "Friends of the Hills" a bunch of extortionists and apparently, this gentleman is the spokesperson for State Attorney General Jerry Brown's office as well.

(excerpt, Inland Empire Craigslist)

The Office of State atty Gral of California has initiated an investigation of bogus groups that have filed
frivolous lawsuits against cities like Riverside.
Under the State of California Constitution that allows the prosecution of individuals pursuing baseless claims
and frivolous actions in behalf of citizens, without having the proper representation, the State Atty Gral's
office will determine the subjects responsability for wasting taxpayer money.

Sounds familiar....??? Lets see :

In Riverside the group called Friends of Riverside Hills have filed 19 "NINETEEN" lawsuits
against the city over land-use decisions, challenging councilman FRANK SCHIAVONE's
project with cases seeking changes to city land-use rules.

The 19 NINETEEN lawsuits have cost the citizens of Riverside $ 132,826 "ONE HUNDRED
MONEY in 2007 and 2008.

"Riverside covered the costs because the lawsuit had implications affecting future development
guidelines, City Attorney Gregory Prtiamos said" ( The Riverside Press Enterprise ) May 19 2009

Lets set the record straight....


The citizens KNOW the answer to this one.

I'll try to see if I can get in touch with Brown's office to see if someone perhaps even Brown himself would be willing to comment on the pending lawsuits against citizen organizations in Riverside. How can lawsuits be "frivolous" when the city has either settled them or lost judicial decisions to the "Friends of the Hills" which has filed lawsuits against development projects it believes are in violation of voter-passed growth-control initiatives?

Doesn't City Attorney Gregory Priamos himself respond to calls for comments on pending litigation against the city by saying that the lawsuit is "frivolous" and that the city will fight to defend itself vigorously in court? He essentially issues a statement just like that every time a newspaper publishes an article against a lawsuit filed against the city be it one involving a development project or an alleged wrongful death caused by a city police officer.

Riverside Police Department Officer Roger Sutton's discrimination, harassment and retaliation lawsuit was called "frivolous" by the city pretty much all the way until it reached the trial level and resulted in a $1.64 million jury's verdict. The lawsuits filed by the family members of Douglas Steven Cloud, Lee Deante Brown and Summer Marie Lane were all called "frivolous" by the city before they were all settled for a total dollar amount of around $1.5 million. The lawsuit filed by Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Wayne Guillary was also called "frivolous" by Priamos and Police Chief Russ Leach, through Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein's columns and that lawsuit is rumored to be in some stage of settlement talks.

But as soon as I hear from Brown or his office, I'll put his response here.

But it's interesting how Friends of the Hills is now the focus of such vile posts at Craigslist by anonymous rock dwellers all claiming to be Schiavone supporters that others of us have been subjected to for months now. One such harasser tied with himself for ridiculous posting of the day with this one below.

This one is by the more newly sworn Frank Schiavone supporter who endorsed Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster against him last year. It's titled, "Ethics and Nutjobs" and generously asks the readers to "let the judge decide".


On one hand you have the Riverside Mayor and City Council, and individuals such as RCC school board member Mary Figueroa supporting the re-election of Councilman Frank Schiavone.
On the other hand you have a couple groups such as Save Riverside and individuals such as FBMMary trying to oust Councilman Frank Schiavone from public office.

Talking about ethics and nutjobs, you be the judge on who and what individuals have the correct credentials and credibility to support or denounce the two individual candidates seeking the Ward 4 City Council seat.

Councilman Frank Schiavone or challenger Paul Davis
Vote on June 2, 2009 Mail-in ballot only / You be the judge.

It's interesting being called a "nutjob" by a man who has harassed me online on and off for three years now. I could always repost his comments that he's written and then we can let the judge decide who's the emotionally disturbed one but I would have about 100 or so comments, all vile and disgusting, to choose from and narrowing it down would be a bit tough. But he's mercurial at best, yesterday he blamed Chani Beeman and "the Dom" (a variation of what he used to call himself) for the news article. Today it's my fault and that of the "Friends".

When I said he tied with himself narrowly beating out the "Riverside Press Club"'s wildly divergent post about the "State Atty Gral" with this post.


Interesting how the "Friends" and "Save Riverside" spin and Mary at FBM twirls.So if the money paid to the "Friends"whom are also members of "Save Riverside"was the result of CORRUPTION ? Is'nt that dirty money they accepted from the taxpayers and needs to be returned ? I suggest you put your "dirty money"you extorted from the taxpayers where the sun doesn't shine. I read the PE story on Schiavone yesterday and it was nothing like the Save Riverside "breaking news".If you believed your own story you would return the money and go after the so called corrupt ones.

What he apparently is overlooking is that if indeed "dirty money" was paid to the Friends of the Hills which was owed to them by the city as part of a judgment or settlement, the organization is not responsible for where it came from and whether or not the source was the appropriate one. This organization would be the innocent party in that situation if it has indeed arisen. The person who would be obligated to pay it back would be the more appropriate source of that settlement money which in this case would be the person whose behalf it was paid on if that money should have come from their own pockets.

After all, even Priamos himself said he couldn't recall another case where the city paid out legal fees or part of a settlement on behalf of a developer. This appears in the memories of all involved to be an unprecedented event in the city's recent history. And if this is the case, then why was this precedent set by an elected official?

That's one question that hasn't been answered yet by the city council which has been very quiet on this issue. Because if the city council is truly a body which holds its members accountable for their conduct, it should be asking questions in a public forum right now. But that won't happen with a city council which has closed its ranks to outsiders by engaging in blanket endorsements of incumbents including those given out before candidate papers were even filed with the city clerk's office.

But then that silence goes both ways because it's not like any of them have actually stepped forward publicly and defended Schiavone's actions or their own if they voted in any way to approve this settlement. But when you amend the code of conduct at city council meetings to put all the impetus on the city residents who participate and remove it away from yourselves, then this silence isn't any more surprising than was any vote that took place to approve a settlement which included the city paying the legal fees for a city council member.

The focus here should be on what to do about money that was spent by the city to defend a councilman in his role as a land developer and whether or not that money should be paid back to the city's residents. Not on the role it may or not play in an election bid by that councilman. But then given how nasty and vile some individuals who allegedly are members of Schiavone's campaign have been towards their critics online, why is all this so surprising? Why is there this sense of entitlement among them that this behavior is okay and that it's more appropriate to attack a citizen group for what a city councilman and the city government itself might have done?

Because these online individuals have said all along that it's the critics of the current city government who are the real enemies of democracy. It's the critics who've been on "filthy five" lists and been ridiculed over things far removed from politics, like bras, breasts, orgasims and undergarments not to mention that tried and true, personal hygiene. Because after all, they proved to be entirely incapable or unwilling to argue the merits of their candidate and instead focused on personal attacks.

If the money was inappropriately spent on defending Councilman Frank Schiavone as a developer, then he would be making a very ethical gesture by offering to pay it back to the city residents. He showed his ability to do just that with the donation given to him by developer, Doug Jacobs in his very thoughtful action towards Save Our Chinatown Committee even while his online cheering squad kept bashing those who were critical of Jacobs' Valentines Day Weekend dig.

Yet you don't see any suggestion of that from at least his online cheering squad who instead is going after a citizen advocacy group as "extortionists" who pay for their legal fees out of money raised at yard sales as the people who have engaged in bad behavior. Knowing the history of the "Friends", that's a very troubling sentiment because this organization simply is holding the city's feet to the fire through the only effective mechanism that exists, the courts, to abide by two growth-control measures passed by city's voters. The city council has resisted these two voter-passed measures on several occasions, when the far more democratic action to take would be to place an initiative on the ballot revisiting growth control and let the city's voters decide if they still hold the same collective opinions that they did when Measures C and R were initially passed.

The "dirty" source if that's the case, would be the one facing the obligation to pay it. But this guy is clearly so enamored with the latest authority of the moment that if one were corrupt, he would probably fall in lockstep behind him. As history has shown, there's plenty more where he came from.

The fact is that if the money isn't clean, then the source of that money is the one who should answer to the tax payers with paying back that money and all the spinning and twirling by this guy and his for-the-moment anonymous friends doesn't change that. If there is indeed corruption in the works, then they are the ones who are embracing it.

Willfully and willingly and calling people derogatory names and making their usual personal attacks at their critics just puts more proof to that rather than serves as an effective tool to discourage them.

And actually if the Press Enterprise story is nothing like Save-Riverside's "breaking news", there's more than one possible reason for that. The fact that the article came out barely 24 hours after the Bradley Estates brief was posted on the Save-Riverside Web site is very telling, given that the article was originally set to be published at least several weeks ago.

But then there's this rant which came close to dethroning today's champion and could still do it because after all, the day is still young. I have to say after reading this, if I hadn't filled out my ballot yet, I would definitely vote for the candidate this guy supports.


All those so called Friends and the Save etc groups took the "corrupted money" and run. Why....??? Because they are the corrupted ones. Now endorsing the Ward 4 challenger pd ( poor devil )

The villians, scoundrels, blood suckers, an old bat, el chupacabras, Paul the child molester, the mad against the world J. Martin, the never take a shower Mary S. , the Body odor club president ( just for women ) Karen W. , the very old bat Terry F, and those living at taxpayers expense.

RETURN THE MONEY, The question is: Is that same money being used to finance the trainee's campaing..??

The answer YES...

Actually engaging in highly personal attacks against your critics is the stellar way to stump for any political candidate and perhaps there are candidates who look at this guy, who think he's anonymous but is a guy named Migual Morales who occasionally yells from the podium at city council meetings, and say I want that guy to campaign for me. But the smart ones would take one look at his writings under the "Riverside Press Club" and run in the opposite direction. But apparently one candidate hasn't done so.

"Never take a shower", don't make me laugh. I take my shower even on days when it feels like I'm on the deck of a boat in the middle of a squall. But even if I didn't, personal attacks like this and against the others he's listed are just tacky, tasteless and I'm sure they aren't winning his candidate very many if any votes. This diatribe of him, although check out the cute depictions of Chupacabras on the link, is just juvenile and more than a bit pathetic. But Morales's actions proved to be so good at being both this morning, he deserves an honorable mention. And it's a shame because he's done some truly honorable actions through his ham radio activities but this behavior is not part of that at all.

Morales or the "Riverside Press Club" exactly the guy I'd want campaigning for me if I ran for office. Right.

The Riverside County District Attorney's office determined in its probe of several of Temecula's electeds and determined that no criminal conduct took place.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The revised disclosures will correct "technical violations" of state law requiring City Council members and ranking appointed officials to detail their financial interests, he said.

Cabral declined to say whose disclosures were faulty, saying he didn't want to "tar and feather" anyone. The violations involved "things that should have been disclosed that weren't" and did not involve any intent to break the law, he said.

The probe, which wrapped up about two weeks ago, stemmed from citizen complaints and from articles published in The Press-Enterprise in 2007 and 2008, according to Cabral.

The articles focused on business and political ties between a majority of Temecula's five City Council members and southwest Riverside County developer Daniel Stephenson and how city actions could have benefited Stephenson's business interests. Those actions included Temecula's decision to file a lawsuit that appeared to hurt a competitor of Stephenson while advancing a road extension Stephenson needed for one of his projects. Stephenson founded The Rancon Group, a collection of development and real estate companies.

City officials said the Riverside County road project would have happened with or without the lawsuit. The legal action against the county was aimed at easing traffic congestion, not helping Stephenson, they said.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board takes on the government issued Blackberry

A former chief of staff of a San Bernardino County supervisor plead not guilty to 10 felony corruption charges in court.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

After the proceeding, his attorney Rajan Maline said his client will be cleared.

"We dispute these allegations and we look forward to our day in court," Maline said. "Mr. Erwin is going to be completely vindicated when this is all over."

In the Los Angeles elections, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and the Police Protective League which represents the department's officers came out on opposite sides of the "Who won/Who lost" analysis.

Not doing so good was Bratton.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times Blog)

Police Chief William Bratton: Already under fire this year for endorsing so many political candidates and causes, the LAPD chief has another problem: His candidates aren’t winning. Weiss lost his bid for city attorney, despite TV ads featuring Bratton. State Senator Gil Cedillo, backed by Bratton, fell short in his bid for Congress. And two months ago, Proposition E, a proposal making it easier for L.A. businesses to get taxpayer subsidies, went down to defeat Those three losses come at a time when council members are unhappy with Bratton’s tough talk on the city budget.

In Oakland, the preliminary hearing of the BART Police Department officer who was charged with second degree murder for fatally shooting Oscar Grant begun hearing testimony from witnesses.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

College student Tommy Cross Jr., who digitally recorded the New Year's Day killing, said former Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Johannes Mehserle "looked up and said 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God!' " after the shot rang out.

"I looked directly at him," Cross said while testifying for the prosecution Tuesday at a hearing to determine whether Mehserle will stand trial for the murder of Oscar Grant.

Grant, 22, was shot on the platform after transit police were called to the Fruitvale station over reports of fighting on the train.

Mehserle has pleaded not guilty and, according to his attorney, intended to grab his stun gun when he accidentally pulled his pistol.

The preliminary hearing began Monday in Alameda County Superior Court. Prosecutors finished presenting their evidence, including witness videos, on Tuesday.

Among those who testified Tuesday was a longtime friend of Grant who told the packed courtroom that moments before Grant was shot he had wrestled with another man he knew onboard the train.

Jamil Dewar, 16, described the incident as a scuffle, not a fight, that lasted a few minutes. Dewar helped break it up just before the train stopped.

Dewar said that after he and another friend got off the train, transit Officer Anthony Pirone angrily came toward them. Dewar said he jumped back on the train as the officer pointed a Taser at passengers.

"He said, 'Get out of the train! I know who you are,' " Dewar recounted. "He was saying, 'Get the . . . off the train!' "

Officer Johannes Mehserle's former partner testified that it was a busy night on what was New Year's Eve 2008.

(excerpt, Oakland Tribune)

Woffinden said he could hear commotion in the background of the call and, as Mehserle drove them to the station, he thought of his family because he was "extremely" scared.

Once at the station, Woffinden said he saw Grant, of Hayward, and his friends sitting against the wall and another group of about four to five people approaching from his left.

Woffinden said he immediately turned around and formed a "one-man skirmish" line to block the "crowd" from advancing.

"We were severely outnumbered. It was ... an evolving situation," he said.

It was soon after that Woffinden said he heard a "sound."

The former Moraga and Pleasant Hill police officer refused to say the sound was that of a gunshot and instead said it sounded like a "loud Taser."

"It did not sound to me like a shot," he said. "It sounded to me like a loud Taser."

Woffinden said he did not know his partner had shot Grant but eventually Mehserle walked next to him as Woffinden was arresting another passenger.

Woffinden said Mehserle never said a word but looked troubled.

"His forehead was extremely sweaty. His face was flush. His eyes were big," Woffinden said. "I told him that he needed to take a walk."

Though Woffinden talked with what seemed like absolute certainty as he described the events the morning of Jan. 1 to Rains, he began to stumble and "not recall" details when he was questioned by Stein.

Using a video of the event recorded by a passenger, Stein showed how Woffinden never raised his baton toward a crowd of people as he said he did in a police report. The video also showed that, initially, Woffinden ran toward Grant and his friends. In testimony and in his police report, Woffinden said he did not run toward the group and instead stopped immediately when he reached the platform.

"I believed that I turned around but you can see in the video that I took a couple of steps," Woffinden said.

Five police officers in Birmingham, Alabama were fired for a beating of a man caught on videotape.

(excerpt, Yahoo News)

The video shows police pursuing Anthony Warren's van on Jan. 23, 2008. One officer on foot was hurt when the van swerved through traffic. It overturned on a ramp, ejecting Warren, who lay motionless as officers ran toward him. The video shows them beating him with their fists, feet and a billy club.

An attorney representing Warren in a civil case said he was hospitalized after the chase and didn't realize he'd been beaten until a prosecutor preparing for his trial requested the tape, saw the attack and told the defense about it.

Roper said the department had "terminated 50 years of combined service due to 10 seconds of injustice."

The officers can appeal.

Wendy Crew, an attorney for Warren, filed a claim against the city in March, the first step before filing a lawsuit seeking damages. She said Wednesday the claim was over the "horrific" beating and an attempt to suppress the video of it.

Authorities believe numerous Birmingham officers and as many as a half-dozen supervisors saw the video over the past year, but none reported it.

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