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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CPRC votes to exonerate Riverside Police Department officer in 2006 shooting of Joseph Darnell Hill

The Community Police Review Commission voted 5-1 that the shooting of Joseph Darnell Hill by Riverside Police Department officer Jeffrey Adcox was within policy at its May 13 meeting.

The sole dissenting vote was cast by Chani Beeman. Voting in favor of Adcox were Chair Sheri Corral, a current Riverside Community College District Police Department officer, Vice-Chair Peter Hubbard, the director of American Medical Response which has a public safety contract with City Manager Brad Hudson's office, Ken Rotker, who believes he's there to do what his city council member tells him, Peter Santore, wh0 c0mplains about community members dragging down meetings and Robert Slawsby, who endorsed the councilman, Frank Schiavone, who appointed him not long after being appointed and is said to be tight with Schiavone's political consultant of choice, Brian Floyd.

Missing were Commissioners Brian Pearcy and John Brandriff, who were absent for unknown reasons. It's an almost certainty that they would have voted alongside the majority. The commissioners still have to review the administrative review of the Hill case submitted by the Interal Affairs Division and then vote in closed session on whether it's in policy but since Internal Affairs is even more inclined to rubberstamp what its officers do, this will be a much faster vote than the one at the public meeting.

Beeman's vote was surprising but there's a sense that she regrets her quick decision to exonerate the officers who shot and killed Douglas Steven Cloud in a vote which came up with little warning to the seven people in attendance at a meeting that was never actually caught on audio tape at all due to "technical problems". She never actually said she would have changed her vote on Cloud given a second chance but she, Brandriff and former Commissioner Jim Ward did try to bring the Cloud case back for a second look at the decision making stage.

Whether they exonerate officers or sustain against them, any finding coming out of the CPRC is essentially meaningless due to the violation of statuatory limitations set by Governmental Code 3304(d). Hill took place on Oct. 19, 2006 and this recommended finding was issued by the CPRC on May 13, 2009 and no exceptions were waived from the state code language in the Hill case. And this is just the way the factions at City Hall like it. This is what they call an effectively running commission including in their campaign literature. And from their point of view, they're not lying because there's no doubt that there are elected officials in City Hall who want the diluted and disembodied commission that they have recreated to provide for their city residents during the past several years. The violations of governmental code are just one of many examples of the "good" work being done by elected officials who label themnselves during election years as staunch advocates and guardians for the CPRC.

(excerpt, Governmental Code)

3304. (a) No public safety officer shall be subjected to punitive
action, or denied promotion, or be threatened with any such
treatment, because of the lawful exercise of the rights granted under
this chapter, or the exercise of any rights under any existing
administrative grievance procedure.
Nothing in this section shall preclude a head of an agency from
ordering a public safety officer to cooperate with other agencies
involved in criminal investigations. If an officer fails to comply
with such an order, the agency may officially charge him or her with
(b) No punitive action, nor denial of promotion on grounds other
than merit, shall be undertaken by any public agency against any
public safety officer who has successfully completed the probationary
period that may be required by his or her employing agency without
providing the public safety officer with an opportunity for
administrative appeal.
(c) No chief of police may be removed by a public agency, or
appointing authority, without providing the chief of police with
written notice and the reason or reasons therefor and an opportunity
for administrative appeal.
For purposes of this subdivision, the removal of a chief of police
by a public agency or appointing authority, for the purpose of
implementing the goals or policies, or both, of the public agency or
appointing authority, for reasons including, but not limited to,
incompatibility of management styles or as a result of a change in
administration, shall be sufficient to constitute "reason or reasons."

Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to create a
property interest, where one does not exist by rule or law, in the
job of Chief of Police.
(d) Except as provided in this subdivision and subdivision (g), no
punitive action, nor denial of promotion on grounds other than
merit, shall be undertaken for any act, omission, or other allegation
of misconduct if the investigation of the allegation is not
completed within one year of the public agency's discovery by a
person authorized to initiate an investigation of the allegation of
an act, omission, or other misconduct. This one-year limitation
period shall apply only if the act, omission, or other misconduct
occurred on or after January 1, 1998. In the event that the public
agency determines that discipline may be taken, it shall complete its
investigation and notify the public safety officer of its proposed
disciplinary action within that year, except in any of the following
(1) If the act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct is
also the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal prosecution,
the time during which the criminal investigation or criminal
prosecution is pending shall toll the one-year time period.
(2) If the public safety officer waives the one-year time period
in writing, the time period shall be tolled for the period of time
specified in the written waiver.
(3) If the investigation is a multijurisdictional investigation
that requires a reasonable extension for coordination of the involved
(4) If the investigation involves more than one employee and
requires a reasonable extension.
(5) If the investigation involves an employee who is incapacitated
or otherwise unavailable.
(6) If the investigation involves a matter in civil litigation
where the public safety officer is named as a party defendant, the
one-year time period shall be tolled while that civil action is
(7) If the investigation involves a matter in criminal litigation
where the complainant is a criminal defendant, the one-year time
period shall be tolled during the period of that defendant's criminal
investigation and prosecution.
(8) If the investigation involves an allegation of workers'
compensation fraud on the part of the public safety officer.
(e) Where a predisciplinary response or grievance procedure is
required or utilized, the time for this response or procedure shall
not be governed or limited by this chapter.
(f) If, after investigation and any predisciplinary response or
procedure, the public agency decides to impose discipline, the public
agency shall notify the public safety officer in writing of its
decision to impose discipline, including the date that the discipline
will be imposed, within 30 days of its decision, except if the
public safety officer is unavailable for discipline.
(g) Notwithstanding the one-year time period specified in
subdivision (d), an investigation may be reopened against a public
safety officer if both of the following circumstances exist:
(1) Significant new evidence has been discovered that is likely to
affect the outcome of the investigation.
(2) One of the following conditions exist:
(A) The evidence could not reasonably have been discovered in the
normal course of investigation without resorting to extraordinary
measures by the agency.
(B) The evidence resulted from the public safety officer's
predisciplinary response or procedure.
(h) For those members listed in subdivision (a) of Section 830.2
of the Penal Code, the 30-day time period provided for in subdivision
(f) shall not commence with the service of a preliminary notice of
adverse action, should the public agency elect to provide the public
safety officer with such a notice.

Vertigo kept me away from the meeting so I missed most of the discussion but if you've attended meetings recently, that doesn't mean that you're missing all that much.

No Ward Two eligible commissioner has been appointed yet by city council. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the city were waiting until after all the votes in the Jan 2 mailin election were counted so it could appoint retired Riverside County Sheriff's Department Deputy Ruben Rasso who actually has an application still on file. The other odds-on favorite for appointment is Dell Roberts who served on the top-secret ad-hoc committee that Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis put together on direction of the Governmental Affairs Committee to put together a very stacked "report" for the investigative protocol involving the CPRC.

Work on the Chinatown site will not be resumed according to the Riverside County Superior Court.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

An appeals court on Wednesday denied a request to overturn a judge's order that halted work at the site of a former Chinatown near downtown Riverside.

The Riverside County office of education filed the request. The office owns 2.3 acres of the 4.2 acres on which developer Doug Jacobs plans to construct a medical office building.

The sale of the 2.3 acres to Jacobs is in escrow, and the March 20 order by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters is preventing escrow from closing, the education office said in legal papers.

The education office said it wants the sale to close because it urgently needs the proceeds to buy property for an educational facility it plans to build in Indio.

The 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 2, did not explain its decision.

This comes one day after another demonstration at City Hall and during the city council meeting by representatives of Save Our Chinatown Committee and community residents.

Ballots are still being collected in the Riverside City Council mailin elections for Wards Two, Four and Six so hopefully voters in these wards have gotten their ballots already and are filling them out, signing them and sending them in or dropping it off at designated spots on certain days.

Support of the so-called Perris Metrolink line is coming from some corners of the Riverside County Transporation Commission but more study is definitely needed.

Who will succeed ousted San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus? No one knows. Did his staff use county money to pay for a political blog?

(excerpt, San Bernardino Sun)

The purpose of the Web site, according to...(witnesses), was to raise the public profiles of certain individuals and to harm those of others," the report states.

Aleman could not be reached for comment for this article. In a statement, he said "I never knowingly authorized payment for political work and if known, insisted that vacation time be taken."

The allegations related to Red County, if sustained, would mean that Aleman and others misused county resources in a highly public manner.

Jessica Levinson, political reform director for the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, said she was familiar with controversies surrounding Postmus' time as assessor, but was not immediately aware of a government employee getting in trouble for improper blogging.

Levinson said it appears county officials are taking corruption allegations seriously, but the paid blogging issue could be the subject for future ethical research.

"At the very least, I need to get an intern on it," she said.

San Bernardino County filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Postmus, Aleman and former staffers Gregory Eyler, Rex Gutierrez, and James Erwin as well as political consultant Mike Richman. The county alleges that Postmus and former staffers claimed county paychecks for "time spent performing impermissible political tasks."

"At Aleman's direction, employees spent at least 15 or 20 hours per week on activities related to," the lawsuit says echoing the Hueston Report. Aleman is the only defendant named in connection with in the lawsuit.

Erwin said Tuesday the Web site was Aleman's "life's blood" and that other Assessor's Office workers had a cavalier attitude toward political activity while on the public's dime.

"It wasn't like, `We're going to do this, but we've got to be hush-hush.' (It was) `we do this all the time,"' Erwin said.

Erwin, as well as Postmus, Gutierrez and Richman were listed as members of Red County's "blogpen." Erwin said he never blogged on county time.

But Ted Lehrer, former assessor spokesman, was not sued. He disputed the Hueston Report, which stated he worked up to 20 hours per week on the Web site.

The report stated Lehrer did most of his blogging on county time, but he said he used vacation hours to work on the Web site.

"I never claimed hours that I did not work, and I completed all work for which I was paid," he said.

Red County was launched in Orange County and has Web pages dedicated to regions in California and other states.

Aleman made his debut in April 2007, but was dropped from the blogpen after being arrested in July 2008, about two months after another editor was named for San Bernardino County postings.

"He just wasn't posting much," executive editor Matt Cunningham said. "We needed somebody who was doing it on a daily basis."

Asked if he was then aware of any suspicions that Aleman may have been using county resources to blog, Cunningham said, "I assumed he had enough sense not to do that."

At any rate, the District Attorney's office has widened its probe/

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

A nearly two-year criminal probe into former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus has expanded in scope beyond the assessor's office, the district attorney's office said Wednesday.

"As with any criminal investigation, especially one as complex as this one, we have to follow the facts and evidence wherever and to whomever they lead," said Susan Mickey, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Mike Ramos.

"In this case, what began as an investigation into the assessor's office has led to several other areas. I won't go into any further detail at this time, but this investigation has become broader in scope than at the outset," Mickey said by e-mail. "Therefore, it is impossible to say when it will all conclude."

On Tuesday, county supervisors released a report by attorney John C. Hueston that detailed widespread time-card fraud in the assessor's office and a conspiracy by Postmus to use his post to further his political goals.

An El Monte Police Department officer kicked a man in the head after he had surrendered to police. And Fox of all people captured the controversial incident on videotape.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Video from Fox 11 News showed the incident at the end of a car chase that wound through the San Gabriel Valley earlier this afternoon, ending in a collision in Pico Rivera. The suspect jumped out of his car and ran. He eventually stopped and dropped to the ground on his stomach, with his hands flat to the ground and above his head. The officer ran up to him and kicked him on the side of the head.

Lt. Chuck Carlson of the El Monte Police Department said his officers made the arrest, and the internal affairs department is investigating the incident.

Carlson said internal affairs will review video of the incident and also take statements from officers.

The suspect is a 20-year-old man who was on parole. He was taken to Greater El Monte Hospital. But it's unclear whether his injuries were sustained by an earlier car crash or from the blow to the head.

The officer appears to high-five another officer after the suspect is cuffed.

The Los Angeles Police Department might have to take a different look at its ongoing expansion in the face of a budget crisis.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

To close the city’s estimated $529-million budget shortfall, the City Council today will consider imposing a hiring freeze on the police and fire departments. The recommendation comes from the council’s chief analyst, Gerry Miller, and will be considered by the budget and finance committee this afternoon.

Miller also recommended laying off 800 civilian city workers, and mandating that all civilian employees take 26 unpaid furlough days during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Those numbers would be greatly reduced if the city employee unions agree to salary and benefit concessions, he said. The mayor’s office is pushing the unions to consider salary freezes, buyouts and increased employee contributions for health care and pension benefits.

“We recognize that these recommendations are drastic and will have major impacts on city services and on city employees," Miller said in his budget recommendations to the council. “However, given the significant risk to the city’s financial solvency ... we believe that the actions contained in this report are essential."

Residents of Erie, Pennsylvania are writing letters about the necessity for civilian review in their town.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older