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, June 09, 2009

Commissions and comments

How would you like to see something like this written online? This was in response to some of the writings that have been done there by people who knew Yolanda and wanted to share their experiences. It's just another example of why there's so much work to be done in promoting accountability, transparency and such in Riverside. But it's true that if you engage in this endeavor, there are going to be people like this one hoping or wishing that you were dead.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

Yeah she is gone , but was it the bad company, Mary Humboldt, Mary Shelton, Karen Wright, the old bat: Terry F. , Ken Stanbury or the bad food at Coco's restaurant.? These things come in 3, so we need two more. Any volunteers???

You know, some of these anonymous people online whined about the "haters" and that was us, because many of us have been critical of what's been going on at City Hall. And this person had done that type of whining but read this and it makes it clear that this person needs to look in the mirror. Wishing people dead like this person does, is beyond creepy, but doing as one person called it, "hide and glee over the death of a fighter for justice".

The Community Police Review Commission is actually having a meeting this week, on June 10. The commission which due to intense micromanagement and the appointment of political animals is just a ghost of its former self, but it still does meet. And this meeting has to do with teaching the commissioners how to use their spanking new lap top computers to access the police department's Internal Affair's Division's new "paperless" investigative and review system. Local defense attorney Paul Grech will also be giving them a lecture on determining "witness credibility". Will that do any good for the commissioners on there who probably don't really believe civilian complainants or their witnesses most of the time? After all, according to their own statistics, complaints are liars about 98% of the time. Maybe they should have someone from the police department come in and give that lecture instead.

If I were to guess, I would probably think that the CPRC's complaint statistics for sustained allegations are probably even lower than those in the police department because does the police department still sustain complaints even when the officer admits he or she has committed the violation or do they get brownie points (i.e. an "exoneration" or "unfounded") for admitting what they did?

Apparently that's been an issue in some cities with commissions that have very low sustain rates. But what about Riverside?

Riverside County's government is looking to tap into its "rainy day" fund.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Under the executive office's new budget proposal, presented Tuesday, the county would use even more one-time reserve money to pay for ongoing expenses -- a strategy officials caution could make next year's budget process even more arduous than the current one. The plan also calls for $23 million in labor savings to be achieved either through union negotiations or, if that fails, layoffs.

"We will have a balanced budget on July 1, and we can do it in a more painless way or we can do it in a painful way," Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone said Tuesday. He added that he wasn't trying to be threatening, but the county is faced with having to lay off about 1,000 employees next fiscal year if unions do not make concessions.

More budget cuts coming to Hemet as well.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Robin Lowe and other council members bristle at the notion that the cash-strapped state could step in and deal a "devastating" blow by taking away Hemet's much-needed general fund dollars, gas tax and redevelopment money.

The general fund, which pays for police, fire, administration and other key departments, will drop to $32.7 million, compared with $38.8 million last year and $43.5 million three years ago, Wood said.

About $8 million will be slashed from the city's administration, police, fire, parks and library, compared with fiscal 2008-09, city officials said.

Funding for police services will drop 14.5 percent from last year to $16.2 million. The Fire Department will see a 13.8 percent decline to $9.3 million. Together, the two departments will have 28 fewer personnel.

The city's administration, planning, library, building and development engineering all are taking significant hits.

City officials continue to negotiate with employee unions to cut about $1.6 million through pay reductions, layoffs, furloughs or a combination of all three.

And Perris' voters will be voting on a public safety tax while San Bernardino is looking for a loan.

New York State is planning to set up a panel to review officer-involved shootings.

(excerpt, New York Times)

After meeting with several black elected officials and community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Malcolm A. Smith of Queens, the State Senate majority leader, the governor held a news conference outside his Midtown office and said the task force would explore whether such shootings had disproportionately affected black and Latino officers. The officer who was killed, Omar J. Edwards, was black; the officer who shot him, Andrew P. Dunton, is white.

“We tried to have an honest and open discussion today about what seems to be a number of incidents that have occurred seldomly, but within that framework, a high percentage of African-American and Hispanic police officers who were shot either on or off duty by friendly fire,” the governor said.

The San Jose Mercury News has some rather harsh words for activities done by the San Jose Police Officers' Association.


Jayadev is an intelligent and articulate community organizer. In the testimony that the police mock, he called on the council to reach out to "build bridges" in the community. The police accuse him of making threats. Jayadev did not; it's the officers' commentary that is intimidating. And as Liccardo and Kalra point out in their letter, First Amendment freedoms "may be chilled when dissent is characterized as 'threats' by the only group lawfully entitled to use force to administer our laws."

On the police union's Web site, local Vice President George Beattie was especially hostile. Referring to a "street agitator representing an anti-police group," he wrote, "I believe now is the time for Mayor Reed and the Council to decide just exactly whose side they are on. Are they on the side of us, the protectors of the weak and vulnerable? Or are they on the side of the thugs, who attempt to get their way by threatening anyone who opposes them with physical violence."

Implying that police critics are enemies is a dangerous throwback to an era that we thought San Jose long ago had left behind.

There may be value in a Web site that union President Bobby Lopez characterizes as "an open forum for our members, neighborhood leaders, and all residents who care deeply about public safety in our great city." But when, through their professional association, the police show disrespect for others' right to do the same, they say more about themselves than about their critics.

Check out the controversial Web sites here and here.

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