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, November 03, 2010

RPD Chief Sergio Diaz: "We will capture this person..."

UPDATE: Murder charge with special circumstances filed against man arrested for the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio. Arraignment postponed until Dec. 16 at 10am after public defender's office asks for a psychological evaluation for defendant as well as a gag order and sealing of relevant documents. Presiding judge Roger Luebs reschedules arraignment.

Hearing on gag order rescheduled for Nov. 30.

[Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz prepares to give an update on the Bonaminio investigation]

[Officer Ryan Bonaminio's service gun uncovered during one of three warrant searches conducted in Riverside County]

UPDATE: Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee that was to hear the ethics complaint filed by LANA against Councilman Steve Adams has been postponed and not rescheduled yet due to City Manager Brad Hudson, a key witness, having to leave town suddenly.

UPDATE: Man fitting description of the individual on the video taken from Officer Ryan Bonaminio arrested and taken into custody at Arlington's Target Store Shopping Area by dozens of officers and FBI personnel. Diaz urges caution, saying more investigation is needed of the individual in custody.

– On October 9, 2010, at approximately 8:00pm the Riverside Police Department arrested a suspect in the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio. Members of the Department’s Metro Team, the Inland Regional Apprehension Team and Agents from the Riverside Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Rubidoux resident Earl Ellis Green, 44 years old, in the Target shopping complex in the 3300 block of Arlington Avenue , in the City of Riverside .

After being interviewed by Detectives from the Departments Robbery Homicide Unit, Green was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for Murder and Parole violation.

The investigation is ongoing and further details are not being released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect or incident is asked to contact the Riverside Police Department Information Hot Line at (951) 353-7915.

Video of arrest from

Excerpt of Bonaminio's dashcam video, from a piece of technology which initially was met with skepticism by police back at the time of the stipulated judgment came very handy in capturing information that might help find an officer's killer. City Hall initially resisted in equipping all the squad cars with these videos even the numbers recommended by the Judgment but finally did several years ago. Only one elected official asked about the progress of the video cameras to be installed and that was incidentally former councilman Ed Adkison.

UPDATE: Candle Light Vigil to be held for Bonaminio at the Orange Street Station on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m.

[Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz with the mother of Ryan Bonaminio, Geraldine and Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff at a press conference]

UPDATE: Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, surrounded by city and county elected officials, Riverside County District Attorney's office employees and police employees announced that there had been developments in the case including the following:

A video would be released to the public taken from the dash cam showing the suspect getting out and back in the truck cab in the hopes of "very distinctive" movement would help in his identification. The photograph led to tips from public and law enforcement agencies.

Bonaminio's service gun not found at the scene. Det. Ron SanFilippo said one possibility being examined is whether he had been shot by his own weapon.

Witnesses found in park according to SanFilippo including one who saw "majority of the incident"

So far no "hits" in fingerprinting but still undergoing process.

UPDATE: City Council passes emergency resolution authorizing $100,000 reward for apprehension and conviction of the individual who shot and killed Officer Ryan Bonaminio. Combining donations by federal and other law enforcement agencies and several local Indian tribes, over $385,000 donated into reward fund.

UPDATE: Suspect Information

The Department’s Robbery Homicide Unit and other investigative units responded to the scene. The suspect has been identified as a Black male mid 30’s to mid 40’s, 6’1”-6’2”, slender build, possible facial hair. The suspect was last seen wearing dark clothing and a light colored baseball cap. The suspect is wanted and believed to be armed with a handgun. He is considered armed and dangerous.

The suspect vehicle was a stolen rental big rig recovered a few miles away from the crime scene.

Attached is a photograph of the suspect. Anyone with information regarding the suspect or incident is asked to contact Detective Ron Sanfilippo at (951) 353-7105 or Detective Greg Rowe at (951) 353-7130.



UPDATE: The officer is reported to have died before 1:00a.m. at the hospital. Identify withheld until confirmation. Barricaded area near or in Fairmount Park.

[Officer Ryan Bonaminio]

Riverside, CA -- Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Bonaminio, a # # # # # # four year veteran of the department and a United States Army Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom was shot by an unidentified suspect following a traffic stop and foot pursuit in the area of Market St./Fairmount Park, Riverside. The incident began when a citizen called the Riverside Police Department Dispatch Center, at approximately 9:45 pm on November 7, 2010, to report a hit and run accident at the 60 Freeway and Market Street.

Officer Bonaminio was on routine patrol and attempted to pull over a semi-truck believed to be involved in the incident. The semi-truck failed to yield to lights and siren and traveled southbound Market Street from the 60 freeway. The semi-truck yielded in front of Fairmount Park and the unknown male driver exited the semi-truck and ran into the park area. Officer Bonaminio ran after the suspect. When backup officers arrived in the area, they found Officer Bonaminio on the ground with a gunshot injury. Officer Bonaminio was transported by paramedics to Riverside Community Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The department’s Robbery Homicide Unit and other investigative units responded to the scene. The suspect has not been identified. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Ron Sanfilippo at (951) 353-7105 or Detective Greg Rowe at (951) 353-7130.

Press Enterprise
: Big Rig Driver Fatally Shoots Officer

The Truth Publication: article

Los Angeles Times: Riverside Officer Slain; Trucker Sought


ABC Local: RPD officer killed during foot chase

Fallen Hero Page:
Officer Ryan Bonaminio E.O.W. 11-08-10

Officer Ryan Bonaminio

ID # 1529

Hire Date: July 3, 2006

End of Watch: November 7, 2010

Officer Ryan Bonaminio was born in Riverside , California on November 25, 1982, to Joseph and Geraldine Bonaminio, along with his brother Christopher and sister Nicole. He was raised in Riverside , California and graduated in 2000 from Ramona High School , Riverside .

After high school, Ryan joined the United States Army. He completed his Army Basic training and Military Police training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri . Ryan served two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a military police officer with the 314th Military Police and his assignments included serving in Umm Qasr, Kuwait City , Bagdad , and Mosuc. He also served in the 282nd Base Support Battalion in Hohenfels , Germany . Officer Bonaminio served with honor and distinction. He was highly praised by his peers and superiors. He earned several medals including the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Reserve Mobilization Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and Expert Qualification Badge- 9mm pistol.

Ryan transitioned from military service to law enforcement with the Riverside Police Department on July 7, 2006. He continued his commitment to the US Army Reserves. According to his US Army Military Police Reserve Sergeant Tamara Colosimo, “Ryan has always done what is morally right. He has integrity in everything that he does. Ryan would make a great police officer.” Ryan graduated from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy on December 21, 2006. Following his graduation from the Field Training Program, he was assigned to Field Operations, where he was very proactive in his favorite area of the city; the North Neighborhood Policing Center .

Ryan’s core values resonated in his belief in service to the community. He actively connected with residents and always knew what was happening in his beat area. Ryan was always trying to better himself and had a terrific sense of humor reserved for his closest friends. Ryan was an avid Anaheim Ducks Professional Hockey Team fan and season ticket holder.

On the night of November 7, 2010, Officer Ryan Bonaminio was gunned down by an unknown assailant following his traffic stop of a suspected hit and run driver. (See Press Release) Riverside Police Department Chief of Police Sergio Diaz stated, “Officer Ryan Bonaminio’s tragic death is a reminder to all of us in the law enforcement family that the supreme sacrifice of our service is also a cost borne by our loved ones, our families, and our community”.

"How do you control the out of control?"

---Riverside Councilman Steve Adams about those who file ethics complaints against people like him. Adams has been the subject of four complaints including three vetoed by City Hall.

The Governmental Affairs Committee held its meeting on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. in the Mayor's Ceremonial Room to discuss the recommendations submitted by the Ethics Review Committee that had been appointed by the city council.

[Councilman Steve Adams and City Attorney Gregory Priamos listen to Ethics Review Committee Chair Brian Pearcy present on the ad hoc committee's recommendations.]

[Councilman Rusty Bailey and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Andrew Melendrez take public comment on the agenda item. Without much fanfare, the Committee voted 3-0 to send the committee's recommendations to the full city council.]

[Over a dozen people showed up to listen to the proceedings as the Governmental Affairs Committee receives its report on the review of the ethics code and complaint procedure]

[Andrew Melendrez and Steve Adams fielded questions and made comments about the ethics code and complaint process. Adams kept referring to a hypothetical example involving a car crash three years ago.]

Most of the recommendations were approved by the Committee except inclusion of the word "discovery" which the council members including former Riverside Police Department officer, Steve Adams stumbled over quite a bit Most of the contention was over the time line of when complaints are filed. The Committee recommended that they be filed within a certain time period of when the misconduct was "discovered" which the city council clearly didn't like at all.

Especially Adams who for some reason kept bringing up the same "hypothetical" situation of what would happen if an elected official wrecked his car three years ago and was the subject of a complaint years later by someone with an agenda against him?

"We all know that abuses occurred," Adams said.

Adams seemed to be primarily focused on whether there would be any "guidelines" to who could file complaints and who couldn't, and issues with the time line of when complaints being filed being changed. Not surprisingly considering that he had one ethics complaint alleging him with engaging in administrative interference by trying to influence the promotion of a police captain in early 2008 dismissed for not satisfying the 30 day statute of limitations. But what that 30 day limit did was simply reward elected officials who proved to be successful at either engaging in cover ups of unethical or even illegal behavior or managed to suppress its release to the public that elects these same individuals into these positions of power and public trust.

That's what happened when the guns, badges and cold plates scandals first took place at City Hall beginning in 2005 and up to 2007. The California State Attorney General's office investigated the situations involving the unauthorized sale of firearms to two city management employees by the police department and the illegal production of flat badges for three city management employees and allegedly several elected officials as well. As far as can be determined none of these badges were ever used.

Although allegedly during an incident in Newport Beach some time ago, Adams had allegedly identified himself as an undercover police officer for Riverside's police department while his car was being towed. According to deposition testimony provided by former Chief Russ Leach, the watch commander at his department had been contacted by the Newport Police Department for clarification. It's possible that the issue might have arose when the plates on Adams' city issued car were ran and came up as being cold plated, which is illegal for city officials to utilize such plates.

At any rate, Adams seemed mostly preoccupied with the complaints that had been filed against him or in some car crash in 2007 than anything else. The other two members clearly are being strategic in their move to send the recommendations minus the word "discovery" to the full city council. The most contentious recommendation in the past had been that complaints filed against elected officials be handled by an outside panel of everything from elected individuals to retired judges. Most of the city council had vetoed even the discussion of this issue in past years calling it to be stalled.

However this year brought light to many scandals in City Hall and perhaps the city council or at least these three members serving on the Governmental Affairs Committee are realizing that unless they address these issues with the Ethics Code and Complaint process, they might have problems getting reelected beginning next year. After all, Bailey and Adams are running for reelection next year to their council seats and Melendrez is running for mayor in 2012.

And next year's election cycle is already starting to look contentious as two candidates have tossed their hats to run against Councilman Mike Gardner in Ward One and one is preparing to kick off his campaign officially against Adams in his ward.

With the recommendations heading to the city council at its meeting on Nov. 16, it remains to be seen how the rest of the city government will respond. Already, they had reversed the majority vote from last year by striking the so-called "24/7" language added to the Ethics Code in 2007 by the city council in late 2007 after two former council members recommended its inclusion six months earlier after an ethics complaints against one of them had been derailed by City Attorney Gregory Priamos. Since Priamos had done so allegedly because that complaint involved behavior engaged in by the councilman when he was "off-duty", the city council needed to then quickly cement Priamos' action by adding that language to its code. One of the most self-serving actions taken by elected officials at least that which is known about in recent years and ironically or not, both of those elected officials who pushed for that language (and one of them was currently running for reelection when it was initiated) were sent packing during their next election cycles by the ward voters.

This investigative report submitted by one of the Community Police Review Commission's investigators, Ray Martinelli was initially suppressed from public circulation by interim manager (and administrative analyst) Mario Lara. The fatal shooting of Fernando Luis Sanchez happened on Sept. 11, 2008 by Officer Evan Wright. Martinelli is a former law enforcement officer who has a police practices and consulting firm in Temecula. If you recall, he applied and was a finalist for the CPRC manager position in 2007 when the city opted for Kevin Rogan instead. I met Martinelli when he called me to ask me what was really going on with the CPRC and the City Hall and I have to say, he asked great questions about that.

He didn't know whether he was going to go through with his oral interview after our discussion but he did and he did pretty well. Later, he was given a contract as one of the independent investigators (along with Baker Street in San Diego)for the CPRC and made his debut in 2008 when he did a preliminary investigation of the incustody death of Martin Pablo. His inquiry backed the police department's finding that Pablo died of natural causes. Despite all the hubris thrown out by the city, the investigation did what it needed to do which was to reach the most appropriate finding and provide civilian oversight. But then several current and ex-council members went further to push for the essential shutdown of the CPRC's officer-involved death investigations for over a year until the city council vote was reversed earlier this year. The Riverside Coalition of Police Accountability, the Riverside Police Officers' Association board and City Hall through Rogan did investigations of practices in other civilian oversight mechanisms in the state and interestingly enough, the RPCA and the RPOA's observations more closely matched each other than did either with the city.

The RPOA, thanks to those including board member Det. Kevin Townsend, was much more generous and open about its findings, and its methodology than City Hall was with its "study" and it's a shame that since city residents essentially paid for the city's study that it refused to release its methodology or its complete work product except for Rogan's insistence it was "chicken scratch". That was before City Hall through City Manager Brad Hudson convened a top secret panel to discuss the issues in a situation so controlled that the public wasn't even allowed to know when and where the meetings took place, let alone witness them. That was a truly embarrassing episode considering the vote was ultimately overturned.

But Martinelli explains his methodology and standard for burden of proof in the beginning of the report and raises some issues, mostly with the statements given by Wright who was interviewed more than once (where Martinelli discusses something called "Perseveration") and concerns he had with the investigative practices including collection of evidence from the firearm and the handling of it. While reading his report, I had questions about the issues he raised and really hope that he appears at a CPRC meeting to explain his report further to those who might want to attend a meeting to hear about it. The report seems to serve more as an avenue for further examination, explanation and discussion.

It took commissioners a while to even be able to access this report as it turned out, the details of this blockage coming to light at the CPRC general meeting last month.

[Interim CPRC Manager Mario Lara doesn't need former Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis' guidance anymore, and so far during his second stint in this position, he's acted to "filter" an investigative report to the commissioners and ran to the city council and mayor with concerns about "soliciting complaints" when the commission tried to outreach to the homeless.]

Lara had tried to filter the content in Martinelli's report because he said it was outside the scope without really explaining at least to the public why. There's a lot of issues he raises with investigative technique but that's more to explain his own approach to evaluating the available evidence and information as part of his own independent investigation. He also expresses frustration with the nearly two year delay with it reaching him, in terms of interviewing witnesses.

Butch Warnberg, of Baker Street Group, expressed similar concerns while investigating the Marlon Acevedo officer involved death case from Oct. 31, 2008.

Marlon O. Acevedo

Warnberg's report on the Acevedo case can be accessed here. This is where Warnberg does his analysis of his investigation and you can see that it's much different in style than in Martinelli's own report on Sanchez.

Hopefully Warnberg like Martinelli will be invited to participate in a further examination and discussion of his report as well.

Press Enterprise Columnist Cassie MaCDuff writes about the Bell backlash in the Inland Empire during these past elections

Columnist Dan Bernstein writes about the ballot counting problems experienced now twice in a row with Riverside County's Voters' Registrar. More coverage of those election problems including a response from the Registrar.

The state's highest court rules on the dismissal of yet another criminal case in Riverside County due to court congestion.

The Moreno Valley barbers who filed suit against the city settle their cases.

Incumbents in Moreno Valley got a little beat up by voters.

Public Meetings

Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., The Riverside City Council meets in chambers to discuss this agenda including items in the closed session involving Flowerloft.

Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. in the Mayor's Ceremonial Room, the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee will meet to discuss and decide on the ethics complaint filed by the La Sierra/Arlanza Neighborhood Alliance against Councilman Steve Adams

Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. The Finance Committee meets on the Seventh Floor at City Hall. This agenda will be discussed. It's nice that after focusing some spotlight on the failure of this Committee to meet in over a year that more meetings have been scheduled in 2010.

[The Finance Committee is set to meet again to discuss budgetary issues and audits of the city's finances.]

Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m., The Community Police Review Commission meets in the City Council chambers to hold its general meeting earlier in the month due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. It will be discussing this agenda including the discussion of the recruitment of the new manager. The city recently had a panel of community leaders and police employees interview eight finalists for the position.

[Asst. Chief Chris Vicino served on an interview panel which questioned eight candidates including one woman for the CPRC manager position]

Two more Strategic Plan community forums have been scheduled for this month including one at Nichols Park and another at the California School for the Deaf.

Civilian Vacancies to be Filled?

Also Chief Sergio Diaz has said at meetings that he will be going to the city council and mayor to ask for the filling of five critical and up to 20 civilian positions. Any visionary government will agree to his request because the 19% vacancy rates need to be addressed. The 10% vacancy rate of the police department including the 25-33% vacancy rates at the supervisory level needed to be addressed and through over 20 promotions and the creation or opening of 27 patrol vacancies has been a great move made by the department and the city to address those pressing issues. Now it's time to do the same to the civilian ranks. The police department has been operating on a skeleton crew in different vital areas and that needs to change for the better.


I apologize for the sporadic posting on my blog the past couple of weeks but I've had to focus too much time on dealing with an HOA issue involving a problem rental with a history of serious problems including prior board ordered eviction. The rental started having problems when its nonresidential owner changed property managers and this time around, there were tenants who violated lease clauses, lied to the management and owners about compliance only to get caught again to perpetuate that cycle. Since I share common wall space with these tenants, it's been literally almost nonstop noisy televisions audible enough to hear the dialogue and loud stereos for five months now. One board member in August witnessed suspicious activity with the people staying there where he suspected drug use and even asked me if I had seen increased traffic, suspicious activity akin to drugs. That's the only incident that was witnessed that was related to that type of activity. Although once I asked questions about how many people actually resided there, the population apparently residing there thinned out. In perhaps unrelated incidents, several board members had been hassled in recent months when in common space including one who apparently interrupted an illegal transaction at the parking area at the end of the street and was told to mind his own business. The increased suspicious activity of more vehicles and foot traffic including in the early hours of the morning on a gated street has led to more concern expressed by residents but the board members so far haven't addressed that or their own problems dealing with harassment with people they confront.

But multiple residents around the residence made complaints about it, in what one board member said, "more complaints about this residence than the rest combined".

The major problem is that the HOA has employed a property manager to oversee the association management in regards to issues including bylaw enforcement. The board also allowed him to subcontract and manage rental properties (many of which are "investment" properties including three owned by one person) within the association, a blatant conflict of interest. And I guess I don't have to say this part but he just happens to be the rental property manager for the rental with a problematic history including the eviction and the retaliatory act of felony vandalism and burglary costing the owner thousands of dollars in repairing her property. I found out about him being the rental manager by accident because when I asked him for contact information for the rental management, he wouldn't provide it just to say he would handle it. He handled complaints about a large dog that barked and howled for hours on end disturbing residents by sending a cease and desist letter not to his rental property where the dog lived but to the neighboring property not handled by him whose owner didn't even own a dog.

The HOA board has authorized "investigations" of the noise violations to be handled by him, apparently not realizing how problematic it is to have a rental manager of a problem property handle an investigation of it on behalf of the HOA and the board. This in essence gives the rental manager no incentive to really address problems with a rental property if the person assigned to the role of holding him accountable for that responsibility is also him. And that's what clearly has happened because five months later, I still came home to a house filled with television noise loud enough to make out what characters on the television program said.

Last week, the board when pushed (and after failing to properly recollect the original vote allowing this dual role by him and arguing with each other about it) voted 5-0 to cement its right to allow him to hold both the position of association property manager and rental property management. Within days of that, I received a certified letter informing me the "investigation" or case against the tenant has been "closed" and guess who signed it, the rental property manager of that still-problem property on behalf of the HOA board. This was after documentation of the noise by three board members and concerns raised that someone independent investigate on the board's behalf rather than the rental property manager. But it's in his best interest as the rental property manager to close the investigation even in the face of documentation and because he's also the association management he gets to make that decision on behalf of the board. Several other complaints by other residents involving the tenants including repeated alleged noisy altercations on the street weren't investigated by the board or the rental property manager in his capacity as association property manager.

As problematic as the actions of the Riverside City Council have been, the behavior of this HOA Board would give them some competition at least. The unaminious vote to allow one employee (and not WSR as stated in the motion because the board could exercise the option to appoint another agent of that company as association manager and it opted not to do so without explanation) to serve as both association manager and also as rental manager for individual properties was an unethical and self-serving action by the HOA. It serves to make life easier for the HOA board and it has defended its position on the ease of it quite well but it hasn't even attempted to explain how such a bad vote could be beneficial for the association's members.

I've been busy addressing this issue since June so I can essentially have ownership of my living space again. I hope to address this issue on a legislative level with the city government because those who live in adjoined housing have every bit as much right to a reasonably peaceful environment as those in non-adjoining housing enjoy under the current "party house" ordinance which has an external distance/time requirement attached to it.

Anyway, just to say dealing with this issue without resolution has taken up a lot of time and energy. But back to blogging, and spending my nights and weekends pretty much away from my home. Starbucks and Coffee Depot and Coffee Bean have been awesome, great places for coffee and space to work.

I don't think the issues dead because this rental manager is apparently so incompetent, the more properties he accumulates, the worse it will get and more people in the association will complain about it. Hopefully, before there's a rental with worse problems than the one next to me. The people on this street are for the most part pretty cool and I really like my neighbors and the climate of the street (once you remove the board of course but most people can't relate to them) and feeling blessed in that regard but the membership will have a decision to make on this issue during the next HOA elections in the spring including whether the issue of one property manager taking these dual roles in conflict should be taken to the association for a vote.

But yeah, the contention that the only people who run for HOA board positions are those who want the power attached to it, appears to be unfortunately the truth. They ran on platforms of trying to make a difference and of being representative of the membership and then enter into this sweet heart deal with the property manager that is detrimental to association residents without offering one convincing argument why it's good for the association. This cozy dual role arrangement with this property manager has damaged my ability to have peace and quiet in my own home or even to have that addressed adequately through the mechanism provided to do that in our bylaws after friendly attempts by myself to do so failed. And the response of one board member, was to tell me that not only was this arrangement good for me but that I should be grateful to the board for voting for it!

One street resident, who's been trying to start a Neighborhood Watch email list, reported a lease violation that the association/rental manager asked to be reported if it took place including to a board member who then called him a "dumb ass" on the phone. Hardly good behavior from an elected representative of any stripe.

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