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, May 01, 2012

The People of the State of California Vs Earl Ellis Green, Day Two

Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Bonaminio

Tweeting Banned:  The Next Day

Defense Attorney "upset", "troubled" by News Article

Court resumed this morning with Judge Jean Leonard issuing her ruling involving her banning of tweeting inside the courtroom. Press Enterprise reporter Brian Rokos had been tweeting eyewitness reports during the proceedings until Leonard ordered him to stop. She said that she had been notified after someone had witnessed the tweeting.

After reviewing the tweets in question, Leonard told the court that she believed that they were like a “stream of consciousness” from the courtroom to the outside world. Quite inane in her opinion but some were of concern because they involved reporting or what she later called broadcasting witness testimony in real time. She had also asked an Los Angeles Times reporter to stop tweeting. The court spent time researching case law involving tweeting inside the courtroom but didn’t have much luck. So Leonard went to the California Rules of Conduct 1.150. The PE was aware of this laws, she said because another reporter, Richard DeAntley had submitted a formed request.

 She added that other media including KCAL had submitted written requests to tweet but that she never received a form from Rokos. She had decided that under the rules of conduct she had determined that tweeting inside the courtroom was akin to broadcasting which could only be done with court permission. The court weighed many factors, she said.

 “I take this very seriously.”

But she said, she realized the reporters had to do their jobs so she thought amidst the available sanctions that a warning would suffice. Then Riverside County Public Defender attorney Gail O’Rane got up to object to coverage by DeAntley involving the trial because she said in an article, he attributed statements to her that she had never made about legal strategy.

News Article (and a retraction has been added)

 “I’m upset. I’m troubled by it,” she said, “It’s offensive and it’s harmful.”

Deputy District Attorney Mike Hestrin had allegedly alerted her to the article, according to what O'Rane said in open court. 

She said she never had a conversation with DeAntley at all on this case. She wanted to exclude him from the courtroom or use a “pool” reporter, actions Leonard refused to take though she said she felt O’Rane’s pain. She said she didn’t think it was a big conspiracy. She’d learned in judges’ school that you have to have the skin of a rhinoceros.

According to the above link on the article, the newspaper issued a correction. 

Testimony Continues...

After the issues were resolved,  Sgt. Carla Hardin took the witness stand again.  She testified that officers Rogalio Serrato and John Allison were flagged down by eyewitness Steve McQueen who testified yesterday.  But initially, Hardin testified about her being involved as a recruitment training officer at the Ben Clark Peace Officer Training Academy for 2 1/2 years before her promotion to sergeant in August 2010.

She talked about how officers were trained to do foot pursuits, the difference between one and two men units. The RPD typically deployed single man units although there was 1-2 two-men units per shift.  When asked if it was typical or taught to police officers to engage in foot pursuits while working alone she said yes.

"If we didn't, everyone would run and then we'd never catch anyone," she said, "It's just part of the job,."

Officers are taught to put out information by radio. And at the time that Bonaminio had been responding to the hit and run collision, she had been monitoring the radio particularly when learning a foot pursuit was involved.

"Foot pursuits are inherently dangerous."

Officers give information including the direction they run, how many people they are chasing, any physical description, if they are armed or if there's a heightened danger involved.  Responding officers then try to organize to apprehend the individual(s).

The concrete sidewalk had been wet, she noticed with a film on it from mud. The planters were wet as well as if the sprinklers had been activated not long before.

Prosecutor John Aki then asked about the use of force which led to the jurors being ousted from the room so that the judge and attorneys would hammer that issue out. The prosecution argued that they needed to show that Bonaminio had been acting within policy when the shooting happened and that it was also necessary for proving the special circumstances associated with the crime.  The defense argued against it not seeing it as relevant to special circumstances. Leonard ruled in favor of the prosecution.

Hardin who had been ushered out to the hallway resumed testifying and talked about the use of force policy.

"We no longer go by levels. Just use what's reasonable to get people into custody."

She testified about verbal commands including showing hands.

"The hands of an individual is what's going to hurt you," she said.

When she had decided to go to the scene of Fairmount Park, she heard the broadcast of Bonaminio (Charles 118) going  on a foot pursuit at the southside of Fairmount Park.  The dispatcher called for 10-33 meaning that emergency traffic only would be broadcast on that channel after the foot pursuit started.  She called for Charles 118.

No responses.

When Hardin had checked Bonaminio's body for life signs, she found none. Allison saw what appeared to be blood on the pavement near his body and he thought the suspect was still in the area since they had responded so quickly after the foot pursuit was broadcast. So they were to render aid to Bonaminio and find the suspect who shot him. Allison who was SWAT went to get a shotgun and Hardin showed at McQueen, where's the suspect?  McQueen told her that he had left in a big rig. Hardin called for medical aid and then told Allison to get a description of the suspect from McQueen.  The vehicle was described as yellow with black or dark writing and striping down it. That description was given to the watch commander who was Lt. Chuck Griffitts.

Hardin testified she called for medical aid again.

"It seemed like forever to get them here."

An officer wen to Ridge Road to flag them down. Other officers from the A watch began to arrive in response to the 11-99.

Hardin looked around her and found what appeared to be a weight bar or dumb bell bar, silver with two stops for the weights. The bar had what looked like blood, dirt or a combination of both on it. The bar lay somewhere next to Bonaminio and she didn't disturb it, she said. She also saw one spent bullet and two shell casings which due to their size, she marked with folded paper so detectives could easily find them.

Griffitts appeared and established a crime scene as well as made the notifications. They set up a perimeter and set up a crime log.

After Hestrin finished his questioning, the defense declined to cross-examine Hardin and she was dismissed.

Officer Rogalio Serrato 

"Doctor said, 'nothing I can do."

Aki did direct questioning of Officer Rogalio Serrato who said he'd been with the department for just over three years. Back in November 2010, he had just over 1 1/2 years on the force.  hew was assigned to the North End Watch C squad led by Hardin. On the night of the shooting, he was Charles 132 riding with Officer John Allison.  When asked if he was familiar with Bonaminio, he said yes.

"I had heard of him since I became a cadet back in 2007."

He along with Allison had been sent to a boyfriend/girlfriend dispute call in the Northside. While enroute, he heard that Bonaminio had been sent to a non-injury hit and run near Main and the 60 freeway.  He then heard that "118" had broadcast a foot pursuit in Fairmount Park.  He had gotten to the scene of the original call when he heard about the pursuit. He and Allison left on Code 3 northbound on Atlanta and then down Spruce and then North Bend to the park. They saw the yellow semi-truck northbound on Market Street but didn't think that it was related to the foot pursuit as they had no reason to do so.  He proceeded to Market and then saw a police unit parked and knew it was Bonaminio's. Serrato looked to where the officer might be involved in the pursuit, around the area including the tennis courts. 

Then he saw a man come out of the driveway of the church, looking hysterical and upset. The man was flailing his arms and yelling

"He's been shot. He's been shot."

Serrato didn't know who he was talking about at first.  But as he drove his unit into the parking lot, he saw a body lying on the pavement. He saw the RPD patches and knew at that point, it was Bonaminio.

Then he broadcast on the radio, an 11-99, and thought the suspect might still be in the area.

Serrato testified that Bonaminio had been lying face down, his exact position he couldn't recall but he remembered him being slumped over. He noticed that the officer's handgun was missing.

"Somebody shot him. They have his gun and they're going to shoot me and my partner."

It was dark around him and difficult to see and he told his partner that was going to happen to them.

Later, he was assigned to accompany Bonamino in the ambulance. He had moved his car from where he left it to allow the medical vehicles easier access. Then he sat with Bonaminio in the ambulance as it drove to Riverside Community Hospital where he waited as medical teams worked on the officer.

"I don't remember the doctor," he said, "Remember him talking about that an injury like this is pretty much unsurvivable. He called someone and said there's nothing I can do."

O'Rane cross examined Serrato and he said he'd used part of the tree as cover with Alison, as well as part of the stairwell. He had heard that the subject was gone.


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