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

Friday, May 04, 2012

The People of the State of California Vs Earl Ellis Green

Riding in Riverside:  Alleged Riverside Police Department May Day Incident

This alleged encounter between bicyclists and  Riverside Police Department officers on May Day near 14th and Sedgwick generated questions about what are the bicycle laws in Riverside, how are they enforced as well as the use of force to police bicyclists who alleged that while riding on the street, they were told to get on the sidewalk. One bicyclist allegedly had an officer draw a taser on him.  Another made allegations that his neck was grabbed and he was hit by a baton.

The blogger who wrote the account covers transportation issues in Riverside and Southern California including cycling. The bicyclists said they took video footage. The RPD does in in its major operations so hopefully all of this video from both parties will be posted on respective sites to give people a more complete visual of the alleged incident. Perhaps the police chief did what he did in the past which is call ABC and NBC down to bring their cameras which proved to be a very effective tool with Occupy Riverside.

More information is needed and hopefully Chief Sergio Diaz will provide it for the public to get a better picture of what happened. Since Diaz is right that video tape offered up by those involved might be edited before posting, that provides an important reason for the RPD to post its own video taken of an incident to provide a counterpoint and a more complete picture of what happened during Diaz' crackdown on bicylists, a common occurrence at the LAPD  but not as much Riverside.

Action Taken in Wake of Hazing Incident in RPD?

This is a direct order issued by the Riverside Police Department Chief Sergio Diaz in the wake of an alleged hazing incident that led to the departure of two LAPD laterals. 

More to come... 

Guilty of First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances

in the murder of Riverside Police Department officer Ryan Bonamino

Jury in the case of The People of the State of California Vs Earl Ellis Green has reached a verdict which will be announced after noon recess at 1:30.

Mayor's Race Trumps Ambulance Monopoly Workshop 

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." 

---Albert Einstein 

"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." 


"Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear." 

---Mahatma Gandhi


Did Alleged Hazing in the Field Training Officer program involving two lateral hires  inside the Riverside Police Department that led to their departures catalyze  an emergency direct order by the Chief?

And if so, why now? 

This blog receives absolutely no money from any elected officials or employees inside the City. It is banned from several of the city's networks including those inside the police department.  Is there a connection at this time? That is as of yet undetermined. But if those blogs that criticize the city are banned while those that praise the city are not, that is a violation of the U.S Constitution's 1st and 14th Amendments. This blogger will soon be submitting a CPRA request with assistance from several open government organizations requesting a list of every site banned or blocked from the city's networks.  Perhaps the city if it's engaging in this action can explain what's so offensive and objectionable about covering this trial that's worth any ban?

Officer Ryan Bonaminio memorial at Fairmount Park

I Am the Camera

The trial in the case of People of the State of California Vs Earl Ellis Green continued for most of the rest of the week with most of the witnesses focusing on providing testimony on the investigation side of the homicide case including the collection and analysis of evidence ranging from spent bullet rounds to DNA to finger prints.  Presiding Judge Jean Leonard seemed pleased at the pace of the trial as it was going faster in terms of witness testimony and evidence presentation than initially anticipated. This led to some fairly brief trial days. The investigators, evidence technicians and experts appeared on the stand rather briefly in comparison to some of the earlier witnesses.
The first of those witnesses was Jon Burrette who worked for ACS as an IT contractor.  he handled all the issues and logistics involving the city's computers and other forms of technology in many of the city's departments including its police department.  If a computer needed to be serviced or a Coban video camera inside a police car needed to be fixed, he was responsible for handling that. He had a lot of experience in particular with COBAN video cameras located inside all the squad cars assigned to field officers and sergeants. In total, about 120 squad cars are such equipped. Each officer may also carry a microphone which is a small black square box on their belt that like the camera can be activated by pressing a button.  He testified that the range for the wireless microphone was about 100-150 feet based on topography including elevation changes and obstructions like concrete walls.  After this distance, the signal will start breaking up.   In Bonaminio's case, his microphone stopped recording sound after considerably less than that distance.  He said it seemed to him that the microphone's antennae might have broken from contact with the bottom of his bulletproof vest.

Burnette then sat and watched as the prosecutors activated on the Elmo screen the video from Bonaminio's COBAN camera. It was approximately 2-3 minutes in length. The time stamp on the video flashed in five second intervals.  It was dated Nov. 6, 2010 and approximately 9:49 p.m.(synchronized via city server to all the other time sources used by the city) when it started. It shows Bonominio's vantage point because he's driving his car.  He's driving and cars are approaching from the opposite direction. The yellow big rig passes and he does a u-turn to follow it.  The big rig stops and Green exits the vehicle, going around the front. Sticking out of the back of his pants is a silver object that is bar shaped. He pulls it out of his pants with one hand just as he rounds the front of the truck.  Soon after, within seconds Bonaminio runs in front of his car and behind the big rig after exiting and runs off to the side down out of visual sight, yelling "Stop" in a very loud voice.

After that time elapses, and it takes about a minute for Green to return coming from in front of his truck to get back inside it. Not much time passes before he starts driving it away.  The video ends not long after his big rig has left the park.

Burnette is not cross-examined by the defense.

[A portion of the video taken by the COBAN which shows Green returning to the big rig after shooting Bonaminio three times. This is towards the end of the video.]

Testifying also on the COBAN camera was Lt. Bruce Loftus who was assigned to the project of installing and using dash cameras since they were required under the stipulated judgment with the State Attorney General's office in 2001.

He wasn't working on Nov. 7 and he went out to the scene as the COBAN project manager. He testified that he's called out on major incidents involving the COBAN.  Bonaminio's camera had been activated but there was a technical problem with the screen so he removed the hard drive which had stored the recording and took it to Lincoln Field Operations Station to download into the COBAN main server there. After that he was released by the judge when the defense declined to cross-examine him.

After that, Det. James Brandt testified as an investigator assigned to the case to work under case agent, Det. Ron San Felippo.  I remember a certain blogger complaining that San Felippo didn't return his phone calls right away and he called that a poor relationship with the media. No, actually San Felippo is just very busy working as the department's most experienced and senior homicide detectives, one of the most demanding assignments in terms of energy and time. He's been very busy with this case as he's also the assigned investigator and sits in that chair at the table.  Brandt is also a very experienced investigator as well and he's from Orange County Sheriff's Department originally and lateraled in 1996 to the Riverside Police Department. He attended a briefing at 11:30 p.m. the day of the shooting and then went to Riverside Community Hospital to collect evidence where they had taken Bonaminio.  One piece of evidence that proved elusive at first was the audio microphone for the COBAN camera which was accounted for initially. Shelly Duca, a nurse at the hospital did locate it after asked to search for it in the room where Bonaminio had been taken. She did find it out of sight on the floor and it was given to Brandt.

Bonaminio's audio recorder was also recovered. It had been powered off at the time and had no recording of the shooting.  Brandt also viewed Bonaminio's uniform which had been cut off in various locations so medical personnel could access the officer's injuries. It also had quite a bit of mud, dirt on portions of it including his boots. Also traces of blood were found in several locations including his name plate.

Shawn Daskan testified and he was a city resident who lived not too far away from the Center of Spiritual Living. He was in bed watching television during what had been the usual quite night. That changed in a matter of seconds around 9:45-50 p.m.

"I heard shots fired for the first time in seven years living here."

How many, he was asked.

"Two then one following," he said.

 He testified that the first two were very close together in sequence but before the third, there was a five to 10 second pause. He said he bolted out the front door of his house because he'd never heard that before. The shots came from the church, he said and with his peripheral vision he saw a figure leaving at a walking pace. Went up a hill and climbed over a railing relatively quickly and got into a big rig white or light in color. He did something with his waist which appeared as if both hands were in the front of his waist band and he was tucking his shirt back in.  The big rig then left and turned around media to go towards the 60 freeway.

Public Defender attorney Gail O'Rane cross-examined him for some length of time. He said that it had taken him about 20 seconds to get outside his house after the shots were fired.  She tried to impeach him with a police report taken involving his statement after the shooting. The report stated that he had heard five shots.

"I do not believe I said five shots even then."

He had been interviewed with his wife present. Another report under redirect was provided that said his recollection had been that 3-4 shots had been fired.

"I demonstrated by saying pop, pop...pop."

After him, was Phillip Jarvis who managed Penske Truck Leasing which owned the big rig. It was leased at the time to Ramona High School Dynasty Band and required a class A license to lease and operate. Jarvis said he had never remember ever seeing Green and said he didn't lease the big rig to him.

Det. Rick Cobb who was an investigator assigned to the homicide case testified next and said he was assigned to be crime scene investigator. He went that night of Nov. 6, 2010 to the parking lot of the church. The evidence recovered included a Winchester live round that had been ejected, not fired, three expended shell casings and some remnants of fired bullets including copper metal jacketing. Photographs of the scene where Bonaminio's body had been found were taken showing bright red arterial blood, darker venous blood and pieces of what were identified as brain tissue in the blood.

He was asked about the ejection of the one live round not fired and he said that would happen if the bullet were already in the chamber and the gun was racked twice. It would have to eject the live bullet to replace it with another one. He also conducted the search warrant on Green's property where he lived in a trailer. He found a box of Natural Ice Beer.

Officer Matthew Parrish testified next and he's worked for the department for 11 years and is currently assigned in traffic with the Traffic Accident Investigative team. He was working with Officer Greg Matthews on the scene diagram using surveying equipment often used in accident reconstruction investigations known as the "total station."

The department's chief Forensic supervisor Carlton Fuller testified next about parts of the investigation.  He had 25 years with the department and 15 years with the Riverside Police Department working forensics. He would be subject to recall and return again.

Veronique Jamison who had dated Green for two years testified for the prosecution and saw him during the times when she wasn't working. She lived in an apartment with her pre-teen son. She said she saw Green on Nov. 6 after she got off from work at about 6 p.m.  On Nov. 7, they were supposed to go to the movies on her day off but he decided not to go and she went alone. She saw him on Nov. 8 when he picked her up from work.  The detectives had conducted a search warrant of her home not long after Green's arrest. They looked inside the linen closet where she stored her bed sheets and covers and found a handgun in one of the corners.

  The Glock 40 Model 22 issued to Bonaminio that became a murder weapon. 

The prosecutor asked her if she had a gun in her house. She said not at all. Had she ever had any guns in her house?

"No I have kids..."

She testified that she didn't know how the gun had gotten there. She was discharged by Leonard but she was ordered to return to court next week. 
Det. Mark Ellis who had 14 years with the police department testified next and he works on the Inland Region Apprehension Team to hunt down fugitives wanted by inland law enforcement agencies or in other areas. They use electronic devices including GPS and trackers. They obtained a cell phone number for Green on Nov. 9, 2010. They contacted the carrier to get data sent to them on the whereabouts of the cell phone at regular time intervals.  It was located in Moreno Valley, and then Riverside and then the parking lot of Target on Arlington near the 91 freeway.  They were able to pinpoint it within about 11 meters and sent officers out to do the arrest at about 7:49 p.m. that day. 

Det. Jim Simons testified about the search warrant conducted on Jamison's house at 2:35 am on Nov. 10, 2010.  He sat Jamison and her young son on the sofa in the living room while they did the search. They located the Glock handgun in the corner of a linen closet in a hallway.

It's Not Raining Men; It's Raining Blogs

What's been fascinating to follow in the past month or so is how many blogs are popping up on the canvas in Riverside.  First there's the aforementioned and probably any day now award-winning Barber Blog that was created by City Manager Scott Barber. But what was even more interesting is that the Press Enterprise Riverside Beat has started its own blog this one drafted by local reporter.  Even as allegedly a couple of the more critical blogs have been banned or blocked from certain city networks or experiencing technical difficulties while those that exist solely to praise the city don't experience similar technical problems.  But then there's the truth that the city will allow its workers to read about and then there's the truths that it won't.

But as far as Robinson's new blog goes, it doesn't seem to really be asking much in the way of serious questions, particularly the "fraud" posting. Why Fraud Happens is an interesting question but it doesn't really get addressed at all except to say that certain words are bandied around a lot by "critics".  It'd be a more interesting read if Robinson and the PE weren't about 1,000 pages in city financial documents behind those critics. But when the staff at the PE became so gutted by layoffs to staunch the bleeding by Belo Enterprise's media outlet that was apparently operating in the red, investigative reporting as is often the case died first. With the exception of maybe two reporters there including David Danelski (who I bumped into while he was called for jury duty this past week), if it's not spoon fed to them, reporters just don't seem all that interested in looking at the city.  But then when a reporter staff's again been so gutted that only one reporter is covering the entire city of Riverside, what can you expect in the way of serious in depth news?  Not very much.

Think of all the news stories the PE knows fully about but hasn't published in the past year.  Think about the handful of stories that they have been allegedly warned NOT to cover.  What are the PE's ties to the city, I have to admit I was a bit dismayed when I saw its contract with Riverside Public Utilities for those operational services.

Barber's whipped himself in a frenzy with taking bits of information out of context and then blogging about them via the straw man argument approach. Is the Fox Theater in danger of being sold? That can be answered in one word.

 The Crown Jewel (though in the red) that City Hall would never put in jeopardy

No.  Of course not, the city took the measures needed to secure that the Fox Theater would be protected at the same time they were utilizing public facilities like fire stations and libraries as bond collateral not for public use in one case, but for a private developer bringing in a high risk investment project that no bank or lending institution would finance in the region with the highest hotel and motel foreclosure or failure rate in the state.  Pity that the police headquarters wasn't afforded the same consideration as the Fox Theater when it was the low man on the pole in a four way land swap that prioritized the needs and wants of again, private companies over public safety and utility services.

Would the city have ever put the Fox Theater at the same kind of risk that they would put a police station, and don't even get started on the whole mess it whipped up involving the relocation of the police dispatch center.  But I asked Barber and the city officials a question and what I got in response was the Fox Theater.

Alas, not the city's Crown Jewel like the Fox Theater, did the city jump the gun and serve notice that it would be departing without a workable plan?

Here's the question:

Did the city serve official notice to Riverside County that it was planning on vacating its lease of the Orange Street Station (which would be relocating) and if so what was the date?

No answer yet to that question. As you might know, either side of that landlord/tenant agreement is required to give two years notice before vacating the lease.


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