State Attorney General Bill Lockyer is swinging through the Inland Empire haven of Riverside to address the issue of police reform in its long beleagured police department. He had met previously with city officials to discuss the possible outcome of the two-year investigation conducted by his office of the department, which is a consent decree. Upon hearing that this decree might be eminent, city officials, including city council member Ameal Moore cried foul, saying that it would have a stigmatizing effect on Riverside's image to the rest of the country. "We don't need a consent decree. Our police have implemented the necessary reforms," he said.
On Tuesday, Lockyer will be breezing into the city, first to make a presentation at the weekly city council meeting. However, the wily city officials designated his visit a presentation, so that he will be able to speak, the council members will be able to speak back, and the community members will be forced to keep their mouths shut. Next, Lockyer will attend a luncheon meeting with the a business organization, topic unknown, then he will appear at a "community forum" to talk with "community leaders" all carefully handpicked by the mayor, who will dialogue with the attorney general, presumably about the police department. Members of the non-entity Human Relations Commission, the 10-member Coalition for Pulic Accountability and other folks who won't make waves on this contraversal issue that the city wants to go away. That way, Lockyer can spend a whole day in Riverside and never hear a dissenting voice.
Meanwhile, community members who suffer daily at the hands of the police and the other arms of the justice system continue to go unheard, they have their heads patted by "community leaders" they have never even heard of, and must wait while a community meeting consisting mostly of white and/or middle-class college degreed folk talk about issues that have nothing to do with them. Just another community meeting where everybody shows up but the community.
In each city, there are two factions, when it comes to law enforcement, the community that is protected and served, and the community that is policed so that the other community can feel protected and served. These community leaders and city officials live in the former, yet are dealing with issues that affect the latter. They bristle when people criticize the police, but when the cameras are waiting and ready, take the same words out of these folks mouths and say that the police are merely poorly trained and not corrupted by power.
Lockyer failed to impress in earlier meeting with community members who spent most of their time trying to impress him, and build reputations for themselves. The self-designated " community leaders" leaders are simply being used as pawns by the Mayor to stop the consent decree process by telling him there is nothing left to be reformed in the police department b/c they don't have to live with the nightmare which still remains.