imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Killing Fields revisited: The Riverside police department post consent-decree

by Mary Shelton Saturday, Feb. 01, 2003 at 12:17 AM
chicalocaside@yahoo.com

Two years after it entered into a consent decree with the state, the Riverside Police Department has had an increase in fatal officer-involved shootings as its union desperately tries to rewrite the history the agency lived before the shooting of Tyisha Miller

Anastacio Munoz.

Michael Vetter.

Robert McComb.

Three months, three fatal shootings, and it seems the Riverside Police Department is back from an exile imposed upon them by a stipulated agreement with the State Attorney General’s office in 2001.




As the stipulated agreement approaches its second anniversary this March, concerns have been raised that the reforms imposed by Bill Lockyer’s office have done little to change the attitudes and cultural influences which ultimately led to the consent decree involving the beleaguered department. That even as the infrastructure of the department has changed on paper, little has changed in the culture which permeates the agency where the command staff is still primarily white and male. And now, it appears that the department, especially its union seems determined to restore itself to its pre-consent decree glory. The increase of officer-involved shootings in recent months is only the tip of the iceburg.

Before the signing of the consent decree between the city of Riverside and Lockyer, the Riverside Police Department averaged 20 shootings per 1000 officers.

After a lull of three years, the department now averages nine shootings per 1000 officers. The national average which includes large agencies as well as medium agencies like Riverside’s department, is seven.

For several years, the police department has restrained itself on fatally shooting civilians, even as it retrained its officers on less-than lethal techniques as mandated by the decree. Only one fatal shooting, that involving a Laotian-American man, occurred between Dec. 28, 1998 and November 13, 2002. Rather remarkable for an agency which previously averaged at least four or more annually for over 30 years.

On Nov. 13, 2002, the dam broke, with the fatal shooting of Munoz, who was shot inside his vehicle by two officers, one who hit him on the side of his head. He had been involved in a pursuit for alleged drunk driving, and his blood alcohol was listed as 0.20. One officer who shot him had been a close friend of another Riverside Police Department who was fatally injured in 1996 when she was struck by a car on a highway driven by a woman who was legally intoxicated.

Vetter was the second to die, on Dec. 31, when his mother called 911 after he had allegedly assaulted her. She later said when she called the police that she thought her son would be handcuffed and arrested. She never expected to hear several hours after the incident that police had killed him. According to police accounts from four officers involved in the incident, Vetter was shot from two feet in the back of the head after he had charged another officer with two knives, one held against the officer, the other to a throat of a four-year-old child he had grabbed. However, while relating another account of the incident, a police representative said that Vetter had stopped advancing, one officer was trying to grab the knife out of his hand, when suddenly another officer fired the fatal shot which pierced the back of Vetter’s skull.

The officer involved in the shooting was a lateral hire from the New York Police Department who had been hired by the department last April. Of the three other officers, one was a Medal of Valor recipient in 2000, another had been sued at least five times for assault and battery, and was exonerated by a Riverside County civil jury for an incident involving assault and battery against two Mexican-Americans. In 1999, a man filed a complaint against him for assault and battery after he had been stopped on an alleged felony domestic violence warrant.




One of the officers had brought a less-than lethal rifle into the bedroom, but dropped it because if he used it within the short distance between him and Vetter, it would have become a lethal weapon.

Less than one month later, McComb was shot and killed by a training officer and his charge in the early morning hours of Jan. 27, during a foot pursuit near Riverside’s Auto Center. Police alleged that during the pursuit, he turned and pointed a handgun at them so both shot multiple rounds into his upper and lower torso. A handgun was allegedly recovered in front of a squad car and bloody clothes were found quite a distance away.

Ironically, later that same day, a jury convicted Steve Woodruff of first degree murder with special circumstances of a Riverside Police Department officer and attempted murder of another officer after one hour of deliberation after a trial which had began Nov. 4, nine days before the first shooting involving Munoz.

The Riverside Community Police Review Commission has intitiated independent investigations into all three shootings as is mandated by the ordinance that created this body after the fatal shooting of Tyisha Miller in 1998. In response, the Riverside Police Officers Association has waged a campaign to severely weaken or eliminate the Commission and its ability to investigate independently. As more officer- involved shootings have occurred, threats of law suits by the RPOA are waged against the commission.

Last November, the RPOA’s lawyer threatened the commission with a law suit if it was allowed to have access to officers’ personnel files and the commission was forced to cancel several case review meetings in response as it awaited legal advice from the city attorney. If there are more officer-involved shootings involving Riverside’s police department, community members expect this campaign against the commission to escalate.

Community members are more concerned about other disturbing developments involving the police department as well. Recently, the city council offered two former police officers, Michael Alagna and Wayne Stewart, ,000 a year, tax –free for life, after they were reinstated by an arbitrator. They and former sergeant Gregory Preece had appealed their firings after the controversial shooting of Miller. The city viewed the decision to pay off the officers as a means to close the book on the Miller incident, to provide healing for the city’s residents. However, to many community members particularly African-Americans, it smacked of a bounty payment to two white officers for killing a black woman.

The city council made another decision soon after that poured salt on the wounds of many by settling a reverse racial discrimination filed by five white male sergeants in 1999. The five men had sued to protest a decision made by former chief Jerry Carroll to promote two highly qualified men of color and a white woman to lieutenant, a decision that later led to his retirement when he discovered that city officials were secretly negotiating with the white officers to obtain promotions and financial compensation for them even though they were not as qualified to be promoted as the other officers.




Initially the men alleged that Carroll had said he was pressured by the community to promote a black man to lieutenant, however, the promotions went to a white woman, a Hispanic man and a male American Indian. Several black sergeants were considered but not chosen by Carroll to be promoted at that time. Then, the white officers alleged that the American Indian sergeant was really a black man, which was news to many. Later, they claimed that Carroll had really said that he was pressured to promote minority officers.




Current police chief Russ Leach quickly promoted four of the white sergeants in 2001 and the fifth retired from injuries he suffered when he was shot in 1998. Leach also spoke at several public meetings about his reluctance to discuss the promotional process as well as the department’s racial and gender demographics by rank, because he feared more similiar lawsuits.




This latest settlement promoted one sergeant who had retired last year to lieutenant. Because the other white men had been promoted, they had their promotions retroactively moved back to the date when the two men of color and white woman were promoted. The city gracefully announced that the previous promotions would be allowed to stand, but many people felt it was a slap on the face to three hard-working, qualified officers who had been overlooked for years by the four white male captains who compiled promotion lists to hand to the chief for consideration. Only one councilman, the sole African-American, said that the reverse racism law suit was ridiculous while the majority of the council voted for it.




Concerns have been raised because the department is supposed to be implementing reforms listed in the agreement between the state and the city of Riverside, and on paper, the program is moving forward. And police officers have benefitted from th decree because they have been able to use it as a bargaining chip to ensure themselves numerous salary increases and improvements in benefits especially in terms of retirement. However, the cultural attitudes which brought the city to the brink of disaster in the aftermath of the Miller shooting continue unabated so true progress is limited, as the RPOA remains determined to march backwards instead of foreward.




In the past few months, several key players in the old Riverside Police Department have retired, including the deputy chief and assistant chief. However, it took two months for a replacement to be announced as a deputy chief, who surprise, was another white man who was a captain for less than two years. Although rumors have said that Leach might reach outside to fill the assistant chief position to sidestep several problems which remain in the upper heirarchy, it is likely that the replacement will come from the old guard within.

The most recent developments have many people concerned at what direction the department is going, and whether it's revisiting old, troubled ground, rather than breaking new, and better ground

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy