UPDATE: 1:00PM: 05.23.2014: WE’VE JUST BEEN NOTIFIED THAT JOHN BRANDRIFF HAS SENT A REQUEST TO CITY MANAGER SCOTT BARBER AS TO A “FINDING” ON THE COMPLAINT, BE IT “FOUNDED”,” SUSTAINED” ETC. BARBER HAS SENT A RESPONSE BACK TO BRANDRIFF, “YOU SHOULD ANTICIPATE BEING CONTACTED IN THIS REGARD SOON.” INVESTIGATORS HAVE STATED THAT BOTH BRANDRIFF AND THE CHIEF’S STORY WERE CONSISTENT WITH EACH OTHER. With this said, we can come to the conclusion that the incident occurred as indicated. With this in mind, we will keep you posted if new details arise regarding any disciplinary actions which may be handed down by the City Manager to the Chief.
“When a City employee with a gun and a badge makes these statements it is the worst kind of intimidation and bullying…”
John Brandriff, a Ward 7 Council candidate back in 2011 and who also served on the City’s Community Police Review Commission (CPRC), tells his story of his verbal exchange with Chief Sergio Diaz, which didn’t end copacetically. As a result, a complaint was filed against Diaz, and sent to City Manager Scott Barber for review. Below is that letter.
According to the complaint letter, Chief Diaz’s expression of disdain stemmed from public comments made at a CPRC meeting in February of this year. At this meeting Brandriff expressed his disappointment of the Chiefs lack of participation in the Mental Health/Police forum that was conducted at Bobby Bonds Park. The actual comment was taken from audio at the CPRC meeting, it is as follows:
..as I said before, hopefully you guys will get a better response from the Chief than the forum did. There were probably 10 or 12 different organizations from all over this City, and from L.A. and out of the County. And, he (Diaz) didn’t really deemed it necessary when invited, to come and offer up anything to the community. It was was hugely disappointing for me. I just thought that there was more community involvement than that..
After expressing this comment, Brandriff states he was “nodded” outside by Assistant Chief Vicino who expressed his concerns of the statement he just made. Listen to the actual CPRC audio of the comment by clicking the below link, (comment begins approximately around the 20.00 minute mark).
What happened next at the Fox Theater only surmised to Brandriff that the conversation he had with Vicino was shared with Diaz. What you read next is verbatum from Brandriff’s complaint letter:
I would like to relay an incident that happened to me Sunday night March 9th 2014 at the Fox Theater. My wife and I arrived with Councilmember Davis and his wife to attend the showing of “West Side Story”. Shortly after going inside we saw the Chief of Police, Sergio Diaz, and proceeded to say hello. Councilmember Davis was in front of me and talked to the Chief first. When I went to shake hands with the Chief he pulled me closer and stated that should I ever have any concerns about the way he runs his department that I “should grow some balls and talk to him”. I responded that I thought discussing some of the issues would be a good idea and that if he had time next week we could get together, it was then that I realized the Chief was very agitated because his response was very abrupt and curt when he said “oh I’ll make the time”. By this time the rest of my party was starting up the stairs to our seats and I asked Chief Diaz if there was a specific number or person to contact to arrange the meeting he then reached in his pocket, obviously angry and shoved his card at me while moving closer and said “If you have any more political aspirations don’t make an enemy out of me”.
The letter below is the response from City Manager Scot Barber to John Brandriff, which assured him that the Human Resource Department did a full investigation, and that Barber will take appropriate action in accordance with related rules and policies.
An isolated incident you would think? Not quite, we are seeing a pattern of behavior that actually extends into the community. As Brandriff stated, “…the kind of behavior you might expect in third world countries not in our City or our Country.” Again, this is not an isolated incident, Ward 3 Councilman Mike Soubirious had a similar experience whereby the Chief appears to threaten his political career. According to the PE, the whole thing seemed to begin with a series of emails sent out by Councilman Soubirous to his constituents concerns regarding vagrants and panhandlers. The response from RPD was that “our hands are tied” or ‘there’s nothing we can do.” Evidently, Soubirous states he didn’t send an email to Diaz, but the email was forwarded to Diaz by another councilman. We are thinking here at TMC, could it have been Adams? If so, would that have been a Brown Act violation we asked? Incidently, another unamed councilman has been accused of violating the Brown Act, and a complaint filed submitted to the DA, we all know how that will end. Regardless, that never seemed to stop Adams before. In response, Diaz wrote back to Councilman Soubirous that no good can come from labeling dedicated public servants as “lazy.” The next statement by Diaz seems to be on the political threatening side, Diaz states that, “it would be politically unwise to declare war on you cops.” Already we get the feeling that trouble is a brewing. We asked the question what kind of history does Diaz have in Los Angeles? Why is a Chief of Police out threatening elects and candidates? Why is he acting as some sort of rouge underworld boss shaking down and hard balling constituents asking questions and threatening those who have aspirations of running for office? Difficult as it seems, Riverside has serious problems in RPD, and no one is minding the store when minding the store are the residents of Riverside. Diaz was hired by former City Manager Brad Hudson, in which questions still abound on his creative ways of finding money for projects. Would Diaz’s undisclosed behavior and actions within the City of Riverside be creating a “hostile work environment?”
There have been other incidents on record, one with public speaker Karen Wright when she spoke out at public comment on the naming of El Tequesquite Park to Bonaminio Park. Another incident occurred with community activist Christina Duran, where she was seated next to County Supervisor Bob Buster who witnessed the whole Diaz exchange. Another confrontation occurred with “Five Before Midnight” blogger Mary Shelton at a ACLU event. At this event he (Diaz) confront Shelton, and ask the question, “What are you doing here? Who allowed you to come to this forum?” An ACLU representative had to intervene to actually smooth over Diaz’s aggressive questioning. Some are simply calling him a “drama queen.” Many resident/taxpayers are asking the question of why he hasn’t been fired by City Manager Scott Barber? Is he not representing the interest of the taxpayer because he has obligations that superside the taxpaer? There are many more that, whom were asked not to be revealed, for fear of City and RPD retaliation, but we are even hearing of events occurring in Los Angeles which involve Diaz that are disturbing. Again, this is the legacy of former City Manager Brad Hudson, the current City Attorney Gregory Priamos and the former Mayor Ron Loveridge. Even TMC was drawn in to Diaz’s questionable behavior by a comment we made. This email came from to us stating that Diaz wanted to meet with us, not to talk about how to make the community better, but because of a comment made. The following is an email sent to TMC back in 2011.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE EMAIL
Sorry, we had to redact to protect individuals from possible retaliation by RPD or other City Officials … after all as most residents understand, this is Riverside…
What Diaz doesn’t get, is that the Community of Riverside also felt slighted when he stated that some of the critics are “sitting at home eating Cheetos in their underwear.” In addition, he stated in the PE, “It’s a challenging job,” Diaz told me. “It’s not a job for people who prefer to be in their mommy’s basement commenting on news stories.” Well alrighty Chiefy, we get it… Yes Myrah, we see you signaling that the bag is empty! Let’s break out a fresh bag of Cheetos.. By the way, was that underwear custom tailored? Yes the Chief is very handsome and very married, please don’t use 911 to call him again!
But Diaz’s behavior might be the least of his worries, former Police Administrative Service Manager, Karen Aquino in a letter to California Attorney General claims misuse of funds through Diaz’s foundation. http://www.riversidepolicefoundation.org Some of the allegations Aquino makes in the letter is she states Assistant Police Chief Chris Vicino ran the foundation on City time. This my friend, if true is known as “time card fraud.” She also alleges the city funds were directed toward the foundation, and a substantial amount of staff time was dedicated to the foundation at the expense of normal daily police operations. The allegations of misuse of Police Asset Forfeiture monies was also addressed in this complaint.
Of course, the same law firm, Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg and Clouse, who found no wrongdoing when former City Manager Brad Hudson hired them at a cost of $150K to investigate allegations of wrongdoing on himself, came to the same conclusion when they were hired to investigate allegations against Chief Diaz. The City of Riverside can pull a Governor Chris Christie when it comes to investigating themselves, and misinform the taxpayers of Riverside that this is a valid investigation, but it’s all “smoke and mirrors.” Since Police Asset Forfeiture monies are Federal monies, only the Department of Justice (DOJ) can justify and bring forth a legal determination.
“Respect for the community, respect for other officers, respect for ourselves is going to be the byword by which I will attempt to lead the city of Riverside over the next few years,” he said. “Out of respect comes every other good quality that we strive for in a police department and police officer.” - Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” — Benjamin Franklin
So what we’ve seen, is a Chief or Police out of control. He is obviously not community orientated, as he was originally hired to heal the city, whereby, he has only been confrontational, intimidating and threatening to the residents and citizens of the City of Riverside. Even the RPD officers are questioning his abilities and qualifications. After all, he was hired by a former City Manager who had a record of credit card fraud! I believe it was still okay with the City of Riverside. But if you have the same qualifications and challenge the city, you will be destroyed.
JUST IN:6:00PM: ATTORNEY LETITIA PEPPER, WHO WAS ARRESTED FOR CLAPPING IN JUNE OF 2013 FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY RIVERSIDE!
According to a press release, former BB&K Attorney, Letitia Pepper files lawsuit against the City of Riverside for the June 25, 2013 arrest and detainment. Pepper was arrested for applauding at a City Council meeting last year.
According to Pepper’s attorney, Jason Thompson, said Mayor Bailey’s animus towards Ms.Pepper appeared to have grown after she wrote in defense of people, which the Mayor had “dressed-down” during the earlier June council meeting. In her letter written to him two weeks before she was arrested for applauding, Pepper addressed the Mayor’s approval of some people and regular attacks on others. During the earlier council meeting, video footage shows Mayor Bailey telling certain citizens they were not allowed to applaud. However, a review of the same footage shows Bailey regularly allowing applause by people he clearly favors. In her letter, Pepper referred to Mayor Bailey’s selective approval and disapproval of citizens writing that the city council had become “so emboldened that it thinks it can treat audience members differently because of who they are.” Pepper continued that approval based on whether a citizen agrees with the position of the Mayor or council members violates the First Amendment. No arrests or warnings for applause on issues Mayor Bailey supported or of people he favors were made during the June 11 or June 25 meetings.
Pepper, who previously worked at Best, Best & Kreiger, a law firm that has represented multiple cities in lawsuits against seriously ill and disabled medical marijuana patients, began advocating on behalf of those citizens after she herself was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Papers filed in federal court by Pepper allege that anti-patient Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey was retaliating against Pepper in-part because of his long-time dislike for people prescribed medical marijuana and because Pepper had written a letter to him after he’d threatened citizens who applauded during a June 11 council meeting. According to Pepper’s attorney, Jason Thompson, Riverside has been one of the most aggressive opponents of medical marijuana in California. Thompson explained that, despite passage of the state’s 1996 Compassionate Use Act, in May, 2013, with the help of law firm Best, Best & Kreiger, the city prevailed against a group of patients forcing them to leave the City. After winning the decision against patients, Mayor Bailey announced the city had won a “major victory” in its fight against patients. At the same time, the city announced it was shutting-down all remaining patient collectives. Thompson said that although marijuana reduces the size of cancer tumors according to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute, the City has effectively prevented thousands of its disabled and seriously ill citizens from accessing medicine.
The lawsuit filed by Pepper seeks an order requiring the City to follow its own rules as well as seeks money damages. Calls to the Riverside City Attorney’s office and to Mayor Bailey were not returned. More to come on the trials and tribulations of “Clappergate!” Click this link to view TMC’s story on the arrest of Letitia Pepper for the clapping incident.
THANKS TO DON GALLEGOS FOR HIS ARTWORK ABOVE (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
WHAT ARE OTHERS THINKING ABOUT THIS CLAPPING INCIDENT? IS CLAPPING A REAL PROBLEM IN RIVERSIDE?, VIEW THIS TMC STORY!
UPDATE: MAY 21, 2014: NEW PE STORY BY ALICIA ROBINSON: INVESTIGATIONS OF COUNCIL CLOUDED BY UNKNOWNS: New article ask the question regarding the Soubirous and Davis investigation, as to what policies or procedure is guiding city officials. The City has been vague and secretive of the inquisition regarding the complaint and who are behind the filing.
COUNCILMAN MIKE SOUBIROUS, WARD 3 COUNCILMAN PAUL DAVIS, WARD 4
LET’S GET BEYOND THIS, SO I FU.KED UP! I STILL NEED YOUR VOTE!
We actually knew there was something wrong with this guy, when we brought stacks of info to the “Z” himself, and his associate brought a file of TMC articles, which they wanted to know who was writing them. Further, are Grand Jury complaint made against former Riverside Police Chief Russell Leach’s wife, Connie Leach, was squashed in the middle of interviews, and we were told the allegations were unfounded. We know now we were not an isolated incident. Why it was squashed, we don’t know. Was there interference by the City of Riverside? We don’t know. Was there tampering? We don’t know. We could only speculate, and that is not good enough. What we do know, is that we were made to feel as if we were the provocateur, just for asking the questions.. We found it quite remarkable, when Zellebach made his most telling statement to us, “Is it illegal, or just bad business?” Why would someone tell us this? We then asked the question, “How connected and obligated is he to City of Riverside Elected Council? To Judges? To the City Attorney? To the Grand Jury? and possibly influencing the Grand Jury? In November of 2011 we asked that question in a TMC posting of “TRIANGLE OF INFLUENCE.”
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU. NOW TAGGED LOCAL BLOGGERS OR LOCAL MEDIA? RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT! THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM