Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Allegations Of Handcuffed Person Beaten At M&D Deli And RIOC Attorney Trying To Intimidate Store Owner From Showing Video To Public- More From The February 16 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Demonstration

An update to previous post on the February 16 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Accountability and Brutality demonstration. (Video of demonstration is here)

Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance, who first reported the alleged Anthony Jones brutality incident, was one of the final speakers at last Saturday's demonstration. Mr. Farance charged the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors with failure to exercise proper oversight of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. According to Mr. Farance, the RIOC Directors do:

... a lousy job of oversight ... they don't have the information and they're unwilling to get the information...
Mr. Farance continued his presentation showing excerpts from a December 9 2012 M&D Deli security video purportedly showing abusive behavior by the Public Safety Department beating a handcuffed person on the knees with a stick.

Mr. Farance also reported being told by the the owner of M&D Deli that a person claiming to be a RIOC attorney behaved in an intimidating manner towards the owner by visiting the store and saying to the owner:
... you're not giving that video to anyone, right?...
Here's the presentation by Mr. Farance:



It's difficult to see the video on the screen used by Mr. Farance during his presentation. Here's a better view. (Even better if you click on Full Screen view though still not absolutely clear what is going on)

Part 1. According to Mr. Farance:
This is the first person being arrested.  The key points are the employee P and employee Q in the next two videos.


Part 2. According to Mr. Farance:
In this video while person X is being arrested, employee P is trying to keep his friend, person Y, out of the arrest process.  At time 02:14:39, you see Public Safety officer #3 come back, holding a cup of coffee in hand, then put the coffee on the top of the fridge and arrest employee P who was trying to protect Public Safety.  By 02:15:02 employee P is already handcuffed and not resisting arrest, but at 02:15:06 PSO #3 is striking employee P with a baton on his knees.


Part 3 According to Mr. Farance:
As Public Safety officers are walking out with Person X, Person Y, and employee P handcuffed, at 02:16:47 the second employee Q appears to ask (presumably) about why they are taking the other employee.  The last two Public Safety officers then arrest employee Q for asking about his fellow employee.


I asked RIOC today for a comment to explain their side of the story. Will update post if answer is received.

Following Mr. Farance, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem had some closing remarks for those present at the demonstraton. Her prepared text is below.
I want to thank you all for coming out today, in the cold, and listening to your neighbors concerns, their stories, and especially thank the "witnesses and survivors" who had the courage to come forward and tell the truth, supporting our demands for change.

Together this community can once again be the safe haven that we all originally moved to. Parents will once again not have to fear when their teenage children leave their homes at night, to meet their friends. We expect RIOC, the State, our elected Officials to hear and meet our demands, so that this vision will become reality.

What can you do to help?

Sign our petition, join our committee, and support your neighbor's cause.

Check out our Face Book page "Roosevelt Island Citizens Blotter", and document your story, or send it to me at: erfn315@gmail.com

Get informed: read the February 7th edition of the WIRE, visit their web site and check out the Roosevelt Islander blog. Our Island news media have done a terrific job of keeping our community informed!

Demand that RIOC and the Governor remove the current leadership of the PSD, and Officer Ralph Torrens, the Officer who brutally attacked Mr. Jones.

Demand a Federal investigation into the violation of our Constitution rights, rampant throughout our community under the PSD's patrols.

Write to Speaker Sheldon Silver and ask him to support Kellner's bill. Write to Steven Englebright, the Chair of the State Government Operations Committee, in Albany, where Kellner's bill is sitting, waiting to be voted on and moved forward. Write to the Governor Cuomo demanding that Kellner's bill be passed as well.

What do we want? We want Justice.

What do we want? We want an end to our Constitutional rights being violated.

What do we want?

We want oversight of the PSD, respect from its Officers, and we want to be heard!
Before the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Demonstration ended, New York Civil Rights and Civil Liberties attorney Norman Siegel, who had been sitting in the audience, was invited to speak. Here are Ms. Feeley-Nahem and Mr. Siegel's remarks.



More from the February 16 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Protest Demonstration here.

103 comments :

Mircea said...

Why did they arrest the first guy?
What did he do ?
That's important to know.

kris said...

fuck public safety !

RooseveltIslander said...

this is a contentious and controversial subject. Please be courteous and civil in your comments otherwise they will be deleted

YetAnotherRIer said...

You would think so, right? Those things are left out because they may weaken the impact of this footage. Also, where is the intimitation here? Quite a strong word for just asking a question, no?

Mary Lynn Zelker said...

I don't see anything wrong here. With absolutely no audio,I think people are definitely taking this all out of context. It's very easy to say that they all did nothing wrong,but we don't even know what happened.

Mircea said...

"superb job" ??
You must be kidding....


Just see the pictures I posted with the officer blocking traffic on one lane of Main street, for his personal use (having a conversation with a resident in the middle of the road, while there was empty space by the curve to park his vehicle without interfering with traffic)



However, back to the video, I would very much want to know what did that guy do, way was he arrested.
Assuming that the arrest was justified, than yes, I would give them credit

Frank Farance said...

The security video (like many) has no audio component.

Frank Farance said...

The first worker deserves to be arrested because he helped protect Public Safety?


The second worker deserves to be arrested because he asked about the first worker being arrested?


The first worker is standing there not moving deserves to be beaten?

Mircea said...

Why did they arrest the first guy, not the shop worker ??
What did that guy do to be arrested?
What happened with him after this arrest ?

Frank Farance said...

According to the mother, he is one of the people being harassed (was discussed by some of the people), and there were no charges against him. It's a recurring problem for this person and others.

Mary Lynn Zelker said...

But since there is no audio,how do you you know what he is saying. Your assuming he is asking that. But Noone knows what is being said. So you can't say that

GeorgeProzakis said...

You keep talking as if you were there. You have yet to provide FACTS. All you do is speak a lot of heresay. It is also very obvious that you are for a vengeance to any officer or member of the RIOC or public safety. I see absolutely zero beating in the video.

You have no idea what they were wanted for or what they did to get arrested. You are simply doing the good or fliparoo trick.

The proof is clearly visible no matter what your vivid imagination may make you believe to see.

Again, not taking sides typically but from what I see, I see no beating.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Of course, just like in the hood. Not my baby! Not my lil angel!

Harassed is a strong word to throw around.

Frannie Fran said...

If you can't see in the second video that the PSO is bending down swinging, then you need glasses....

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Frank Farance said...

Ms. Zelker: In other law enforcement, such as NYPD, there would be a public report of facts (regardless of pending litigation) within 24 hours. Here RIOC/PSD hides from the truth. I've looked into some of the cases in the past and, truly, PSD was at fault. So you have a law enforcement bias, so you think everyone is bad and deserves what they get. I spoke to the people involved and heard their presentation and saw a video concerning PSD abuse. We would love to hear PSD's explanation.

CheshireKitty said...

Under what circumstances could the shopkeepers possibly have done something wrong? The young man walked down the aisle empty-handed, then picked up a soda. What's wrong with that? He never had a chance to walk to the counter to pay for his purchase. I'd like to know what business will have a customer arrested for walking around with purchases - not giving the shopper an opportunity to pay for the items before having them arrested for shoplifting? How many times have you walked around a store holding a soda or a candy bar and possibly browsing before bringing the item to the counter to pay for it? Would you like to be thrown to the ground for picking up a soda in a store, because the suspicion is you are shoplifting? I didn't see the shopper put the soda in his pocket before he was tackled by PSD. Can you imagine if an incident such as this had happened at the Duane-Reade by the train? Duane-Reade would never let PSD maniacs carry out such an arrest on their property, over a soda? Do you think Duane-Reade is run by a bunch of idiots that are going to risk all sorts of liability lawsuits over a soda? When was the last time you walked into a Duane-Reade in Manhattan and saw someone being thrown to the ground by the NYPD over a soda? People are arrested for shoplifting - a business has a right to have their security arrest for shoplifting. But they do not do it in a way to scare away business or expose them to lawsuits, such as when excessive force resulting in injuries is used. Main St is PSD's "playpen" - where they can play out their fantasies of dominance. Over what? Over a shopper picking up a can of soda that they are most probably going to pay for? I've walked around Duane-Reade's, and the deli, so many times holding items, browsing. There are floorwalkers or shopkeepers that eye those that do so - and they have a right to do that, as annoying as it might be. But they don't bust me for walking around the store with the items held in my hand in plain sight, or in a store-supplied shopping cart and so forth. The kid that was arrested, presumably for shoplifting, was doing nothing different from what you and I do when we go shopping. Yet he was busted for nothing, and on top of that suffered a beating. I did not see he resisted. Now how likely is it that I will want to shop at a business that is prone to PSD rampages. I highly doubt Duane-Reade at the train allows PSD to charge into their store and start taking down shoppers walking around holding sodas in their hands, as they browse, before they get on line to pay for their selections. Can you imagine if Macy's did this to shoppers who have no choice but to spend time walking around selecting merch to try on etc.? They're going to let the NYPD start taking down shoppers peacefully selecting clothing on the suspicion that they did not intend to pay for the clothing, they might as well say good-bye to their business.

Mary Lynn Zelker said...

I agree with you that psd should make a statement in reguards to allegations made against them. But since my power hungry neighbours got rid of mr. Shame,the current rioc regime is to scared to let any facts out or let mr.guerra say anything to dedend himself or the dept.

Lets be honest Rick,before you were probably able to call Mr guerra up and ask about suitations no problem. But since everyone at rioc is scared to lose there jobs,cause they are dropping like flies,they made everyone put a lid on it. Thats thanks to my stupid neighbours who think they know everything but in reality they dont know anything,especially when it comes to law enforcement. Yes I said it and its the truth. What the hell does feely nahem know about law enforcement? Nothing,yet she runs around here acting like she is a retired cop and knows more then an actual cop. Ugh.

Guerras down fall was that he made himself way to available to the public. He tried to bring community policing to a community that doesn't like the community police.

Get rid of guerra,ill tell my brother to submit his resume for the new director,then you will see someone tell you to come back with your stupid recommendations after you have 13 years experience with the new York state police.

CheshireKitty said...

Don't we have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? What's with PSD arresting a shopper who did nothing? If the PSD wanted to bust this individual for some other reason, they could have busted him elsewhere and then present evidence that he has done something wrong. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the shopper on the videotape, which is the only thing any of us have to go by. I see nothing wrong with picking up a soda and walking around with it - you and I have done the same thing thousands of times in any number of businesses, such as delis, 7-11s, gas-station stores, supermarkets. Have you ever gotten busted for picking up a soda in a business because a security goon thought you weren't going to pay for it? I haven't, and most shoppers don't. Yes - none of us know exactly what provoked PSD to take down the individual in the tape. If there was something they can prove he did wrong elsewhere, then PSD will have their day in court to prove it. As far as the shopkeepers, who appear to be literally cringing in the tape, they did absolutely nothing wrong and should sue PSD/RIOC for their wrongful arrest.

CheshireKitty said...

I, and the rest of us on this thread, only have the video to go by. Does the kid look like he's shop-lifting? Not to me. It looks like he picked up a soda and didn't have a chance to walk to the front of the store to pay for it before the PSD accosted him by the refrigerated section in the back of the store and arrested him. That's an error on PSD's part. If he had walked out of the store without paying for the soda, then there is a reason to arrest someone - for theft. As it is, based on the tape, the kid did nothing wrong.

CheshireKitty said...

Isn't it up to the process of a trial to prove guilt? Isn't a person entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? I want to know what that kid done to deserve this treatment. Maybe there was something going on in front of the store - but we don't know that from looking at the store video. And PSD wont reveal details. So all we have is the video. I really hope the store-keepers sue PSD for their wrongful arrests. You can't possibly say the store-keepers were doing anything wrong, thus their arrests were 100% wrongful.

Mircea said...

Maybe he did something wrong BEFORE this recording starts.
Looks like PS were running/looking for him, so I wouldn't go by the tape only. We need the official version of the PS to stop all those speculations.

CheshireKitty said...

That is true. We should all either be in school, on the job, or at home. But society isn't like that. There are some people who prefer to "sit out" and discuss issues of the day in person in public places. In fact, the City provides plentiful benches and places where people can rest. Wasn't Times Sq recently turned into a gigantic outdoor cafe by the City of NY where people can sit for hours free of charge and discuss the issues of the day? Haven't you sat there with friends to talk, whether or not you really "had a reason" to be there? In another era, doing something like that would have been considered "loitering" but today, it is not. You must be living in a past era. The streets are for people - bicycling is encouraged, not cars; the City has parking lanes removed in favor of bike lane and bike parking sidewalk areas taking over vehicle lanes. Noticed that? Entire new outdoor areas specifically designated for "loitering" have been set aside in the last few years. With City-supplied free seating and tables at that. Ever notice the lingering customers at Starbucks? Starbucks doesn't throw them out because they've finished their drinks. It's accepted today that you don't always have to be at school, at work, or at home. You can also be "loitering" - and that's OK. Yes - I agree on the vile language. But there is nothing we can do about it, is there? Have you watched a Quentin Tarantino film recently? Or listened to the music of today? The best-selling cultural products are filled with profanity. I personally do not think it's needed, but long ago these battles were fought and won on the basis of free speech. As for weed, Gov. Cuomo in his recent State of the State address has proposed decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, specifically so that recreational/casual users do not have to face having their lives ruined if they are busted. The trend to back away from the Rockefeller Laws in NYS continues. Your last point is interesting - running through a hallway is a crime? There are instances where people may run if they are running late. I've run down my hallway if I want to catch a bus or get to the train quickly. I wasn't aware that's a crime. You see people running on the streets all the time - joggers. This is a crime? So I never heard of running being a crime. I've seen many people running along the promenade and have never gotten the impression they were doing anything wrong. If I run in my apt hallway to the stairs if I do not wish to wait for the elevator, and then run down the street to the train - all this is a crime? You must be kidding.

CheshireKitty said...

Facts are established in a trial. It's up the PSD to prove the kid did something wrong. If the PSD wont say what the kid did that was wrong, then we only have the mom's words and the video. Let the PSD present their side of the story - let them explain why they busted the kid. Or let them prove it in a trial. They just hide behind the cloak of "pending litigation". Very convenient for PSD.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Funny, you are judging before the facts are available also. Why are you hypocritical with your philosophy?. Weird how things work.

GeorgeProzakis said...

I seriously have to hold back my thoughts but you are long gone on the scale of reality. That was probably one of the top most silly replies I have yet to read. You act as though you never lived in urban New York City. May I ask if you live life though a bubble. An impenetrable bubble which excludes you from reality?. Worst reply ever in history of blotters.

CheshireKitty said...

I agree. But PS never talks - it conveniently offers no explanation because of "pending litigation". So for the time being, the only thing anyone knows is from what you see on the tape and what the mom says. Also - the tape is supplied by the store, it's from their video security system. Why would it be in their interest to withhold a portion of their own tape - either way? What's in it for them? Do you think the store clerks did something wrong that is not shown in the tape? The answer is No. Why would it be in the interest of the store to not show the kid doing something wrong? If the kid was really doing something wrong, the store owner might want the kid busted. It seems to me, the store owners do not perceive the kid as doing anything wrong, in fact appear to be shocked at the violence and cringing in fear. It seems to me this is why the store is releasing the tape - a testament to police brutality.

CheshireKitty said...

I'm judging to the extent that looking at the tape, the store-owners were definitely wrongfully arrested. They should sue. As for the kid, looking at the tape, he was wrongfully arrested. He should sue. If PSD can prove the kid or the storekeepers did something wrong, they can say so now and present the info to back it up in court. What did the kid do? What did the store-keepers do? To me, it looks like both did nothing wrong.

GeorgeProzakis said...

But you just said previously its up to the people to prove they did something wrong. Now you want the officers to be the judges?. If it was up to your vision, nobody would be a criminal. If we all had your philosophy we would not have crime at all.

The police, whatever kind of officer does not need proof for an arrest. All one needs is probable cause. Look it up.

CheshireKitty said...

Ever notice how some banks have cops stationed in the lobby. They don't bust people going about their business, doing their regular banking transactions. They will bust someone who robs the bank. Of course, the cops are also a deterrent to a robbery taking place in the first place. But - they don't bust an ordinary customer for "probable cause" - whatever that might mean in the case of someone using an ATM and so forth. In a court case, if evidence stands up in court, and you can convince a jury of the defendant's guilt, the people win a conviction. Up until then, a person has the presumption of innocence. Aren't we all entitled to trials by a jury of our peers? If the only evidence we currently have of a possible "crime" is the videotape and the statements of the victim or his surrogates, then anyone can see the kid nothing wrong. Let the PSD present their side of the story. Why all the silence from the PSD? Lacking an explanation from the PSD, it sure looks like a case of over-reaction/brutality on the part of PSD. Of course crime exists - I never said crime doesn't exist. But citizens do have rights, and just busting someone because a cop has "probably cause" the kid was shop-lifting - which he clearly wasn't - is wrong. As I keep saying, both the shop-keepers and the victim of what was "probable" harassment should sue.

GeorgeProzakis said...

They were wrongfully arrested because? You sound insane. As if you were following every step of these individuals and knew their exact pin point accurate actions. I am to the point where I have decided you are not worth replying to. Your theories and mindset is flawed.

Frannie Fran said...

For argument sake lets say the first guy committed some crime outside the deli, do you really think he's going to stop and get something to drink? It's clear he had no idea PSD was after him.....

Frannie Fran said...

I so agree with you...

GeorgeProzakis said...

WOW.

disqus_NlVkE2Vunb said...

Ive never heard more crazy statements in my life.I DONT LIKE ANY COPS WHETHER PSD OR NYPD but Ive dealt with PSD,NYPD and State Troopers and Ive found out if you treat them all with respect they will treat you with respect. You all talk alot of things about PSD however you fail to realize that when you need PSD they are the ones to come and help you. While standing in their office I have heard crazy complaints that the NYPD and other law enforcement departments would laugh at and just hang up. I just dont see how you ALL especially Mr Farance write all these things while defending individuals that ALMOST ALL not only have PSD records but NYPD records as well. I just dont see any officers being out on patrol looking to beat someone up and arrest with all the paperwork that is involved in any arrest. Come to think about it, almost all those "KIDS" that were at that protest were the same "KIDS" that smoke weed at 580 and harrass the ACTUAL INNOCENT residents that walk by them and some even get into the officers faces and taunt them as they are walking into their office.These are also the same kids that have pretty much destroyed the 4th floor with markings such as "BGM". As for the video that same individual just moments before taunted that PSD cop with profanity and I CLEARLY heard him tell that officer and I quote "FUCK YOU PSD"!! while I was walking home that morning. Smoking weed will still be illegal!! Selling weed will still be ILLEGAL!! I The only thing that is changing is the amount that a person is caught with. As for lointering it is illegal in nyc. NYPD HIGHLY goes after people in front of the projects doing this. You all want NYPD on this island but I dont because NYPD has that stop and frisk option while PSD does not. Would you all like to be frisked cause I have been and its not fun. All these parents need to keep these "KIDS" inside their house and leave these people alone. He got arrested and from 1st hand knowledge he WAS charged. Everyone just needs to learn to mind their own business and if your doing something illegal dont put it out in public!! KEEP IT IN YOUR HOUSE!!!

Frannie Fran said...

Yes that it.... So the first person was arrested for disorderly conduct? What does that mean? Oh then he decided to go buy a soda....

Frannie Fran said...

Why are you giving your family and your resume? Does it make you right in what your say? I don't think so. You can look at a video and see no wrong doing on the part of PSD?

Frannie Fran said...

And so are yours!!!!

Frannie Fran said...

And usually probable cause is handing outside the deli.....

Frannie Fran said...

What are you talking about? You have a wild imagination. Do you know what this kid is doing in his life? I know our island is exciting for you to blog about EVERYDAY but don't act like you know us.

Frannie Fran said...

You really need to get a life, oh sorry this is your life.....

Frank Farance said...

You're right, I received a correction since my comment was posted, the first person was arrested for disorderly conduct. The workers for OGA. I don't know about the second non-worker.

Frank Farance said...

Agree with first two paragraphs. Guerra brought himself down by being about Maximum Enforcement and Zero Tolerance. I spoke with him about this several times: if someone objects to Public Safety, they should be arrested ... just letting it diffuse without an arrest isn't an option according to him. So it is unsurprising that this gets out of control at some point where people are treated brutally (excessive force) and arrested unnecessarily.


Guerra avoided meeting with the community: according to the NY DA's liaison, it is a requirement that the precincts each have monthly meetings with the community. How many has Guerra had in the past 3 years, maybe 2-3?


And Guerra didn't work well with his Board. He should have helped them along create some kind of oversight, one that he would find acceptable if the roles were reversed.


So now we have a RIOC Board that hasn't done much in five years on PSD.

Frank Farance said...

See my correction above.

GeorgeProzakis said...

That made no sense. Very obvious you also do not know how or what doing police work is. I guess you are one of those people who think if they committed a violation or crime and if the police don't catch you within let's say 24 hours its done and you are free. No, does not work like that.

Emma said...

You don't designate Bad People because you are a bad person yourself. You have gone after Margie Smith (a good person), Howard Polivy (a good person), and several other good people in our community like the Shinozaki's. It doesn't matter to you who you hurt to try to make whatever dumb point you are trying to make. You have not fooled everyone. Just because you are now linked to several people who get in trouble on the island, your warped mind thinks its ok to raise them above good people here. People know your game. You're using them to make your point, but they're using you to do their dirty work too. Shame on you.

Emma said...

I have looked at the videos and it looks to me like the person handcuffed, standing, is not being hit. It looks like he is moved to the side so the officers can continue dealing with the guy on the floor who they are having a hard time with. I don't know what any of them were arrested for but seriously doubt it was for no reason. Again, I don't see the officer hitting the guy who handcuffed. It looks like its the other one on the floor.

Frank Farance said...

See video #2, the baton is visible around 02:15:05 to 02:15:07, first it is seen at the stomach, then it is see as the officer is striking around the knees (from the side). If you pause the video and watch it slowly (frame by frame) you can see it better. The the guy on the floor is to the left of the handcuffed worker standing and further away, the officer is striking the handcuffed worked on the worker's right side.

Frank Farance said...

Emma, you're very misguided. Ms. Smith and Mr. Polivy (along with Mr. Shinozaki and Mr. Kraut) are at the core of the problem: They claim they have no information, no actionable data, no complaints, etc. on Public Safety. As board members, they are insiders and have the corporate clout (via requests to their General Counsel) to access the information they need to investigate these kinds of problems with Public Safety, but they choose not to. And some of their spouses look to divert/deflect attention away from their responsibility and culpability (aka, another kind of Conflict Of Interest).

Really, do victims need to hear: "We'd love to process your complaint further, but our spouses are RIOC Board members, and any complaint on them we consider to be a personal attack, so even though it is obvious to everyone that the RIOC Board and its Operation Committee, Chaired by Mike Shinozaki, is the committee responsible for oversight of PSD, we're going to gather our friends to shield board members (including our spouses) to make sure the blame doesn't land on them, and make you (the victims) have a harder time registering complaints." Essentially, that is part of the hurdle for victims in complaining about RIOC/PSD.

Emma, aren't you a member of RIRA Public Safety Committee, or maybe a RIOC Board member, or connected to either of them?

GeorgeProzakis said...

So they beat him in 2 seconds.

What a reach you are doing with this nonsense.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Hey, at least he did the job first hand and not pretend they know the job. I'd rather take his word than anyone else's due to him knowing what the job entails.

GeorgeProzakis said...

Your ridiculous. Your journey is being ended and your running out of steam. Right away you pin someone to being connected or knowing someone or sidelining with someone, just because they don't agree with your jaded views. Come on sir, even you know it's all absolute bullshit and you are just trying to gather foes of the public safety to stand on your side. If I ever make my way back to Roosevelt Island again I will make sure I attend a lot of meetings to really see these insane meetings in real life.

Frannie Fran said...

Yeah that's why he was fired because he knows so much...

GeorgeProzakis said...

Put up the facts of him getting fired. Heresay again?. I don't think a fired person would come to the rescue and expose the childish antics of the residents he was sworn to protect. It would have been an opposite gander against the officers and bosses of public safety agency.

CheshireKitty said...

Frank, you also say the directors have the information needed to conduct a thorough investigation. But how thorough or objective could such an investigation be if the people doing the investigating (the directors) are investigating their own organization? The PD no doubt has an Internal Affairs Dept to conduct such investigations, but RIOC and PSD are miniscule compared to the PD. I wouldn't be satisfied with an investigation conducted by RIOC into the PSD. That is why the matter has been referred to an outside investigative body - the Investigator General, and an outside audit of the PSD will also be conducted. To have RIOC directors investigate PSD makes no sense - they are not professionals in the field of investigations etc. Also, look at the directors - they all have outside jobs, and so are not exactly in a position to drop everything, march into PSD, and ask that all the information immediately be turned over to them so they can read/understand/put it into databases etc. All that requires investigators who have the time and expertise to conduct such an investigation. Plus, we still need police protection - ethical and humane police protection of course - while the investigation is in progress, so the PSD cannot be shut down at all once the IG people arrive to examine the information and ask questions and so forth. So it's unfair and unreasonable to ask that the directors conduct their own investigation into the PSD. First, I doubt if they could even do it since they're only directors, instead of full-time State employees. Second, would they even know how to apply the proper methodology and investigative techniques to the examination, and what the methodology and techniques might be even. Third, even if they knew how to conduct such an investigation and had the time to do it, how detached or objective could they possibly be? For these reasons, it makes no sense to ask that the RIOC directors investigate PSD.

CheshireKitty said...

Any issues regarding relatives or spouses of directors are simply irrelevant to what has or hasn't occurred at PSD. You cannot say the spouses or relatives of directors play a role in the discharge of the director's responsibilities even if they may comment about RIOC or island affairs in general. It's like saying, well, Bloomberg's daughter Georgina is observed at many fund-raising parties, and at the parties, there are people who have donated to anti animal cruelty organizations that are working to have horse-drawn carriages removed from Central Park. Even if she goes to these parties and some anti animal cruelty organization donors are also present at the parties, it does not mean by doing so she is commenting or sending a message about her father's pro-horse-drawn carriage position. Different people, including relatives of directors, are allowed to have their own opinions and to voice their opinions. It doesn't represent a "cover-up", a "smokescreen", a "subtle dig", an "implied rebuff", or anything else if a relative of a director, or another official, comments. Certainly there is no conflict of interest if Georgina Bloomberg for example attends a party where there are also anti animal cruelty organization donors present, if her father is pro horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. The fact that the Mayor refuses to stop the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park moreover wouldn't constrain her from commenting on or criticizing her father's policy on the matter. So anything a relative says can't be looked at from the standpoint that it involves Conflict of Interest. Speech is usually not looked at this way, IMO. Conflict of Interest does become a serious issue when there are actual things - money, land, jobs, a play in the stock market - at stake. These sorts of real conflicts should always be investigated. But to say a relative of a director is "guilty" of Conflict of Interest, because they may comment one way or another on the Jones case, just as we all may comment, is absurd because their comment plays no role in the final disposition of the case(s). In fact, they may have an opportunity to officially comment in the event of hearings, if an investigative body or audit decides to depose them for some reason, say for example, if they have any special insight on the cruelties of Guerra. Yet, even so, the speech or comments are not indicative of "Conflict" - they are simply speech, pure and simple.

CheshireKitty said...

Frank, you conflate and confuse several issues simultaneously when you say directors' relatives may have any role to play in an investigation. As I wrote above, an investigation will have to be conducted by an outside investigative body, such as the Investigator General. Any of us on the island cannot conduct an investigation because we would not know how to conduct one, and we would be too "close" to the problem to be objective even if we did know how to evaluate PSD. It is not constructive to lead people to think that anyone on the island is going to conduct an investigation - although there is not of course any barrier to accumulating evidence of cruelty, as well as expressing outrage at the cruelty, and calling for the suspension of the officers who committed excess and the eventual removal of Guerra who condones the cruelty even if he did not personally commit it. But to say relatives of directors are somehow obstructing an investigation is false. First, the IG will conduct an investigation, and there is no-one that an stop that. Second, an audit by an outside body will be conducted, which also cannot be stopped by anyone. Third, no-one has said or implied, as far as I know, that these investigations should be stopped. Thus, no-one is obstructing the pending investigations. It serves no purpose to say the relatives are doing so, when not only are they not doing so, but even if they wanted to, which they don't, they can't. Also, you are putting words into peoples' mouths when you say relatives have spoken about "personal attacks" meaning any criticism of RIOC directors is considered a personal attack by the relative. This is simply not true, and either way, even if it were true, although it is not, what possible difference would it make to the IG investigation and audit? All of our speech means zilch to the IG investigation and audit, including whatever a relative may or may not say. Why give speech by a relative more weight than it deserves? It's speech just as anybody's else speech is, no more, no less - speech that has no power to determine the outcome of the investigation, audit , or court case. Thus, it is speech that can simply be considered merely speech of no consequence to the problem of the PSD's cruel and corrupt practices. It is a destructive thing for you to try to link inconsequential speech by anyone - relative or non-relative - to the reality of the coming investigation, which will have real power to make changes and recommendations regarding the dismissal of PSD personnel and so forth. The IG investigation, audit, court cases - they are all coming and they are consequential and real. Whatever any of us says meanwhile, is just comments and speech and will not prevent or in any way affect whatever the IG's office does or finds out about.

CheshireKitty said...

Finally Frank - to simply clarify the role of the directors vis-a-vis PSD. The directors do not "oversee" the PSD on a direct, round-the-clock, hands-on basis. The directors all have day jobs and many other responsibilities. For example, one of the directors is a physician with a busy practice - that alone is basically a 24/7 occupation. The directors serve as directors on a voluntary basis, that is, with zero pay, and the time and effort they expend on their director responsibilities you can say they have to subtract from the time they could have been using to earn a living. Thus, in effect, they lose money in serving as directors. May I suggest that due to this arrangement, the directors cannot possibly be closely involved, or engaged intensely, in the day-to-day doings of not only the PSD, but of any other department in RIOC? That is why they are called directors - they only come in to look over books, reports, attend meetings, approve hires, and make whatever important decisions are delegated to them as directors. The day to day responsibilities of management are carried out by the full-time, paid RIOC management. Thus, the director of PSD, Guerra, is supposed to directly run the PSD, not the directors - who only oversee the PSD. Notice the difference, Guerra is a paid employee of the State who works daily at the PSD and is available 24/7 with regard to his PSD work. The directors drop in at the RIOC offices to attend meetings, review reports, approve hires, and so forth. They do not have jobs per se at RIOC, they only come in to oversee, discuss, make decisions on the work that the RIOC managers perform, which they review in the form of documents such as quarterly reports, budgets, and so forth. The work of the directors is thus reviewing reports and budgets, not actually a hands-on role of standing over a RIOC employee as they drive a bus or repair pavement, for example, or operate the AVAC. Likewise with PSD. The directors will review reports, they are not going to cruise the island in PSD patrol cars. Saying that the directors have direct oversight over PSD is both true and false. They have oversight over budgets and reports of RIOC, including the PSD of RIOC, but they do not have direct supervisory role over any RIOC employee, including any PSD employee, since the directors themselves are not "working" as RIOC directors 24/7 etc. - they are simply directors that come in to review reports and budgets.

Frank Farance said...

CheshireKitty: Directors set policy and make decisions about the corporation. If you look at a RIOC Board agenda, you'll typically see lots of contract approvals, which come from (say) the RIOC Operations Committee meetings, and involve a fair amount of detail ... and this has been going on for years. So if a bus stop is going to be moved, its discussed in the Operations Committee. For ongoing projects, they are discussed in the Operations Committee meeting.

There is a distinction between oversight and direct supervision. The Board doesn't directly supervise each PSD officer on a day-to-day basis, but they do direct policy, manage budget, personnel allocation, and such. For example, I pointed out that the RIOC Board only had an awareness of the PSD Blotter, which is just one line summary of events. This is grossly inadequate for the RIOC Board to oversee the PSD department, especially since there has been a long history of complaints about PSD abuse. So the RIOC Board has addressed (in part) my concern, as announced yesterday at the Operations Committee meeting, they (RIOC Board) will be notified of any handcuffs, arrests, detention, etc., which might improve some aspects of RIOC Board oversight (an improvement that has come waaaaay too late).

If the RIOC Board is to set "policy", then the they must have information to *inform* the board on appropriate policy/direction. The RIOC Board has its head in the sand and, even with the minor improvements announced yesterday, their attitude is still SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL.

As another example of lack of oversight: PSD is $1.2 million over budget, and 43% of the officers are not patrolling. It didn't require an Anthony Jones event to prompt an investigation of how the staff is being utilized (significantly underutilized). But the RIOC Board has left this over budget condition un-investigated for many years (at least five?), that is something within the power of the RIOC Board to do, but it has not done. Other boards in corporations would look to maximize efficiencies, this RIOC Board is incompetent because it is unable to do the job that is expected in any other government/business board.

Whether they are paid or volunteer does not matter, the RIOC Board has legal responsibility for the corporation and its actions. Or said differently, that can't say as board members, "I'm not responsible for what happens in PSD because I'm not directly supervising the PSD officers" ... they can't say that because they are responsible for the corporation, which includes its employees.

Frank Farance said...

CheshireKitty, my point about the RIOC Directors spouses is the Conflict of Interest in protecting their spouse from criticism that properly lands on the doorstep of RIOC Board members. Simply, the object of mission of the RIRA Public Safety Committee is the RIOC Public Safety Department that the RIOC Operations Committee oversees. This isn't about spouses interfering with an IG investigation, this is about victims who come to RIRA Public Safety Committee meetings to express their concerns, and those victims feeling comfortable that they can say "I think the problem is with the RIOC Board" and not having spouses/friends pile on complaining that board members shouldn't receive criticism, which diverts/deflects attention away where it should be.

Any victim who went to the RIOC Board Operations Committee yesterday would see that the RIOC Board is a significant part of the problem, along with Director Guerra's poor leadership of PSD, and the poor behavior of several Public Safety Officers.

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