On January 15th, the Eureka Police Department will be having what they are framing as a “Community Shooting Review Board” to look into the Killing of Tommy McClain. EPD has stacked the Board with at least 66% of it being EPD/Sheriff Dept alumni, and he calls that “community members” looking into the killing of Tommy McClain. This “bogus” “community” Board will look into “the policy, the training, the procedures and determine whether or not it was within or not in the policy,”. This board will consist of “Two members of the EPD, the Humboldt County Coroner (former EPD), two Eureka City Council Members Melinda Ciarabellini (former cop) and Linda Atkins and one local attorney (former DA candidate Elan Firpo)”. EPD’s spokesman said, “”I think it is very important for the community to have confidence that it’s not just the police department looking at itself, that it is community members looking at us as well, that it is community leaders looking at what we do.”
According to the EPD, “They’ll be able to sit down and take a look at that, discuss it, take a look at the policy, the training, the procedures and determine whether or not it was within or not in the policy…..”. We are surprised and disappointed that Linda Atkins, would sign on to this obvious sham. One meeting, with only a few hours to review the thousands of pages of investigation, seems to be the definition of a “stacked deck” in EPD’s favor. The Department seems desperate to support the un-justifiable promotion of Captain Stephens (Stephens the officer in charge of the fiasco that left Tommy McClain dead in own front yard!). We can only guess part of the motive is to make this council believe they won’t be on the hook for millions in civil liability (which the city will be paying on for years, if the circumstances already admitted to are true!).
The Eureka Police Department seems to be trying to pull another fast one off on the citizens of Eureka. It’s clear that having a one day (or several hour) meeting isn’t enough to even scratch the surface of the shooting death of Tommy McClain. Having a group where all but one are City Employees or former City Employees looking into a shooting by the City is the definition of the “Fox guarding the hen house.” That it would be characterized by the media as “community members looking at police” is so “over the top” it would even make infamous Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels blush.
Hopefully, the rest of the City council and the City Manager will see that having OUTSIDE experts give their opinion on the killing is paramount to moving forward. It would also be helpful if they saw that investigating a homicide produces thousands of documents and other evidence. One day to review the investigation and information is a complete joke…and an easy way for EPD to only parcel out the information they wants the panel to hear.
The time is now for a true “Civilian Review Board”, not a handpicked hodgepodge that the City feels will protect its image. The City talks about moving forward with its police department, even though most of their actions are sending it in the opposite direction. Like “going after hardened criminals” = getting rid of the homeless shopping cart thieves. Like “community review of a shooting” = a quick look by a couple council members being guided by current and former EPD. No more lies and misdirection…community policing means engaging with not just the ol’ boys at the Ingomar Club, it means dealing with the 95% of Eureka that actually has deal with and rely on EPD.