City Manager Greg Sparks supports EPD wearing body Cameras; but Chief Mills,….not so much

Back in December, the Examiner was the first to report that Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks was supportive of having all EPD Officer’s wear body cameras:

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/city-manager-greg-sparks-joins-our-call-for-body-cameras-on-eurekas-cops/

Since then, the Northcoast Journal also took a look at the issue of body cameras:

http://www.northcoastjournal.com/Blogthing/archives/2015/01/24/epd-officers-may-start-wearing-cameras

In these articles, it is clear from Mills statements that he has some “legal questions” censoredthat need to be answered before implementing the new camera program. In the January newsletter, the police department made it plain that at least one huge concern they have is; all of this video subject to the public records act. A recent case in Washington brought to a halt one program because a person filed for all of the video collected and it would have taken a full-time staff to just download the video to produce for the PRA.”

First off, let’s deal with the “unnamed department” in Washington. That was pretty easy to figure out….it’s the Seattle Police Department! SPD has a huge budget and could afford to pay a person to handle all of the public records requests. They don’t want to do that, because they don’t want to get in any more Federal trouble. You see, the SPD is currently under a Federal Consent Decree and a huge part of the evidence supported the Federal intervention was because of dash cam videos. The US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigated SPD a few years ago, and using some of the footage from SPD the investigation concluded that “When SPD Officers use force; they do so in an unconstitutional manner nearly 20% of the time.” Readers did you catch that? 1 out of 5 people was subjected to unconstitutional use of force (at least).

The report also disclosed “SPD officers escalate situations and use “unnecessary or excessive force” when arresting individuals for minor offenses. This trend is pronounced in encounters with persons with mental illnesses or those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Sound familiar Eureka?) This is problematic because SPD estimates that 70% of use of force encounters involves these populations.”  Then the next portion of the report should seem almost eerie:

“Multiple SPD officers at a time used unnecessary or excessive force together against a single subject. Of the excessive use of force incidents we identified, 61% of the cases involved more than one officer.”

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/seattlepd.php

This report is not only a very informative read; it also mirrors problems that have been persistent locally in the Eureka Police Department for decades. SPD is now being supervised by the Fed’s. Is that what Chief Mills is afraid of? We say, definitely!

Another big problem EPD has is the Public Records Act. Locally, no one has actually taken the City of Eureka to task for not releasing the videos they already possess. That’s right. Some in the local media have asked for videos, and been denied. But what hasn’t happened is someone suing for the rights to obtain those videos. We should clarify; they haven’t sued yet. And Chief Mills is glad of that. If the videos were released, then we might get a glimpse into the wonderful and not so wonderful acts of our cops! Just think of it. Let’s say someone like, oh let’s say, Verbena, Copwatch or the McClain family asked for all videos of then Sgt. Stephens from 2014. That might be a game changer folks.

Now some of you may ask: What right does anyone have to get a hold of dash cam videos from EPD? As of now, there’s no law in California requiring the release of videos. Chief Mills is very happy about that, and he is working hard to get body cameras that will record information that will be withheld from the public.

censorship

But (there’s always a but), the Chief may have made a few mistakes along the line, and we would encourage any Examiner readers that have an interest in public safety to pay attention. If one was to ask for videos from the month of December, the City would send back a letter saying that it is the Cities practice not to release videos. However, as the below links will show, EPD has released videos….that they think make them look good. We’re sure a crafty local lawyer or lawyers might be able to fight for EPD’s videos, as long as they have a client who wants them. So, will that be any of you or your friends, readers? We certainly hope so.

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/jan/26/third-times-charm-man-arrested-again-while-fleeing/

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2014/jun/11/video-shows-citizen-aiding-eureka-police-officer-d/

 

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18 thoughts on “City Manager Greg Sparks supports EPD wearing body Cameras; but Chief Mills,….not so much

  1. Seems strange that Eureka used the Seattle Police Department as an example of the “legal difficulties” in how to release information to the public. Seattle has a long and well known history of using excessive force, especially against minorities.

    On second thought, it might not be all that strange. Maybe Eureka is just trying to be somewhat honest and the city recognizes that EPD has many of the same problems as the Seattle Police.

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  2. Statistics correction: it says that, on only the cases where force was used by SPD, the force was unconstitutional 1 out of 5 times. Only of the cases where force was used. Not out of all department cases.
    Still not good, but a different number.

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    • Right. Maybe it would have been more clear if the post read; “If the Seattle Police use force to arrest you, then 20% of the time that force will be excessive and unconstitutional.”

      I thought that the “only on cases where force was used” was implied in the post, but I can see how others might read it differently.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting that the quotes attributed to Chief Mills in the NCJ article, that he is for body cameras, and even has a plan on how to pay for them already in place, are not mentioned in this post. But it is good to see the Tulatwat is back in it’s comfort zone…..bashing law enforcement.

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  4. I bet the McClain family does subpoena the dash cam recordings for Stephens in the civil case, I wish the public at large could see what a bully he is.

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  5. McClain shooting = Justified use of force.

    As for this article, way to twist the facts to your own ends; the stats used from SPD were on “arrests made where force was necessary”, not all arrests, as TE states.

    Time for a retraction or, at least, and admitted edit! Then again, you have a history of being ant-police, anti-social, and nothing but complainers that do, well, nothing for society.

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    • According to Eureka Citizen, ahem, I mean Paul P:

      “the stats used from SPD were on “arrests made where force was necessary”, not all arrests, as TE states. Time for a retraction or, at least, and admitted edit!”

      The report, which was linked to this article, said that officers used unnecessary, excessive and unconstitutional force on a regular basis. Read that again…unnecessary. That is why the Federal government is now supervising SPD under the consent decree. There is no such thing as “necessary” force used unnecessarily. Or, to put it another way, using unjustifiable force isn’t justifiable. Or, making unconstitutional law isn’t constitutional.

      If this is the type view you take on a department that has been so corrupt the Feds had to step in, then any reasonable person would question the “solid legal framework” your panhandling ordinance is based on. Keep up the arguments EC, it just makes the hole you’re digging even deeper.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Paul… Justified, no doubt given the realities of power. Just? OK?

      Do you want to live in a town where you are afraid that if you or yours does not fear the police and jump at every command, even on you own property, you may have signed your own death warrant?

      It’s a big deal, and we need to demand a better record from our peace officers going forward. I don’t think a single one of them would disagree that Tommy should not have died that night all things considered. (Outside his reactions minutes before his death.)

      As I’m interested in politics generally Paul and JW. The paradox of anti govern enters being so sycophantically pro-government violence, when it is against one you don’t claim as your own is mind boggling to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liberal Jon

      Again, you go to fantasy extremes. I doubt that the average citizen of Eureka fear the EPD. If you think so, then publish a valid poll and prove me wrong.

      Until then, live within the law, and you would not have to deal with EPD, CHP, or HCSO.

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  6. Again, the stats were based on arrests made where force was used, not every arrest. There was no definition of “regular basis”, so assuming EVERY arrest is clearly false. Please use facts, not twisted assumptions. Now, if you know the exact number of arrests made where force was used, and THEN used the percentage, then you would have no argument from me.

    Also, SPD and EPD are not related, in any manner. While SPD is under federal review, EPD is not. If that happens, then they will have a similar relation.

    The panhandling ordinance proposal has nothing to do with anything listed here, and is still under consideration by council, pending staff report/research. It has not been implemented, nor was it presented by, or endorsed by EPD. Again, you try to tie different matters together, only making each item stronger when standing alone.

    Keep shoveling, you are quite good at piling up the B.S.

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  7. Tommy lived within the law and died allegedly b/c he reacted improperly (cameras should have buttressed the official line, it is something we should all be on board with given EPDs patchy history.

    I don’t doubt your right either Paul, that the majority don’t fear the EPD or law enforcement. Who I’m concerned about is the minority who do -and with seeming good reason.

    Yes, Paul, many of those that do are on the other side of the law and they have a reason to fear law enforcement. But not all, and I’d wager, the overwhelming majority of this minority (sorry, following?) should not be afraid of a force that is here to protect them.

    Below is an article by Charles Blow about his son being profiled at Yale b/c, in this case he was the wrong color.

    Tommy was in the wrong neighborhood and he died b/c of it.

    We should not accept that there are wrong neighborhoods.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/opinion/charles-blow-at-yale-the-police-detained-my-son.html?_r=0

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please use only examples involving EPD. If you want to talk fear of EPD, then show examples of EDP. Using a sample from Yale has NO bearing on EPD or citicens of Eureka.

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    • Please continue to use any examples of police profiling you care to Jon.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Paul “Spoof Boy” P.:

      Wow. You really have just moved on in, haven’t you?

      Now you get to decide what is germane to a debate and what isn’t?

      Since we are setting conditions for debate worthiness… may I make my suggestion?

      I say anyone who is an over-the-top liar like you Spoof Boy has nothing to say that is relevant to this or any other conversation.

      Oh, and your denying the Indian Island Massacre really makes me feel good about your plan to take charge of our current despised underclass.

      Of course you will say you wrote this silly thing while you were in a hurry and tired.

      Good one, Spoof Boy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The DA Choices not to file charge because a mistake is to a crime

    Like

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