California Watch - Public Safety http://californiawatch.org/topic/public-safety en Head of California’s troubled developmental services agency to retire http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/head-california-s-troubled-developmental-services-agency-retire-18870 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-credits"><div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/ryan-gabrielson" title="View user profile." class="fn">Ryan Gabrielson</a></span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Public Safety Broken Shield Thu, 29 Aug 2013 00:03:09 +0000 Ryan Gabrielson 18870 at http://californiawatch.org California auditor: Developmental center police failed to protect patients http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/california-auditor-developmental-center-police-failed-protect-patients-18869 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-credits"><div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/ryan-gabrielson" title="View user profile." class="fn">Ryan Gabrielson</a></span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Public Safety Broken Shield Tue, 09 Jul 2013 15:20:49 +0000 Ryan Gabrielson 18869 at http://californiawatch.org CIR’s California Watch again named finalist for Pulitzer Prize http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/cir-s-california-watch-again-named-finalist-pulitzer-prize-18859 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/LarryIngraham_7_13_0.jpg" title="Larry Ingraham's mantle includes mementos of his brother, Van Ingraham, including an old family photograph with a young Van playing with Larry, a 1999 Polaroid of Van and a ceramic angel." /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Photo by Nadia Borowski Scott</span> <span class="image-insert-description">Larry Ingraham&#39;s mantle includes mementos of his brother, Van Ingraham, including an old family photograph with a young Van playing with Larry, a 1999 Polaroid of Van and a ceramic angel.</span></p> <p>For the second year in a row, the Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s California Watch today was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize &ndash; this time for uncovering systemic failures in protecting residents at the state&rsquo;s developmental centers.</p> <p>The California Watch series Broken Shield was a finalist in the public service category. The award went to the South Florida Sun Sentinel for its story on speeding police officers.</p> <p>&ldquo;This series truly gave a voice to the voiceless and held the government accountable,&rdquo; said CIR&rsquo;s Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal. &ldquo;The results of the series have been extraordinary. Being recognized as a finalist is a terrific achievement. We are very proud of the newsroom.&rdquo;</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>Added Editorial Director Mark Katches: &ldquo;Our main objective for telling these stories is to draw attention to a problem &ndash; and that attention has already produced significant results for the residents of the state&rsquo;s developmental centers.&rdquo;</p> <p>The series &ndash; which had already won the George Polk Award, top honors from the Online News Association and two awards from Investigative Reporters &amp; Editors &ndash; &nbsp;has prompted far-reaching change, including a criminal investigation, staff retraining and new laws.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reporter Ryan Gabrielson&rsquo;s 18-month investigation about the Office of Protective Services snowballed over the course of 2012 &ndash; resulting in five major installments from February to November. The police force was set up specifically to protect the developmentally disabled living in the state&rsquo;s five remaining board-and-care centers. But Gabrielson found that the department&rsquo;s officers and detectives often fail to secure crime scenes and routinely delay interviews with key witnesses and suspects &ndash; leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes.&nbsp;</p> <p>Gabrielson detailed that dozens of women were sexually assaulted inside state centers, but police investigators didn&rsquo;t order &ldquo;rape kits&rdquo; to collect evidence, a standard law enforcement tool. Police waited so long to investigate one sexual assault that the staff janitor accused of rape fled the country. The police force&rsquo;s inaction also allowed abusive caregivers to continue molesting patients &ndash; even after the department had evidence that could have stopped future assaults.</p> <p>In one egregious physical abuse case, a caregiver was suspected of using a Taser to inflict burns on a dozen patients. Yet the internal police force waited at least nine days to interview the caregiver, who was never arrested or charged with abuse. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to Gabrielson, several staff members in the newsroom contributed to the project &ndash; most notably Agustin Armendariz, who provided data analysis; Carrie Ching, who produced two videos for the series; Monica Lam who produced a broadcast video distributed to TV partners; and Robert Salladay, who edited the project along with Katches.</p> <p>Last year, California Watch was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the local reporting category for its series On Shaky Ground, about faulty seismic safety oversight at K-12 schools.</p> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Department of Developmental Services Office of Protective Services patient abuse Pulitzer Prize Broken Shield Mon, 15 Apr 2013 19:05:21 +0000 California Watch 18859 at http://californiawatch.org Ex-officers often investigate police-involved shootings http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/ex-officers-often-investigate-police-involved-shootings-18852 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-credits"><div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/shoshana-walter" title="View user profile." class="fn">Shoshana Walter</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-extra-credits"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p> This story was edited by Robert Salladay and copy edited by Nikki Frick and Christine Lee. </p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style type="text/css"> h2.subhed {font-size:13px;}</style><p class="image-full-width" style="width: 664px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-full-width" src="/files/imagecache/image-full-width/blueford01-1000px.jpg" title="Adam and Jeralynn Blueford’s son Alan, an 18-year-old Hayward resident, was shot to death by an Oakland police officer last May." /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Noah Berger/The Bay Citizen</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Adam and Jeralynn Blueford&rsquo;s son Alan, an 18-year-old Hayward resident, was shot to death by an Oakland police officer last May.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After Oakland police Officer Miguel Masso shot and killed 18-year-old Alan Blueford last May, prosecutors quickly released their investigator&rsquo;s findings about the incident, amid a public outcry and a protest that shut down a City Council meeting.</p> <p>The shooting was justified, <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/682616-oakland-police-department-blueford-press-release.html">according to the evidence</a> collected by Michael Foster &ndash; a former Oakland police officer.</p> <p>In a city seething with distrust of law enforcement, legal experts and residents are now questioning District Attorney Nancy O&rsquo;Malley&rsquo;s wisdom in assigning former Oakland police officers to the task.</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>&ldquo;I would hope that they would look for somebody not for one side or the other &ndash; some impartial person that&rsquo;s not the police and not a community activist,&rdquo; said Blueford&rsquo;s father, Adam Blueford. &ldquo;The prosecutor just kind of rubber stamps what the police said.&rdquo;</p> <p>Foster&rsquo;s assignment was described as routine. It turns out that the practice of using former police officers to conduct investigations into shootings at their previous departments is widespread, according to a review of police prosecution records by the <a href="http://www.cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>, parent organization of California Watch.</p> <p>The issue is all the more important now in Oakland, where the beleaguered police department is under court supervision. Last month, a federal judge appointed former Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier to oversee the completion of an almost decadelong civil rights reform effort.</p> <p>The city has seen two officer-involved shootings so far this month. After a witness mistakenly identified a 16-year-old boy as a robbery suspect, police said they perceived the boy as a threat and shot him in the jaw. Two days later, Oakland officers shot and wounded a burglary suspect who they said was brandishing a fake gun.</p> <p>Prosecutors said they use former police officers for the investigations because they are best suited for the job, coming with years of training and experience. Other prosecutors and investigators said prior police employment wouldn&#39;t necessarily bias the investigation or outcome of a case.</p> <p>O&rsquo;Malley, Alameda County&rsquo;s district attorney, said her office provides a separate but thorough investigation of each fatal officer-involved shooting and dispatches a team that includes an experienced attorney and investigator. The attorney, not the investigator, writes the final report, she said.</p> <p>As for the Blueford investigation, O&rsquo;Malley said her office reviewed all available evidence and statements from more than 40 witnesses and determined that the case &ldquo;did not exist to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer involved committed a criminal offense.&rdquo; Foster declined to comment.</p> <p>But legal ethicists say the use of former police officers creates an appearance of a conflict of interest that can erode public trust. And those ethicists say many ex-officers still have ties to their former departments, including a sense of allegiance to the &ldquo;thin blue line&rdquo; that can influence the subjective process of an investigation.</p> <p>&ldquo;Even though he might not want to be a policeman again, he still has an allegiance to the brotherhood,&rdquo; said Cornell University law professor Charles Wolfram. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re from the same department, that could create obvious problems.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ten district attorney&rsquo;s offices in California contacted by the Center for Investigative Reporting said they use former officers for their police shooting inquiries. W. Scott Thorpe, chief executive officer of the California District Attorneys Association, called the practice &ldquo;very common.&rdquo;</p> <p>Some prosecutors, however, keep the identities of the investigators who work on police officer shootings secret &ndash; the public may never know about potential conflicts of interest in police shooting investigations, the CIR review found.</p> <p>For Oakland residents, prosecutors&rsquo; reports are one of the few sources of information about officer-involved shootings. Federal court-appointed monitors, in connection with the civil rights reform effort, have <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/682615-robert-warshaw-officer-involved-shootings.html">criticized the department&rsquo;s own investigations</a> as biased and unquestioning. The department seldom releases copies of investigations and police reports on officer-involved shootings, even to the families of the individuals killed.</p> <p>In Oakland, some officers have faced more&nbsp;shooting&nbsp;investigations than others. According to&nbsp;police&nbsp;records, in the past 12 years, more than half of the department&rsquo;s officer-involved&nbsp;shootings&nbsp;involved the same 20 officers.</p> <p>In many cases, the investigations of some of the most shooting-prone officers showed potential conflicts of interest.</p> <p>Frank Moschetti, a former Oakland police officer for 23 years, <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/682621-alameda-county-district-attorney-report-fred.html">investigated a shooting case</a> involving William Pappas, a SWAT team member responsible for three shootings, according to police records. In July 2010, he was among a group of officers who fatally shot a man wielding kitchen knives.</p> <p>Also in 2010, <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/682622-alameda-county-district-attorney-report-derrick.html">Moschetti investigated</a> Officers Omar Daza-Quiroz and Eriberto Perez-Angeles. The two officers,&nbsp;who were involved in the shooting death of a man in 2008, were responsible for the&nbsp;fatal shooting of Derrick Jones, an unarmed domestic violence suspect whose death spurred protests and an FBI investigation.&nbsp;He had led the two officers on a foot chase before ditching a marijuana scale that police mistook for a gun. His case is under review by the Department of Justice.</p> <p>On April 1, both officers involved in the case were cleared of any wrongdoing in a federal civil trial filed by Jones&#39; widow. The city already had paid a $225,000 settlement in a separate civil suit filed by his parents and daughter.</p> <p>In 2011, three officers shot and killed a man wielding a fake firearm. After Foster completed his investigation, prosecutor John Creighton <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/682623-alameda-county-district-attorney-report-matthew.html">cleared the officers</a> in Matthew Cicelski&rsquo;s death. Less than a year earlier, Creighton had <a href="http://www.smartvoter.org/2010/06/08/ca/alm/vote/creighton_j/endorse.html">received an endorsement</a> from the Oakland Police Officers&rsquo; Association during his unsuccessful run for superior court judge.</p> <p>Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick called Foster and the other investigators professional and unbiased. If there is bias, Drenick said, the prosecutors who work alongside the investigators would intervene.</p> <p>&ldquo;The district attorney is there throughout the entire thing, everything,&rdquo; Drenick said. &ldquo;They go as a pair to all of the interviews. And then the ultimate report that is done is written by the deputy district attorney.&rdquo;</p> <p>Foster also investigated the shooting deaths of two alleged gang members in May 2011, relying in part on investigative materials collected by the Oakland Police Department. The officers involved were Capt. Ersie Joyner, who has five officer-involved shootings on his record (the most of any member of the department), and Officer Cesar Garcia, who has two.</p> <p>To complete his investigation, Foster relied on evidence collected by Oakland police Sgt. Jim Rullamas, according to the prosecutor&rsquo;s report. Not mentioned was the fact that Joyner once oversaw Rullamas as head of the homicide division, praising the detective as hard working, according to one news report.</p> <p>After the prosecutor&rsquo;s office cleared the officers of wrongdoing, some of the cases resulted in hefty civil settlements. Robert Roche, a longtime member of the department&rsquo;s SWAT team, has been involved in three shootings, including one that resulted in a $500,000 civil suit settlement.</p> <p>Alameda County prosecutors provided the Center for Investigative Reporting with records on Oakland police officer shootings since 2000 that were proved justified and closed. Out of 23 fatal shooting cases, 10 were investigated by former Oakland police officers, the records show.</p> <h2 class="subhed">&lsquo;It&rsquo;s a specialized skill&rsquo;</h2> <p>Unlike Alameda County, not every prosecutor&rsquo;s office in California releases records of shooting investigations involving police officers, which are protected by law from public disclosure. Many prosecutors&rsquo; offices declined to provide the names and employment histories of those they assign to investigate the shootings.</p> <p>But some prosecutors acknowledged that their investigators are most often retired police officers. District attorneys in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Napa and San Mateo counties all said they employ former police officers and sheriff&rsquo;s deputies to investigate officer-involved shootings.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty common,&rdquo; said Glenn McGovern, a senior investigator at the Santa Clara County district attorney&rsquo;s office who leads the training committee for the California District Attorney Investigators&rsquo; Association. &ldquo;In Santa Clara, we have a lot of San Jose police. It&rsquo;s a specialized skill. You have to go through advanced training for it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Some counties in other states have decided against using ex-officers to investigate their former departments. In Miami-Dade County in Florida, for example, only prosecutors with special training investigate officer-involved shootings. The agency does not use former police officers.</p> <p>In California, legal ethicists expressed concern that most prosecutors make no attempt to avoid the controversial assignments.</p> <p>&ldquo;It undermines the legitimacy of the investigation,&rdquo; said Stanford Law School professor Deborah Rhode. &ldquo;At the very least, they should try to find investigators hired by somebody else.&rdquo;</p> <p>Most counties in California follow the same procedure. When a police officer shoots and kills someone, the police department conducts two separate investigations. One determines whether the officer violated department policy; the other looks for evidence of criminal conduct. Then the county prosecutor&rsquo;s office either monitors the department&rsquo;s criminal investigation or conducts its own and decides whether to file charges. In Alameda County, investigators are assigned to officer-involved shootings on a rotating, on-call basis.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to 1985, most states legally allowed police officers to use their firearms to arrest anybody suspected of committing a felony, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report on police use of force. Some states even allowed police to shoot a fleeing suspect, including one suspected of a property crime such as forgery.</p> <p>Then the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that changed the landscape of police shooting investigations: An officer may not use deadly force unless he or she &ldquo;has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others&rdquo; &ndash; in other words, self-defense.</p> <p>Despite the ruling, it is still extremely rare for a police officer to be charged. While police need only probable cause to make an arrest, prosecutors must prove &ldquo;beyond a reasonable doubt&rdquo; that an officer acted criminally. Most fatal officer-involved shootings are deemed justifiable homicides.</p> <p>In 2011, according to the FBI, law enforcement officers nationwide committed 393 justifiable homicides. A review of news articles about on-duty officer-involved shootings in California shows that since 2005, only three officers have been prosecuted in a fatal or near-fatal shooting.</p> <p>The most prominent was the case of former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle. In 2010, a jury acquitted Mehserle of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter after he was captured on video shooting an unarmed man, Oscar Grant, in the back on a train platform in the early morning hours of New Year&rsquo;s Day 2009. The jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and he was sentenced to two years.</p> <p>In 2007, a jury swiftly acquitted former San Bernardino County sheriff&rsquo;s Deputy Ivory Webb of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm.&nbsp; A cellphone video had shown Webb opening fire on Iraq War veteran Elio Carrion, a passenger in a car that had led Webb on a high-speed chase.</p> <p>And in 2005, a San Jose jury acquitted state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agent Mike Walker of voluntary manslaughter charges. He&rsquo;d shot and killed Rudy Cardenas, a father of five whom he&rsquo;d mistaken for a wanted parole violator, after Cardenas led him on a car and foot chase.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s unclear if former police officers investigated the three cases that led to a prosecution &ndash; those records are kept secret.</p> <h2 class="subhed">Policies vary across counties</h2> <p>Prosecutors are not legally required to conduct investigations into police shootings.</p> <p>After budget cuts in 2010, Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan halted her office&rsquo;s investigations of officer-involved shootings, a practice that had been in place since 1984. After widespread complaints &ndash; including from the Fresno police chief &ndash; a Fresno County grand jury recommended Egan reverse her decision. She declined.</p> <p>Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully made a similar decision in 2011. A slew of shootings has since prompted furor over Scully&rsquo;s decision, including urgent requests from Sacramento County law enforcement to resume the investigations.</p> <p>&ldquo;We would like to do them, if we were given the resources,&rdquo; said Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher, who once supervised the unit.</p> <p>The Kern County district attorney&rsquo;s office investigates shootings at the county&rsquo;s small police agencies but has never investigated officer-involved shootings at the county&rsquo;s two largest agencies, the Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office.</p> <p>After a high-profile police shooting several years ago, District Attorney Lisa Green said she saw no need to investigate because &ldquo;the public might view the district attorney&rsquo;s office as a rubber stamp.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Although I would never approach it that way, the community may view it otherwise,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>But in many cities, officials said, the investigations serve as assurance to the public that the death is being treated seriously. Police officials say the investigations can restore confidence in a department. Without them, only the police are left to investigate their own.</p> <p>&ldquo;It allows the public to sleep better at night,&rdquo; said former police officer Mike Donovan, chief investigator at the Napa County district attorney&rsquo;s office and treasurer of the California District Attorney Investigators&rsquo; Association. &ldquo;Knowing that if there is an officer-involved shooting, there&rsquo;s some other level than just the agency itself that gets to make the decision.&rdquo;</p> <p>In Los Angeles, law enforcement agencies and the areas they cover are so large that the 256 former police officers at the Los Angeles County district attorney&rsquo;s office are unlikely to know anyone they are assigned to investigate, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.</p> <p>Still, some prosecutors have decided to avoid the appearance of a conflict by assigning others to the task.</p> <p>San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis assigned a single investigator to work on officer-involved shootings. Although a former police officer, the investigator has never worked for a San Diego County law enforcement agency, spokesman Steve Walker said.</p> <p class="image-insert-right-align" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert-right-align" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert-right-align/blueford09-1000px.jpg" title="Oakland officers stopped Alan Blueford and two other teens on suspicion that they were hiding a gun." /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Noah Berger/The Bay Citizen</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Oakland officers stopped Alan Blueford and two other teens on suspicion that they were hiding a gun.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2 class="subhed">Oakland shooting sparks protest</h2> <p>In Oakland, several police shootings have galvanized the community. But instead of instilling confidence in the system, the report from the Alameda County district attorney&rsquo;s office has provoked suspicion.</p> <p>After Officer Miguel Masso fatally shot Alan Blueford in May, activists and residents shut down a City Council meeting in protest, and Blueford&rsquo;s family filed a civil suit.</p> <p>In District Attorney Nancy O&rsquo;Malley&rsquo;s office, several investigators, mainly former law enforcement officers from the Oakland Police Department and a few other county agencies, are assigned to a rotating on-call team.</p> <p>When an officer-involved shooting occurs, an on-call inspector and prosecutor report to the scene, sit in on witness and officer interviews, and review evidence collected by each police department and coroner&rsquo;s office. In Blueford&rsquo;s case, Foster and Senior District Attorney Ken Mifsud were on call.</p> <p>After O&rsquo;Malley released a report on Foster&rsquo;s investigation, Blueford&rsquo;s supporters released their own, in which they said the prosecutor&rsquo;s report lacked &ldquo;professionalism and objectivity, and appears to be directed at swaying public opinion.&rdquo;</p> <p>The report writer, Darrell Whitman, a regional investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor, analyzed the heavily redacted police and coroner&rsquo;s reports released to the public. He said the evidence made it seem more likely that Blueford was unarmed on the ground when Masso shot him.</p> <p>Masso and his partner had stopped Blueford and two other teens just before midnight on suspicion that they were hiding a gun. Moments later, Blueford broke away. There was a brief foot chase before Masso said Blueford pointed a gun at him, and the officer reacted with gunfire, according to police reports.</p> <p>At first, Masso said Blueford had shot him. Police later determined that Masso had accidentally shot himself in the foot. The gun Masso said Blueford possessed was found 20 feet from Blueford&rsquo;s body, and investigators determined it had not been fired. Investigators found one of Blueford&rsquo;s fingerprints on the gun.</p> <p>In his report, Whitman pointed to discrepancies in the evidence that he said Foster and Mifsud should have examined. Instead, he said, they unquestioningly accepted Masso&rsquo;s account. Mifsud declined to comment.</p> <div id="caw-inset-2-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>For example, according to the redacted police reports, of the 16 people who witnessed the shooting, only three said they saw Blueford with a gun. Another witness said he had not seen a gun but had seen Blueford grabbing his waistband. A fifth witness said he had overheard another woman saying Blueford was armed.</p> <p>Masso told investigators that his first shot caused Blueford to fall into a gate and onto the ground, but according to the redacted reports, most witnesses said Blueford already was on the ground when he was shot.</p> <p>Eight witnesses said they heard Blueford say, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t do anything!&rdquo; right before the gunfire. Mifsud and Foster&rsquo;s report detailed Masso&rsquo;s accidental shooting of his own foot but otherwise repeated Masso&rsquo;s account of the shooting and did not mention Blueford&rsquo;s alleged statement.</p> <p>Whitman also said Foster and Mifsud didn&rsquo;t appear to question some of the police department&rsquo;s actions. Although investigators found one of Blueford&rsquo;s fingerprints on the gun, Whitman noted that at least two officers handled the gun before it was secured.</p> <p>By the time it was photographed, the magazine already had been removed, &ldquo;possibly contaminating DNA and biological evidence,&rdquo; he wrote. In addition, per department policy, Masso had never turned on his lapel camera. Whitman said the camera footage might have captured the entire incident.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you have nothing else, you want to fight for your kid,&rdquo; said Blueford&rsquo;s father, Adam Blueford. &ldquo;My son was on the ground screaming, pleading for his life.&rdquo;</p> <p>O&rsquo;Malley declined to comment on the report.</p> <p>Others said they would not be so quick to dismiss the activists&rsquo; concerns.</p> <p>&ldquo;From a public point of view, (using former officers) might not be the best course of action,&rdquo; said Tony Monheim, a retired Miami-Dade police officer who now leads training on officer-involved shooting investigations.</p> <p>&ldquo;The public has its own perception of what is going on,&rdquo; Monheim said. &ldquo;Maybe it&rsquo;s a better thing to try to ease the tension a little bit and not have someone investigate themselves.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>This story was edited by Robert Salladay and copy edited by Nikki Frick and Christine Lee.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> From <a href="http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Ex-Officers-Often-Investigate-Police-Involved-Shootings-202416701.html" target="_blank">NBC Bay Area</a>:<br /> <embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="v=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcbayarea.com%2Fi%2Fembed_new%2F%3Fcid%3D202442521%26path=%2F%2Fnews%2Flocal" height="324" src="http://media.nbcbayarea.com/assets/pdk449/pdk/swf/flvPlayer.swf?pid=ULqjUBNcfTZK" width="576"></embed></p> <p style="font-size:small">View more videos at: <a href="http://nbcbayarea.com/?__source=embedCode">http://nbcbayarea.com</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Oakland Oakland Police Department police police shootings Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:05:04 +0000 Shoshana Walter 18852 at http://californiawatch.org Find out who investigates police-involved shootings in your area http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/find-out-who-investigates-police-involved-shootings-your-area-18853 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-credits"><div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/shoshana-walter" title="View user profile." class="fn">Shoshana Walter</a></span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>For the public, how prosecutors respond to police shootings can prompt just as much distrust of government as the shooting itself. That&rsquo;s especially true when ex-police officers are hired to investigate shootings in their former departments, a common practice in California.</p> <p>In today&rsquo;s story, the Center for Investigative Reporting focused on the practices of a few California district attorney&rsquo;s offices, but it&rsquo;s easy to replicate the story in your town, city or county.</p> <p>Start by asking basic questions about officer-involved shootings:</p> <ul> <li>When a police officer shoots and kills someone, how does the agency respond?</li> <li>Who at your district attorney&rsquo;s office investigates?</li> </ul> <p>Across the country, protocol varies county to county. If your prosecutor&rsquo;s office conducts an investigation, chances are high that it employs investigators from nearby law enforcement agencies.</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>Because this is a common practice, your prosecutor should be able to tell you whether the office&rsquo;s investigators were formerly employed by law enforcement agencies. If not, you can find out by requesting certain documents and public information using the <a href="http://californiawatch.org/resource/general-assignment/public-recordslegal-resources">California Public Records Act</a>.</p> <p>Some prosecutors compile and release reports on officer-involved shootings. In Alameda County, for example, these reports contain the names of the investigators assigned to each case. Ask for their employment histories or confirm their previous employment with the law enforcement agency or the state. Other documents, such as agency newsletters, may contain announcements about new hires that reveal an investigator&rsquo;s employment history.</p> <p>If your prosecutor does not release reports on officer-involved shooting investigations, ask your prosecutor for a list of those who are assigned to investigate officer-involved shootings.</p> <p>Some prosecutors, such as in Alameda or San Francisco, may not be willing to disclose an investigator&rsquo;s specific assignment. In this case, you can ask for a general list of investigators and check their employment histories. The likelihood that they are all former law enforcement is high.</p> <p>Finally, this is a common practice nationwide. Many prosecutors do not believe there is a conflict of interest in assigning former officers to investigate police shootings at their former departments. Ask your prosecutor whether this is the case in your county.</p> <p>Here is <a href="http://californiawatch.org/resource/general-assignment/public-recordslegal-resources">how to file a public records request</a>, as well as a primer on the law and your rights as a citizen, and a <a href="http://www.cdaa.org/district-attorney-roster">list of every district attorney in California</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Oakland Oakland Police Department police police shootings Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:05:03 +0000 Shoshana Walter 18853 at http://californiawatch.org Map: Where have Oakland police officer-involved shootings occurred? http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/map-where-have-oakland-police-officer-involved-shootings-occurred-18854 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-credits"><div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/cole-goins" title="View user profile." class="fn">Cole Goins</a></span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><strong>UPDATE, April 11, 2013:</strong> This map updates to include address information for a January 2001 shooting.</span></em></p> <p>Between 2000 and 2012, officers in the Oakland Police Department discharged their weapons in at least 103 separate incidents, shooting at least 67 suspects, according to department data.</p> <p>Using information from the police department, we created a map of each police-involved shooting, fatal and nonfatal, which you can view below. Included in each data point are the time of the shooting, the name of the officer or officers involved, and the name of the person shot (if anyone).</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>This data is the result of a public records request by the Center for Investigative Reporting for all Oakland police officer-involved shooting incidents since 2000. The department provided three versions of the data, some of which were missing information. Two spreadsheets omitted data before 2003 and lacked details on at least 23 shooting incidents since that year through 2012. A third version provided by the department omitted the 2008 officer-involved shooting death of Leslie Allen. The Center for Investigative Reporting entered address information on Allen&#39;s case based on the district attorney&rsquo;s report, but CIR has not independently verified the accuracy of the remaining department records.</p> <p>As reporter Shoshana Walter reveals <a href="https://www.baycitizen.org/news/policing/ex-officers-often-investigate-police-involved-shoo/">in a review of police prosecution records</a>, prosecutors often use former police officers to conduct investigations of officer-involved shootings at their previous departments. Out of 23 cases that Alameda County prosecutors proved justified and closed since 2000, 10 were investigated by former Oakland police officers, the records show.</p> <p>Use the map to toggle between different years and see information on each shooting. Six shootings did not include location data from the Oakland Police Department<strong>,</strong> so information on those incidents is listed below the map. Also listed are shootings that involved Oakland officers outside city limits.</p> <p>All data in the map was provided by the Oakland Police Department unless otherwise noted. If you see any errors, please email me at <a href="&#109;&#97;&#105;&#108;&#116;&#111;&#58;&#99;&#103;&#111;&#105;&#110;&#115;&#64;&#99;&#105;&#114;&#111;&#110;&#108;&#105;&#110;&#101;&#46;&#111;&#114;&#103;">&#99;&#103;&#111;&#105;&#110;&#115;&#64;&#99;&#105;&#114;&#111;&#110;&#108;&#105;&#110;&#101;&#46;&#111;&#114;&#103;</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="550" src="http://batchgeo.com/map/44dfd3332af6ad0729c5b15d35ccdcc9" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><small>View <a href="http://batchgeo.com/map/44dfd3332af6ad0729c5b15d35ccdcc9">Mapping Oakland&#39;s police-involved shootings</a> in a full screen map</small></p> <p><em>* Officer-involved shooting information provided by the Oakland Police Department. In some cases, the Center for Investigative Reporting consulted news reports and police records to complete missing fields of information.</em></p> <h6>Shootings without address information</h6> <p><strong>July 4, 2000 &ndash; 7:49 p.m.</strong></p> <p>Name of person shot: Esters, Maurice</p> <p>Name of officer(s): M. Yoell, A. Centeno</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Jan. 16, 2002 &ndash; 7:27 p.m. </strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Subject not shot</p> <p>Name of officer(s): M. Hackenberg</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Dec. 4, 2003 &ndash; 3:55 p.m.</strong></p> <p>Subject not shot</p> <p>Name of officer(s): R. Gill</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 1em; padding-left: 0px;"><strong>April 23, 2004 &ndash; 10:05 p.m</strong><strong>.</strong></p> <p>Subject not shot</p> <p>Name of officer(s): M. Healy</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 1em; padding-left: 0px;"><strong>June 20, 2007 &ndash; 11:10 p.m.</strong></p> <p>Subject not shot</p> <p>Name of officer(s): W. Pappas</p> <h6>Shootings outside Oakland</h6> <p><strong>July 25, 2003 &ndash; 11:37 a.m., 2232 Haste St., Berkeley</strong></p> <p>Name of person shot:&nbsp;Glennel Givens&nbsp;Jr.</p> <p>Name of officer(s): Information not provided</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Jan. 17, 2004 &ndash;&nbsp;11:00 a.m., 1221 Tara Hills Drive</strong><strong>, Pinole </strong></p> <p>Subject not shot</p> <p>Name of officer(s): J. Albert</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>June 5, 2004 &ndash; 3:14 a.m., Sacramento</strong></p> <p>Name of person shot: Hernton, Cassius</p> <p>Name of officer(s): O. Crum, R. Holmgren, A. Alcantar</p> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Oakland Oakland Police Department police police shootings Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:05:03 +0000 Cole Goins 18854 at http://californiawatch.org Broken Shield series wins two IRE awards http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/broken-shield-series-wins-two-ire-awards-18851 <p class="image-insert" style="width: 300px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/IRE-award.png" title="" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Investigative Reporters and Editors</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> </span></p> <p>The Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s California Watch today scored two top national awards from <a href="http://ire.org/awards/ire-awards/winners/2012-ire-award-winners/" target="_blank">Investigative Reporters and Editors</a> for a series that exposed shoddy practices by an internal police force patrolling California&rsquo;s developmental centers for the disabled.</p> <p>The series, <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>, won the IRE Award for best multiplatform investigative reporting in the medium-size category. The series also won the Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism &ndash; the only IRE award that comes with a significant cash prize. The Gannett Award is open to news organizations of any size.</p> <p>It was the second consecutive year that California Watch has won the Gannett Award, making it the first news organization to have won the award twice.</p> <p>The series is noteworthy because CIR and California Watch produced it for newspapers, broadcast TV stations, public radio stations and an online audience. California Watch also held public forums and distributed postcards summarizing the story to residents near some of the state&rsquo;s developmental centers.</p> <p>&ldquo;This day is doubly sweet for us,&rdquo; said CIR Editorial Director Mark Katches. &ldquo;Winning these two awards from IRE means a lot to our newsroom because we are being honored by our peers for work in text, video, multimedia and radio, in addition to being honored for our innovative approach to storytelling.&rdquo;</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>Broken Shield already has won a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812" target="_blank">George Polk Award</a> for state reporting and an <a href="http://journalists.org/2012/09/24/2012-online-journalism-award-winners-announced/" target="_blank">Online Journalism Award</a> from the Online News Association for investigative journalism. Reporter Ryan Gabrielson, who wrote the series, also won the <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/gabrielson-wins-top-honor-police-reporting-18829" target="_blank">Al Nakkula Award</a>, which recognizes the top police reporting in the country.</p> <p>It will be a whirlwind week for Gabrielson, who will be in New York to accept the Polk Award on Thursday. He will then fly to Colorado to pick up the Nakkula Award on Friday. And later this week, he will be a featured speaker at the 7th annual Reva &amp; David Logan Investigative Reporting Symposium at UC Berkeley. The IRE awards will be presented at a banquet in San Antonio in June, coinciding with the organization&rsquo;s annual training conference.</p> <p>Broken Shield was an 18-month investigation that uncovered systemic failures at the Office of Protective Services and prompted a criminal investigation, two new laws, staff retraining, policy changes and a management shake-up.</p> <p>A third bill was introduced when the state Legislature returned to work earlier this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;The series has had a tremendous impact, in no small part because we distributed the stories on all platforms, helping us to reach a larger audience,&rdquo; said CIR Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal.</p> <p>Broken Shield detailed widespread abuses inside the state&rsquo;s five developmental centers. Gabrielson found that the police force charged with protecting some of the state&rsquo;s most vulnerable wards almost never gets to the bottom of the abuses. Officers and investigators routinely wait too long to start investigations and fail to collect evidence.</p> <p>Gabrielson found that <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">36 documented rapes had occurred</a> at these state facilities in recent years, but the Office of Protective Services didn&rsquo;t order a single &ldquo;rape kit&rdquo; examination &ndash; a standard law enforcement investigatory tool.</p> <p>Last year, California Watch also won two IRE awards, including an IRE Medal and the Gannett Award, for its <a href="http://californiawatch.org//earthquakes" target="_blank">On Shaky Ground</a> series.</p> <p>Besides the Gannett Award, no IRE award category comes with more than a $500 cash prize. Most of the award categories have no cash prizes.</p> <p>The Center for Investigative Reporting plans to use the $5,000 cash prize for the Gannett Award to help send staffers to the annual IRE conference for training.</p> <p>In addition to Gabrielson, contributors to the Broken Shield series who are named on the award are: Agustin Armendariz, Monica Lam, Michael Montgomery, Carrie Ching, Joanna Lin, Emily Hartley, Marie McIntosh, Nikki Frick, Christine Lee, Meghann Farnsworth, Cole Goins, Mia Zuckerkandel, La Toya Tooles, Robert Salladay, Mark Katches, Lauren Rabaino, Marina Luz and Brian Cragin.</p> <p>In addition to the two awards for Broken Shield, <a href="http://baycitizen.org" target="_blank">The Bay Citizen</a>, California Watch&#39;s sister site, was named a finalist in the multiplatform category for small news organizations for detailing the plight of <a href="http://cironline.org/projects/returning-home-battle" target="_blank">veterans who face long waits for disability benefits</a>. The series was written and reported by Aaron Glantz. It was edited by Amy Pyle and Peter Lewis. Other staffers and contributors named on the award are Shane Shifflett, David Suriano, Brian Cragin and Lonny Shavelson.</p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:17:34 +0000 California Watch 18851 at http://californiawatch.org Gabrielson wins top honor for police reporting http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/gabrielson-wins-top-honor-police-reporting-18829 <p>Reporter Ryan Gabrielson has won a national award for excellence in police reporting for exposing the shoddy practices of an internal police force patrolling California&rsquo;s developmental centers for the disabled.</p> <p>Gabrielson, who covers law and order for California Watch and its parent organization, the <a href="http://www.cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>, won the 2013 Al Nakkula Award, named after a former Rocky Mountain (Colo.) News police reporter known for his dogged journalism. The award is presented by the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Denver Press Club.</p> <p>Gabrielson won for his series <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>, an 18-month investigation that uncovered systemic failures at the Office of Protective Services and prompted a criminal investigation, two new laws, staff retraining, policy changes and a management shake-up. A third bill was introduced last month.</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>He detailed widespread abuses inside the state&rsquo;s five developmental centers. He also found that the police force charged with protecting some of the state&rsquo;s most vulnerable wards almost never gets to the bottom of the abuses. Officers and investigators routinely wait too long to start investigations and fail to collect evidence. Gabrielson found that 36 documented rapes had occurred at these state facilities in recent years, but the Office of Protective Services didn&rsquo;t order a single &ldquo;rape kit&rdquo; examination &ndash; a standard law enforcement investigatory tool.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a tremendous recognition of Ryan&rsquo;s outstanding work,&rdquo; said Mark Katches, the Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s editorial director. &ldquo;The Nakkula award honors the very best reporting in the nation focused on law enforcement.&rdquo;</p> <p>Broken Shield has already been honored this year with the <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812" target="_blank">2013 George Polk Award</a> for state reporting. The first three installments of the eventual five-part series also won an Online News Association award for best investigative reporting in September.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This project had excellent reporting, clear and emotional writing and a definite positive impact,&rdquo; on public policy, said contest judge Sandy Graham.</p> <p>Added judge Kevin Flynn: &ldquo;It was an exhaustive and thorough investigation.&rdquo;</p> <p>Until now, the award has been given only to a newspaper reporter.</p> <p>Online investigative organizations like the Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s California Watch &ldquo;are a very important trend as traditional newspapers cut back on staff&rdquo; and seek collaborators, contest judge Tustin Amole noted.</p> <p>Graham, Amole and Flynn are all former colleagues of Nakkula.</p> <p>Gabrielson will receive a $2,000 prize. Second place in the contest went to Peter Dujardin, a reporter at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., for his series &ldquo;Selling Smoke,&rdquo; about a 19-month, $4 million police sting that failed to generate a single arrest.</p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:05:37 +0000 California Watch 18829 at http://californiawatch.org New director to take over troubled Sonoma disability center http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/new-director-take-over-troubled-sonoma-disability-center-18827 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/amy-julia-harris" title="View user profile." class="fn">Amy Julia Harris</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/sonoma_253mk-350px.jpg" title="Giant palm trees stand at the main gate of the Sonoma Developmental Center, which houses about 500 patients." /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Mike Kepka/San Francisco Chronicle</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Giant palm trees stand at the main gate of the Sonoma Developmental Center, which houses about 500 patients.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>A former employee of the Sonoma Developmental Center has been tapped to head California&rsquo;s largest full-time care facility for the severely disabled, at a time when the institution is struggling to reinvent itself in the wake of patient abuse scandals.</p> <p>The Department of Developmental Services announced Wednesday that Karen Faria, who worked at the Sonoma Developmental Center from 1985 to 2005, will become the embattled facility&#39;s latest executive director starting April 1.</p> <p>The appointment comes in the wake of a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">California Watch series</a>&nbsp;that uncovered serious allegations of patient abuse at the Sonoma Developmental Center. The reported abuses included cases of rape and molestation as well as allegations that a state worker used a Taser to inflict burns on a dozen patients.</p> <p>The California Watch investigation exposed these cases and focused on failures of an internal police force to get to the bottom of the abuses. One-third of the 36 alleged rapes occurred at the Sonoma board-and-care center &ndash; one of five such facilities in California that house about 1,600 patients with severe disabilities.</p> <p>But the state Office of Protective Services, a unique internal police force set up exclusively to protect residents of these state centers, routinely mishandled cases &ndash; waiting too long to interview witnesses or suspects and failing to collect evidence. In the alleged sex assaults reported at these state facilities, the police force never ordered a &ldquo;rape kit,&rdquo; a standard law enforcement investigatory tool. After a state worker was accused of using a stun gun to inflict burns on a dozen severely autistic male patients, the police force waited at least nine days to interview the suspect, who was never charged with a crime.</p> <p>The series sparked new polices, a complete retraining of the police force, leadership changes and a criminal investigation by the Sonoma County district attorney&rsquo;s office into the stun gun abuses.</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>The series also led to two new laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown designed to bring greater protections to the severely disabled living in these state centers. A third bill, introduced last month, would mandate that rape kit examinations be conducted if a patient at any state-operated institution accuses an employee of sexual assault.</p> <p>SB 651 written by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would require the exam be performed &ldquo;at an appropriate facility off the grounds of the developmental center or state hospital.&quot;</p> <p>In addition,&nbsp;the state revoked the Sonoma facility&#39;s primary license to operate, threatening a loss of millions of dollars in federal support.&nbsp;</p> <p>Faria&#39;s appointment is the latest move to make changes at the center.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am thrilled that Ms. Faria is returning to lead Sonoma Developmental Center and continue implementation of necessary reforms at the facility,&rdquo; said California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley.</p> <p>But some are already expressing concern about the appointment. Former employees of the Sonoma center say that Faria was&nbsp;part of the administrative old guard that knew of patient abuse and tried to suppress investigations into wrongdoing at the center. One former doctor at the facility was particularly critical of the appointment.</p> <p>&quot;Her appointment is an amazing bit of duplicity,&rdquo; said Dr. Van Peña, a physician at the Sonoma Developmental Center from 1990 to 2000. &ldquo;She is totally party line, so I don&rsquo;t know how she&rsquo;s going to right the ship.&rdquo;</p> <p>Faria could not be reached for comment today.</p> <p>Faria began at the Sonoma center as a recreation therapist in 1985 and rose through the ranks as the clients&rsquo; rights advocate, quality assurance program director and clinical director from 2000 to 2005.</p> <p>Peña said Faria&rsquo;s success at the center came from keeping her head down and not questioning authority, even when patient safety was on the line.</p> <p>&ldquo;She is not an independent thinker,&rdquo; Peña said. &ldquo;If someone above her told her to do this or that, she would do it. That&rsquo;s why that place had such abysmal care &ndash; because those instructions didn&rsquo;t help patients, they helped people keep their jobs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Peña is suing the Department of Developmental Services, alleging officials at the Sonoma center fired him for reporting suspicious injuries to outside regulators and to law enforcement. The state denies the claim and has fought the doctor&#39;s lawsuit for a decade. It is scheduled to go to trial in federal court later this year.</p> <p>Nancy Lungren, a spokeswoman for the Department of Developmental Services, which oversees the state&#39;s five developmental centers, said Faria&#39;s background was carefully reviewed before the selection was made.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;These background checks indicated Ms. Faria would be a strong leader committed to client protection,&quot; Lungren said.</p> <p>The Sonoma center is appealing the loss of its license with state public health officials. In January, the Department of Developmental Services agreed to forfeit more than $1 million a month in federal funding for failing to protect severely disabled patients from abuse at some of the center&rsquo;s housing units. The federal funds cover as much as half of the treatment costs for patients who qualify for the federal program.</p> <p>The state has taken what it calls &ldquo;aggressive actions&rdquo; to correct problems at Sonoma, including having the California Highway Patrol oversee the law enforcement, establishing an independent on-site monitor and enhancing staff training. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;With her extensive experience, Ms. Faria will be able to provide the strong leadership needed to improve services and ensure that residents are living in a healthy and safe environment,&rdquo; said Terri Delgadillo, the department&#39;s director.</p> <p>Faria assumes her new position April 1 with an annual salary of $108,564, according to the Department of Developmental Services.</p> <p>But Peña doubted Faria could now protect patients.</p> <p>&ldquo;Unless she was locked in a closet with bricks all those years, the physicians and nurses would have seen incident reports of patient neglect and abuse,&rdquo; said Peña. &ldquo;She would have known about the incident reports.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-explore"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dailyreport/sonoma-disability-center-staff-weighs-abuse-claims-18799">Sonoma disability center staff weighs in on abuse claims</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dailyreport/developmental-centers-police-need-immediate-fixes-state-officials-say-15297">Developmental centers&#039; police need immediate fixes, state officials say</a> </div> </div> </div> Health and Welfare Public Safety Daily Report Department of Developmental Services developmentally disabled patient abuse Sonoma Developmental Center Broken Shield Fri, 08 Mar 2013 01:38:16 +0000 Amy Julia Harris 18827 at http://californiawatch.org CIR’s California Watch wins Polk award for second straight year http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/mark-katches" title="View user profile." class="fn">Mark Katches</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are proud to write today that the <a href="http://www.cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>&rsquo;s California Watch has won the George Polk Award for our series exposing flaws in the way a special state police force handles crimes against the developmentally disabled.</p> <p>It is the second consecutive year that California Watch has won the <a href="http://www.liu.edu/polk" target="_blank">prestigious George Polk Award</a>. This year, we are being honored in the category of state reporting for Ryan Gabrielson&rsquo;s extraordinary series &ldquo;<a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>.&rdquo;</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>The series has prompted far-reaching change, including a criminal investigation, staff retraining and new laws &ndash; all intended to bring greater safeguards and accountability.</p> <p>Gabrielson was one of 14 Polk award winners announced today by Long Island University, which administers the prizes. University officials said more than 700 stories were submitted to the judges. Other winners include The New York Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bloomberg News, CBS News, The Washington Post and Mother Jones.</p> <p>The Polk award is named after a CBS newsman murdered while covering the Greek Civil War in 1948.</p> <p>Gabrielson&rsquo;s 18-month investigation about the Office of Protective Services snowballed over the course of 2012 &ndash; resulting in five major installments from February to November. The police force was set up specifically to protect the developmentally disabled living in the state&rsquo;s five remaining board-and-care centers. But Gabrielson found that the department&rsquo;s officers and detectives often failed to secure crime scenes and routinely delayed interviews with key witnesses and suspects &ndash; leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes.</p> <p>Gabrielson detailed that <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">dozens of women were sexually assaulted</a> inside state centers, but police investigators didn&rsquo;t order&nbsp;&ldquo;rape kits&rdquo;&nbsp;to collect evidence, a standard law enforcement tool. Police waited so long to investigate one sexual assault that the staff janitor accused of rape fled the country. The police force&rsquo;s inaction also allowed abusive caregivers to continue molesting patients &ndash; even after the department had evidence that could have stopped future assaults.</p> <p>In one egregious physical abuse case, a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/questions-surround-handling-taser-assaults-disabled-patients-17345" target="_blank">caregiver was suspected of using a Taser</a> to inflict burns on a dozen patients. Yet the internal police force waited at least nine days to interview the caregiver, who was never arrested or charged with abuse. The vast majority of the Taser victims are so disabled they cannot utter a word.</p> <p>Gabrielson gave them a resounding voice.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is the type of reporting that ends up actually saving lives,&rdquo; wrote Patricia L. McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, in thanking Gabrielson and California Watch.</p> <p>The winners of the Polk award will be honored at a luncheon in New York in April.</p> <p>Gabrielson was the reporter for the series. Several staffers in the newsroom contributed to the project &ndash; most notably Agustin Armendariz, who provided data analysis; Carrie Ching, who produced two <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/video-jennifers-room-18695" target="_blank">videos</a> for the series; Monica Lam, who produced a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/unexplained-deaths-behind-closed-doors-14987" target="_blank">broadcast video</a> distributed to TV partners; and Robert Salladay, who edited the project.</p> <p>Last year, California Watch won a George Polk Award for uncovering a pattern inside a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/prime" target="_blank">fast-growing hospital chain</a> that had repeatedly billed Medicare for rare ailments that generate lucrative bonus payments to the chain.</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-explore"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dailyreport/california-watch-decoding-prime-series-honored-polk-award-14956">California Watch &#039;Decoding Prime&#039; series honored with Polk award</a> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Newsroom Department of Developmental Services developmentally disabled Office of Protective Services patient abuse Broken Shield Mon, 18 Feb 2013 08:05:02 +0000 Mark Katches 18812 at http://californiawatch.org