City Manager is months behind on reviewing Police allegations
The Long Beach Citizen Complaint Commission (CPCC) will meet by telecast this week* for the first time since the civil unrest over George Floyd’s death at the hands of police. It is also the first meeting since the CPCC was thrust into the local limelight by CPCC Commissioner Porter Gilberg’s very publicly statement last week accusing the Commission of being a “farce”. Gilberg made his accusation addressing a LB Black Lives Matter protest on June 5, 2020.
The Thursday, June 11th CPCC Agenda includes a discussion on CPCC reforms. Agenda Item 4 states:
Recommendation to receive and file a discussion on Commissioners requests for CPCC reform. Suggested Action: Approve recommendation.
*(To participate in the CPCC June 11 live meeting or to make an E-Comment see the information at the end of this post).
The CPCC meeting will come two days after the June 9, 2020 City Council Meeting where the Council voted to direct City Manager Tom Modica to return with a report on the CPCC to work toward reforms.
The City Manager CPCC reports on Police allegations are months behind
The June 11th CPCC agenda includes the first City Manager Report in months from City Manager Tom Modica on his final decisions on forwarded Commission Sustained Allegations.
Currently, four months of Commission Case Allegations have not been decided. Those cases involve dozens of LBPD officers. The numerous Allegations in those cases include multiple questions of Use of Force, Racial Bias, Racial Profiling, Sexual Misconduct, and a number of other misconduct allegations.
On the May 2020 CPCC Meeting Agenda item that gives Commissioners the opportunity to ask questions and comments, only Commissioner Gilberg had any questions or comments. Gilberg pressed the CPCC staff on two issues: the backlog of the City Manager Responses to Commission referrals; and an update on the standing of numerous questions and recommendations from the Commissioners to the City Manager.
CPCC Manager Patrick Weithers eventually answered that he expected all this year’s backlog cases to be brought forward at the June CPCC meeting. That answer, and the Weithers and the LBPD representatives convoluted answer on the status of the Commission questions and recommendations can be heard on the April CPCC meeting audio. You can access the exact remarks by clicking on the link below and selecting from the right side menu: REMARKS FROM THE COMMISSION AND CHAIR.
Audio Link: APRIL CPCC Audio
City Manager Tom Modica however only placed one of the current backlogged months on the June CPCC Agenda- January 2020.
In January 2020, the Commissioners forwarded 41 Allegations from 12 Commission cases to the City Manager. The 12 Allegation cases including: Racial Bias; Racial Profiling; and Sexual Misconduct (12 officers total accused of Sexual Misconduct). The Commission Sustained 5 of the 41 January Allegations and sent those five and the rest to the City Manager. In his returned report, City Manager Modica approved 2 of the 5 Commission Sustained (approved) Allegations and Not Sustained (rejected) 3 (60%).
CPCC Manager Weither told Gilberg at the May Commission meeting that the last City Manager Report returned was from December 2019. The City Manager Report for December 2019 was not with a CPCC Agenda. It was placed directly on the CPCC website as the March 2020 City Manager Report. The March Agenda does not reference that a new City Manager Report had been placed on the website.
The January Agenda does refer the Commission to the CPCC website for the January City Manager Reports . The website shows Modica returned 3 months of City Manger Reports at once: September 2019, October 2019, and November 2019. Modica’s January 2020 City Manager Report is included in the June Agenda.
Below are the four months of Commission Reviewed Allegations the City Manager has not returned. Those Allegations accuse dozens of LBPD officers of misconduct that the Commission has inspected and returned to Modica, but his office has not returned to the Commission. Each month below has a hyperlink that goes to the CPCC agenda for that month:
- February 2020: 12 Cases of Allegations
- March 2020: 13 Cases of Allegations
- April 2020:7 Cases of Allegations
- May 2020: 6 Cases of Allegations
The CPCC works directly under the City Manager’s Office. The CPCC falls under the City Manager information on the City of Long Beach website and includes this information about the purpose and power of the CPCC:
“The CPCC investigates allegations of police misconduct and reviews the service provided by members of the Long Beach Police Department…
The CPCC is neither an advocate for the complainant nor for the police personnel. Their findings can result in the accused personnel being disciplined, trained or exonerated. The Commission cannot, however, recommend discipline or penalty. While the Commission does not set policy, its findings have resulted in policies being changed or clarified to best serve the community.”
As the CPCC currently operates, the City Manager has all the power that most residents think lies in the actual 11 commissioners. The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and the City Council. The Mayor and all the members of the current City Council except Councilmember’s Jeannie Pearce and Daryl Supernaw were backed in their elections by the powerful Police Officers Association (POA) which not only provides Law and Order photo ops for candidates it supports and money ( often unlimited Super Pac style, but also often has off-duty police officers going door-to-door to support a candidate.
Most of the CPCC Commissioners say very little and question even less during meetings (as seen with the May 2020 CPCC comment opportunity passed on by all but Commissioner Gilberg) When the Commission does have a commissioner like Gilberg or former CPCC Richard Lindeman asking the tough questions, the staff tries to respond. In response to the continued questions on the City Managers power in the Allegation cases, the CPCC Staff prepared a short presentation that included this clarification of the City Managers powers it presented at the December 2019 meeting:
The CPCC’s authority is only to provide recommendations on findings
• Once recommended findings are made, what occurs at the City Manager level is confidential
• The City Manager’s binding decision is only legally provided to the complainant and the officer / department
• The Charter does not require that the CPCC be provided an explanation on final findings
• The City Manger cannot share compelled information as they relate to a decision on final findings
• The CPCC’s role ends after recommendations have been provided
• The above, coupled with legal constraints, makes it very difficult for the City Manager to fully explain all reasons behind their decision
A close examination of the CPCC process and the problems outlined by Gilberg in the 16 points list he presented at the June 5th BLM protest all goes back to the City Manager’s power over the actual CPCC process.
One problem Gilberg highlighted was that many of the Allegation Cases are not even seen by the CPCC. The City Manager through the now-defunct CPCC Executive Director position and replacement CPCC Manager can dismiss cases before the Commissioners even see them and know what they are about. Those cases are referred to as No Further Action (receive and file). The Commission is not allowed to know or question what those cases are. They are however required to vote to approve those cases being dismissed (Consent Agenda). Commissioner Gilberg has consistently voted to Abstain on the item to dismiss those Allegation Cases. He currently is the only one to do so.
This is the 2020 Data on the CPCC No Further Action (receive and file) cases, the City Manager Reports, and the types of Allegations that are in the cases. The hyperlinks go to the documents where the data was collected:
7 Allegation Cases; Including Use of Force
12 Allegation cases including Racial Bias; Racial Profiling (see below); Sexual Misconduct (12 officers total accused of Sexual Misconduct) See June for City Manager Tom Modica Decisions
Acting City Manager Tom Modica returned 3 months of rulings on the Commissions decisions to the CPCC made in September 2019, October 2019, November 2019;
69 Allegations from 12 Commission forwarded case complaints
- 12 Allegation cases including Use of Force; Bias Based Policing; Sexual Misconduct
41 Allegations from 13 Commission forwarded case complaints
- 13 Allegation cases included Use of Force allegations in multiple cases with multiple officers
41 Allegations from 12 Commission forwarded case complaints
- 12 Allegation cases include: Use of Force; Misappropriation of Property
Commission Sustained 2 Allegations/City Manager Sustained 0:
8 Allegations; Including 2 Allegations pertaining to Use of Force; 1 Improper Arrest
12 Allegations including Use of force ( 2 cases with several officers); Sexual Misconduct; Improper arrest; Bias Based Policing
Acting City Manager Tom Modica decisions
15 Allegations including: Use of Force; Misappropriation of Property; and misuse of Authority
The Agenda does not have any presented. The CPCC website link for a March 2020 City Manger Report links to the December City Manager Report.
66 Allegations from 6 Commission forwarded case complaints
- 6 Allegation cases include: Use of Force;
Commission Sustained 3 Allegations/City Manager Sustained 1:
(Meeting held April 9th, Modica selected City Manager April 14th)
7 Allegations including Use of Force; Bias Based Policing; Misappropriation of Property
6 Allegations including; Use of Force; Improper Detention; Bias Based Policing; Improper Arrest
Assistant City Manager Tom Modica decisions
E Comments received
No E comments received
5 Allegations including Dishonesty and Misuse of Power
14 Allegations including Use of Force (several officers) Improper Arrest; Dishonesty of Officer; Sexual Misconduct; Misappropriation of Property; Bias Based Policing
City Manager Tom Modica decisions
One E Comment received by former Police Commissioner Richard Lindeman:
As I was while a CPCC Commissioner, I spoke out about TRANSPARENCY. I hate to say that since July 2019, that there has been less transparency from the City Manager’s office than ever before. In the Eleven months of this board’s meetings there have been only TWO City Manager’s reports, one in September covering June 2019 and then October covering August 2019. At both meetings there were 8 Sustained recommendations by the commission which in both months, NONE were Sustained by Assistant Manager Jackson, with NO explanation and there has been repeated questioning since that time, with NO response. I am surprised and disheartened that neither of the Chair’s have raised much interest in this Problem. Just for clarity, on the agenda it has Manager’s Report, which really should read Director’s report, since there are NO MANAGER”S REPORTS. The CPCC is a Charter Commission and as such should be treated with respect. IF NOT, then it should be Disbanded as a total waste of time and energy!
Forwarded to Acting City Manager Tom Modica for a ruling
Unavailable until minutes of June 11th Meeting published with Closed Session update
City Manager Tom Modica decisions returned
January 2020 41 Allegations from 12 Commission case forwarded complaints
- 12 Allegation cases including Racial Bias; Racial Profiling (see below) ; Sexual Misconduct (12 officers total accused of Sexual Misconduct)
Commission Sustained 5 Allegations /City Manager Sustained 2= 2 sustained 3 (60%) Not Sustained
To Comment on the CPCC Agenda CLICK: CPCC E-Comment 6/11/20
CPCC Meeting Telecast will be Thursday, July 5:30 PM
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