After Gonzalez’ ban, which he said came June 9, the department now follows all eight recommendations of the “Eight Can’t Wait” campaign that gained momentum since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, he said.
There are caveats, though. For instance, the group wants police to guarantee they will give a warning before shooting, but the Riverside Police Department only requires it in most cases.
“I would never want our officers to give warning on someone who’s shooting on a school,” Gonzalez said.
Advocates say the eight reforms are correlated with with a 72% reduction in police violence, although skeptics say other factors could be responsible for much of that correlation.
Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback said in early June — when several other departments banned the hold — that department policy allowed it only “to control a subject that is violent, physically resisting or appears to have the potential to harm self or others.”
In the years since Riverside police killed Tyisha Miller in 1998, a stipulated judgment required changes including more supervisors, audio recordings and increased training.
Training has continued to be a focus, Gonzalez said.
The department strives to match the racial characteristics of the city but is short of that goal, he said.
The 384-officer sworn force is 59.6% white and 29.4% Latino, while 30.3% of residents are white and 53.3% of residents are Latino, according to the department. The department is 6.5% Black, compared to 5.7% of residents, according to the data.
ACLU attorney Eva Bitran called into the meeting to recommend shifting police resources from public safety toward housing, healthcare and unarmed first responders, and increase community involvement in the budget process,“This difficult moment calls for a bold reimagining of public safety,” she said.
The progress is good to see, but it’s not the end, said Deborah Wong, co-chair of the Riverside Coalition for Police Accountability.
“Police reform never ends,” Wong said. “We’re glad the RPD has made the changes it has over the last 20 years but we agree that more changes are needed.