An LA Times article on Monday disclosed that negotiations with two of the fired officers are pressing forward and that $2000 a month tax free for life has been offered to Wayne Stewart and Michael Alagna for their part in the shooting of Tyisha Miller.
The fact was not completely refuted by Mayor Ron Loveridge who said he could not comment on the negotiations. Loveridge said, " I can say negotiations are going on.
The Council is not looking to return the officers. The Arbitrator says they can return and be fired again after 6 months but it is a legal mystery how you can do that. The officers reportedly have rejected the pension offers because in order for them to accept the pension they must accept the label psychologically disabled.
Community members are outraged about the proposed settlement and Rev. Jerry Louder has called a meeting of the ministers to discuss the issue today.
It has been five years since that tragic shooting of Miller by four officers that allegedly made racial slurs before and after the shooting. She was shot twelve times in the back while in medical distress.
Col. Ralph Smith, said he thinks she was asphyxiating on the fumes from the older car that she was in. It was still running, the windows up and an inoperable gun lay in her lap relatives say to protect her from a transient who was bothering her.
Smith called the Justice Department (now under Ashcroft) a lie, when they reported recently that there was no evidence to prosecute them for criminal wrong doing.
"She (Justice Department official) was wrong not to prosecute them. But she left the door open. She did not say that the officers were not guilty and she didnt say the family could not file a civil suit," said Smith.
Bernell Butler said that the only people who were prosecuted were the people who protested. Butler, a Miller family member and protest leader, still faces jail time in what many consider the District Attorneys witchhunt on dissenter.
D.A. Grover Trask said he could not find any reason to prosecute the four officers even though he did not have a full investigation completed.
He never took in consideration the testimony of Rene Rodriguez who won his claim that the racism following the shooting was so bad he was afraid for his life. He was retired with a huge settlement for the mental stress that he suffered at the hands of the department.
He heard and reported on the racial slurs and the actions of the officers who reportedly gave hi fives, said they should be happy we shot her with black bullets and that they ruined the familys Kwanzaa as well as the department shaving their heads to show support for the four officers. (The other two officers, Paul Bugar and Daniel Hotard were probationary officers and are seeking other legal recourses).
According to Butler, "The protesters are the only ones who were prosecuted in this action. They think they can urinate on us and call it rain and well believe it. The Justice Department is the last check and balance and now they rule that policemen are above the law," he said.
Pastor Joe Simms of Faith Temple said, "they (the city) are rewarding them for the evil they did. It is a slap in the face to the community."
Pastor Jesse Wilson, Kansas Avenue 7th Day Adventist Church said the city is shortsighted. "I understand the complications of Workmens Comp but the bar is unreasonable for police officers. This will be a constant reminder for years that wounds will be open again.
In fact it assures the wounds will not heal," said Wilson.
Bill Howe, the founding chairman of the Police Oversight Commission that was established by the Attorney Generals Consent Decree and a former police chief in Corona and the University of California Riverside said, "They shouldnt be paid a penny. They used poor judgement."
As to the alternative in the Arbitrators ruling put them back to work for at least six months or pay them, Howe says if we could put them back inside with the guarantee that we could get rid of them, it would save the city a lot of money. "But we cannot afford to let them back on the street. They took a life how can they be the victim!" said Howe.
Larry Halstead, one of the Freeway 20 who were prosecuted for disrupting traffic to pray on the 91 Freeway, said his solution is to let them come back. Put them back on the streets and let the community where they committed the murder deal with them. Maybe thats what needs to happen," he said.
All the community people we spoke with were outraged about the proposed $2000 and the fact that nearly 5 years later the puss is breaking through the skin because it remains an active cancer.
"Initially I brought the pastors together to seek justice and keep peace," said Louder. "The city needs to move on and heal. The main way to do that is though justice. We will meet together and subsequently meet with the Mayor and Council on this matter," Louder declared.
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