In June, it was reported that then Davis Police Chief Jim Hyde used public resources to launch a campaign against the Davis Human Relations Commission and specifically its chairperson, Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald.
A public records request reveals that Hyde enlisted Lt. Dorothy Pearson to recruit supporters for police department who would attack the HRC and its chairperson.
In early January in an e-mail exchange between Hyde and Lt. Dorothy Pearson:
Chief Jim Hyde: “FYI, calling in my cards. Are any of the military supporters willing to speak at public comment time … on the 17th at city council in support of the police department? HRC is pushing for there (sic) own police review commission.”
Lt. Dorothy Pearson: “I am already circling the wagons! I am trying to get as many people as possible to attend and possibly speak.”
On Jan. 12, Lt. Dorothy Pearson thanks James Hechtl. “The Chief called me last night after the meeting. He was singing the Military Family’s praises. … I can’t thank you enough for your help. I also sent Bob Glynn a thank you e-mail and told him that you would keep the group posted on upcoming strategies.”
Hechtl responds, “What kind of availability do you and the Chief have this afternoon (Thur). I want to meet with both of you with (sic) and discuss some strategy.”
Hechtl and Glynn proceed to write numerous letters attacking Escamilla Greenwald.
James Hechtl writes, “Ms. Greenwald and Ms. Garcia apply their racist views to every possible issue that confronts them. They look at the world through their prism of hate. … The mere fact that they support numerous frivolous and hate-based lawsuits against the city should be enough to invite them and the rest of the Human Relations Commission to practice their trade in a more appropriate city. I recommend Johannesburg, South Africa.”
(Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia is a Davis resident, parent, pediatrician and president of BECA (a Davis civil rights group) who worked with the commission on researching and drafting a report on racial profiling and recommending a proposed civilian police oversight review commission. )
Bob Glynn writes on May 5, “Davis must rid itself of this antiquated, racist commission and its bully chairperson, Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald.”
What particularly catches my eye however is a letter to the editor from James Pearson dated February 22, 2006, who is the husband of Dorothy Pearson.
It is revealing because it gives us insight into their views about citizen complaints about the police department.
“I have yet to read an account of police misconduct that didn’t fall into one of these categories: 1) uncorroborated anecdote, 2) a self-interested attack by a plaintiff suing Davis or 3) Aacalculated (sic) step by a would-be politician (who says she is not running for office).”
Let us put this into context. Dorothy Pearson is now in charge of investigating complaints against the Davis police officers. Her husband in February expresses an extremely negative view of those who complain about the police. The last statement is a thinly veiled attack against Escamilla Greenwald despite the fact that she has never run for political office.
It is extremely disturbing that the husband of the officer in charge of internal affairs would express such a view. It seems highly unlikely that this letter went out without his wife’s tacit approval.
It seems to me that the officer in charge of such an investigative unit should have at least the pretense of impartiality.
A description of the ombudsman puts the primary investigative power into the hands of the internal affairs department:
“We must be clear that the police ombudsman provides a complementary level of oversight to police actions; the position does not replace them. The police ombudsman is not meant to circumvent the Police Department. The position does not normally do investigations in lieu of the police doing them.”
In this case, the person doing the investigations seems to have a rather low opinion of the motivations of those who make complaints against the department.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting