Thursday briefs

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Officer Pheng Ly’s Survival is the Rule not the Exception

Bob Dunning in yesterday’s column, unwittingly raises a very key issue when he comes forth with his top 10 list:

“Here then are the Top 10 stories you will not read about on Sunday morning.

1) Pheng Ly does not leave Davis. Despite having abuse heaped upon him right and left, Officer Ly reports for work every day and does the job he was hired to do. Lesser men would have left long ago.”

Dunning describes this as though it were an unusual occurrence–a badge of honor if you will. In fact, if we look at the record of those accused and found guilty of police misconduct, it is filled with names who were not fired, were not driven out of the town on a rail, but rather a list of people who were promoted and awarded. As noted civil rights attorney John Burris, who specializes in police misconduct cases, points out in his book, Blue vs. Black, judgments and complaints are often never placed in an officer’s service record and these officers remain in the police department often despite long lists of complaints and court judgments. They are then promoted into leadership positions where the problem not only continues but it is perpetuated.

While the Buzayan case is itself still being adjudicated and the officer’s involved are presumed innocent, it is nevertheless interesting to note that three of the key actors in this case from the Davis Police Department all still have jobs, two of them have transferred to other departments with promotions, and one was named Officer of the Year in Davis.

Gina Anderson is now Lt. Gina Anderson of the Citrus Heights Police Department, she was given the transfer and promotion a few months ago despite being implicated for abuse of the internal investigation unit’s power by threatening Halema Buzayan on tape with her mother’s incarceration if she did not confess. In June, Police Chief Jim Hyde, himself strongly implicated in the event accepted a higher paying job with the City of Antioch. Finally, Pheng Ly while not promoted to our knowledge has received an Officer of the Year award in March as well an apology from the Mayor.

While we accept the notion of innocent until proven guilty, it seems untoward to give promotions to officer’s under legal scrutiny and it seems even more untoward to promote officers who have long histories of complaints and malfeasance. Nevertheless, this is the way the police world works and Officer Ly’s example is the rule and not the exception as Dunning would indicate.

Benefit for the Children of Myanmar on January 13, 2007

Max Harrington invites members of the Davis Community to the Palm Court Hotel on Saturday, January 13, 2007 from 6 – 8:30 PM for a win and dessert reception. Proceeds will go directly to help 185 children of the Myo Oo Orphanage in Myanmar.

Contact MCF USA Assistant Director Rita Montes-Martin at (530) 759-8434 or email her at:
rita@myanmarchildrensfoundation.org

For more information: http://www.myanmarchildrensfoundation.org

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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16 thoughts on “Thursday briefs”

  1. Anonymous

    Davis needs a better process for selecting “Officer of the Year”. Qualities like honesty and thoughtful investigation should be added to whatever is the current equation. SAH

  2. Anonymous

    Davis needs a better process for selecting “Officer of the Year”. Qualities like honesty and thoughtful investigation should be added to whatever is the current equation. SAH

  3. Anonymous

    Davis needs a better process for selecting “Officer of the Year”. Qualities like honesty and thoughtful investigation should be added to whatever is the current equation. SAH

  4. Anonymous

    Davis needs a better process for selecting “Officer of the Year”. Qualities like honesty and thoughtful investigation should be added to whatever is the current equation. SAH

  5. Richard

    Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding about the criteria for “Officer of the Year” in Davis. I wonder if it primarily serves the purpose of honoring those officers who maintain the city’s reputation for being inhospitable to people of color.

    If so, the selection of Pheng Ly is quite understandable, as is Dunning’s public support of him.

    –Richard Estes

  6. Richard

    Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding about the criteria for “Officer of the Year” in Davis. I wonder if it primarily serves the purpose of honoring those officers who maintain the city’s reputation for being inhospitable to people of color.

    If so, the selection of Pheng Ly is quite understandable, as is Dunning’s public support of him.

    –Richard Estes

  7. Richard

    Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding about the criteria for “Officer of the Year” in Davis. I wonder if it primarily serves the purpose of honoring those officers who maintain the city’s reputation for being inhospitable to people of color.

    If so, the selection of Pheng Ly is quite understandable, as is Dunning’s public support of him.

    –Richard Estes

  8. Richard

    Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding about the criteria for “Officer of the Year” in Davis. I wonder if it primarily serves the purpose of honoring those officers who maintain the city’s reputation for being inhospitable to people of color.

    If so, the selection of Pheng Ly is quite understandable, as is Dunning’s public support of him.

    –Richard Estes

  9. Anonymous

    The Officer of the Year is voted in by their peers – fellow officers. I suspect that Officer Ly was voted Officer of the Year by the DPD as a show of support during the time of poor publicity for Officer Ly. The timing is suspicious, which leads one to also suspect that it was lobbied for or arranged by the two union lawyers that also had a hand in releasing the tape of Officer Ly’s arrest of Halema.

    I am positive that Officer Ly to this day believes that he was just doing his job and sees nothing wrong with how he handled the arrest. The community, in voicing its disapproval over Halema’s arrest and other interactions with the DPD with such fervour and the City Council/local media head-in-the-sand defense, may actually have made it difficult to correct Officer Ly by making an honest assessment of his actions too dangerous for him. What could have been handled with an apology and a clarification of correct process has turned into a nightmare for the community and the DPD alike.

  10. Anonymous

    The Officer of the Year is voted in by their peers – fellow officers. I suspect that Officer Ly was voted Officer of the Year by the DPD as a show of support during the time of poor publicity for Officer Ly. The timing is suspicious, which leads one to also suspect that it was lobbied for or arranged by the two union lawyers that also had a hand in releasing the tape of Officer Ly’s arrest of Halema.

    I am positive that Officer Ly to this day believes that he was just doing his job and sees nothing wrong with how he handled the arrest. The community, in voicing its disapproval over Halema’s arrest and other interactions with the DPD with such fervour and the City Council/local media head-in-the-sand defense, may actually have made it difficult to correct Officer Ly by making an honest assessment of his actions too dangerous for him. What could have been handled with an apology and a clarification of correct process has turned into a nightmare for the community and the DPD alike.

  11. Anonymous

    The Officer of the Year is voted in by their peers – fellow officers. I suspect that Officer Ly was voted Officer of the Year by the DPD as a show of support during the time of poor publicity for Officer Ly. The timing is suspicious, which leads one to also suspect that it was lobbied for or arranged by the two union lawyers that also had a hand in releasing the tape of Officer Ly’s arrest of Halema.

    I am positive that Officer Ly to this day believes that he was just doing his job and sees nothing wrong with how he handled the arrest. The community, in voicing its disapproval over Halema’s arrest and other interactions with the DPD with such fervour and the City Council/local media head-in-the-sand defense, may actually have made it difficult to correct Officer Ly by making an honest assessment of his actions too dangerous for him. What could have been handled with an apology and a clarification of correct process has turned into a nightmare for the community and the DPD alike.

  12. Anonymous

    The Officer of the Year is voted in by their peers – fellow officers. I suspect that Officer Ly was voted Officer of the Year by the DPD as a show of support during the time of poor publicity for Officer Ly. The timing is suspicious, which leads one to also suspect that it was lobbied for or arranged by the two union lawyers that also had a hand in releasing the tape of Officer Ly’s arrest of Halema.

    I am positive that Officer Ly to this day believes that he was just doing his job and sees nothing wrong with how he handled the arrest. The community, in voicing its disapproval over Halema’s arrest and other interactions with the DPD with such fervour and the City Council/local media head-in-the-sand defense, may actually have made it difficult to correct Officer Ly by making an honest assessment of his actions too dangerous for him. What could have been handled with an apology and a clarification of correct process has turned into a nightmare for the community and the DPD alike.

  13. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I have to slightly disagree with the second anonymous posting–the publicity only really came against Officer Ly in March of 2006 with the KGO broadcast, that was nine months after the event. He had ample time to come clean.

  14. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I have to slightly disagree with the second anonymous posting–the publicity only really came against Officer Ly in March of 2006 with the KGO broadcast, that was nine months after the event. He had ample time to come clean.

  15. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I have to slightly disagree with the second anonymous posting–the publicity only really came against Officer Ly in March of 2006 with the KGO broadcast, that was nine months after the event. He had ample time to come clean.

  16. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I have to slightly disagree with the second anonymous posting–the publicity only really came against Officer Ly in March of 2006 with the KGO broadcast, that was nine months after the event. He had ample time to come clean.

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