On June 4, 2020, a concerned resident emailed the city of Norco mayor and fellow council members asking for a statement supporting racial equality AND for the city to release an action plan that ensures ALL of its citizens are treated fairly and justly by the city and its contracted police department, the Riverside County Sheriff.
In turn, Council Member Ted Hoffman responded to his constituent’s email by:
1. Refusing to acknowledge or support the Black Lives Matter movement;
2. Stating his constituent “to be hypocritical” for suggesting that Black lives matter
3. Personally attesting that all instances of racial bias in the Riverside Sheriff’s Department are “weeded out” without giving any actual proof of this
4. Manipulating various statistics on Black-on-Black crime, to defend his conclusion that systemic racism and police bias are not a significant problem for the Black community
5. Stating that the disproportionate number of Black citizens within the criminal justice system is the result of a large number of Black single mothers
As a result, we are calling on Mayor Hanna and all of Norco’s Council Members to:
1. Issue an apology to the Black community in Norco and the entire black community of the Inland Empire;
2. Demonstrate support of the Black community through an action plan that is developed with local Black leaders that addresses systemic racism and includes action items that will also be taken by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department;
3. Require racial bias training for ALL City of Norco employees and elected officials;
4. Hold a city-sponsored listening session where city employees and elected officials allow community members to share their experiences and highlight the issues important to them, with an emphasis on Black community members.
The email sent by Council Member Hoffman is a prime example of the racial bias and ignorance that plagues our communities and must be rooted out.
Norco Resident’s Original Email:
Dear Council Member Hoffman,
I am writing regarding our contracted Police Force, the Riverside County Sheriff’s as a concerned constituent and resident of your city, Norco. As such, I am asking for you, as an elected official, whose duty is to hold accountable those in your city, including police officers, to the standards of life, liberty and justice that our constitution requires and guarantees to all, regardless of their skin color. As such, I am asking that in light of the numerous injustices that are happening at the hands of police across our country, and disproportionately to communities of color, especially to black citizens, that you do the following:
Publicly release a statement in which you acknowledge and support Black Lives Matter AND Release an action plan that has been formed with local black leaders that your city AND the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will take to ensure that ALL citizens are treated equally under the law and by your city’s police department. As part of your plan I am asking that you use research and best practices and the Police Use of Force Project—a numbers-driven examination of the violent tactics that police departments in America’s 100 largest cities are currently using. I ask that you and your police department establish eight reforms of when and how force is used. These eight practices, when used in police departments across the country, show a significant drop in killings—as much as 72% if all eight are followed. The policies are as follows:
• Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
• Require de-escalation
• Require warning before shooting
• Exhaust all other means before shooting
• Duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers
• Ban shooting at moving vehicles
• Require use-of-force continuum
• Require comprehensive reporting each time an officer uses forces or threatens to do so
This is not the time to stay silent, nor to be afraid of those who would look to diminish the necessity of these reforms. Instead it is a time where each of us must examine our very character and moral fortitude and take action, even if, AND especially if, we are afraid to. Lives literally depend on your action. I look forward to hearing how your city and your police department will be working to end and prevent police brutality, bias and abuse of power in my neighborhood.
Reply from Norco Council Member Ted Hoffman:
Thank-you for your letter and concerns.
I want to address your comments concerning the issues you have listed, but prior to that let me explain these are my views and not the City’s.
To understand my position on the issues, you must understand my background. I grew up in a Christian home and received my primary education at a Christian School, where tolerance and equal treatment of everyone was taught and practiced. My classmates were made up of several ethnic backgrounds, races and religious denominations. I learned at very young age that “all lives matter”.
I served in the US Army during the Vietnam War with men and women of all races, religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, various educational levels and with various social economic backgrounds. But none of that matter, because during life-threatening situations you rely on your fellow soldiers to work as a team to accomplish your objective and stay alive. So again “all lives matter”.
I am a retired law enforcement officer, having served 26 years as a full time deputy sheriff and 3 years a reserve deputy sheriff with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. During my tenure with the Sheriff’s Department, I worked in various divisions, to include Corrections, Patrol, Narcotics, Homicide and Administration. I retired as a Sergeant with the Department, which gave me the opportunity to supervise and evaluate personnel, their actions and investigate complaints. Like any large organizations, the Sheriff’s Department is made up of “people”, not machines, not robots, but human beings with various backgrounds and life-styles. The one thing that melts law enforcement together is working as a team to achieve the goal of protecting the lives and property of their citizens, bring law breakers to justice and “go home” each night to their families. To each of us that have served and those that are serving “all lives matter”.
As a member of the Norco community since I was five years old, I have seen our City change and grow. During those 68 years, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has always been the local law enforcement agency for our area. In 1964, when the City incorporated, we, as city were the first to contract with the County Sheriff to provide law enforcement service to its residents. For over fifty years, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department has provided professional law enforcement service to the City of Norco. The Sheriff’s Department has maintained a high standard of professionalism towards our residents. Their policies and procedures manuals, either meet or exceed the state standards governed by the California’s Peace Officer Standard Training requirements. The deputies must complete 954 hours of Academy Training plus an additional 160 to 200 hours of a Field Training Program prior to being allowed to work the streets by them themselves. In Riverside County the Employee Probation Period for a Deputy Sheriff is 18-months, so if there is an issue in the quality of work or the employee’s integrity they can be subject to termination. The Sheriff’s Department continually monitors its deputies’ use of force. The policies and procedure manuals are updated as needed to insure compliance with state and federal laws. The Sheriff Department maintains a cadre of Administrators, Instructors and Legal Analysts that review their “Use of Force” procedures and any complaints initiate a internal review of the deputy(ies) actions. I can attest, that the misuse of force or the improper use of force is not tolerated in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
In a related matter, Sheriff’s Department personnel receive training and instruction in Race Relationship and Tolerance. I can attest, Racial Bias is not tolerated in the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and deputies that exhibit bias or intolerance are “weeded out” of the ranks. If you were to look at the racial makeup of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department you will find it has a very diverse ethnic makeup, that reflects the County. As I told you in my background, I worked as a narcotics officers, during that time, I observed and arrested several black men and women who sold cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs to young black, Hispanic and white men and women, who were in their teens or early twenties. It was not unusual to find these young black, Hispanic and white people dead or in various stages of comatose due to the overdosing on these illegal drugs. Or find them being involved in criminal activity to feed their drug addition. These drug dealers targeted their own race of young people to “hook” them on these narcotics. Where is the justice for these victims of the predator drug dealers? Again “all lives matter”.
As a Homicide investigator, assigned to a Serial Killer taskforce, I assisted in the investigation of the deaths of 20 women of various ethnic and social backgrounds, their race did not make a difference in our teams quest to find the suspect who was responsible for their demise. Our diligence and search for justice for all of these victims, resulted in the conviction of the man responsible, he is currently on Death Roll. Again “all lives matter”. In your comments, you requested that we as a City Council, acknowledge “Black Lives Matter” yet I find this rhetoric by you to be hypocritical, as this past week a black Department of Homeland Security Officer Dave Underwood, was gunned down in Oakland by rioters in the ta City. Where is the justice for him? Also, in Saint Louis, retired Police Captain David Dorn, who was a 77 year-old black man, was gunned down by looters and left to die on the sidewalk as his death was shown on a video and no one helped him. Where is the justice for him?
Again, I say to you “all lives matter”.
Let me share with some interesting facts, that you will not get from the mainstream media or one of the left-wing media outlets.
7 Statistics You Need To Know About Black-On-Black Crime from a 2016 report
1. Data shows that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. The left’s rebuttal is that that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by other whites, but The Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Riley points out that the white crime rate is “much lower than the black rate.”
2. According to Riley, “Blacks commit violent crimes at 7 to 10 times the rate that whites do.” Blacks committed 52 percent of homicides between 1980 and 2008, despite composing just 13 percent of the population. Across the same time frame, whites committed 45 percent of homicides while composing 77% of the population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Here are some more statistics from the FBI: In 2013, the FBI has black criminals carrying out 38 per cent of murders, compared to 31.1 per cent for whites. The offender’s race was “unknown” in 29.1 per cent of cases. What about violent crime more generally? FBI arrest rates are one way into this. Over the last three years of data – 2011 to 2013 – 38.5 per cent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black.
3. Black crime is even more prevalent in the country’s largest cities and counties. Heather Mac Donald writes in her book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe that in Chicago, IL, blacks committed 76 percent of all homicides, despite composing 35 percent of the city’s population. Blacks also accounted for 78 percent of all juvenile arrests. Whites, who compose 28 percent of the city’s population, committed 4 percent of its homicides and 3.5 percent of its juvenile arrests. Hispanics, who compose 30 percent of the city’s population, committed 19 percent of its homicides and 18 percent of its juvenile arrests. (Another eye-opening fact from Mac Donald’s research is that only 26 percent of murder cases were solved in Chicago.) Blacks are 10 percent of the population in Los Angeles, CA, but commit 42 percent of its robberies and 34 percent of its felonies. Whites make up 29 percent of the city’s population, and commit 5 percent of its robberies and 13 percent of its felonies. In New York City, blacks committed “75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime,” despite only composing 23 percent of the population, said Mac Donald in a Hillsdale speech. Additionally, 2009 Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers show that in 2009, “blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.”
4. There were almost 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks in 2015. By contrast, only 258 blacks were killed by police gunfire that year.
5. The percentage of blacks arrested for crimes is consistent with police reports. This is according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, as well as this 1985 study: “Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their classic 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.” This was true decades before the authors put it to paper, and it remains the case decades later. “The overrepresentation of blacks among arrested persons persists throughout the criminal justice system,” wrote Wilson and Herrnstein. “Though prosecutors and judges may well make discriminatory judgments, such decisions do not account for more than a small fraction of the overrepresentation of blacks in prison.” This data disproves the notion that racism is what drives higher rates of arrests among the blacks than among whites or broader America.
6. According to Riley, “Black crime rates were lower in the 1940s and 1950s, when black poverty was higher” and “racial discrimination was rampant and legal.” If it’s not racism and poverty that are blame for the high black crime rate, then what is?
7. According to Mac Donald, “A straight line can be drawn between family breakdown and youth violence.” As economist Thomas Sowell points out, before the 1960s “most black children were raised in two-parent families.” In 2013, over 72 percent of blacks were born out of wedlock. In Cook County –which Chicago belongs to – 79 percent of blacks were born to single mothers in 2003, while only 15 percent of whites were born to single mothers. “Until that gap closes, the crime gap won’t close, either,” writes Mac Donald. After reading these statistics, I hope you can understand that there needs to be change, but the change in attitude needs to be self-reflecting. The family unit is a powerful source of unity to foster respect for each other, no matter what race or religion your are. If you want to target, the issue then focus your energy on the actual source, not what a bias media tell you.
So no, I can not support your request, because to me “All Lives Matter”.
Councilman, City of Norco
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