Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by BVN
Chache Wright, President and Hardy Brown Sr., Chair Legal Redress Comm.| San Bernardino NAACP
On Feb. 15 the mother of an abused daughter, by two white Rialto police officers, contacted the NAACP for assistance. She explained that her daughter was arrested on 2/11/22, in Rialto on the corner of Linden and Pinedale, would not inform the family where her daughter was taken. The mother gave detailed information to the NAACP Office, that her daughter was slammed to the ground, officers placed their hands around her throat, hog-tied her, placed a spit bag over her head, slammed her into the back of the police car and then slammed the back door shut in disgust.
In a press release on 2/15/22, from the Police Department, Chief Mark Kling, said “I have personally viewed officer’s body worn camera footage and although the video depicts the juvenile resisting officers, we are investigating the officer’s decision to trip the juvenile to the ground and later placing his hand on the juvenile’s throat during the arrest.”
In our opinion, this is no way to treat our young Black youth; and while it is nice to offer apologies it does nothing to stop the police abuse of our Black Children.
We have noticed that the Rialto Police management team is composed of men with no Blacks or females of any race on staff. Maybe, just maybe, that is why some white male police officers behave in this manner. This also makes us suspect that this police department is not committed to inclusion and diversity.
We noticed in the chief’s press release that he has requested District Attorney Jason Anderson to investigate this incident. We, the NAACP, are going to request the State Attorney General to investigate the entire Rialto Police Department because of other police abuse complaints that have involved our Latino Community. We do not know of a case, in the past, where the District Attorney’s Office has ever ruled against a police officer in San Bernardino County. This does not mean we do not trust the DA’s office, but we are saying, the legacy of that office has not gone against the police.
The NAACP has reviewed the Rialto Police Department Policy Manual and has many questions about the officers’ conduct in interacting with this teenage citizen. We have to ask the question, if she were a white teenager, would the officers have even stopped her? And after they would have stopped a white teen, it definitely would not have escalated into an arrest. From the video, we have seen, the officers are much larger than the teenager, so they cannot say they were afraid of being hurt by this much smaller girl.
Additional questions the NAACP has for the city include: why did the officers stop her in the first place? What was she doing that was so egregious that moved them to say this is dangerous and must be stopped? Then after the stop, how did it escalate into a slam down, putting a spit bag over the head, putting her in handcuffs, shoving her into a car and then having the door slammed on her? Was this a high crime area in Rialto? No. According to the Crime Mapping Map in the Rialto Police Department it shows no crime activity as of 2/16/22 in or near Linden and Pinedale community.
The Gray family now has an attorney for any legal action they wish to take, something we would have encouraged them to do considering the type of police abuse they experienced. However, the NAACP will not diminish its efforts to advocate for changes in the Rialto Police Department just as we are currently doing in the City of San Bernardino.
We have uncovered some things in Rialto that we believe need improvement in relation to racial and gender discrimination. We will be addressing those issues with the city within a couple of weeks.
The NAACP thanks the Gray family for reaching out to our organization and by doing so, helped to speed up our timetable to address police-related problems in Rialto and we pledge to continue working with the family in any way possible that will not interfere with the family’s efforts to seek justice as the NAACP continues seeking justice on behalf of the citizens of Rialto.