In an extremely rare move, an internal investigation into misconduct by RPD Chief Sergio Diaz was found to have merit.
Diaz made political threats against a former candidate for public office, according to the complaint. The chief has apparently admitted wrongdoing. No disciplinary measure was mentioned in the press reports about the situation.
It is also not clear by what means the complaint were made and investigated. It does not appear to have gone through the normal official channels of either Internal Affairs or the CPRC, but rather through the assistant city manager? We would appreciate some more clarity on that.
RIVERSIDE: Complaint about police chief's behavior upheld
A human resources review found Chief Sergio Diaz was “discourteous” to a resident; Diaz agrees his comment was inappropriate
BY ALICIA ROBINSON / STAFF WRITER
Published: June 6, 2014 Updated: June 7, 2014 5:25 p.m.
Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz’s comments to a resident he felt had publicly criticized him were discourteous and violated department policy, according to a city review of the incident.
Diaz said Thursday that he was out of line when he told John Brandriff, a former city council candidate, not to make an enemy of the police if he planned to run for office again. The chief also – in more vulgar language – told Brandriff to have the guts to make his complaints in person.
“This was not the right thing to do,” Diaz said of his own comments.
Both men said Diaz was annoyed by Brandriff’s remark at a February public meeting about the department not participating in a community forum.
In March, the chief and Brandriff ran into each other at a show at the Fox theater. They shook hands, and Diaz told Brandriff that, if he had opinions about the chief or police department, he should express them to Diaz.
Then, as Brandriff described it to a human resources investigator, Diaz told him, “If you have any more political aspirations, don’t make an enemy out of me,” according to the investigator’s report. Diaz gave a similar account.
Brandriff took it as a threat and complained to City Manager Scott Barber.
“It’s not something you would expect a chief of police of a large city to do,” Brandriff said. “It’s not great behavior.”
The investigation found that Diaz was discourteous. Diaz declined to say if he was punished.
Brandriff said he was upset in part because it’s not the first time Diaz has been rude to someone in the community. According to emails provided by Councilman Mike Soubirous, Diaz angrily wrote back in January to a message about panhandlers, telling the councilman it is “politically unwise to declare war on your cops.”
Diaz said if he’s ever “less than kind” to people in the community, that’s something he needs to work on.
The chief said he shouldn’t have made the remark to Brandriff, adding, “It’s not good for the police department. It’s not good for the city.”