Police Complaints

Police Oversight Commission More Dysfunctional than Ever

Richard Shine has admitted he was wrong to tell people they could not criticize the chair of the Police Oversight Commission. Now he has been censured by his colleagues, the same colleagues who sat silently by while Chair Linda Martinez forcibly ejected her critics from last month’s meeting.

Chairperson Linda Martinez threw a man out of the December meeting of the Police Oversight Commission for objecting to her affiliation with the Fraternal Order of Police. All the other commissioners sat by and watched her do it. Only Commissioner Siegel raised any objection, and none of the commissioners exercised their right to appeal the chair’s ruling and force a vote on the matter—not even after Shine reminded them that they had that right.

The chair’s silencing of her critics has drawn widespread criticism from the City Council and from the press. Linda Martinez should have taken responsibility for her ruling. The other commissioners should have taken responsibility for backing the chair’s decision to forcibly eject people from the meeting.

Instead, they found a handy scapegoat in Commissioner Richard Shine and an eager hatchet-man in Commissioner Bambi Folk

Folk was supported by fellow commissioners St. John, Francis and Sobien in her resolution to condemn Shine. The commissioners completely ignored the fact that it was Linda Martinez, not Shine, who exercised authority as chairperson to silence the public and eject them from the meeting. And of course none of the commissioners took any responsibility for allowing that outrage to happen, even though they had the power to prevent it.

Richard Shine is the only commissioner with the courage and honesty to admit he made a mistake. By blaming Shine and refusing to acknowledge their own wrong-doing, the other commissioners have demonstrated a hopeless failure of integrity.

Apparently, the scandal has finally become too obvious to ignore. The Police Oversight Commission has been forced to call an emergency meeting to address the matter. The emergency meeting is this Tuesday at 9:00 am and the only item on the agenda is “In the Matter of the Censure of Richard Shine”.

Ever since Police Complaints exposed Martinez’ role in the Fraternal Order of Police, the Police Oversight Commission has been flailing frantically to deflect criticism. Their stubbornness has only gained them an enormous amount of bad press, including front-page stories and disgusted editorials, plus two dramatic and disorderly meetings full of angry citizens. Now it’s become such a disaster they’ve been forced to call an emergency meeting.

They should have avoided all this. They should have recognized that letting a member of the Fraternal Order of Police run their meetings creates an appearance of conflict that lessens public trust in their work. We’ll be reporting on their emergency meeting and hoping they finally do the right thing.

Video links to portions of December and January POC meetings

  • Chair Martinez rules to eject audience members from the December meeting at 1:34:24.
  • Commissioner Shine tells the other commissioners they have the right to appeal the ruling of the chair at 1:38:50. The commissioners remain silent.
  • Commissioner Folk moves to censure Commissioner Shine at the January meeting at 1:07:06
  • Commissioner Shine admits his comments were a mistake at 1:09:44