The Riverside Police Department in Moreno Valley California had a lawsuit filed against its officers for the unreasonable use of force when they arrested a flower vendor named Joaquina Valencia after throwing her to the ground and handcuffing her.  The victim was a United States citizen who believes the officers targeted her because of the color of her skin. Excessive force complaints are all too newsworthy these days, and the State of California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training has mandated de-escalation training for its police departments for two hours every two years.  In addition to the de-escalation training, 24 total hours of other required training every two years in areas such as arrest and control, driving, firearms and force options simulations are required along with courses in domestic violence and CPR every two years, and racial profiling/racial diversity every five years.

What is de-escalation training?  The Department of Justice defines “de-escalation” as “the strategic slowing down of an incident in a manner that allows officers more time, distance, space and tactical flexibility during dynamic situations on the street.”  De-escalation training methods for police officers are mandatory in the State of California.

Riverside Police Department De-escalation Policy. Riverside Police Department policy recommends that officers consider that taking no action or passively monitoring the situation may be the most reasonable response to a variety of encounters.

The responding officers should:

  1. Evaluate safety conditions.
  2. Introduce themselves and attempt to obtain the person’s name.
  3. Be patient, polite, calm, courteous and avoid overreacting.
  4. Speak and move slowly and in a non-threatening manner.
  5. Moderate the level of direct eye contact.
  6. Remove distractions or disruptive people from the area.
  7. Demonstrate active listening skills (e.g., summarize the person’s verbal communication).
  8. Provide for sufficient avenues of retreat or escape should the situation become volatile.

Responding officers should not:

  1. Use stances or tactics that can be interpreted as aggressive.
  2. Allow others to interrupt or engage the person.
  3. Corner a person who is not believed to be armed, violent or suicidal.
  4. Argue, speak with a raised voice or use threats to obtain compliance

Policy Compliance.  The Department complies with all regulations prohibiting biased-based profiling and provides training on legal aspects and issues with profiling that cause negative community relations.  Cultural diversity and awareness education courses are offered to service officers during their field-training.  Corrective measures are identified and executed when bias-based profiling occurs.  All members of the department will receive POST-approved training on hate crime recognition and investigation as provided by Penal Code § 13519.6. Training should also include recognition of bias motivators such as ranges of attitudes and perceptions toward a specific characteristic or group

Hire Legal Counsel. There are various federal and state laws that insure remedy to individuals who have suffered the negative effects of police brutality.  If you feel you have been a victim of excessive force by a police officer in the Moreno Valley California area, you should seek professional legal assistance to file a claim and have them review your case to see if you can sue for damages.  Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through excessive force.


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