Skip to comments.Merrick Bobb: Non-profit civilian LASD watchdog with questionable ethics and agenda
Posted on 04/16/2009 10:17:58 AM PDT by Starman417
It's truly an upsidedown world. This AM I get an email from Curt asking me to do a post on the above report by Patterico. It's an eye-opening piece on the "Self-styled police expert Merrick Bobb", and his habitual forgetfulness to disclose a conflict of interest with one of his own, in-house consultants when playing civilian "police watchdog". With the civilian micromanaging and "recommendations" being thrust upon the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department by Bobb for over a decade, this is a subject near and dear to Curt's heart.
Our FA "founding father", however, finds himself unable to post himself. Instead *he's* on a Harley run for some fun. hummmm... he's on the m'cycle road trip, and I'm posting about police stuff. What's wrong with this picture??
I'm sure that Curt is already proficient in assuming my usual task of face-in-the-wind, and I trust will remember to keep the rubber side down. I, however, faced a more daunting task of picking up on the LASD-Merrick Bobb history. I hope I shall do it "justice" (pun intended).... so here it goes.
Bobb wrote an editorial for the LA Times April 12th condemning the police union for getting an injunction, preventing Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian from disclosing the names of two officers involved in the shooting of Leroy Barnes Jr... a 38 year old African American man... on Feb 19th.
While we're most certainly in the dark on the events from that day, we learn more about Leroy Barnes from a forum post on Abibitumi Kasa Afrikan Language and Liberation Institutes & Community Network. Apparently their mission per their website?
* A recognition of the need to reclaim and build upon our interrelated indigenous systems of knowledge/spirituality/politics/healing/kwk, which are embedded in our Afrikan languages.
* A recognition of the ongoing WAR against Afrikan people and the need for an intentional and unapologetic commitment in every aspect of life for the Total Liberation of Afrikan People throughout Space and Time.
Forum poster, Kentake, accuses the Pasadena police of a deliberate execution of Barnes based on his past criminal history including shooting at police, and gang related activities. I think it's safe to assume it started as a "routine traffic stop", but the on duty officers were confronting no Pollyanna in the vehicle.
Barnes story had to be brought to light to clarify the first story... that being Merrick Bobb's op-ed in the LA Times criticizing the police union for taking legal steps to prevent the officer's names from being disclosed to the public for their own safety. Bobb suggests the union was "muzzling" Police Chief Melekian, who had every intention of naming names at a press conference, and further suggested the officers were in no danger of gang revenge. Or... in legalese... "absent a clear and present danger of imminent harm"
Hummm... how would he know that?
Instead, Bobb lavished profuse praise on Melekian for wanting to out the officers to the media, describing him as "a model police executive -- honest and forthright, dedicated to building community trust and willing to subject his department and himself to the scrutiny that comes with transparency."
But the ever tenacious Patterico noted what Merrick Bobb deliberately omitted from his op-ed. The acolades reigned on the Police Chief were not tempered by disclosure of Bobb's relationship with Melekian.
From Patterico (H/T link above):
How ironic that Bobb shows no transparency about his own relationship with Melekian.
Instead, the reader is led to assume that Bobb has no personal interest in defending Melekian:
Merrick J. Bobb is executive director of the nonprofit Police Assessment Resource Center and special counsel monitoring the Sheriffs Department for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
What Bobb fails to mention, and The Times does not disclose, is that Melekian is a paid employee of Bobbs consulting firm.* The web site for the aforementioned Police Assessment Resource Center lists Melekian as one of only two senior advisors to Bobbs firm:
Chief Bernard Melekian joined PARC as a senior advisor in June 2004. He is the Police Chief of Pasadena, California, and has occupied that position since 1996.
Patterico also notes this isn't the first time Bobb slides over disclosure of their relationship. In 2006, Bobb, President of Police Assessement Resource Council (PARC), received a $94,997 grant from the Haynes Foundation to investigate his own senior advisors Pasadena Department. Needless to say, they got high marks.... perhaps deserved. However again, the relationship was not disclosed between the Police Chief who's department he was paid to investigate, and that Chief's position within Bobb's non-profit civilian "watchdog" organization.
Patterico also notes another instance just last year when Bobb/PARC prepared yet another analysis, paid for by the Department of Justice.
The love continued in 2008, with a report prepared by PARC pursuant to a grant from the Department of Justice. The report evaluated a Pilot Community Policing Program which was described as the brainchild of Chief Melekian and received high marks. The report stated that Chief Melekians apology to the community for injustices real or perceived was a positive step that helped begin the process of reconciliation and set a positive tone. The report added:
The PPD under Chief Bernard Melekian has wholeheartedly embraced community policing, as evidenced by the number of community policing initiatives and the high levels of support from its officers for working with the community. The Pasadena Program is just one such innovative initiative.
As in 2006, amid all the praise for Chief Melekian and his programs, the relationship between Bobb, PARC, and Melekian went unmentioned.
BTW, Chief Melekian is calling for an external investigation into Barnes' case. Wonder who he'll recommend....
For his own disclosure, Patterico made his own first comment: saying his post was making no judgment calls on the consulting arrangement between Melekian and Bobb, nor the performance of the Pasadena Police Department. He was merely pointing out - if I may paraphrase what I take away from his post - that Merrick Bobb... a civilian who has appointed himself as the "self-styled expert" on restructuring law enforcement divisions nationwide... is downright hypocritical to demand transparency from law enforcement, yet consistently refuses to offer any of his own.
But perhaps I should take you where Patterico did not. And that's into the past of who Merrick Bobb is, and why does this man - who's never pounded a beat in his life, nor had any law enforcement training - wield so much power over law enforcement?
And what drove him to to a completely different field in his later life? Apparently, listening to his own sad story, he was traumatized by Oakland police in his Berkeley law school days.... sigh..
As a law student at the University of California's volatile Berkeley campus in the 1970s, Merrick Bobb was once stopped by an angry Oakland cop and accused of intentionally driving his car toward the officer.
Bobb said he felt helpless under the officer's accusation, which he strongly denied. He envisioned going to jail, his plans for a law degree destroyed. Then some Berkeley police officers approached and said they believed Bobb. They told him he was free to go.
"The discretion the police had stayed with me," Bobb said. "They can be absolutely the best thing in your life or your worst nightmare."
Woof... not a lot of constitution to that one, eh?
The 60-something Merrick Bobb is a graduate of Dartmouth with a Bachelor's in English, and UC Berkeley law grad. He spent most of his career as a not-so-well-known corporate trial lawyer. He apparently bloomed late in his career, catapulting to prominence when when he served as an investigator, and Deputy Legal Counsel on the Christopher Commission to reform the LAPD following the Rodney King incident in the early 90s.
(Excerpt) Read more at Flopping Aces ...
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