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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

Grand Jury Criticizes Police Discipline, Training

May 10, 2000

RIVERSIDE — Lack of training and unfair discipline practices have left police officers demoralized and unwilling to prevent crime, a grand jury reported after the Tyisha Miller shooting.

The report, released Monday after a seven-month investigation, said the grand jury found no evidence of rampant racism within the Riverside Police Department and, if anything, found the department suffers from unfair discipline practices that favor minorities.

"Some minority officers have violated department policies with impunity. The absence of uniform disciplinary actions is common knowledge among the officers and has also had a poisonous effect on morale," the grand jury report said.

Critics called the report one-sided, accusing the grand jury of focusing on rumor and relying too heavily on police testimony.

"They knew where they wanted to go before they conducted the investigation," said former Police Chief Jerry Carroll, who resigned earlier this year after a storm of criticism following the Dec. 28, 1998, shooting of 19-year-old Miller. She was struck by a dozen bullets as she lay in a parked car. The officers involved said they opened fire when she lunged for a gun.

The police shooting has prompted regular protests in this city, with some saying it was racially motivated. Miller was black and the officers were not.

The grand jury recommended that the department hire more officers, provide better training and implement a discipline review panel.

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