Was it a case of “Partying While Black” or an abuse and misuse of perceived authority by a purportedly, belligerent, retired justice, coupled with a potential abuse of power by police officers on the scene who may have acquiesced to a retired judge’s commands and allegedly worked to cover-up what actually happened; or, was it a disturbing convergence of all of this?
S.E. Williams | Contributor
The Code of Conduct for Judges states they should avoid lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of him/herself or others.
The Judicial Code also includes a series of canons (rules of reason), one of which states in part, “A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities…This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct…A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen.”
The Commission on Judicial Performance is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and for disciplining judges. What happens however, when the person who may have behaved badly is retired and no longer on the bench but represents himself as if he still wields some form of judicial authority?
In an exchange with The IE Voice/Black Voice News, a spokesperson for the California Judges Association (CJA) said, “This is not a judicial ethics matter.” Adding, “If the judge is off the bench and is doing things like (allegedly) behaving badly in his private life, he is not a judge any longer and is not subject to the canon of ethics.” According to CJA, a retired judge has the same level of authority as every other citizen—and NO MORE THAN THAT…Consider this information as a prelude to the story.
On Saturday, a hot June night early this summer, several young adults gathered in an affluent section of Riverside at a home on Appian Way for a birthday celebration. Everyone in attendance was having a good time until something went curiously wrong.
According to one of the guests, Carlos Smith, sometime during the celebration, between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m., the DJ announced cars were being towed and [parking] citations issued by officers of the Riverside Police Department.
“I made my way to the front entrance of the backyard to see if there was any validity to the announcement,” Smith explained.
According to Smith several cars of those attending the party had been cited even though they were legally parked and there were no signs anywhere to indicate any parking restrictions. In addition, there were no markings for special access for emergency vehicles if needed according to his observation and the assessment of others attending the event. “If this were the case,” Smith explained, “then the police vehicles (which are considered emergency vehicles) would not have been able to come through the street and approach the residence.”
Smith said he recognized one of the policemen, Officer E. Johansen from the previous weekend when there was a wedding at the same residence and neighbors had called to complain.
“I approached him and began to inform him that he was here at this address a week before.” According to Smith many who attended the wedding had parked in the same locations and not a single citation was written, there was no noise disturbance—according to Smith, “No issues occurred.”
Concerned about the police presence Smith said he was reassured by the officer, “It was all good.” He further stated, that it was a “bunch of old people who called—you know, taxpayers who have nothing better to do. Enjoy yourself. You people are all good,” he assured. “Just turn the bass down a little.”
Smith said he stood in the middle of the street talking with Officer Johansen for two to three minutes when out of nowhere he explained, “An individual intentionally came from behind me and slammed into me—like a truck in a car accident—knocking me into Officer Johansen and then giving me a ‘mad dog’ look while pulling out a badge of some type.” According to Smith the man proceeded to shove the badge in the officer’s face.
The man was soon identified as retired Superior Court Judge William R. Bailey, the father of Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey.
At this point according to Smith, “[Bailey] grabbed Officer Johansen and pulled him by his arm like a little child 15 to 20 feet away” and started yelling at him and giving him orders to shut the party down.
Smith alleged Bailey, “threatened to have Officer Johansen fired if he did not follow his commands. He further declared, “[H]e and the mayor run the City of Riverside and Riverside Police Department.”
For Smith and other guests, the situation continued to deteriorate. As guests scrambled to move their cars, the retired judge purportedly yelled racial slurs, “You people get out of here. You are messing up the neighborhood,” while also using racial slurs referring to them as “monkeys.”
He reportedly continued this behavior while standing in the middle of the street in the presence of Officer Johansen and his partner, inciting the incident even further. Smith lamented, “They did nothing to calm the situation, or the judge. They allowed him to take control of the entire incident.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff (LASD) Alicia Williams who was attending the party, joined the discussion between Smith and the officer. She introduced herself and requested Johansen summon his sergeant.
Sgt. Collins arrived at the scene (apparently out of uniform) however rather than having a calming effect on the situation, things only seemed to worsen for Smith and homeowner Debbie Shelton–Love, also a retired Sergeant with the LASD.
“Collins threatened to fine Shelton–Love $1000.00 and implement a Citizens Complaint Form against her if I filed an Assault and Battery complaint against Bailey,” Smith continued. “In addition, Officer Johansen threatened to fine the DJ and me $1000.00 and take the DJ’s property if he did not turn music off.”
Smith said he told the officers he wanted the judge arrested for the assault. At the very least he continued, “I should have been given a Citizen’s Arrest Form to sign and a booking slip as the arresting officer—this was a misdemeanor committed in the presence of a peace officer (Officer Johansen).”
According to Smith, he was never given this option. Instead Sgt. Collins instructed another on the scene, Officer Hill, to get his information and only do an additional information report.
Smith said he feels his rights as a citizen of the City of Riverside were violated by the Riverside Police Department.
Smith is convinced the incident showed evidence of unethical practices and broken policies by the officers and sergeant who responded that day. “I hope justice is well served,” he asserted adding, because at this point, “I clearly see [the] Riverside Police Department is not acting [in alignment with] ethical standards.”
“I embrace the investigation,” he affirmed, “But, I will not settle for [a] slap on the hand for the officers involved. As it’s significant that we hold William R. Bailey Sr. and the officers accountable for their mistakes.”
Smith expressed his belief the entire situation should have been handled differently and professionally across the board.
He stressed again how the officers failed to provide him an opportunity to execute a citizen’s arrest even when the probable assault occurred in the presence of Officer Johansen. “Instead Riverside [police] protected the retired judge.” To make matters worse, they threatened to fine the homeowner and filed a citizen’s arrest against her instead in retaliation. “I think this was unprofessional and a violation to RPD’s core values.”
Others have confirmed Smith’ version of the story however as might be expected, the RPD offered a far different version of what happened. Smith repudiates their version of events.
According to the RPD Case Report, that day the department received a total of ten calls complaining about parking at the Appian Way address in Riverside. The report also noted the officer had responded to a complaint at the same address a week earlier noted in the report as “another” loud music call the previous Saturday, June 22, 2919. Interestingly, the ten calls noted at the beginning of the report that triggered the police response on June 29, made no reference to noise on a party and parking.
The officer said when he arrived on the scene, he heard music and announcements at a distance of about 50 yards from the property and noticed approximately 50 vehicles parked along Appian Way, 20 of which he reported, created a safety hazard due to blocking the roadway in violation of California Vehicle Code Section §22500 (g). He went on to note how he and his partner collectively issued a total of 13 parking citations for violating this section of the code—a section used when a parked car obstructs traffic—an issue disputed by Smith.
According to Officer Johansen’s report, he asked several party attendees who the homeowner was, “But, no on knew. One individual stated that he was unsure because the location was being rented out.” Johansen
said he was approached by Smith who he recognized as the alleged owner of the residence from his previous response to the location on June 22. He reported Smith asked him, “You were out here last week, right?”
The officer confirmed that he was, and Smith asked to speak with him privately. He said he walked with Smith down the street at his request and answered his questions as to why multiple vehicles had been cited along the street. He claimed Smith said, “Come on, man,” as he grabbed him by the right shoulder with his left hand.
It is believed this unidentified young lady who attended the party on Appian Way in Riverside Saturday, June 29, 2019 may have captured the entire interaction involving Carlos Smith, Officer E. Johansen, and retired Superior Court Judge William R. Bailey. Smith is asking her to please come forward as her video of the incident will corroborate his version of events. Please email Carlos Smith at or contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the office at (951) 682-6070.
Johansen claimed he told Smith, “Do me a favor, don’t touch me.” He stated Smith let go of him and he said, “Thanks, I appreciate it.” Then according to the officer, as he continued explaining the situation to Smith, retired Riverside Superior Court Judge William Bailey approached Smith and shook hands with him. “Bailey informed Smith that he had a Mrs. White in his vehicle and “[S]he was crying due to the stress caused by Smith’s ongoing events.”
According to the officer, Bailey then said, that “[T]he event needed to stop and gently patted him on the shoulder—as he walked away.
Johansen went on to explain how Smith initially did not respond to his request to turn the music down. Although Smith claims he did, it was not lowered to the officer’s satisfaction. According to the officer, Smith invited him to go in and speak with the DJ about the music. After doing so the officer said Smith again asked to speak with him privately and purportedly said, “This is going to get really ugly.”
“As I reached the street with Smith, he introduced me to a friend who was in attendance at the event. The subject identified herself as an off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy named Alicia. However, she refused to provide me with a last name and demanded a supervisor and my business card.” Johansen said he provided her with a report number and the card.”
According to Johansen when Sgt. Collins arrived on the scene as requested, “Smith made allegations of crimes committed against him by Bailey and I.” He declared in his report Smith violated the city’s general noise regulation and recommended his report be forwarded to Riverside’s Attorney General Office.
Follow Part 2 of this story in next week’s edition of The IE Voice/Black Voice News.
Story was revised to show Carlos Smith was a guest at the party, not the host.