When Santa Ana Mayor Vince Sarmiento was elected and he took control of the City Council majority the notion of a police commission began to pick up steam. However Sarmiento and his woke City Council allies may end crafting a police commission that favors criminals not public safety. That is astounding in a city that is awash in gang violence, illicit drug sales and mass homelessness.
The ad hoc City Council committee tasked with drafting the police commission proposal includes Mayor Pro Tem Phil Bacerra and woke city council members Jessie Lopez and Johnathan Ryan Hernandez. Bacerra is the only Council Member on the commission that has consistently supported law enforcement.
Hernandez, predictably, has been a negative influence. His public comments about the police commission have been completely dismaying including:
- Hernandez mentioned at the December City Council meeting that he would like to have people on the commission who have been through the justice system. He repeated this idea at a recent City Council meeting saying that the police commission should include members who are “justice-impacted,” which means members who’ve been in and out of jail and/or arrested.
- You read that correctly. Hernandez wants to put criminals on our police commission – to review what our police officers do and to judge and castigate the police officers.
Santa Ana residents responded to a city survey with input on police oversight indicating that their top priorities for the proposed commission include transparency, community outreach, use of statistical pattern analysis, open communication with the police department, independence, access to public records, increased resources, increased protection for peace officer rights and support for government and elected officials. Note that residents did NOT ask to have criminals put on our police commission!
Hernandez also recently voiced his complete opposition to having any members, current or retired, of law enforcement on our police commission. His statements were so ridiculous that his woke ally, City Council Woman Thai Viet Phan, disagreed with him.
Hernandez went as far as to compare police officers to gang members. He said that “The same culture that we have in the barrios, where people say, ‘snitches get stitches. This culture also exists in policing.”
Hernandez also said that police are reluctant to expose the wrongdoing of other officers.
Hernandez added that “As this country is facing and as we’ve seen some very adverse police misconduct all throughout the country, I think it’s necessary to have an ideological shift in the inclusivity of the criminal justice system.”
Remember that Hernandez thought it was police misconduct for police officers from Anaheim and the SAPD to pursue his cousin, Brandon Lopez, a few months ago, after Lopez was reported to be driving a stolen vehicle. Lopez led police on a wild chase through four cities and was finally stopped when he tried to drive through the Santa Ana streetcar construction area and the car got stuck. Lopez then appeared to be taking drugs for hours before the SWAT officers finally, after some three hours, gassed the car and Lopez jumped out and ran with something in his hand. The officers thought it was a gun and opened fire. It turned out to be a black bag. Lopez had told his family members that he intended to commit suicide by cop.
Hernandez called those officers murderers and never held his own cousin and family to account. That is the problem with Hernandez. He will reliably side with criminals. By his own admission he grew up steeped in gang culture. He sees the gangs as his constituents. In his mind the police are the bad guys. It is insane that someone with an attitude like that got elected to the Santa Ana City Council.
Phan responded to Hernandez by saying that she has spoken to a number of individuals who said it’s important to prohibit current and former officers from serving on the commission. She pointed out that if police officers go before the police commission they will lose credibility and faith if no one on the commission has had experience in law enforcement. Phan said. “I think that by allowing former law enforcement, maybe not current law enforcement, we have that experience, that capacity, but also continue to build that public trust.”
At this point you really have to wonder why anyone would want to serve as a police officer in Santa Ana. Why would you want to work for politicians like Sarmiento and Hernandez who think the police are the bad guys?