On October 7, 2022, the City of Santa Ana again issued a press releases boasting that two lawsuits had been dismissed with prejudice. This press release appears to be intentionally misleading giving the impression that the lawsuits have been completely dismissed. This appears to be a standard operating procedure for the City regarding the pending lawsuits and an effort to sway public opinion.
First, the Court ruled that while the City of Santa Ana may be held liable for the actions (by the individuals) giving rise to the retaliation lawsuit, the Court ruled that Mr. David Valentin could not be individually held liable (as only the City/employer can be). The Court decision, while dismissing him as an individually named defendant, did not vindicate him at all. The court simply ruled that under the provisions of law raised in the lawsuit, the statue do not target an individual for personal liability, only the employer. While we may disagree with the Court’s ruling, and other courts have found to the contrary, we respect the legal process and will abide by the court’s ruling.
Based on the Court’s ruling, the remaining parties, negotiated the voluntary dismissal of the remaining individually named defendants in exchange for a waiver of costs and fees. While the City claims that this is somehow a complete victory and vindication, in reality it demonstrates the City’s need to boast about battles “won” to hide the fact that the City will likely be ultimately held liable for the unlawful actions of these individuals. The lawsuits, both of them, remain pending and have not been dismissed. Contrary to the unsupported and unproven arguments of counsel for the City, the lawsuits are not, in any way baseless, nor has the court ruled as such.
The press releases further alleged that the claims involved in the lawsuit are false, and the release validate their position. No such ruling was issued by the court. In fact, in a prior hearing where Valentin tried to silence a website “crookedchief.com”, (a ruling that was not the subject of a press release by the City), the Court specifically held that Valentin had not established that the allegations in the complaint or contained on the crookedchief.com website were in fact defamatory or false. The Court noted that Valentin’s claims that the material was false and/or misleading, does not make it so and are insufficient to prove this as a fact. The Court declined Valentin’s motion seeking to implement a prior restraint of free speech against Plaintiffs and/or the website, and the Court declined to get involved in Valentin’s efforts to engage in censorship.
The Santa Ana Police Officers Association and its President look forward to the opportunity to place Valentin and other city leaders under oath, and proving the allegations in the complaints. Until that time, we caution the readers of the endless press releases issued by the City and Valentin as they appear to show a willingness to take a little bit of truth and then fabricate statements in order to support Valentin’s continued reign of terror on the Police Department. We continue to question whether Valentin has lost focus of the truth mattering, and further question his fitness to continue to hold any position with the Police Department.