A Quick History of the Blunder-Happy Santa Ana School Police Force at Center of Controversial Video

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Last week's viral video showing a Santa Ana school cop restraining a teen tagger with what witnesses described as a chokehold wasn't the first embarrassing moment for the department. They've been caught on film before and seem to be as adverse to cameras as vampires are to sunlight!

A juvenile court date for the kid and completion of an internal investigation by the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) Police Department await this week.

In the meantime, the Weekly compiled a short list of their best impressions of Reno 911!

1. School Cop vs. Adams Park Kid

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Adams Park
Filmed by Elvia Fernandez, a concerned onlooker, footage of the rough arrest by a Santa Ana school cop of a 14-year-old at Adams Park went viral and hit nationwide media. As of writing, the original cellphone video has 16,673 shares from her Facebook page where she first posted it. Images of a grown man on top of a squealing teen jarred many as a witness at the park screamed "You're choking him!" The school cop responded with "He's fighting me" and, in the poorest choice of words, admonished Fernandez for talking to the youth saying "Stop speaking Spanish!" The kid caught the name "Harris" on the badge.

2. Santa Ana School Police vs. CopWatch Santa Ana

Before the incident at Adams Park, CopWatch Santa Ana responded to allegations of school police harassment of a juvenile girl near McFadden Intermediate. In December 2012, activists happened upon a young woman being pulled over and began filming. Despite having a competent command of recording without interfering with police work, the school cop called for back up. Additional units arrived, giving the CopWatch crew a hard time. The officer at the end, an activist from the group tells the Weekly, was none other than a Sergeant Harris, though it remains to be seen if it's the same Harris from last week's video. This particular video also went viral.

3. Sgt. Manuel Chavez vs. Know Your Rights Workshop

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Sgt. Manuel Chavez
In the month following the filming of school cops near McFadden Intermediate, an inaugural Boys and Men of Color Conference took place at Valley High School in SanTana. The CopWatch group that got under officers' skin gave a 'know your rights' workshop as part of the day's program. People in attendance noticed a man sitting at a desk uncomfortably while recording everything with an audio device. As soon as the presentation wrapped up, he quickly vanished, but not before someone already snapped a photograph. The man dressed in plainclothes was outed as Santa Ana School Police Sergeant Manuel Chavez by The Rebel Press, an independent blog mainly focused on issues of police brutality, when he showed up to a SAUSD PTA meeting the following week.

Keep these three documented blunders in mind as the Santa Ana School police take on the task of investigating themselves and present their conclusions later this week. See you then!

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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30 comments
jilllee
jilllee

OC weekly is still cop hating after knowing that a majority of the readers side with the cop in this case? 


Lets summarize the whole situation again:

1. Kid vandalizes, destroying public property in a park that is known to be infested with gangs, and has a huge problem with vandalism.

2. Cop confronts the matter, kid tries to run away

3. Cop restrains him, kid bits him, cop restrains him more- no choke hold.

4. a couple of idiots with cameras try to escalate the problem, provoke situation

6. Kid starts crying and yelling like a little bitch since he knew he was going to jail

5. we find out a couple of days later that kid had marijuana on him, is in continuation school, and admitted to biting the cop


God forbid the cop for doing his job in Adams Park. Let me tell you about Adam Park- it is known as a gang gathering place, and little pieces of shit like that kid took it over as an area to deal drugs. The people near the park don't even let their kids play there because of the gang activity. Let the cops clean up that shitty park so kids can play on it.


Shame on you OC weekly for your sensational articles. You guys perpetuate hate and racism. 

FFO1939
FFO1939

Officer did a great job holding pinche indio down. 

Kristy Molina
Kristy Molina

I can't even imagine , what they do when there are no cameras!

robincook
robincook

Some foreign countries wrap up crimes by having a very quick trial followed by a shooting or hanging.

roman_archer
roman_archer

One quick comment on Elvia Fernandez. She absolutely did the right thing by stopping, filming and letting her presence be known during the officers arrest. Not only is it important to document these types of events, but I do believe that it could have played a hand in preventing things from escalating. No matter if you feel that this was a righteous take down or not, Elvia is a true hero in this case. Like my friends at occopwatch say, always film the police.

Robert Simmons
Robert Simmons

THAT'S IT?!?! 3?!?! And one of them is simply a dude attending a presentation and recording it?

WhiteyAlmighty
WhiteyAlmighty

Sometimes it's spelled Santa Ana, other times is SanTana. So which is it? And why don't other cities get the same spelling treatment?

roman_archer
roman_archer

Since when does 16,673 Facebook shares over the course of 5 days constitute a viral video? It's not even in the ballpark of being viral. And the only reason it hit those small numbers is because of a heavily biased/slanted article from the OC Weekly. Viral video? I think not. Beating a dead horse? Most definitely!

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

If I didn't know that many male white/latino/asian cops/deputies in Orange County, CA were oath violating criminal assholes who have committed crimes 100 times worse than this kid, I would completely agree with you.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yes absolutely film the police because you will ALWAYS only get half of the story... Something that Gabby San Roman does all the time.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@roman_archer Shares =/= views, Einstein. 16.5k shares means a whole lot more views. Also, the OC Weekly uploaded the footage separate from Facebook so those are two completely different tracks. Try again!

909Jeff
909Jeff

^ BEHOLD.... The Logical Fallacy!

roman_archer
roman_archer

I've really only come across a couple of Gabes articles that I disagreed with. I think the vast majority of the time he writes important articles and gets it right. Granted, I slammed him pretty hard on this school cop story. He took it and dished it right back at me. That's the spirit of what writing and blogging is about. Say what you want about Gabe, but I think he is an integral part of the OC Weekly editorial staff that keeps us coming back to read and comment.

roman_archer
roman_archer

@gabrielsanroman Shares = views. Thanks Gabe! I would have never figured that out on my own. So let's say we double, or even triple the 16,673 number, it's still not in the ballpark of being a viral video. Now while there are no difinitve numbers on what constitutes a viral video, it's safe to assume the number would be in the millions, not thousands. You claiming this to be a viral video just goes to show how heavily slanted your article is. Unless you can provide better numbers than 16,673, you've failed miserably in trying to prove your point.

roman_archer
roman_archer

@909jeff After Gabes latest article, I take back everything nice I had to say about him. You were right Jeff, I was wrong.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Okay,  To each is own. I find Gabby to be a pandering race baiter who encourages people to continue to break the law then chastizes the cops for enforcing the laws that said people break. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

In journalism you can easily promote an opinion by deliberately failing to report certain types of news stories. The OC Register's failure to cover the fact that your County-wide police community acts like mafia trash across decades is an attempt to promote a certain view. Just my opinion. Or maybe it's just consistent stunning incompetence.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

A Santa Ana wannabe cop basically had a Hispanic kid plastered to the ground for vandalism while your law enforcement community uses criminal hard core gang member type garbage to vandalize an Hispanic American citizens' property in same County. Orange County, CA - don't you worry your pretty little heads - it's gonna be as viral as it can get sooner rather than later.

roman_archer
roman_archer

@artpedroza I'm glad you brought this up Art. It looks like you found the only 2 states besides California to report on this story that I did. The Fox news affiliate in Philadelphia PA and I believe 2 different print publications in New York. Outside of local news and Al Jazeera America, those were the only news outlets I could find reporting on this story. To me, that's hardly a viral news story. It does sound good though when you phrase it "this story was reported as far away as New York and Philadelphia". As far as I could find, those were the ONLY news outlets to carry this story. Unless you can point out several more news outlets from various points of the country that carried this story (and for more than one day), it's a bit of a stretch ( to put it kindly) to label this as a national or viral story/video.

artpedroza
artpedroza

This story was reported as far away as New York and Philadelphia. How is that not viral?

roman_archer
roman_archer

@gabrielsanroman @roman_archer  Gabe, I respectfully disagree with you. Yes, the local news covered this story.........for one day. And yes, a few small non-local media networks carried the story (Al Jazeera America?), again, for one day. And in every single instance I could find, those news outlets were doing nothing more than parroting the hysteria of your original article. In most cases almost word for word. There is no ongoing coverage of this non-story, except from the Weekly. This is NOT a viral video, this is NOT a viral story. Frankly we could sit here all day and argue the semantics of the word viral. That's not the important thing here. In my opinion, the only reason this story attracted any attention at all was because you wrote a heavily biased article, and a few news outlets blindly ran with it for a day because it's a real attention grabber. Big burly cop puts angelic child in deadly choke hold. I think anyone with any common sense can see right through that bullshit. I will give you props for one thing Gabe, you made it through a whole post without using the word pendejo. For that I say gracias!

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@roman_archer Yes, because a video that ended up on all the major local news channels and national media isn't viral enough for you. I guess those news vans at the press conference were there talking about some pimply teenaged musician's acoustic cover of a Nirvana unplugged song uploaded to YouTube tallying 993 views. SURE...

WhiteyAlmighty
WhiteyAlmighty

Newsflash: Gus and company do not keep OC Weekly's racial bias a secret. Their founding philosophy is "Our hands to Mexicans; our fists to crackers."

949girl
949girl topcommenter

@roman_archer You tell em!  I'm so over reading "The OC Register called and they want their idiot back".  Lord have mercy if you don't agree with the OC Weekly writers. 

SickSnail
SickSnail

@roman_archer  That's the OC Weakly m.o., roman. Their brand of "journalism". Click bait stories chock full of value judgements, and if you don't sing their song you must be a fan of the Register, which actually reports news in their news and opinions in their opinion section.

roman_archer
roman_archer

@GustavoArellano You know what Gus? That line wasn't very clever the first 1000 times you used it. And what's the matter with Gabe? Isn't he a big enough boy to defend himself? It's funny that when you get called out for bad journalism, you don't present facts, you just resort to 3rd grade level retorts.

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