I know the mission of my blog is to share cultural information and everything concerning the world of T&I, as well as staying pretty neutral in legal and political cases. But, isn’t it our mission to promote peace and respect, too? I’m supposed to stay in bed (I’m sick), but my niece showed me this video and I couldn’t help myself writing this post.
Today I have to spread the word in a situation I found quite disgusting: abuse of authority from a cop (License plate # 1369780) towards a child and a slight discrimination towards a Hispanic woman, in short, two Santa Ana (CA) citizens. Yesterday, Ms. Elvia Fernandez saw a heavily-built police officer who jumped on top of a minor he caught tagging at John Adams Park. According to the eyewitnesses, this ‘cop’ threatened to pepper spray this child. Is this legal? As far as we know, we pepper spray attackers or rapists, but we never do threaten a child of around 7-10 years of age. Yes, it is understandable that tagging may not be nice at all and the kid was doing something wrong, but excessive use of force and treating a child as a criminal are shameful acts! Aren’t we in a free and democratic country? Yes, we understand that there are many gangs and criminal groups in CA, but the wrongful actions of this child/pre-teen(?) don’t really make him part of them.
Oh, and what’s worse: the cop shouts at them demanding to stop speaking in Spanish. Nobody has the legal authority to stop anybody from speaking our mother tongue, right? They were not saying anything wrong: they just tried to calm the child and make him feel better in a way. Words like “no te muevas” (‘don’t move’), “relájate” (‘relax’ or ‘calm down’), “mijito”/”mijo” (a Mexican endearing word for ‘child’, ‘son’, or ‘dear’), or “aquí estamos nosotros” (‘we are [right here] here'[for you]) aren’t really threatening words, are they? When we express something in a foreign language other than English, you go directly to the heart of a person to comfort him/her. A Mexican-American mother will naturally use a mix of said expressions to comfort him and show human compassion. Spanish has become pretty much common in Santa Ana as the presence of the Hispanic/Latino community is quite predominant in that area. So, same question: isn’t it illegal for a cop to DEMAND you to STOP speaking Spanish (well, at least he didn’t say “Stop speaking Mexican”, that would definitely had gone beyond ignorance)? We are in a free country, or that’s what I thought a few minutes ago. It’s quite understandable that such a ‘cop’ is a monolingual English speaker, but that wasn’t nice from him to be rude towards her.
So far, it’s difficult to process this case since the identity of this child remains unknown and nobody knows who the parents of this child are. We don’t even know whether this child told them what happened (the cops stated that they were going to contact his parents, but do we believe them?) or remained quiet in fear of a counterattack, who knows?
Santa Ana citizens demand justice, tactfulness, and harmless strategies to treat cases like this. Even if nobody finds out the whereabouts of this child and his family, awareness and more training must be reinforced in order to avoid another situation of abuse of power and tactlessness like this. This cop is basically putting the child in chokehold. What about if it had worsened?
Cops exist to be an example of justice and crime-stopping [smart] strategists for our society, not to be a threat and intimidate each and every single citizen. Shameful!
Let’s promote more awareness and guide our children and pre-teens in a more strategic way, so that they can become exemplary citizens and amazing role models in our society. Excessive force and threatens worsen things even more.
Many viewers thought that this incompetent officer belonged to the Santa Ana Police Department. However, it’s actually a school policeman, which is a separate entity. In any case, Santa Ana Unified School District and Santa Ana Police Department: next time be pretty careful when picking your staff because the incompetence of others can pretty much ruin the reputation of your staff.
My dear readers: Feel free to post your comments and feedback (I don’t bite nor jump over you).
Have a wonderful day!