By Herman Baca, President
Committee on Chicano Rights
Police brutality, a historical nightmare for persons of Mexican ancestry in the U.S. has become, due to the immigration and terror issues, “open season” for police to violate our peoples’ rights. The issue has now raised its ugly head in Chula Vista (CV).
Case in point November 17, 2007:
· A high school senior, Christian Morales was stopped in the driveway of his home after being “mistaken” by a Chula Vista Police Officer Moises Rodriguez as a trailer thief,
· Morales said he did nothing wrong and tried to follow Rodriguez’s orders. He said when he opened the driver’s door to get out Rodriguez threatened him with a taser, jerked him from the pickup and handcuffed him. Morales was beaten unconscious by Rodriguez in front of his mother, suffered a concession, a sprained back, and had to use a cane for months,
· CV police officer Rodriguez then pointed the taser gun at Morales’ mother for attempting to defend her son,
· CV Assistant City Attorney, Bart Manfied declined to provide police reports to Morales’ attorney as noted in the court filings, and
· Morales was NOT ARRESTED or CHARGED with any crime by CV Officers!
July 29, 2008:
· “Morales amended the lawsuit in March, alleging that four Chula Vista police officers had stalked and harassed him in January because of the litigation.”
· “Chula Vista agreed to pay (Morales) $400,000.”
· Morales’ attorney, Peter L. Garchie said “Rodriguez remains employed as a Chula Vista police officer.”
The CCR as an organization that has dealt with police brutality issues for over forty years notes that it used to be a rare occurrence that police brutality cases from Chula Vista were received or appeared in the news media. With published reports that this is obviously no longer the case. While I am certain that there are probably numerous causes for the increase of brutality cases in CV, my opinion is that the increase can be attributed to the following factors,
1. The changing demographics (from Anglo to Mexican) taking place in C.V.
2. The political structure, Mayor Cheryl Cox and the City Council turning a blind eye that results in condoning police brutality.
3. The Hispanic City Councilpersons (especially Councilman Rudy Ramirez) along with local CV Hispanic organizations (who were informed of the incident on November, 2007) doing little, anything, or NOTHING about the issue!
As stated in my correspondence to City councilman Rudy Ramirez when the Morales case was first reported and the President of a CV social organization, “what has been reported is a classic case of police brutality, carried out under the color of authority and, reminiscent of the treatment of Mexicans in Texas by the Texas Rangers, and of Afro-Americans in the antebellum South.
Because of their failure to investigate past and present police misconduct cases this in fact represents a de facto approval of police misconduct.
In our opinion, the Morales case is a blatant criminal assault by Officer Rodriguez, a clear issue of civil rights violations, and an act of terrorism under the color of authority by the four CVPD officers who STALKED and HARRASED Morales.
The community will wait to see what actions Mayor Cox and the City Council take to end the misconduct within the CVPD!
Police brutality is on the rise, not only in CV but other communities in SD County. In North County racial profiling, vehicle checkpoints inspections are carried out daily against Mexicans. In National City (NC) young Chicanos and Afro-Americans are stopped daily (most for traffic stops) and humiliated by being forced to sit on public sidewalks, like Viet Cong prisoner. A Pastor, his father and son had guns (12-21-07) pointed at them, and even paleteros (ice cream cart vendors) are being stopped by the NCPD?
So the question remains, what are our communities and organizations going to do to put an end to police brutality?
In closing, remember the injured young man (Morales) could have been our brother, son, and his threaten (Morales) mother, our mothers. What was reported could, and will happen to anyone, if we remain silent!