Culture

A Police Department In California Is Suiting Up Its Officers In Charro Uniforms

With efforts to better connect with it’s largely Latino community, the Salinas Police Department is trying on a new look in the form of a charro suit. Robert Hernandez was one of several police officers that donned the traditional Mexican outfit at the California Rodeo Salinas back on July 16-19. But if Salinas police are looking for any signs that the outfits were a success, their Facebook page has since been flooded with community support and appreciation for the gesture. 

The charro outfits represent pride, tradition, and chivalry in Mexican culture. So for many in the Latino community, the suit went a long way in bridging a relationship with local law enforcement. 

Credit: @KRON4News / Twitter

This is the first year that police officers wore the charro outfit and helped patrol the rodeo, which is the largest event in the mostly agricultural city. Police Chief Adele Fresé said that by having officers put on the charro suit she hopes many in the community see themselves when they interact with authorities. 

These efforts are emboldened by recent tensions between police and communities of color across the United States and President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Salinas, where more than three-quarters of residents are Latino, has had its share of tensions between residents and police. Back in 2014, major demonstrations erupted when police shot and killed four Latino men. All of the officers involved in the incident would eventually be cleared of any crime. The shootings proved to be a sour moment between community and police officers as many pointed to the case as an example of the excessive force and prejudice in the department.    

“We’re going to recognize, by wearing this charro suit, we’re validating our community’s heritage and culture,” Fresé told the Californian. And we’re going to demonstrate that we value the rich history of the people we’re sworn to protect and serve.”

One officer wasn’t too sure how to feel about putting on the outfit at first. But after seeing a positive reaction from the community, he knew it was the right choice. 

Credit: @mentalammo / Twitter

When Officer Hernandez’s parents went to see their son on duty at the rodeo, they were shocked. He didn’t have his usual black police outfit on and a giant sombrero had replaced his regular cap. Hernandez’s parents were in tears after seeing him in the charro outfit. 

“When they came here, that was for me and my siblings to have a better future and have a better success than they were in Mexico,” Hernandez told the Californian in regards to his parents. “For me to represent that, it was an honor not only for them but me as well.”

But for Hernandez, donning the traditional outfit wasn’t an easy choice. He told the LA Times he was a bit worried at first at what some people’s reaction might be to the new look. 

“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous,” Hernandez said about putting the charro outfit on at the rodeo. “We didn’t want to offend anybody.”

When he saw men, women, and children lining up to take photos with him, he knew how special the gesture meant to the community. Hernandez also realized that many community members aren’t able to return to their birthplaces and families because of their legal status. So the charro outfit in many ways reminded them of home. 

“Our main goal is to get involved and build a relationship with the community,” Hernandez said. “This is so they feel right at home more finally, and go right from there.”

The Salinas Police Department already has plans to have officers don the outfit at another event in September. 

Credit: @mmcphate / Twitter

With the positive reaction the police department has received in the community and on social media, there is plans to bring back the charro suit in September. Hernandez is expected to wear the blue outfit once more at a Mexican Independence Day event called “El Grito” on Sept 16.

While the charro suit was donated to Salinas resident Ricky Cabrera’s late father, Alfonso, who was a charro himself, the department plans to return it. The plan is to hopefully receive donations for two new outfits, one for both male and female officers for next year’s rodeo. 

The police department feels that the outfit is the first step in the right direction when it comes to rebuilding community trust. Fresé hopes people see these efforts for what they are and can start a longer conversation between police and local residents. 

“Pretty much most of my life has been in the Hispanic community, and I have a good grasp of our culture and what people appreciate,” Fresé told the LA Times. “I do believe there’s a hunger for validation. I hoped the community would understand this is not a novelty.”

READ: An Autopsy Reveals Harrowing New Details About A Guatemalan Teen Who Died In Border Patrol Custody

Man Buys Pepper Spray For Street Vendors To Protect Themselves During Rash Of Attacks On Street Vendors

Things That Matter

Man Buys Pepper Spray For Street Vendors To Protect Themselves During Rash Of Attacks On Street Vendors

tatz909 / Instagram

We have all seen the multiple videos of street vendors being attacked. Some have lost a day’s wages, some lost their equipment, and at least one street vendor died in an attack. One man decided to step up and bought pepper spray to give to street vendors to protect themselves.

Instagram user @tatz909 bought a lot of pepper spray in Los Angeles to help the street vending community.

In recent weeks, we have seen an increased level of violence against street vendors. The neighborhood street vendors in cities across the country are being attacked, in broad daylight, while trying to provide for their families during this pandemic. That’s why @tatz909 took it upon himself to buy as much pepper spray as he could to give to street vendors to protect themselves.

“This is for you to protect yourself,” the man can be heard telling street vendors off-camera. Their gratitude for the seemingly small gesture is so evident in their emotional replies.

According to a tweet, the man takes donations to do this and is looking to do it again.

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Giving out free pepper sprays to all street vendors

A post shared by Tatz (@tatz909) on

The recent attacks on street vendors have been startling. One assault in Long Beach took place in the middle of the day and two young men physically assaulted a man in his 70s for his daily wages and equipment. The assaults have been broadcast all over social media and people are demanding something be done to protect the street vendors.

This is the heartwarming content we are all desperate to see right now.

This is so wholesome and wonderful. There is something special about how the Latino community looks out for its own. There is a solidarity in the Latino community when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable of our society.

The reactions from the street vendors are very touching with some really breaking people’s hearts.

The woman at the end is exceptionally heartbreaking. She is so thankful to the man for providing her with the pepper spray she has wanted for a long time to feel safe. What a special moment.

Thank you, compa!

You are doing the important work to make sure our community is strong and protected. Everyone should take a moment to thank this man.

READ: Police Are Looking For Two People Who Attacked An Elotero In Long Beach

Naya Rivera Missing, Presumed Dead While Boating With Young Son

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Naya Rivera Missing, Presumed Dead While Boating With Young Son

Gregg Deguire / Getty Images

“Glee” star Naya Rivera is presumed dead after going missing in southern California. The actress was on a boat in Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son when she went missing July 8 in Ventura County.

Authorities are searching for Naya Rivera after going missing.

Naya Rivera is presumed dead after her young son was found alone in a boat in Lake Piru. The lake is in Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. Rivera’s son was found asleep on the boat three hours after Rivera rented the boat for the mother-son outing. According to officials, the son said that he and Rivera went for a swim and that she didn’t get back on the boat. CNN reports that the child was wearing a life vest while an adult life vest was found on the boat.

The search was paused overnight between Wednesday and Thursday and resumed as a recovery mission.

Fans do not think that Ventura County Sheriff’s are doing enough in the search for the actress. Emotions are high as fans share their grief and shock at Rivera’s sudden disappearance. According to Deputy Chris Dyer, the water where the boat was found is about 40 feet deep and that wind is a big factor in that part of the lake.

Authorities have classified the search as a recovery in a signal that they believe Rivera to be dead.

A recovery mission means that authorities are looking to recover a body from the lake. The news has devastated Rivera’s friends and family who want her brought home safe. Her son is reportedly doing well and is with relatives as authorities search for his mother in the lake.

Celebrities are sending messages hoping for Rivera to be alive.

Rivera wrote a memoir titled “Sorry, Not Sorry,” which gives an intimate look into her life during and after “Glee.” The actress was open and honest in her memoir bringing up some of the darkest and toughest times she endured and how it shaped her in the years that followed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rivera’s loved ones.

This story is developing. mitú will report updates as they become available.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Memoir Talks About Abortion And Anorexia