Things That Matter

The Arrest Of A Street Vendor By A California Police Officer Is Sparking Outrage On Social Media

A video of a police officer arresting a woman selling flowers outside of a high school graduation has recently gone viral on social media. The video shows a Latina woman being wrestled to the ground as the officer tries to restrain her. The video drew strong reactions from people who believe the police officer used too much force.

Here is the video of the street vendor arrest that has gone viral all over social media.

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight bac…

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight back in sheer numbers, then we will always suffer this kind of treatment.

Posted by Blacktivist on Monday, July 17, 2017

The arrest took place on June 6, 2017 outside of the graduation ceremony of Perris High School, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The woman was selling flowers and Hawaiian leis while people were leaving the ceremony and stuck in traffic because of the ceremony.

The viral video and an inquiry from the Press-Enterprise reporter prompted the Riverside Sheriff’s Office to release a full statement about the incident. People have flooded the police department’s Facebook page with messages to express their outrage at the treatment of the woman, who was later identified as Juanita Mendez-Medrano.

“This municipality is poorly represented by this police department. From the looks of it you will soon abandon this page because of all the criticism you are rightfully receiving,” wrote Pablo Otavalo. “Grabbing that woman by the hair in order to throw her to the ground is a disgusting display of power afforded to your officers only by a badge they tarnish with this behavior. Every abuse of power delegitimizes your work and is an insult to the whatever good officers you may have. This officer has shamed your department and shamed your community. People should be sure to let the Mayor know @MayorMichaelVargas.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the Perris Police Department, released a statement yesterday about the arrest. The statement directly addresses the viral video and criticizes the video for only showing part of the altercation and not what led up to the incident. According to the statement from the police department, Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors that were told to disperse because they did not have city permits to sell merchandise and were creating a safety hazard by going into the street to sell the drivers.

However, KTLA interviewed a man who was present during the incident and he disagreed with the claims by the officers. “A safety hazard… maybe if they were out in the streets, in the middle of he streets, but they were at the corner of a high school and the parking lot,” witness Jason Hernandez told KTLA. “They were not going up to cars directly.”


READ: A California Police Department Shut Down Street Vendors and “Bragged” about it on Twitter

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Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Culture

Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

The various lockdown orders across the country are forcing children to stay home during their birthdays. This also means that people aren’t able to come over the celebrate with them. One police officer in New Jersey is making what could be a sad time for the kids a time to remember.

Police officer Luis Vasquez is giving children in Fair Lawn, New Jersey a birthday to remember while in quarantine.

The Fair Lawn Police Department is joining other departments in performing birthday drive-bys. If you have a child ages 10 or younger, celebrating a birthday during this self-quarantine, please reach out to P.O. Luis Vasquez at lvasquez@fairlawnpd.com We will make every effort to set up a social distancing celebratory drive-by with lights and sirens! Hopefully, this will help make your child's day a little brighter like Javen in this video 💙 Happy Birthday Javen 🎈===========#flpd #ourcommunity

Posted by Fair Lawn Police Department on Monday, April 6, 2020

How awesome is that? It is clear that the children are really enjoying the special show of love and celebration for their birthdays. They might not be able to jump in a bouncy castle with their friends but they can still feel special with first responders giving them a special show.

The gesture is warming hearts all over in the comments section.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It truly does look so incredibly special. All of that special attention coming from the heroes children look up to is amazing.

Some people familiar with the police department are sending P.O. Vasquez some special love.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It is very sweet to know that one man in the department is making sure that children have memorable birthdays right now. It is clear that P.O. Vasquez is really looking after his community during some of the craziest times.

People are touched by how generous the police department is with their time in making everyone’s birthday better.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

This is a very generous and kind gesture to give to the community. There is no doubt a lot of people who are scared of everything happening in the world right now and having some special attention on your birthday must feel nice.

Happy birthday to every person spending their special day in quarantine. We love you.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Here’s What Is Going On With The LAPD Officer Who Filed A False Police Report

Things That Matter

Here’s What Is Going On With The LAPD Officer Who Filed A False Police Report

NYT / Twitter

At the beginning of 2019, Empire actor Jussie Smollett famously reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. About three weeks later, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report—it had been discovered that the attack was staged, and that Smollett himself had planned the whole thing. Although the charges against Smollett were dropped, he was all over headlines last year, earning a national reputation as a liar and ultimately being fired from his role on Empire.

In August of 2019, a similar situation arose within the Los Angeles Police Department, when a sheriff’s deputy falsely claimed that he was shot by a sniper outside the Lancaster police station. After days of searching for the alleged gunman, it became clear that Angel Reinosa had fabricated his story. He had not been shot, after all—instead, he had used a knife to create fake bullet wounds in his uniform, asserting that his bulletproof vest had saved his life.

“There were many things that didn’t add up,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener. No bullets had been recovered from the scene, and they had no leads on a suspect—they searched a nearby apartment building, assuming that the shooter was inside, but of course they found nothing.

But this didn’t exactly surprise investigators and colleagues, who were suspicious of Reinosa’s story from the very beginning. A number of sheriff’s officials told the LA Times that “his radio call about the incident was too calm even for a veteran, a hole in his shirt too big for the minor wound he claimed to have suffered.”

The LA Times also reported that by the end of the day that Reinosa made the report, the search for the suspected gunman had been halted. Homicide detectives, assisted by forensic experts, instead turned their attention to Reinosa. And by 9:30 PM, Reinosa’s involvement in the case was considered highly suspect. Not long after, he admitted to the police that he had fabricated the incident, though he didn’t reveal his motives for doing so.

In the case of Jussie Smollett, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference that the motive for feigning the hate crime was fiscal in nature. He claimed that “Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career, because he was dissatisfied with his salary.” Folks have speculated that Reinosa’s situation was rather similar—it had to do with a certain dissatisfaction at work.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said that sheriff’s officials had divulged details about Reinosa’s difficulties with his first year in the field. Typically, the first year constitutes a probationary training period that all deputies must complete before becoming deputies, and Reinosa was struggling to keep up.

“He was not advancing through the training program at an adequate pace,” Parris said. “There had been a lot of attention on him.”

And just a few days ago, Reinosa was taken into police custody when he was served an arrest warrant during a traffic stop. He was arrested for insurance fraud and for filing a false police report, and he was transferred to Los Angeles County Jail. His bail was set at $40,000, and unlike Smollett, Reinosa was not able to immediately settle his case with a payment.

Authorities say that the charges of insurance fraud are related to the workers comp claims Reinosa made after the incident. If he is convicted of these charges, he could face up to five and a half years in county jail.

As soon as authorities discovered that the shooting had been a hoax, they called an 11 PM press conference to address the situation. In an interview, Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed the desire to ensure that Reinosa’s actions were met with what they deemed the appropriate legal response.

“We are all appalled and disappointed. We took the deputy at his word at first,” Villanueva said. “We intend to hold the individual responsible for breaking the law and most importantly for betraying the community.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by authorities in Smollett’s case, as well as Smollett’s fellow Empire cast members. Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, referred to the “pain and anger and sadness and frustration” that he and his cast endured, adding that he and his team “really [didn’t] know how to deal with it.”

He also said that Empire “was made to bring America together” and to “talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets”—a message that was in direct contrast with Smollett’s actions.

The Lancaster sheriff’s website expressed a similar sense of disappointment, yet also emphasized the importance of community in situations like these:

“We are saddened by the outcome of the investigation, but are so grateful to our community for their cooperation on Wednesday and your ongoing support everyday. The actions of one individual are not indicative of who Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Deputies are.”