Things That Matter

A Military Veteran Called The Cops After Being Robbed And They Placed Him In An Involuntary Hold

Manuel Gutierrez is proud to have served five years in the U.S. Air Force. He never thought his service would make him vulnerable to assumptions of his sanity by responding police officers. Gutierrez filed a $1 million claim against the Covina Police Department Monday for just that reason. Gutierrez was driving home around 3 a.m. when another car began tailing him. As he pulled into the driveway, Gutierrez alleges that a trio of robbers held him at gunpoint and robbed him. Gutierrez called the police. When Gutierrez told responding Officer Vanessa Pineda that he was a veteran, she began to tell him that he hallucinated the robbery and put him on a 72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold, also known as a 5150.

“I was denied protection, humiliated, and stripped of my sense of security,” Gutierrez said during a press conference.

Credit: Jaime Gutierrez / Facebook

Gutierrez’s father woke up to his wife screaming, “Call 911!” The family woke up to the sound of Manuel screaming, and the screech of a car pulling out of the driveway. Gutierrez’s experience of being robbed at gunpoint is harrowing. He told ABC7 News, “That’s when he [the robber] told me ‘Give me everything you got.’ I told him ‘I don’t have anything. Get away from me, leave me alone.'”

Manuel Gutierrez said he was giving his account of the story, but that the tone shifted one he disclosed his status as a veteran. 

“Once I told her I was a veteran, she began self-diagnosing me with PTSD,” Gutierrez recalled. “I calmly told her I’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD.” Gutierrez served for five years in the Air Force but was never in a combat zone. Even though his family corroborated his story, and told officers that they saw a car pull away from their driveway, the young officer deemed his story unreliable. He was strapped onto a gurney and transported via ambulance to a psychiatric hospital.

“My rights were taken away from me. My voice was taken away from me,” Gutierrez told NBC News.

Gutierrez’s father ran to a neighbor’s house and retrieved footage of the robbery within an hour after his son’s hold.

Credit: _raquelgutierrez / Instagram

You can see two sets of headlights in the upper left-hand corner, which is just outside the Gutierrez home. He showed both police and hospital staff the video of the car following his son into their driveway and then speeding off, but it still took an additional 60 hours for his son to be released. That means that Manuel Gutierrez had to endure the traumatic experience of being robbed, being effectively gaslit by a responding police officer meant to protect him, and still had to spend nearly three days in a psychiatric facility against his will.

The Covina Police Department reports that Gutierrez was acting suspiciously, and was carrying a baseball bat.

Credit: _raquelgutierrez / Instagram

Gutierrez ran back into the house to grab a baseball bat, for fear the robbers would return. Manuel Gutierrez’s sister, Raquel, has been outspoken about the treatment of her brother and is demanding #JusticeforMannyG. In an Instagram post, she shared information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and learned that Officer Pineda is a new member of the Covina police force. She’s demanding an apology from Covina PD and Officer Pineda “for allowing an inexperienced rookie to take the freedom away from a Veteran.” 

According to code 5150, an officer can legally place someone on an involuntary hold “when a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled, a peace officer [or] professional person in charge.” In an audio recording posted on his family’s social media, Gutierrez tells his sister that he met with a psychiatrist for 5 minutes, and has been on a psych hold for 48 hours already. 

The family is suing the Covina PD for compromising Manuel Gutierrez’s civil rights.

Credit: _raquelgutierrez / Instagram

Raquel wants the public to “please share his story. This could have happened to anyone, please be aware of your rights and be safe!! Feel free to share on all platforms. These criminals are still at large. We must hold Covina PD and Officer Pineda responsible. Please help my family seek justice. #JUSTICEFORMANNYG”

The Gutierrez family is concerned that the robbers are still at large and terrorizing the community. The Covina Police Department has 45 days to respond before the lawsuit is filed.

READ: This Deported Veteran Has Returned To The US And Is Now An American Citizen

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

David McNew / Getty

A shooting that occurred over the weekend in Compton, California has sparked shock, alarm, and outrage.

The shooting occurred sometime around 7 p.m. on Saturday at MLK Transit Center in Compton. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the gunman made his way toward the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car and shot two deputies with a pistol without precedent.

One of the victims is a 31-year-old mother.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department tweeted surveillance footage of the shooting which also captured the gunman fleeing the scene.

According to reports, the gunman fired into the deputies’ car without pretext.

“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job, and actions and words have consequences. Our job does not get any easier because people do not like law enforcement,” Alex Villanueva, the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

According to Villanueva, both of the deputies (Claudia Apolinar a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man) were sworn in just 14 months ago and are in critical condition at the hospital. According to the sheriff’s department both are “fighting for their lives” but “it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

Apolinar and her partner were both shot at close range. Apolinar was shot in the face and torso and her partner sustained multiple gunshot wounds Seeing that he was in need of immediate medical treatment, Apolinar managed to make a tourniquet for him before medics arrived.

According to the New York Post, Apolinar is a former librarian who graduated from the academy last year.

“We’ll see what the long-term impact is. We don’t know that yet, but they survived the worst,” Villanueva explained.

Local officials have announced a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman and his whereabouts.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke out against the attack and condemned it in a statement calling “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

Speaking about the incident, Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “cowardly.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk to protect our community,” Schiff stated in a post shared to Twitter. “I hope the perpetrator of this cowardly attack can be quickly brought to justice.”

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Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

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Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Is it possible that you won’t be able to get an Uber or Lyft in California? Well, it’s actually very likely that your apps won’t work much longer. The two companies are threatening to go dark in the Golden State as the two fight back against AB5 – a state law that offers protections to gig economy workers.

Uber says that they’ll need to rethink their entire business model if forced to follow AB5, hence the likely shutdown. But many find it suspicious that the company will be shutting down through the November election, when voters will be asked to vote on Prop 22, a ballot measure that would exempt Lyft and Uber from the new regulations.

An Uber shutdown is looking more likely in California as the company plans its response to new state laws.

All the drama started when California (among some other states) started enacting ‘gig worker’ protection laws that were meant to force companies like Uber to reclassify drivers as employees. Currently, drivers are classified as ‘independent contractors’ and are not eligible to receive any benefits, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and overtime.

Uber moved to limit the impact of that law while also admitting that change was needed to better protect their drivers. Not too long after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi published an op-ed in The New York Times with the headline “Gig Workers Deserve Better,” a San Francisco judge ruled that Uber and Lyft had to reclassify their drivers as employees within 10 days.

In his ruling, Schulman wrote of Uber and Lyft, “It is high time that they face up to their responsibilities to their workers and to the public.” He rejected the argument that Uber and Lyft are simply technology companies, asserting “drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business.”

Two days later, Khosrowshahi responded with an ultimatum: If Uber had to abide by California labor law, it would require a business model change so extreme the entire company would have to pull out of the state until November. Which is convenient, since California has an initiative in the November election that would overturn much of the state’s gig economy law.

The shutdown would be used to fight back against a recent gig economy law that Uber says would eat away at profits.

Over the last five years, several states have enacted legislation against Uber and Lyft’s operating methods. The companies have come to rely on a tried and tested playbook: threaten to suspend service in the area. The threat, which the companies would sometimes follow through on, appeared designed to rile up customers and drivers, and put more pressure on lawmakers. And it often worked: look at Austin, TX.

Now, both Uber and Lyft say they are once again considering suspending service to get what they want. They say they may suspend their operations in California as soon as this week while simultaneously pushing for a referendum in November to exempt them from the law, known as AB-5.

Although the pandemic has reduced demand, a shutdown would largely impact Black and Brown communities.

Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Although the companies are planning on going dark in the next week or so, many industry experts don’t think the shutdown will have the impact they hope for. The pandemic has greatly reduced demand for ride sharing as people are staying at home and many more are working from home.

However, much like the pandemic itself, the shutdown would likely have an outsized impact on Black and Latino communities – two groups who have largely come to reply on the companies for commuting to and from work or school. Several studies have shown that Black and Brown workers make up the majority of ‘essential workers’ – so many don’t enjoy the privilege of working from home.

An Uber or Lyft shutdown would force many of these workers back on to buses and trains, further putting already impacted communities under increased risk for contagion of the virus.

The companies are betting on a November ballot initiative to help bail them out from new regulations.

Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Although a judge has tried to force the companies to follow the law – the legal system may not have the last word. Uber and Lyft are counting on California’s voters to help them circumvent AB5, which went into effect in January and makes it more difficult for companies to use independent contractors. Uber and Lyft built their respective businesses on the concept of using freelance drivers who aren’t eligible for traditional benefits like health insurance and paid leave. 

Earlier this year, the companies, along with DoorDash, raised nearly $100 million to place a question on the November ballot. They succeeded, and this fall, voters will be asked to permanently classify ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors. The measure, called Proposition 22, also directs the companies to adopt certain labor and wage policies that fall short of traditional employment.

To help build support, the companies are turning to their customers. Lyft has taken a very active approach with urging its customers to vote yes on Prop 22 – they’ve emailed them and added pro-Prop 22 messages to the app. Meanwhile, Uber is considering similar tactics to ones the company used in 2015 in New York, when the company added a pop-up feature in its app to troll the mayor of New York City and encourage the company’s customers to pressure him to back off on proposed legislation that could seriously hamper Uber’s growth efforts in the city. It worked, and Mayor Bill de Blasio relented.

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