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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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Things That Matter

California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Brent Stirton / Getty Images

The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

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After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

The Washington Post / Getty

Last week, after President Donald Trump incited riots and terrorism at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. the tenth chief of the United States Capitol Polic, Steven Sund, submitted his letter of resignation. His resignation came hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned his reaction to the violent insurrection at the capitol and called for his termination. During a press conference, Pelosi expressed her disbelief at Sund’s failure to “even” make a call during the breach. Speaking about his lack of action, Pelosi said “There was a failure of leadership at the top of the Capitol Police,” referring to Sund.

At the time of his resignation, Sund informed members of the Capitol Police Board that his resignation will begin on Jan. 16. Now, to fill his place, the U.S. Capitol Police have appointed a Black woman as the department’s acting chief .

Two days after the riots at the Capitol, Yogananda Pittman was named the acting chief on the U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) website

Pittman joined the department in 2001 and is the first woman and first Black person to lead the organization. According to NPR, Pittman “as been with the force since April 2001 and was named acting chief on Friday, according to the U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) website. That came two days after pro-Trump extremists faced off and eventually overwhelmed security forces at the U.S. Capitol complex.”

Pittman’s career at USCP has been described as “distinguished.”

In 2012, she became one of the first Black female supervisors to rise to the rank of captain. NPR notes that “in that role, she oversaw more than 400 officers and civilians and was an integral part of the security planning for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration the following year, according to her biography… Her first assignment with the USPC was in the Senate Division, where she was assigned to provide “security and protective details for U.S. Senators and visiting dignitaries.”

Last October, Pittman was recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Women in Federal Law Enforcement’s Outstanding Advocate for Women in Federal Law Enforcement award.

“It is very important for young female law enforcement officers to see someone who looks like them in leadership positions,” Pittman said in a statement in response to her award. “It says to them that these positions are obtainable and available to them.”

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