The Public Forum . . . El Foro Público
Chula Vista’s New Chief of Police: David Bejarano
The recent appointment of David Bejarano, as Chula Vista’s (CV) Chief of Police (the first person of Mexican ancestry) is seen as a historical step, and has been greeted by many in our community as a “step in the right direction for CV.” On the other hand, for an organization that has been dealing with the issue of police brutality in SD County for the last 40 years, we will wait and see if newly appointed Chief Bejarano can change engrained attitudes and bankrupt policies of the CVPD, of San Diego County’s second largest city.
Recent lawsuits costing CV taxpayers $400,000.00… after CVPD officers beat and hospitalized an innocent young man, along with the filing last month of a 5 million dollar lawsuit, are to many and to us a clear manifestations, that CV has a deep community/police problem.
While the root causes of police brutality in CV are probably numerous, the major reasons in our opinion are:
1) Changing demographics in CV from a predominately majority Anglo community, to a city where the majority population (52%) is now persons of Mexican ancestry
2) Lack of political leadership from Mayor Cheryl Cox, City Council, and City Manager Jim Sandoval
3) CVPD remaining a predominately white police force, and
4) Silence, tacit endorsement and approval by “go along, get along” CV “Hispanic” organization(s) regarding CVPD misconduct and police brutality.
In dealing with police brutality issues, it was highly uncommon for complaints to be received by our organization of police misconduct and brutality from Chula Vista. However in recent years, complaints have increased drastically. The majority of complaints (excluding lawsuits) against the CVPD are usually of discourtesy and disrespectful treatment, racial profiling, unprofessional behavior of individual police officers calling employers of persons arrested to “get even,” and the impounding of vehicles held by towing company’s for 30 days, that individuals have to pay $1800.00 to retrieve.
Recently, our organization questioned Mayor Cheryl Cox, City Council, (they have yet to respond) what as elected representatives were they going to do to correct and changes retired ex-Chief of Police Emerson’s bankrupt police/community policies? The same question has now got to be asked of newly appointed Chief Bejarano?
In our opinion, if Chief Bejarano is going to have any success in bringing about needed changes to affect CV police/community relations, he is going to have to pursue (as a start) the following:
1) Replace the bankrupt policies that the CVPD is operating under,
2) Demand accountability from individual police officers patrolling the streets,
3) Change the past and current political relationships of the CVPD with mayor, city council and city manager,
4) Ignore, “go along, to get along” CV Hispanic organization(s) that have allowed themselves to be used as rubber stamp by the CVPD, concerning the issues of police misconduct, and police brutality.
It is obvious and apparent by the above that Chief Berjarano has inherited a complex problem, and has before him a gigantic task to bring needed changes to address and rectify the issues of misconduct and police brutality that is presently affecting police/ community relations in CV.
Herman Baca, President
Committee on Chicano Rights