copyright Bilingual Weekly
According to the Stockton Police Department Values and Ethics statements, its officers’ integrity include “being responsible for our actions, willing to admit mistakes, and ensuring that our behavior builds credibility. It is being unbiased, respecting individual, as well as community diversity while maintaining public trust.”
Not in Stockton, says a group of over 60 people who gathered on the evening of Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at a community townhall meeting called by the Social Justice Coalition of Stockton, Modesto and Sacramento and dubbed “Who Polices the Police?” The event was hosted at the Nation of Islam Hall, downtown Stockton .
Speakers spoke of their experiences dealing with Police in different parts of the Central Valley , where the common denominator was an alleged downright authority abuse. The most poignant testimony came from the parents of Joe Pinasco, a 21-year old killed on August 2008 by two California Highway Patrol officers responding to an illegal street race a few miles southeast of Stockton . Pinasco Sr. denounced a police cover-up of murder, describing how witnesses saw how their son was killed without ever threatening the officers, and how no judge or district attorney would take a case against law enforcement.
Samuel Nuñez, director of c and one of the coordinators defended the forum where no law enforcement representative was invited. “This is not a forum to accuse or to demand (from police authorities),” said Nuñez, “but a first step to draw a plan on what to do next.”
Former Mayor candidate and War Veteran Motecozuma Sanchez, one of the speakers, also discounted the notion they wanted to rid their neighborhoods of policing: “we merely want them to live by their own Values and Ethics,” he concluded.