A California lawmaker said police in Santa Ana played loud, copyrighted music so a video of them patrolling could be taken down if it were posted online.
Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez said at a City Council meeting Tuesday that he wants lawmakers to ban the alleged conduct after a video went viral from early April showing officers appearing to have music on. on a residential street in Santa Ana while investigating reports of a stolen vehicle late at night. . Hernandez is seen in the video interacting with an officer from the Santa Ana Police Department, after another asked the officer to stop playing music.
Disney songs, such as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto”, can be heard in the video posted to Santa Ana. Audits, a YouTube channel dedicated to interactive filming with the Santa Ana Police.
Videos posted to YouTube and other video hosting sites are often tracked for possible copyright infringement and are at risk of being removed, which limits the extent to which the content can be shared online, such as engagement. of the Santa Ana police.
While YouTube hasn’t received any requests to remove viral videos, a company spokesperson told CNN it has a system in place to help track copyright claims, but doesn’t automatically remove videos containing content. copyrighted content.
The loud music tactic came about when officers were under surveillance following an increase in bystanders filming police activity. Incidents like the death of George Floyd have underscored the importance of recording these interactions and have even prompted some groups to publish apps that help preserve video.
Hernandez told CNN it was his first experience with police playing loud music in his community, which he describes as a working-class neighborhood filled with young children.
The videographer, who has not been identified, can be heard repeatedly asking officers to stop playing music. About seven minutes into the 13-minute video, Hernandez stepped into the frame and asked an officer what was wrong.
Although only part of the conversation between the two could be heard, Hernandez told CNN the official he works with told him he was playing music in the hope that, if the video was posted, online, it will be taken down for copyright infringement.
“My people live here, brothers, treat them with respect,” Hernandez said in the video. “There are kids who need to go to school, there are people who are working, and you’ve chosen to use our taxpayer dollars to disrespect the man with your music. That’s childish.”
After a brief conversation between the two, the officer told Hernandez that he accepted him as a city council member and apologized.
“This is my county. You wouldn’t behave like that in front of my neighbors,” Hernandez said, and the police guide also apologized to the man who filmed the interaction and the officer obeyed.
“Now get back in the car and do your job properly,” he said, before the officer apologized again.
The two continued to exchange words and a few minutes later, they were seen in the video shaking hands and parting.
“Clearly this is behavior that we cannot tolerate, it is unethical behavior, and as members of the community, especially as a community,” Hernandez said at the City Council meeting. civil servants, that’s not something we can support as a city. .
“There’s no reason to behave this way with members of the public, especially if you’re an officer with a badge and a gun,” he added.
The council decided to revisit the topic after the city attorney drafted a formal proposal.
In a statement on Instagram, Santa Ana police said the department is “aware of a video that has emerged involving one of our officers.”
“We are committed to serving our community, and we understand the concerns regarding video,” the statement read.
“The Santa Ana Police Department takes all complaints seriously regarding the services provided by the Department and the conduct of its employees. Our department is committed to conducting full, thorough investigations and objective.”
Sheriff David Valentin said he hopes that “all police department employees carry out their duties with dignity and respect in the communities we are hired to serve.”
CNN has reached out to the police department and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association for further comment.
Both Hernandez and Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento told CNN they spoke with the sheriff about the matter. The chief opened a prompt investigation to address concerns and next steps with the community, Sarmiento told CNN. He added that he’s glad Hernandez was on the scene to deal with the problem, as otherwise the issue may never have been resolved.
“We have to see ourselves as an accountable city and make it clear that there’s no room for that kind of behavior,” Sarmiento told CNN.
LAWYERS SHARE HIS INTERACTIONS WITH THE POLICE
Hernandez, a community health worker for a mental health program, said he was concerned that someone was having a mental health crisis and thought police might be trying to use music to calm them down. security them.
But when he got out, he saw policemen parked in the street, playing music while a man was filming as they were investigating a stolen car, he said.
“I walked up to him and I didn’t understand what happened, community members were asking the police to turn off the music,” Hernandez said.
The councilor told CNN in support of members of the community filming the police.
“Nobody talked about me being a government official,” Hernandez said. “There are two civil servants in that video and I have no complaints about him filming me. If you’re doing a good job and serving the people, then don’t worry about what’s being filmed.”