To the Aliso Viejo community:
In the past few days and weeks we have been inundated with news about the unlawful
and horrific killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubery. After some
time of personal retrospection, I have concluded that I can no longer be silent on the
issue of racism and police brutality that exists not just in this country, but also in the state
of California and in Orange County.
People across the world are angry and tired, and need change. Elected leaders, like myself,
must stand up against injustice and violence against the public.
As the Mayor Pro Tem of a small south Orange County City, Aliso Viejo, I am used to people
in my community assuming these issues don’t impact them. I often hear people indicate
that this racial turmoil exists in “other cities.” We forget that white supremist Craig
Tanber made racist remarks against Shyan Mazroei, an American of Iranian heritage, and
then followed Mr. Mazroei outside of Patsy’s Bar in the neighboring city of Laguna Niguel
and murdered him.
We ignore a recent video that surfaced on social media in which a young man leans out his
truck window in the Aliso Viejo Town Center, and screams racial slurs at a woman and
shouts “Get the [explicative] out of my country!”
We turn a blind eye to the fact that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s policies allow
for the use of the carotid control hold, more commonly known as a chokehold. To perform
this hold, an officer bends his or her arm around a subject’s neck, applying pressure on
either side of the windpipe- but not on the windpipe itself- to slow or stop the flow of blood
to the brain via the carotid arteries. This control hold is banned in many, many cities
because of the danger associated with it. San Diego just announced the ban of this control
hold, citing the dangers associated with it.
The peaceful public outcry over the past week is a beacon of hope. On June 2, 2020, I
attended a peaceful protest in Aliso Viejo. Approximately 200 residents joined the protest,
and peacefully demanded justice in Orange County and across the nation. As an elected
leader of this city, I am honored and moved by the fact that we had such an amazing and
But protests are just the beginning and it is up to elected officials to enact the changes these protesters demand. I join my fellow community leaders in calling for the establishment of a Civilian Oversight Commission for the Orange County Sheriff”s Department. Furthermore, we must demand an immediate revision to the Sheriff’s Department’s use of force policies to include the following policies:
- Require de-escalation — not just say this is a voluntary technique
- Require verbal warnings prior to using deadly force
- Require exhausting all other means prior to using deadly force
- Create a duty to intervene if another officer is using excessive force
- Require comprehensive and timely reporting
- Bank all choke and strangle holds, and
- Ban shooting at moving vehicles.
Instituting and strengthening these policies in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Use of Force Policies will not only keep our residents safer, it will help improve relationships between our police force and all members of our community.
The fire we feel under our feet right now does not have to destroy us or our communities, rather, it can and should bring us together and serve as a catalyst for change for the good of our cities, county, state and country.
I pledge to fight against racial injustices, to fight against police brutality, and to fight for equality for all.
Mayor Pro Tem Aliso Viejo