While browsing social media this past week, I came across an eight-minute video, showing the arrest of three individuals in Valencia. It seems, when our local deputies were looking for a stolen Tesla, they spotted another vehicle on their “hot sheet.”
“The vehicle (a Camaro) was reported as stolen to the Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 22, according to Natalie Arriaga, public information officer for the SCV Sheriff’s Station” (The Signal, Dec. 27).
The scene opens with a sheriff’s deputy taking refuge behind his police cruiser right front door, while holding a rifle on a subject inside a Camaro. The driver had his hands in plain sight, and out of the side window. At this point the deputy puts his rifle down and draws his service pistol instead.
Two additional sheriff units arrive, with one deputy taking up a position on the right of the original cruiser and one deputy on the left side. The Camaro driver is told to exit his vehicle, which he does, follows the deputy’s instructions, and ends up on his knees with his hands on his head. The Camaro driver was then handcuffed without incident and taken into custody.
All three deputies are now on the right side of the cruiser, with handguns at the ready. A deputy sheriff with the rank of corporal arrives, takes a “less-than-lethal weapon” out of his vehicle, and joins the other three.
Suddenly, a woman (the mother of the juvenile in the passenger’s seat) and a younger woman come out of a nearby house and start shouting orders. Officers tell them to please get back in the house, multiple times, but they do not comply. Then, a sergeant arrives on the scene.
After a short time, a juvenile exits the Camaro from the passenger’s seat. He looks confused, trying to decide if he should follow the deputy’s instructions, or listen to Mom and run into the house. Fortunately, he did the smart thing, and even though he was running his mouth the entire time and challenging the deputies for a one-on-one confrontation, he followed directions, ended up on his knees and was handcuffed without incident and taken into custody. The last juvenile is then shown coming out of the Camaro. He also followed instructions and then, with hands on his head, he is handcuffed and taken into custody without incident.
But for the entire time the Mom was on the scene, see was interfering with the arrest, screaming and swearing at the officers. After the situation was secure, the sergeant attempted to talk with the irate woman, which did not slow the stream of four-letter words coming out of her mouth. The sergeant was very businesslike and polite. All the deputies kept their cool and their demeanor was very professional.
“The driver of a Chevy Camaro was arrested by deputies on suspicion of driving a stolen and embezzled vehicle, while one of the minors was arrested on suspicion of possession of a weapon, according to Deputy Eric Ortiz with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau. Ortiz added the second minor was detained but later released to a parent or guardian” (The Signal, Dec. 27).
It is hard to comprehend what the irate mother was thinking. Did she believe her son could just tell the sheriffs, “Time out, I do not want to play any longer,” and be able to run into the house? Did she think her house provided some sort of sanctuary?
Sheriff’s deputies are not psychic. They did not know who was in the car, and if the occupants had any weapons with them. Everything the irate mom did had the potential of escalating the situation, which could have ended tragically. As it turned out, we can thank the professionalism of the deputies involved — no one was hurt, shot, or killed.
The Facebook Keyboard Cowboys implied the situation would not have occurred if the occupants would have been “white.” I do not doubt people of color have, at times, been subject to unfair treatment, but realize, our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies come in all colors, and I do not believe our deputies use such racial discriminatory methods.
All parents, of every ethnicity, worry about their children’s safety, so let me relay the message I provided for my two boys. If you see red lights in your rear-view mirror, slow down, put on your right turn signal, pull over to the side of the road. Use your power windows and roll down the driver and passenger window. If it is at night, turn on your dome lights. If you are driving, place your hands on the top of the steering wheel. If you are a passenger put your hands in a location that is highly visible.
As the officer approaches your vehicle, he will have his “game face” on. He does not know you, and it is not the time for jokes or wise remarks. The officer will be businesslike and polite. Answer his questions in a like manner. If he asks to see something, which you need to get out of your pocket, glove box, or somewhere else, tell the officer what you intend to do, and ask if it is OK. Follow the officer’s directions, keep your mouth shut, and if something improper occurs, we will handle it after you get home.
This video showed our sheriff’s deputies under needless stress because of the bystanders’ actions. Everyone left the area without injury because of the professional way our sheriff team handled themselves. It is a time to show our appreciation for a job well done, and provide our SCV sheriff’s deputies credit, because credit is due.
Alan Ferdman is a Santa Clarita resident and a member of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee board.