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The Blame Game PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 19 July 2012 03:22

Former Councilman Mario Hernandez Attempts to Blame the San Fernando Police Department. As Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre Charged with Battery and Vandalism

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Mario Hernandez

Former Councilman Mario Hernandez has twisted and turned, now changing his mind about pressing charges against his girlfriend, Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre.

He appears to say one thing one minute, then does another.

Since resigning from his council position, Hernandez has told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that he's a private citizen, and told city administrator that he didn't like the media limelight and just wanted to left alone.

But, in a somewhat erratic manner he called for the limelight again, in a hastily called news conference Sunday. Through blind emails, selected media was directed to go to a Park and Ride location on Foothill and Paxton in Pacoima. It was an odd location to announce claims that he had pressured by San Fernando Police Department to take action against his girlfriend Maribel De La Torre, and said the police department had shown "bias".

What was also noticed, he drove up to the location with Mayor Brenda Esqueda in his van according to a reporter at the scene. Also in attendance was San Fernando police Sgt. Alvaro Castellon and Esqueda's sister.

Hernandez spoke erratically and refused to entertain reporter's questions after reading a lengthy statement. He motioned to paper's attached to the fence behind him. The papers were material that had been distributed to media months ago that was to supply evidence of San Fernando police corruption. But no media outlet took the bait as the material had no context. They were photos of a bulletin board titled "Wall of Shame," and very old photos of police Chief Jeff Eley at a baseball game. Mayor Esqueda at various occasions has criticized, including the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol for not publishing the documents.

Following Hernandez' claims of police "bias," an attorney representing the San Fernando Police Officers Association Tuesday, disputed the accusation that some of its members improperly handled the investigation of the domestic violence incident committed by a San Fernando City

Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre against Councilman Hernandez, with whom she was having an affair. Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre was charged Friday with a pair of misdemeanors stemming from the violent fight on June 28 with Hernandez. On July 10, Hernandez resigned his council seat.

At the news conference, Hernandez said that he wanted the matter dropped and accused an officer involved in the investigation of harboring bias against him and De la Torre.

San Fernando Sgt. Kevin Glasgow reportedly wrote comments about the case on Facebook, which to Hernandez, demonstrated the investigation had been compromised. Members of the police department pointed out that the written comment, "Elated" on the officer's facebook wall, simply expressed being pleased to "catch the bad guy."

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Sgt. Alvaro Castellon at Hernandez' press conference.

Hernandez' claim of "bias," prompted a response Tuesday from the police officers association.

"The members of the San Fernando Police Officers Association are deeply disappointed that former City Councilman Mario Hernandez, who is by his own reports an alleged victim of a serious domestic violence crime, has falsely accused members of our San Fernando Police Officers Association of showing bias in their investigation of the alleged domestic violence assault upon him by Councilmember Maribel De La Torre,'' association attorney Rob Wexler said in a statement.

"It is not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to recant their statements and protect the people who have assaulted them...''

De la Torre was free on $25,000 bail after being booked in San Fernando Friday on suspicion of battery and vandalism. The vandalism charge refers to damage to a laptop computer and a picture frame, according to the District Attorney's Office.

De la Torre and Hernandez took out restraining orders against one another in early July requiring each to remain at least 100 yards away from the other. The orders came in response to the physical confrontation June 28, when De La Torre went to Hernandez's home and according to his statement, choked him, hit him and told him that she wanted to f_____n kill him and threw his laptop computer breaking it as she threw it to the floor . According to statements filed in the pairs restraining orders, their fight was violently physical with both claiming the other was the aggressor.

Police took photos of his injuries.

Hernandez admitted during a council meeting in November that he had an affair with de la Torre. His wife was in the council audience when he made the announcement. He resigned from the council one week ago, saying he hoped his departure "will help continue to heal the city.''

De la Torre and San Fernando Mayor Brenda Esqueda, who is alleged to be having an affair with Sgt. Castellon , are the subject of a November recall election that has been backed by the police officers association.Sgt. Castellon and Mayor Esqueda were at an improptu news conference Sunday, called by Mario Hernandez at a park and ride in Pacoima. When asked by media why he called a news conference outside of the city of San Fernando, he shot back, "I'm a private citizen now, I can have it wherever I want.

"The facts remain indisputable,'' the police officers association statement reads. "Former Councilman Hernandez called police on the night of the incident, made a report of the incident, sought law enforcement assistance following the incident, and showed signs of injury."

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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 17:59
 






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