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|Restraining Orders Are Dropped for De La Torre and Hernandez|
|Written by By Diana Martinez | Editor|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 04:35|
De La Torre Still Faces Misdemeanor Charges
San Fernando City Councilmember Maribel De La Torre and former Councilmember Mario Hernandez appeared in court on Tuesday, July 24, to drop the restraining orders filed against the other. De La Torre showed up with her attorney.
This latest drama is another thread in the long string of scandals in the city brought on by the couple's public affair.
With little discussion and taking only a few short minutes, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon dismissed their mutual restraining orders.
The pair had obtained the orders against the other following a violent physical fight on June 28. Both alleged the other was the aggressor, however, De La Torre left the scene before police arrived while Hernandez had his injuries photographed and documented by the San Fernando Police officers.
Hernandez alleged that De La Torre attacked him and attempted to strangle him, and said she hated him and could kill him. De La Torre claimed that Hernandez had thrown her to the ground, causing her to be knocked unconscious momentarily.
De La Torre, upset that Hernandez was leaving for the weekend on a religious retreat, went to the house where he was renting a room, and demanded that he return an iPad that she had previously given to him as a gift, according to police documents. When he failed to produce the iPad she pulled a picture frame from the wall and threw it to ground, causing it to shatter. She also allegedly broke his laptop after throwing it to the floor.
While the restraining orders have been lifted, the District Attorney's office is still pursuing charges against De La Torre. She is charged with misdemeanor battery and vandalism, although Hernandez has said he wants the charges against her dropped. De La Torre is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, July 26, in the San Fernando courthouse.
Having Second Thoughts
Hernandez admitted during a council meeting last November that he was having an affair with De La Torre. His wife was in the council audience when he made the announcement.
Hernandez, having second thoughts, asked interim Police Chief Gil Carrillo to remove the police report but Carrillo refused. Hernandez told Carrillo that De La Torre was crying and begging him to recant the police report.
City Administrator Al Hernandez confirmed that Carrillo informed Mario Hernandez he could not remove the report once it had been filed and the report "would stand."
"Carrillo told him that after O.J. Simpson, the laws became stronger and police could not allow him to take it back." Al Hernandez said.
Carrillo was told that he was released from his six-month contract immediately after he refused to remove the police report. After the physical fight with De La Torre became public, Hernandez resigned from the council earlier this month, saying he hoped his departure "will help continue to heal the city."
When attempting to interview Hernandez, he told the (italics) San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol (italics end) he was now "a private citizen," and he would sue the newspaper and its publisher "for harassment."
However, he later called a news conference accusing the San Fernando Police Department of "bias," and later he contacted selected media through blind emails for a news conference criticizing the police investigation.
Sgt. Alvaro Castellon, boyfriend of Mayor Brenda Esqueda, openly attended the news conference while Esqueda was spotted by media as she sat in Hernandez' van. De La Torre and Esqueda have been targeted for a November recall election. Hernandez was also targeted prior to his resignation from the council. Residents tired of the negative attention and public scandals have asked them all to step down to spare the financially strapped city the cost of a recall election, but Esqueda has said that she "would not resign," and De La Torre said from the council dais that she "would not go down without a fight."
Latest Police Casualty
While Hernandez was told that police have an obligation to pursue cases of battery and domestic violence, Hernandez said San Fernando police pursued the case out of bias and has sent media outlets Facebook postings by Sgt. Kevin Glasgow in which he allegedly "liked" stories about the recall effort and wrote "elated" after charges were filed against De La Torre.
Although Hernandez is no longer a council member, following his claim last week Sgt. Glasgow was placed on administrative leave.
The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol attempted to reach Al Hernandez for comment but he did not returned calls. The city administrator oversees the police chief, which has been a point of contention for the police department.
The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol also left messages asking why Glasgow has been placed on administrative leave while Castellon has not been placed on administrative leave. Castellon is currently being investigated by the Sheriff's Department for allegedly threatening a police cadet, telling her she "could disappear."
The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol has attempted to interview Mayor Esqueda about this matter, but to date she has refused to comment.
The San Fernando Police Officers Association (POA) has openly supported the recall effort, and takes issue with Hernandez' claim of police bias, pointing out that it was Hernandez who called police, sought assistance, made a police report, and had his injuries photographed by police.
In addition to the council releasing Carrillo from his contract, San Fernando police veteran and interim police chief Lt. Jeff Eley was also placed on administrative leave several months ago following an allegation of "ticket fixing."
Critics of the council have been suspicious of the charge and the placement of a YouTube video accusing Eley of misconduct. Many POA members believe it was because Eley, like Carrillo, would not cooperate with the wishes of Hernandez, Esqueda and De La Torre that he was placed on leave pending the outcome of a investigation by the Sheriff's department.
For months, Hernandez, De La Torre and Esqueda have feuded with the POA and criticized it for participating in the recall effort.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 04:39|