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Police Sgt. Alvaro Castellon Placed On Administrative Leave PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 11 October 2012 05:04

Police Officers Association Endorses Recall Council Candidates

After more than a year of controversy, San Fernando Police Sgt. Alvaro Castellon has been placed on administrative leave. Acting Chief Roberts Parks confirmed the action was taken and Castellon was placed on leave on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Castellon has been at the epicenter of controversy for the role he has played in the city's turmoils including the case of former SFPD cadet Maria Barajas who claimed he told her she "could disappear," and numerous other incidents. Castellon was named in the lawsuit brought by Barajas against the city.

Residents who support the recall have complained that Castellon has improperly used his authority as a police officer in the community and has videotaped them at council meetings in an attempt to intimidate them.

According to police sources, there have been numerous complaints brought against Castellon including a reported investigation currently being conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Castellon has been accused of overstepping his bounds as an officer on many occasions and to have improperly attempted to come to the aide of Mayor Brenda Esqueda during a traffic accident.

The latest complaint came last week, when recall council candidate Jesse Avila reported to police that Castellon and Esqueda stalked him and videotaped him.

Previous attempts by superior officers to place Castellon on administrative leave were thwarted by Mayor Brenda Esqueda, who has been involved in an extramarital affair with the officer. Esqueda has also been strongly criticized for voting on sensitive police matters although she has had a conflict of interest because of her "personal" relationship with the officer. Parks told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that he could not provide more information.

City Administrator Al Hernandez told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that he was not sure when asked whether Castellon could continue to campaign door-to-door with Esqueda as she tries to fight the recall effort to remove her from office.

"He cannot go into police headquarters without an escort, and he had to surrender his gun and badge. He also has to call in [to the police department] because he is now on a paid administrative leave," said Hernandez.

One San Fernando police officer, who asked not to be identified, said a weight was lifted at the police department when it was learned that Castellon was placed on leave.

"There had been so much interference from city hall, I give a lot of credit to Parks, for placing Castellon on leave," the officer said. The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol contacted Castellon however, he refuses to comment.

Police Officers Association Makes Endorsements

The San Fernando Police Officers Association (POA) announced Tuesday, Oct. 5, that the organization has voted to endorse Jesse Avila, Joel Fajardo and Gilbert Berriozabal.

"It was a difficult decision," said POA President Irwin Rosenberg. "I believe with these candidates we'll have transparency and integrity restored in the council chambers. The POA conducted a closed forum and invited their membership to participate.

"We discussed it as a body and we had open discussion among our members and voted. We felt all of the candidates were supportive of our police department and all of the candidates had both pros and cons but the candidates we selected had the most straightforward answers and were the best at this time."

Candidates Running on Nov. 6 For Possible Recalled Council Seats

Running for Mayor Brenda Esqueda's seat are: Jesse H. Avila, Victoria S. Mojica。

Runing for Councilmember Maribel De La Torre's seat are: Joel Fajardo, Renato Lira, Luis A. Lopez, Danitza Pantoja。

Running for former council member Mario Hernandez's seat are: Gilbert Berriozabal, Robert C. Gonzales, Bennie Najar Jr.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 05:07