Off-Duty SCPD Cop Draws Gun on Salvation Army Food Seeker
Friday Nov 29th, 2013 2:44 PM
Several witnesses at the Tuesday Salvation Army Thanksgiving Meal including the mother of the victim reported that Officer Hernandez assaulted Jasmine Byron by knocking a plate of food out of her hand, threatening her with his gun, and subsequently taunting her from his car. Hernandez’s stated objective: to stop Jasmine from trying to take a plate of food out the door after having she said she’d asked permission to do so.
“Officer Hernandez pulled a gun on my friend Jasmine and pointed it at her face at close range while volunteering off-duty at a Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal. Apparently this was super-necessary to prevent her from “stealing” a plate of leftover food, which he also knocked out of her hand, spilling the food all over the floor, the wall, even the ceiling. A few minutes later, Hernandez bragged and gloated about what he’d done. Her whole family is in shock and her mother has been having panic attacks since the incident.
Is this what people had in mind when “We Support Our Police” poster went up all over town when some cops were murdered earlier this year? Why was this man-boy wearing a gun to volunteer at a community event? Is the city or the legal system going to ANYTHING to reign in this loose cannon before he hurts someone again, perhaps more seriously next time? Or do cops get immunity to commit crimes (assault and battery in this case) in Santa Cruz, even when they’re not at work?”
MORE NOTES FROM NORSE
Jasmine and Shade Byron play sweet music on Pacific Avenue and at the Farmer’s Market in a group known as The Dirty Pines. This serious, public, and callous incident of assault and battery followed by harassment–if accurately described by witnesses–is likely to be covered up and rolled past. KSBW did interview Jasmine at the scene, but I’ve not heard that they’ve played it. Police declined to come though they were called.
When Jasmine and her mother went to the police station and reported the crime there, one of the interviewing officers with Officer Vasquez, whose spring sidewalk-smashing of Richard Hardy on video (http://www.santacruzsentinel.
In the hours and days that followed, Jasmine and her mother also stated they suffered post traumatic stress syndrome symptoms (headaches, panic attacks, inability to sleep, disorientation, irrational [rational?] fear of police, etc.]. A Salvation Army worker who witnessed the event reportedly broke down in tears.
Councilmember Micah Posner was twice advised about the situation but has not replied to my phone calls (831-227-4772) nor has Mayor Robinson, who also received word of the assault at the Thursday Civic Center Thanksgiving Meal (when she served me pumpkin pie). SC Patch police publicist Brad Kava was also informed, but I’ve not seen anything on SC Patch about the issue.
I circulated a flier (now updated and corrected) yesterday which I attach below. There is more discussion of the incident on the Citizens for a Positive Santa Cruz website at http://www.facebook.com/
My accounts come from those who were directly impacted by Hernandez’s behavior. I encourage others who witnessed this incident to post or contact me at 831-423-4833.
Friday Nov 29th, 2013 2:51 PM
When Hernandez demanded to search her, she refused–which, she suggests, he regarded as an intolerable threat to his authority, provoking what they describe as his violent behavior, the drawing of the gun, and the subsequent waving it in her face and shoving it in her back.
Jasmine and Shade go into more of these details on the audio file. They also noted that many people had plates of food outside, so even without explicit “permission” and that it was not an uncommon practice.