Why I am not a fan of Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada.




I hate to be on the same side as the very destructive and greedy Anaheim Police Association on any question, even if it’s for totally different reasons.  And I worry about the pattern we see now with the police unions (or “associations” as they call themselves in these anti-union, knuckle-dragging towns – fuck ’em, I’ll call ’em unions.) in THREE of the OC’s 4 biggest cities, rising up against (or successfully having risen up against) their respective Chiefs – that’s Rojas in Santa Ana (already gone), Handy in Huntington Beach, and Quezada in Anaheim.  Underlying their lists of phony and real grievances, I believe, is a desire for more Federal money, which in these dark TRUMP days, would come with agreeing to have some or all of your officers double as ICE agents, enforcing the administration’s draconian immigration policies.  And all three of these Chiefs are associated with enlightened immigration policies – NOT letting their officers get involved in that sticky wicket for many good reasons expressed here.

But unlike in HB and SanTana, you don’t see a groundswell of reformists and advocates rushing to defend Quezada.  I’m sure the union here would prefer somebody worse, who would support even less accountability for their officers and co-operate with Trump’s outrages.  But I think Anaheim could do much better. 

Quezada has a record of dishonesty, and is basically a politician and PR man like his predecessor John Welter. He got his job over other probably more deserving candidates mainly because he’s Latino, and that’s not a good reason, and politicians from Brandman to Moreno still absurdly point to his race as a qualification.

He did agree to some modest reforms back in 2013, because he pretty much had to, but there hasn’t been anything since then, and there have been a lot of police killings and other abuse.

Early on he said some horrible things about Martin Hernandez, he cooperated as little as possible with the toothless “Public Safety Board,” and he has helped to cover up all the killings since. He rejected several good, common-sense reforms suggested by OIR head Michael Gennaco to reduce killings and casualties.

He’s also lied about the behavior of the Homeless Liaison Team and the Gang Unit, and had young Christian Dorscht arrested for daring to be assaulted by a crazed off-duty LA cop.

Back at the beginning of his tenure we were surprised to see him so friendly with then-APA leader Kerry Condon, which made us a little suspicious, but now Condon is gone, and the Quezada-union relationship has soured for whatever reason. As Duane Roberts proved, Raul lied about his force’s disastrous unpreparedness at the KKK rally, though I doubt the APA really cares about that. The APA may be correct about his cronyism and favoritism, and falsifying vacation records. Did he discipline some officers who now want revenge? We can’t know, due to the “Police Officers’ Bill of Rights.”

See, it took a LOT of disappointments for some of us reformers to lose our faith in the Great Brown Hope.

As I said the APA would most certainly like to replace Quezada with someone worse. And some reformers welcome that idea. It’s like what’s called the “Leninist” idea of revolution – let things get as bad as possible, and then there will be an inevitable glorious mass revolution, and everything will be perfect! Problem is, lives and freedom get lost while things are getting as bad as possible.

Of course the counter-argument to THAT is: When someone’s up there who people think is a reformer, a lot of those people get lazy and stop fighting for real reform. And then ALSO lives and freedoms get lost.

Long story short. I think Anaheim can do a lot better than Chief Quezada, and I hope we don’t get worse. Vern out.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.