‘Defund the Police’ Councilman Takes Heat After Staffer Reportedly Asks LAPD for ‘Extra Patrol’ to Guard Car

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez (district 13) at the Los An
Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Radical progressive Los Angeles City Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez – a vocal supporter of the “Defund the Police” movement – is facing criticism after one of his staffers reportedly requested the Los Angeles Police Dept.  (LAPD) Wednesday night to increase patrols to protect his car.

The LAPD received a request from Soto-Martinez’s office on Wednesday to patrol the area around a white Lexus that had broken down, FOX LA reported, and, apparently, police believed it belonged to the councilman. 

An image shared by the popular Instagram account @streetpeopleoflosangeles and published in Los Angeles Magazine appeared to show an officer’s mobile computer screen featuring instructions that read in part, “EXTRA PATROL THOROUGHT NIGHT FOR PARKED WHITE LEXUS BELONGING TO COUNCILMEMBER. VEH BROKE DOWN.”

“By Friday, the image had migrated to Instagram and Twitter, where it became ammunition for Soto-Martinez’s enemies in L.A.’s never ending culture wars,” the L.A. Magazine’s Jason McGahan wrote. 

Soto-Martinez’s deputy communications director Nick Barnes issued a statement to the publication, reading: 

It’s come to our attention that a deputy staffer has had some contact with the LAPD regarding his personal vehicle. We are investigating this matter internally and will be taking appropriate action…Council member Soto-Martinez is very upset, as this does not reflect the values of transparency, responsible governance, and being accountable to the community that elected him.

The staffer has been identified as David Mai, per Fox LA, and he appeared in the station’s broadcast driving the Lexus. In a tweet from December 12, Soto-Martinez, who represents District 13, shows that he drives a Prius.

The office’s request provoked accusations of hypocrisy in light of Soto-Martinez’s past remarks about law enforcement. Weeks after the death of George Floyd in May 2020, the councilman tweeted an image of a protest, writing, “We are not going to stop until we defund the police.”

Additionally, Soto-Martinez, who the L.A. Times notes is a former “elected leader of the L.A. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America” has tweeted that the “LAPD has killed hundreds” and has also tweeted “cops kill POC [people of color] with impunity.” 

Moreover, on a city council queestioniare, Soto-Martinez checked a box identifying himself as a police and prison abolitionist, according to Fox LA. 

“Police officers have so much more to do than to go and do X patrol on anyone’s vehicle,” Sgt. Jerretta Sandos, vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) said in an interview with FOX LA. “When you are anti-police, abolish the police… then why are you calling for help?” 


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