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 labor movement has arrived at LA City Council District 13. 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/LIA00pB6O3
— Hugo Soto-Martínez (@HugoForCD13) December 12, 2022
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.”
In Echo Park lake with a 1000 of my closest friends. We are not going to stop until we defund the police, get rid of Jackie Lacey, and transform this society. #PeoplesBudgetLA #CareNotCops pic.twitter.com/TgIhy2dQG7
— Hugo Soto-Martínez (@HugoForCD13) June 13, 2020
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.”
Starting August 1st unemployment benefits will drop to 450 dollars a week in California. Given that economic hardship is the main reason people get thrown into the streets, this doesn’t look good. Another reason why we need to defund the police. #PeoplesBudgetLA #CareNotCops https://t.co/vaEtqSsfri
— Hugo Soto-Martínez (@HugoForCD13) June 12, 2020
We have empty hotels and Airbnbs while the homeless sleep in the street, millions are unemployed, AND cops kill POC with impunity. And to top it off @MayorOfLA proposes a budget that gives cops a raise while cutting city services!? Nobody should be shocked #peoplesbudgetla @BLMLA
— Hugo Soto-Martínez (@HugoForCD13) May 31, 2020
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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