Police are playing Disney tunes to prevent videos of them on patrol from being posted online, California lawmaker claims

Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez said during a city council meeting Tuesday that he wants lawmakers to ban the alleged practice after a viral video from early April showed officers apparently blasting loud music on a residential street in Santa Ana while investigating a report late at night. of a stolen vehicle.

Disney songs, such as “You Have a Friend in Me” from Toy Story and “Bruno” from Encanto, can be heard in the video posted to Santa Ana Audits, a YouTube channel dedicated to filming interactions with the Santa Ana Police Department.

Videos posted to YouTube and other video hosting sites are often checked for possible copyright infringement and at risk of removal, reducing the extent to which the content, such as the interaction with the Santa Ana Police Department, can be shared online , is limited.

While YouTube has not received requests to remove the viral video, a company spokesperson tells CNN that they have a system in place that helps track copyright claims, but doesn’t automatically remove a video with copyrighted content.

The tactic of playing loud music comes as officers come under scrutiny after the rise of bystanders filming police activities. Incidents such as the death of George Floyd have emphasized the importance of recording these interactions and even prompted some groups to publish apps that help preserve video.

Hernandez told CNN that this was his first experience with the police playing loud music in his community, which he describes as a working-class neighborhood with many young children.

The unidentified person filming the video can be heard repeatedly asking officers to stop playing the music. About seven minutes into the 13-minute video, Hernandez comes into the picture and asks an officer if something is wrong.

While only parts of the conversation between the two can be heard, Hernandez tells CNN that the officer he was talking to told him he was playing the music in the hopes that if the video was posted online, it would be removed. due to copyright infringement.

“My people live here brother, please treat them with respect,” Hernandez says in the video. “There are children who have to go to school, there are people who work, and you have chosen to use our tax money to despise the man with your music. That is childish.”

After a brief conversation between the two, the officer tells Hernandez that he recognizes him as a city councilman and apologizes.

“This is my district. You’re not going to act like that in front of my neighbors,” Hernandez says, instructing the officer to also apologize to the person filming the interaction, and obey the officer.

“Now get back in your car and do your job properly,” he said, before the officer apologized again.

The two continue to talk and a few minutes later the video shows us shaking hands and saying goodbye.

“It’s pretty clear that this is a practice that we can’t condone, it’s an unethical practice, and as community members, especially government officials, it’s not something we can support as a city,” Hernandez said at the city council meeting. †

“There’s no reason to ever behave that way in front of the public, especially if you’re an officer with a badge and a gun,” he added.

The council decided to reconsider the subject after the city attorney prepared a formal proposal.

In an Instagram statement, the Santa Ana Police Department said the department is “aware of a video that has surfaced featuring one of our officers”.

“We are committed to serving our community and understand the concerns regarding the video,” the statement read.

“The Santa Ana Police Department takes all complaints seriously about the department’s service and the behavior of its employees. Our department is committed to conducting full, thorough and objective investigations.”

Police Chief David Valentin said he expects “all police officers to carry out their duties with dignity and respect in the community we have been hired to do”.

CNN has reached out to police and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association for further comment.

Both Hernandez and Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento told CNN they have spoken to the police chief about the matter. The chief quickly launched an investigation to address the concerns and next steps with the community, Sarmiento told CNN. He added that he is pleased that Hernandez was on the scene to deal with the matter, as otherwise the matter may never have been resolved.

“We have to hold ourselves accountable as a city and make sure it’s clear there’s no room for that kind of behavior,” Sarmiento told CNN.

Legislator shares its interaction with the police

Hernandez, who is a health worker for a mental health program, says he was concerned someone was having a mental health crisis and thought the police would try to use the music to calm them down.

But when he went outside, he found police parked in the street playing music as a man filmed them investigating a stolen vehicle, he said.

“I walked up to him and didn’t really understand what was happening, community members asked the police to turn off the music,” Hernandez said.

The councilor says CNN supports community members in filming the police.

“Nobody’s talking about how I’m a civil servant,” Hernandez said. “There are two officials in that video and I have no complaints about him filming me. If you do good and serve the people, you don’t have to worry about what is being filmed.”

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