To Protect and Slur
Harald Martin's worst enemy may not be illegal immigrants but his own mouth.
The Weekly has learned that the Anaheim police patrolman—who doubles as an Anaheim school board member and triples as a relentless anti-immigrant activist—is being investigated by his department's Internal Affairs Division for comments that could be seen as evidence of insubordination.
The investigation follows a Jan. 4 complaint filed by Amin David, chairman of the Anaheim-based community group Los Amigos of Orange County. In the complaint, David commends Anaheim Police Chief Roger Baker for his decision last year to allow police officers to accept Mexican consulate ID cards during routine field stops. Martin's public criticism of that policy in a Nov. 28, 2001, speech is the basis for David's complaint.
"Officer Martin's views, expressed under the 'color of authority' and in opposition to Chief Baker's orders, diminish the chief's authority in the public's eye and may, in fact, amount to insubordination," the complaint states. "Additionally, we feel that Officer Martin's rhetoric may well lead to hate crimes and lawlessness on the part of others."
Attached to David's two-page letter is a Weekly story ("God Loves Losers," Dec. 7, 2001), which quotes Martin's speech at a meeting of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR), which co-sponsored Proposition 187, the controversial 1994 state initiative denying public services to illegal immigrants.
Besides outlining his plan to get the U.S. Congress to pass a law deputizing all local police officers as federal immigration agents, Martin blasted Baker's decision to accept the Mexican consulate ID cards, calling it "a slap in the face and a spit in the eye to every citizen and legal resident here."
Perhaps of special interest to Internal Affairs investigators is what Martin told the audience next: that he didn't intend to cooperate with his own department's policy, at least not the way Baker had intended.
"What better way to identify an illegal alien by name and address than a Mexican consulate ID card?" Martin said. "So from now on, when an illegal alien provides me—or hopefully any police officer—with that Mexican consulate ID card, I think our objective is to take down what's called a field interview card and forward it to the INS [the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service] and say, 'This one's an illegal alien. Go get him!'"
Martin also predicted a Turner Diaries-style racial apocalypse in Southern California, a nightmare scenario he blamed on "diversity" and illegal immigration. "We're going to have an enclave of Muslims here, an enclave of radical Hispanics here, an enclave of blacks here—and everyone will be fighting for what should have been voted for," he said. "But there will no longer be votes; there will be bullets."
The Weekly learned of the Internal Affairs investigation on March 28, when Anaheim Police Sergeant Rick Martinez, the department's public-information officer, asked the Weekly for our notes on Martin's speech. We declined to provide the notes, and Martinez declined to answer our questions about the investigation.
Martin first gained notoriety eight years ago when he successfully lobbied to have an INS agent stationed at Anaheim's city jail. In 1999, after becoming president of the Anaheim Union High School District board of trustees, Martin persuaded the board to file a $50 million lawsuit against the Mexican government—money the government supposedly owed the board for the cost of educating illegal immigrants in the city's schools. He also urged fellow trustees to demand that the INS interview children on campus about their residency status.
The lawsuit, which cost the district thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees, went nowhere, but it thrust Martin into the spotlight of California's debate over illegal immigration. He has been a frequent, almost revered speaker at CCIR's monthly meetings and is routinely billed in the group's literature as an "officer and patriot."
But Martin's critics, who include many Latinos in Anaheim, cast him as a borderline racist. David's complaint cites a March 30, 2001, Los Angeles Times article that quoted Martin as saying that "Anaheim is becoming a Third World slum."
David said Martin shouldn't necessarily be fired for expressing his views, but he should be reassigned. "Recognizing that the Anaheim Police have some very definitive guidelines on how their officers should behave, I think that Officer Martin has breached those guidelines," David said. "We definitely don't think he should be working with the public. He should be transferred to an inside job, like watching the fishbowl. Or maybe the city could buy out the rest of his contract and send him away to some farm in Idaho."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts