Craig Hunter, Controversial Anaheim Deputy Police Chief, Retires

At a ceremony held earlier today, Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter retired from the Anaheim Police Department. His career with the force dates back 30 years, to 1982, and saw him rise from the ranks to the top brass. More recently in 2010, he made an unsuccessful bid as a candidate for Orange County sheriff losing to Sandra Hutchens.

Hunter was still designated as Deputy Police Chief as he retired today, though Raul Quezada was appointed to that very same position more than two months ago in October. Very quietly around that time Hunter was on special assignment at the City Manager's office, a duty that he also no longer serves.

Anaheim's long, hot summer roiled into massive protests, a 44-page leaked “Incident Action Report” listed Hunter as an 'Incident Commander' for the city's supposed 'hot zones' leading up to the much criticized militarized police presence on July 29 that gripped the city.

Prior to becoming Deputy Chief, Hunter was at the center of accusations by former Anaheim police officer and whistleblower Steve Nolan. A nine-year veteran at the time, including two years with the department's gang unit, Nolan broke the code of silence in 1995. He contended that he witnessed on numerous occasions the beating of Latino juvenile suspects.

When Nolan turned a 160year-old robbery suspect named Jorge Alvarado over to the gang unit in December 1991, he alleged in a later lawsuit that the teenager had been beaten and bruised on the way to the station. Nolan sent his complaints about the incident to Hunter as Sergeant and head of the unit at the time, but was said to have been told to back off.

In another alleged case, a gang member was hit over the head with a flashlight in March, 1992 and later mocked with an exaggerated Latino accent as Hunter and others joked about it all. Nolan has been critical of the department saying that those named in his lawsuit, including Hunter, were promoted up the ranks. In return, Hunter has been dismissive of his criticisms in local media.

The now-retired Deputy Chief is described in his official bio as having “played a pivotal role in developing the Anaheim Police Department as a recognized leader in homeland security and community policing.”

What his retirement from the force will mean, if anything, for the future of long-strained relations between the police and the Latino community in the city one way or another remains to be seen.

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