This past Saturday morning, Huntington Beach took time off from arresting criminals and denying the city has a drug problem to try and troll OC Weekly over our latest cover story: a coloring book in honor of this week’s U.S. Open of Surfing. We did the feature just so the cops could finally read our paper without having to ask the fire department for help, and one of the panels showed HBPD doing what HBPD does best: cracking rioter skulls.
Funny! But HBPD didn’t think so, and tweeted out the following:
— Huntington Beach PD (@HBPD_PIO) July 22, 2017
Whichever Surf City officer who tweeted it must not think it nice that we lauded HB’s Pacific Hideaway earlier this month, or that myself and Weekly music editor Nate Jackson took on the spaghetti grilled cheese sandwich challenge at Burnt Crumb’s idyllic location at Pacific City right off PCH. But that’s fine, because we shut them up with the following:
Antonio Saldivar's family says the same to y'all. So does HB, which had to pay $2.25 million because your cop killed an unarmed teen https://t.co/aPkYi0lUy1
— OC Weekly (@OCWeekly) July 22, 2017
Huntington Beach PD didn’t respond, because they have no response. Who’s Antonio Saldivar? Let’s recap from a 2003 story Weekly managing editor Nick Schou did shortly after a federal jury awarded the 18-year-old family $2.1 million because he was killed by a HB police officer:
At the U.S. District courthouse in Los Angeles, jurors rejected the often-changing official version of the shooting of Antonio Saldivar, who over the past two years had been portrayed as a thief and gang member who died because he pointed a rifle—later determined to be a toy gun—at Wersching.
Saldivar died at about 1:45 a.m. on May 5, 2001, in the city’s predominantly Latino Oak View neighborhood. He’d been struck by four of eight rounds fired by [Mark] Wersching. According to official police statements made immediately after the shooting, Wersching shot Saldivar, a burglary suspect, in self-defense after a brief chase that ended when Saldivar pointed a rifle at him.
But days later, police acknowledged that the “rifle” recovered at the scene was actually a toy cork gun with a plastic orange tip that belonged to Saldivar’s neighbor and had been left outside the previous day. Then, a few weeks later, police acknowledged that Saldivar wasn’t the burglary suspect Wersching was chasing.
Saldivar’s prints were never found on the toy gun. Huntington Beach officials went on to add $125,000 to the $2.1 million award—all this, after Saldivar’s family offered to settle the case before trial for $900,000.
And Wersching? Just a couple of days after the verdict, Huntington Beach settled a separate $400,000 police brutality lawsuit against him. As Schou reported back then, he was a dirty cop even before shooting Saldivar or wrongfully arresting a Boeing rocket scientist. You should really this 2003 Schou story to get a sense of what a horror show Wersching was even before killing Saldivar, but let’s just say the HBPD’s own disciplinary file on Wersching (as cited in the Weekly story) portrayed him as a car-crashing, lung-collapsing, fireworks-stealing dope.
Where’s that dope nowadays? Flying helicopters for HBPD and getting puff pieces by a pro-police publication that listed NONE of the above.
Hey, Huntington Beach PD: Did we do good in this world by reminding everyone that you still employ a dirty cop who has cost city taxpayers millions of dollars and inflicted death and injuries on innocents? Here’s some advice: If you’re going to roll with the pigs in the media mud, better learn how to squeal.