FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2020
Contact: Andrew Berthelsen
(310) 774-1313 | [email protected]
San Jose, CA – Former Santa Clara County Counsel and California State Senate District 15 candidate Ann Ravel today issued the following statement calling for the establishment of an independent process to investigate incidents of police misconduct:
“In America, nobody is above the law – not the President of the United States, and certainly not police officers entrusted with enforcing those laws.
“It is long past time for the establishment of a truly independent commission empowered with the authority to investigate police misconduct. Clearly, the system of ‘internal affairs’ in which officers are expected to pass judgment on the actions of their friends and colleagues is not working. We shouldn’t have to wait for a cell phone video to go viral in order to achieve justice for our community.
“Today, I’m calling on the City of San Jose and other California municipalities to help put an end to a system in which police violence is covered up or excused. We need to empower an independent authority – accountable to the people, not the police – to investigate incidents of police misconduct.
“Together, we can begin the process of healing our divided communities.”
Ravel’s statement comes in support of the public efforts surrounding a video circulated on social media last week showing a San Jose Police Department officer kicking and dragging a woman. The incident reportedly prompted an internal investigation into the officer’s potential use of excessive force and the officer being placed on administrative leave. It also follows months of public backlash to the hostile response of SJPD to peaceful protesters following the death of George Floyd.
Ann Ravel has spent her career taking on special interests and standing up for the interests of her community, no matter the consequences. She served as the Santa Clara County Counsel for 11 years, as Chair of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission and as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama, who then selected her to serve on the Federal Election Commission.
In her race for California State Senate District 15, Ravel faces Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. At an October 2019 State Senate candidate forum held by the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, Cortese refused to support efforts in the state legislature to increase transparency around police misconduct.
It is part of a long pattern of Cortese dismissing even the most serious issues of police misconduct, including:
- When a mentally ill inmate was beaten to death by 3 correctional officers in the Santa Clara County jail, Cortese was quoted as saying about the death: “If that is perhaps the cost of doing transformative work that needs to be done, we accept that.” (The Mercury News, 10/26/2015). This shocking statement exposes Cortese’s indebtedness to his law enforcement funders, despite the fact that the correctional officers were sentenced to 15 years to life in State prison for the murder, and the County quickly paid $3.6 million in damages to the family as soon as a wrongful death claim was filed.
- Advocating for increasing the number of armed officers in San Jose schools (The Mercury News, 10/23/14)
- Pushing for funding a much-criticized portable cell phone tracking system, known as “Sting Ray” for Santa Clara County Sheriff’s officials, notwithstanding the strong criticism from the ACLU and other civil rights advocates. The same system was used by ICE. (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/24/15).
Ravel was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve in his administration – first fighting on behalf of consumers at the Department of Justice, then working to make our elections fairer and more transparent as head of the Federal Election Commission.
Ravel was also appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as Chair of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, leading a first-in-the-nation fight against the Koch brothers and their illegal dark money network. As Santa Clara County’s chief attorney, she took on tobacco companies and won support for better healthcare, won pioneering cases protecting consumers, was a champion of a precedent-setting case to safeguard children from lead paint, and has always strongly defended equality for all.
To learn more about Ann Ravel’s campaign, visit RavelforCA.com.