Keeping The Rabble In Line: OC Human Relations Received Special $5,000 Payment From Anaheim Police Chief As Reward For Pacifying Angry Anna Drive Residents
By DUANE ROBERTS
Editor & Publisher
The Anaheim Investigator has recently obtained copies of emails, invoices, check request forms, and other documents from the City of Anaheim which show that Anaheim Police Chief John Welter approved a special $5,000 payment to OC Human Relations as a reward for “crisis services” they rendered on behalf of the Anaheim Police Department in connection with “Anna Dr. neighborhood unrest and gang member arrests” occurring in July and August of last year.
The payment was made roughly one month after OC Human Relations dispatched two employees to canvass the working-class Mexican neighborhood of Anna Drive and gather information from area residents in the aftermath of “Operation Halo,” a law enforcement operation which arrested members of a local “street gang.” Documents in the possession of the Anaheim Investigator hint some of this information was later forwarded to Chief Welter unbeknownst to the residents.
In an email dated September 12, 2012, Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director of OC Human Relations, notified Welter that per a prior agreement his department currently owed his agency $5,000 for “Police Community Reconciliation Services.” He then reminded Welter of a promise to provide additional funds for “deployment of our staff in the Anna Dr. neighborhood on the morning after the gang member joint action arrests,” requesting he pay another $5,000 for “services rendered.”
Kennedy wrote as follows:
I wanted to ask about our invoice for Police Community Reconciliation Services. Our first year agreement with you was for $5,000 and we completed that year on June 30, 2012. It is time for me to invoice for another year. I would like to go ahead and invoice you for the $5,000 for FY 2012-13 as we are into it already.
Additionally, you mentioned that you wanted to pay us for the added crisis services that we rendered in connection with the deployment of our staff in the Anna Dr. neighborhood on the morning after the gang member joint action arrests, and perhaps some of the time for the pre-shift briefings that we started this morning, and consultation and support for the special city council meeting at Anaheim high school.
If you are open to that I would add to the $5,000 invoice for the PCRP staffed by James Armendaris, additional services rendered by our staff members: Edgar Medina, Joyce Sanchez, Don Han, Seema Bhakta, Alison Edwards, and myself, for an additional $5,000.
In response, Welter typed:
I already asked my Finance Manager, Jane Done, to send a check for that amount. I’ll check with her on getting the check out ASAP.
I hope you’re [sic] organization will continue to provide great service to OC cities and law enforcement in spite of OC cuts to your budget.
“You mean you already approved $10,000? $5,000 regular and $5,000 supplemental,” Kennedy immediately emailed back.
“Yes,” said Welter.
According to a “Request for Check Form” numbered “1523727” and filled out the very same day by Jane Done, Welter approved the issuance of two checks for the amount of $10,000 to be mailed to OC Human Relations at its current Santa Ana address. One of the $5,000 checks was specifically earmarked to pay for “Anna,” or, as was handwritten in the description: “added crisis services rendered in connection with Anna Dr. neighborhood unrest and gang member arrests, etc.”
Financial records from the City of Anaheim show that since July 2006, OC Human Relations has received $67,955 from the Anaheim Police Department. Of that amount, $22,251, or 33% of the entire total, was disbursed between November 2011 and September 2012 alone. Several invoices and check request forms show even the monies the city uses to pay yearly dues to OC Human Relations comes out of the police budget, not the general fund. All payments were approved by Welter.
These and other documents reviewed by the Anaheim Investigator not only suggest the relationship between the Anaheim Police Department and OC Human Relations is much deeper than originally thought, but that the latter agency is not, as some people believe, a neutral third party. In reality, it functions as a de facto arm of law enforcement–a proxy–used now and then to perform special work on its behalf, whether it be intelligence gathering, public relations, or urban pacification.
All of this raises serious questions about what role, if any, OC Human Relations might play in the proposed police oversight committee that could be formed by the City of Anaheim. Since there is now proof this agency is dependent on cash infusions from the Anaheim Police Department to do some of its “work,” how can any of its employees be trusted to be fair and impartial in matters pertaining to resident complaints about police brutality and misconduct?
Additionally, whose interests does OC Human Relations really serve? In all of the emails the Anaheim Investigator has examined so far, Kennedy seems to be wholly obsessed with demonstrating to Welter how effective his agency was in pacifying Anna Drive residents who were angry–angry about being shot and abused by cops. Given part of Kennedy’s salary is being paid for by the police themselves, should anybody be surprised he’s doing what he can to keep the rabble in line?
[Below are electronic reproductions of some of the emails, invoices, and other documents referred to in this article.]
Welter/Kennedy Email Correspondence 9/12/12 (1 of 2)
APD, Request for Check Form, # 1523727, 9/12/12 (1 of 1)
APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (1 of 2)
APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (2 of 2)
APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (2 of 3)
APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (3 of 3)
APD Disbursements To OC Human Relations 1/06-2/13 (1 of 1)