The Buena Park Police Department posted a viral video last week showing a man accusing city council candidate Sunny Park of stealing political lawn signs. Officers arrested, cited and released the Democrat but not without the department publicizing the confrontation on its Facebook page. The civilian footage surged towards 20,000 views before it suddenly disappeared.
“The information provided in the original post were the facts surrounding the investigation,” Buena Park PD spokesman Sgt. Michael Lovchik wrote the Weekly. “However, we have opted to remove the post during this electoral season.” He offered no further comment at this time.
But is it really that simple?
On Wednesday, Mark Rosen, a Santa Ana-based attorney representing Park, sent a stern letter addressed to Buena Park police chief Corey Sianez and operations captain Gary Worrall. “The Buena Park police association has actively campaigned against Ms. Park and contributed money to her opponent,” Rosen wrote. “This Facebook entry is a continuation of this campaign. It is an improper and illegal expenditure.” The attorney demanded the post go poof immediately.
And just like that, the video vanished.
Park is a candidate in District 1 where she’s running against Republican mayor Virgina Vaughn and retired doctor Val Sadowinski, an independent. As reported by the Weekly, the Buena Park Police Officers Association has contributed at least $13,038 to Vaughn’s campaign so far.
The Park campaign identified the man who took the cellphone footage as Victor Perrin, a Vaughn supporter. “Sunny Park stealing signs,” he said as he recorded the politician. Perrin walked over to a car and filmed the backseat full of “No Sunny Carpetbagger” lawn signs. Last year, he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors stemming from a 2015 arrest of his own in Buena Park for allegedly taking down signs in favor of Measure A, a failed slow-growth ballot initiative, and threatening a man with a knife who attempted to film him in the act.
In response to her arrest, Park claimed that she plucked the signs to collect as evidence because they supposedly lacked a committee ID number showing who paid for them. The campaign also alluded to an apparent double-standard by Buena Park police after a pro-Park property owner wrote the department an Oct. 11 letter stating a political sign favoring the candidate had been removed around the same time security video showed a man identified by them as Kenny Vaughn, Virginia’s husband, on the premises, only to be unable to file a police report about the incident.
In the Sunny Park sign wars, Rosen offered the police another lesson beyond politics.
“Everybody accused of a crime is presumed innocent,” the attorney wrote. “The Facebook entry will prejudice any potential trial, and deprive Ms. Park of an opportunity to have a fair trial. It is a blatant attempt to bias the residents of Buena Park against Ms. Park both in her campaign and in her right to due process.”
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!