Police in Santa Ana, California became tired of having their every move videoed when they were on patrol. Since the killing of George Floyd made national headlines even the smallest interactions between the police and citizens have witnesses holding their cellphones high to record the incidents, many of which end up on YouTube. To dissuade people from doing this the cops came up with a plan that’s fallen under intense scrutiny. They’re bringing a little Disney World to residents who may never have an opportunity to personally visit the Magic Kingdom.
While this sounds like a positive gesture it’s anything but. The cops have taken to blasting out Disney songs during their stops and investigations so when the videos are posted online all a viewer will hear is “It’s a Small World Afterall.” They won’t be able to distinguish what was said.
A video released this month showed police officers investigating a stolen car report in a neighborhood in Santa Ana, but all that could be heard was the incredibly loud music they were blasting out. The investigation took place late at night as every resident in a two-block area was jarred from their sleep.
Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez was one of those residents and he’s demanding that the childish practice be stopped. Hernandez described where he lived as a typical working-class neighborhood with lots and lots of young kids running around.
Santa Ana Audits is a Youtube channel solely devoted to posting interactions with the Santa Ana police department. Because the Disney songs represent a copyright infringement the videos should be removed, but they haven’t been. Youtube said they monitor for this type of thing but don’t generally remove a video unless they’ve been requested to and they haven’t been asked.
The person who filmed the stolen car investigation has not been identified but can be heard in the 13-minute video asking the cops to turn down the music. Shortly after, Hernandez enters the scene to ask what’s going on. It had been his first encounter with this new tactic.
Because of the music, the entire conversation between Hernandez and one of the officers is barely interpretable. Even so, the officer was heard to say that they’re doing this with the hope that Youtube will do its job and remove the videos due to copyright infringement. They’re tired of being internet celebrities. It hasn’t worked.
In another audible portion of the video Hernandez is heard saying, “My people live here brother, please treat them with respect. There are kids that need to go to school, there are people that are working, and you chose to use our taxpayer dollars to disrespect the man with your music. That’s childish.”
The officer is heard telling Hernandez that he recognizes who he is as he apologizes for the disruption. The music is then turned down.
“This is my district. You’re not going to conduct yourselves like that in front of my neighbors,” Hernandez said. He then instructed the officer to apologize to the person who had recorded the incident.
As a final parting shot Hernandez tells the officer, “Now get back in your car and do your job properly.” The two are then seen shaking hands as the officer once again apologizes and walks away.
During a city council meeting, Hernandez said, “It’s quite clear that this is a practice we can’t condone, it is an unethical practice, and as members of the community, especially public servants, it’s not something we can support as a city. There is no reasoning to ever behave this way with members of the public, especially if you are an officer with a badge and a gun.”
All Police Chief David Valentin could say was that the department requires that “all police department employees perform their duties with dignity and respect in the community we are hired to serve.”
There was no mention of if and when the cops would stop damaging eardrums with obnoxious Disney tunes, but since all indicators say this was a very bad idea, they’ll be nixing their failed plan.