SDSO Backing Out of a Promise to Form a Citizen's Advisory: Vista Activists

Community activists in Vista say the Captain of the Sheriff’s Dept. substation is backing out of a promise to form a citizen’s advisory panel after several high profile incidents involving his deputies.

“He promised to build a community advisory committee that would come from all different aspects of Vista,” said Shane Harris with the National Action Network.

Harris says Cpt. Charles Cinnamo made the promise after the fatal deputy-involved shooting of Jonathan Coronel in July 2017. It was the second of two fatal shootings involving Vista deputies. In both cases, the deputy was cleared by the District Attorney. Then, earlier this month, cell phone video showed the aggressive arrest of two Latino men by deputies in Vista.

Activists say community outrage is growing and even more frustratingly, the advisory panel still has not been formed. Harris held a news conference in front of the Vista substation, surrounded by family of Coronel, including his grandmother, Maria Beltran. “I want justice," she said. 

“It’s time Charles Cinnamo to take action and create the community advisory committee that he promised,” said Harris.

Yusef Miller, with the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said 11 names of community members wanting to be on the panel were rejected.

“Put together this community review board with people who represent the community, not just with people who will ‘yes ma’am and yes sir’ the Vista community Sheriff and law enforcement," said Miller.

But in an emailed response, Cinnamo says an advisory panel has, in fact, been formed.

"Since meeting with the family of Jonathan Coronel, the Vista Station has been in the process of building and growing a community advisory group within the city of Vista. While there seems to be some confusion as to the terms being used by the National Action Network (NAN) to describe this group and its intentions, this group was by no means intended to be a "review board" in the sense of the Citizen's Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB). This group was pledged and intended as a means to bridge the communication gap between the community and law enforcement, as well as improve the relationship with the community we serve. While it is still in its infancy, this group, as it stands, is committed to this mission," Cinnamo said in a statement. 

Harris said he knows ‘absolutely nothing’ about the group.

The Sheriff’s Dept. has yet to respond to specific questions about who’s on the panel, how they were chosen and what their specific role is.

“If we can sit at the table and talk about issues, we can elevate our promise in our community and bridge gaps between community and police,” said Harris.

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