Anaheim Police Association Blasts ACLU Use-Of-Force Claims

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Anaheim Police Association President Edgar Hampton took to the OC Register opinion section last week to blast a report by the ACLU on the Anaheim Police Department’s use of force as fatally flawed and politically motivated:

To hear the American Civil Liberties Union portray us, the Anaheim Police Department is full of Inspector Harry Callahans dispensing Dirty Harry-style street justice without the bother of judge, jury and prosecutor.

Before I detail some of the egregious flaws in the ACLU’s Anaheim Police Department Use of Force Report 2017, let me give the group a small amount of credit for at least being honest about the report’s main purpose and the timing of its release at a November 20 press conference — politics.

APA President Edgar Hampton

APA President Edgar Hampton

As the The Register reported, “The timing of the ACLU report purposely coincides with the upcoming review [of the Anaheim Public Safety Board the ACLU lobbied for the creation of] and with the city’s search for a new police chief to replace Raul Quezada, said Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the ACLU of Southern California, who co-authored the report. Quezada resigned last month following a no-confidence vote by officers.”

As someone who has walked the thin blue line in protection of Anaheim’s citizens, I hope acting Chief Julian Harvey’s intelligent response to the report does not ruin his chance for fair consideration for the job, but now that the ACLU has made the position about politics and not qualifications, I worry and so do the officers on the beat that my association represents.

Now, to the facts of the matter.

• The ridiculous ranking of Anaheim 9th out of 60 U.S. cities in officer involved shootings was aimed at tickling some exciting headlines out of the media. Were Anaheim to be judged on its OIS rate against the number of calls for service it receives in a year that ranking would plummet.

• The report never examines injuries to officers, assaults on officers, or the number of non-police shootings compared to police shootings.

• The report also neglects to point out how many times officers used less-than-lethal options to subdue suspects who are armed with assorted weapons.

Particularly irritating to me, as someone who has had to put his right hand over his firearm in preparation for a possible life-threatening encounter, is the report’s complete omission of why certain people were shot. But that would undercut the sensationalism the report aimed for.

Anaheim has become increasingly dangerous, in no small part because the state and county continue to release more and more prisoners back into communities like ours. The state also is making law enforcement a joke by reducing felonies to misdemeanors and misdemeanors to infractions — a policy that failed in the 70s and will fail again.

Amazingly, despite the increased workload placed on officers, Anaheim police made over 13,000 arrests last year that required only 136 uses of force (less than 1 percent of the time). For the ACLU to act as if we’re some rogue department is absurd.

And what of the ACLU itself? In its report on us, it curiously crows, “Since 2012, the ACLU of Southern California has worked on police reform issues with Anaheim and Orange County organizations and residents.” Is that so? So, in five years, your work has amounted to nothing if what you say about us is true.

Also incredibly ironic is the fact that an organization like the ACLU, comprised of attorneys who can only be disbarred by convening a group of attorneys, demands no police involvement in police oversight.

Whomever you want to believe, one thing is certain: If our police department were as out of control as the ACLU portrays us, it would have sicced the FBI on us long ago and we’d be under a consent decree, such as the Los Angeles Police Department is.

The facts are that Anaheim has done a lot more than most cities in community outreach and police transparency.

Edgar Hampton is president of the Anaheim Police Association.


  1. The ACLU is an activist lawyer group with no real expertise in any area. I don’t know why the PD or the city should concern themselves with this report. Stats can always be manipulated to fit a narrative. I read the report and didn’t care for the theme that being involved in a shooting is a negative thing and officers should be removed from the street if involved in a shooting. I believe officers are issued guns for a specific purpose, are trained to use them and the vast majority of time shootings are justified and often a last or best option.

  2. Let me start by saying this citizen supports our Anaheim Police force and Law Enforcement elsewhere. They have a very difficult job to do while in many cases with one hand tied behind their backs.

    That’s not to say a sliver percentage of bad apples don’t exist, maybe even a few poorly managed departments exist across our nation. Knowing that there’s been plenty of critical publicity telling law enforcement leadership to take the appropriate actions.

    To that point, Anaheim Police Departement should NOT be measured against bad apples around the nation; especially given the following stat:

    I quote Edgar Hampton “Amazingly, despite the increased workload placed on officers, Anaheim police made over 13,000 arrests last year that required only 136 uses of force (less than 1 percent of the time). For the ACLU to act as if we’re some rogue department is absurd.”

    Regrettably, I don’t trust the ACLU has just a few bad apples. Every time I read where they go public, there’s a lack of fairness, maybe even reason, judgment, and restraint, affecting all sorts of people in various ways. There was a time when the ACLU had a conscious and valid social purpose. Today, all that seems to come from their involvement is liberally applied social and political polarization, even hatred.

    That begs the question; when will ACLU’s lawyer leadership take it upon themselves to address their bad apples? Are they afraid if they do, ACLU will no longer exist.

  3. West side resident

    I personally know, and have worked closely with A PA President Edgar Hampton and he is the most upstanding, helpful and honest policeman . I trust him very much, because I’ve personally seen what he tried to do to help us with the west side. There’s a LOT of politics unfortunately, and the ACLU is a huge political monster, do not trust it at all!!!

  4. Mergatroid Skittle

    Being a citizen of the city of Anaheim, I’ve had many encounters with the Anaheim Police Department… Most of the time for doing nothing other than riding my bicycle or walking down the street. They’re routinely rude, overtly hostile, and when you tell them that I don’t have to show him identification I haven’t done anything wrong or ask him questions like am I under arrest or am I being detained they get this contempt of cop chip on their shoulder, suddenly forgetting that their rights as a law enforcement officials stop where our rights as Citizens start… I’m surprised they haven’t killed more people. They are the biggest criminal organization in the county! Serve and Protect ha what a joke!

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