By Eshita Seshadri and Mei Perez
SANTA ANA, CA – Pete Hardin, a previous Marine Judge Advocate and now candidate for Orange County District Attorney, has promised if he were to be elected, he would want further investigation into battery, hazing, and child endangerment charges at Mater Dei High School.
He also stated that the altercation was not ‘mutual combat’ since “one party escalated the altercation far beyond the ridiculous game, ‘bodies,’ causing broken facial bones and a traumatic brain injury–and only one party continued to batter the other as they stood still with blood streaming down their face.”
According to Hardin, DA Todd Spitzer refused to file felony charges or charges for hazing.
Hardin also expressed his concern as a parent regarding a coach’s acts of child endangerment and how he had allowed the continuation of “violent, ritual hazing.” He added if the DA fails to request further investigation, he would determine the appropriate charges once elected.
“Baffling decisions like these issued with virtually no explanation contribute to the crisis of faith and trust in our criminal justice and policing systems,” Hardin stated. He also urged the need for transparency from leaders and public institutions.
Current DA Spitzer has faced controversy in the past concerning alleged acts of nepotism, including promoting a close friend despite sexual harassment complaints against him and later allowed him to retire with top flight benefits.
Other points of contention revolving around Spitzer’s career as DA for Orange County include his involvement in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, and championing a DNA collection program that coerces defendants to give up DNA samples to law enforcement that has been called “unconstitutional” by the ACLU.