By The Vanguard Staff
ORANGE, CA – On what was the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder this Tuesday, Orange County District Attorney candidate Pete Hardin made a campaign promise to increase “police accountability.”
The former Marine Corps judge advocate said, “Protecting the integrity of our justice system and the officers and prosecutors that serve with distinction requires an independent District Attorney that will hold those few who violate the public’s trust accountable.”
Hardin charged “The current District Attorney is bought and paid for by law enforcement and other special interests. I have not, and will not accept a single cent from law enforcement associations, and if elected I will take immediate action to increase police accountability and hold anyone who breaks the law accountable.
“Having spent my life protecting our communities on the battlefield and in the courtroom, my support for officers who engage in constitutional policing and prosecutors that ensure the fair administration of justice is second to none,” Hardin added.
Hardin committed to the following, according to a press statement:
1/ Work with the Board of Supervisors to expand the Office of Independent Review’s charter to include criminal investigations into law enforcement misconduct, making them the lead investigative agency in use-of-force and in-custody deaths.
2/ Retention and oversight of an independent prosecutor—authorized and supported by OCDA—that would review OIR investigations and prosecute cases against law enforcement.
3/ A Standing Review Board to recommend standards and regulations following problematic criminal justice-related outcomes to achieve enhanced public safety, culture change, and avoid placing blame on individual officers or employees.
4/ Review past problematic cases of law enforcement use of force for potential prosecution that were declined by prosecutors with conflicts-of-interest.
5/ Extend victims services to families of individuals killed by police.
6/ Make OCDA investigative reports publicly available in past cases that were not filed and provide all declined cases against law enforcement to the OIR, California Attorney General, and U.S. DOJ for their review.
7/ Advocate for every police agency in Orange County to publish regular, public reports on uses of force (including shootings, use of less-lethals, and use of canines).
8/ Advocate for countywide department standards for use of force, dash cams, and body-worn cameras to advance public trust.
9/ Refuse all financial contributions from law enforcement associations to avoid any perceived or actual conflicts of interest and abide by the State Bar’s Rules of Professional Responsibility.
10/ Make SB 1421 eligible records easily accessible to the public.
11/ Establish strict standards about disreputable officers who are unfit to testify.
12/ Make OCDA office policies public.