A candidate for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Sunday accused the Corona Police Department of racial profiling during the arrest of one of her campaign’s canvassers in an open letter to the police chief.
The arrest occurred at 1:04 p.m. Saturday in the 1100 block of Stone Pine after a dispatcher received a suspicious person call from a nearby resident, according to police.
“The caller advised a black male adult had been in the area for over an hour, going door-to-door, while talking on his cell phone,” police said in a news release.
When officers arrived at the location they detained a 35-year-old man who matched the caller’s description and determined he was on parole for carrying a loaded firearm and had an outstanding arrest warrant out of San Bernardino County, police said.
The man was arrested but released with a citation a few hours later.
At the time of his arrest, the man was with another volunteer canvassing for Penny Newman who is running for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Second District seat.
“Our canvassers had election material on them and were working with mobile phone software that was very clearly specific to electioneering. The officer at that point did not need to continue to harass, frisk and then further detain our canvasser,” Newman wrote in the open letter, which was addressed to Chief James Patton and posted on Facebook.
Police did not specify the nature of the canvasser’s warrant, but in the letter Newman wrote it was for an unpaid parking ticket.
Newman also wrote that the other volunteer, who was a minor, was left alone following the arrest.
However, police said “officers never had contact or saw a second individual.”
Newman said she penned the letter after her campaign attempted to contact a Corona police watch commander without success.
“I hope this letter opens a conversation that will lead to leadership in your department discussing with officers the problem of profiling individuals and how they can keep this from reoccurring,” she wrote.
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