By RJ Durand
March 18, 2017
Stockton- Last June it was announced in a few media outlets that the Stockton Police Department was awarded a $600,000 grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections to collaborate with “community partners” for the mission of “building community police relations”. SPD applied for the grant with two organizations, which was required, including Friends Outside and Fathers & Families of San Joaquin.
While this was public knowledge, at an event last August only yards away from where Colby Friday was shot and killed by officer David Wells amidst controversy and confilicting statements by police (the officer was also discovered to not have turned on his required body camera), Fathers & Families executive director, and ex convict, Sammy Nunez was confronted by community activist Motecuzoma Sanchez as to why their organization was hosting a picnic like event, while removing all pictures of Colby Friday, when the family and friends of Friday were wanting to organize to seek answers. Sanchez charged that it was a concerted effort to neatralize public outrage at the unexplained shooting by police on behalf of SPD, which has led to recent protests at city hall answered by mayor Michael Tubbs with riot police.
Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen. However, although it was already public knowledge that FFSJ is being funded to work with SPD, Nunez denied any involvement or funding or relationship with SPD. His employees echoed that sentiment, in either denial or ignorance, before making threats of violence towards Sanchez and his group and making claims of Sanchez lying. Nunez can be seen in the video, which was originally a Facebook live feed, having to be walked away by the people, including AB109 parolees, he’s supposed to be setting the example for.
Last week 209 Times received a copy of that grant application which includes Sammy Nunez’s signature along with police chief Eric Jones’ solidifying their working relationship.
In the 49 page document it is very clear what is expected of FFSJ. It shows they are in fact being paid to work for SPD in a grant meant to build community-police trust and mitigate violence in the community, although the grant filled out by SPD makes no mention of the victims of violence in police shootings and killings still under investigation for which Stockton has one of the highest rates in California.
The questions remain; what is Nunez telling his employees, including AB109 parolees, and the community that is different; and why would he lie?
Sanchez believes it is to cover for Nunez’s promotion of values that are in opposition to SPD’s mission including his gang affiliated past to gain street cred in Stockton, which he is not from. They also used to work together in protesting the department.
Sanchez believes FFSJ was bought off and are being used by SPD to quiet black and brown communities most affected while failing to addess the real concerns that place blame on bad officers and policies. Recently FFSJ was at the city council meeting filling up seats to lessen the number of Black Lives Matter protestors and family members of Colby Friday who could fit inside city hall chambers. In a Facebook post Sanchez also raising the question of Nunez not only lying to the community he seeks respect in, but also lying to SPD. They are being paid to make SPD look better in the community yet are lying to those target communities about working with them.
Sanchez also says it shows a huge lapse in judgement by SPD and Chief Jones in working with and trusting an organization that isn’t capable of producing intended results. He says they aren’t trusted in the community because of , “the shady practices people know them for and instead of reducing violence through Ceasefire are actually making threats of violence towards others in the community”.
Another of their employees was asked to leave the park after threatening a disabled man affiliated with Black Lives Matter protestors. The threats have also continued online.
“As it currently stands Stockton’s violent crime rate has increased, instead of decreased, 3 years consecutively since the implementation of Ceasefire and the ‘marshal plan’. As a community we have to ask why and expect more, especially when we’re paying higher taxes as a result and not getting the results we need”.
This latest revelation seems to reveal, in part, why Stockton Police and the city of Stockton are not producing desired results.