SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A California Correctional Peace Officers Association political video is getting sharp criticism after it featured a photograph of a state legislator with a bullseye pasted over it.
The video was posted to the CCPOA’s Facebook page and was meant to encourage members to vote in November and outline how the group is requesting state lawmakers to stand with law enforcement.
But a specific part of the video is raising eyebrows and causing outrage.
“… And that perpetrators are held accountable to the highest degree,” says the video’s narrator, CCPOA President Glen Stailey, as a closeup shows someone pointing to a bullseye.
Behind that bullseye is the face of Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles. Beneath it is his name.
“Why would they pick out a person of color like myself to single out? That’s what’s disturbing,” Jones-Sawyer told FOX40 Wednesday.
Jones-Sawyer said the video was surprising to him, especially since he and Stailey have worked closely together.
“The president and I went to Norway to actually look at the advances that Norway has done with rehabilitation,” Jones-Sawyer recalled.
Stailey declined to answer FOX40’s questions on camera but did release the following statement, which says in part:
“It would require a great stretch of the imagination to believe that we meant anything other than our clear intent, which was to demonstrate that we are mounting political campaigns against certain legislators. However, to put this controversy to rest, we are removing the video from our official channels and editing it.”
But Stailey stops short of an apology, stating, “We will not be deterred from our commitment to protect the interests of correctional officers by actively participating in political campaigns.”
“They’re not going to apologize for doing that? They’re not going to apologize for putting my family in danger, putting me in danger?” Jones-Sawyer asked.
The CCPOA statement does not state why they are targeting Jones-Sawyer.
Jones-Sawyer said putting a target on anyone is disturbing but he expected better from a group that represents law enforcement officers.
“Especially in this climate, it’s just difficult. They should know better,” Jones-Sawyer said.
Jones-Sawyer said the video won’t deter his efforts to make prison reforms as the chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety.
“Everything that we’re doing to improve the criminal justice system, that will last longer than me, it will last longer than the leadership of CCPOA. But it will happen,” Jones-Sawyer said.
Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon also weighed in on the controversy in a statement to FOX40.
I am shocked and outraged by the threat made against Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer in a recent video posted by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Racist, politically-motivated attacks against legislators are never acceptable. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is an outstanding advocate for criminal justice and public safety. I will not stand by and allow him, or any other Member, to be intimidated for performing their legislative duties. I call on CCPOA to apologize to Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer immediately.Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly