KING CITY, Monterey County (CBS / AP) — A California farming town was grappling Wednesday with a profound violation of trust after learning the acting police chief and a handful of officers were charged with selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents and other crimes.
The misgivings had been building for some time. Investigators heard people — many unable to speak English — complain that police were taking their cars and money, and there was nothing they could do about it.
“I’m not at all surprised by the arrests, I’m just surprised there weren’t more charges,” restaurateur Vivian Villa said Wednesday in Spanish while sizzling a pan of beef in preparation for the lunch rush. “Now maybe some of them are going to feel what we feel when they target us.”
Later in the day, Villa held a meeting in her little restaurant where about a dozen community members spoke out against police abuse and corruption.
Latinos account for nearly 90 percent of the community of 13,000 people tucked among fields of tomatoes, strawberries and lettuce along the Salinas River, 150 miles southeast of San Francisco.