By Motecuzoma Sanchez
February 6, 2017
Jessica Glynn, an attorney, was hired by the city to head the newly created Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) in October 2014. She began the position of Manager in November 2014. This was a high profile hire complete with a press conference with Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones announcing her as the right fit because she spoke “two languages”.
Thinking this meant she spoke Spanish in a city that is primarily Mexican and an out of control gang problem, Chief Jones actually meant she knew how to read data- like any high school graduate should. Surprising everyone she would be fired less than 2 months later. She was 8 months pregnant.
In her lawsuit many concerns come to light including:
-Discrimination from assistant city manager Christian Clegg who as a Mormon would constantly compare her to his wife and imply that she should be home as a mother since “family comes first”.
-Christian Clegg would constantly undermine her as “overreacting” when she would raise concern for issues such as OVP outreach workers aka Peace Keepers, not being paid by the law.
-Ceasefire, the anchor of the OVP and the city’s “Marshal Plan” to combat crime, was being compromised by the Stockton Police Department who would have secret meetings with Peace Keepers who were acting as informants divulging information from OVP clients and Ceasefire targets, putting the program at risk as well as possibly violating their due process and the 4th and 5th Amendments.
-Salary and the working environment was an issue since day one.
After her termination it would take the city a year to hire another manager, which was done in haste after community members questioning the lack of accountability and spending of Measure A used to fund the OVP. Christian Clegg, who himself is not even qualified to apply for the position of OVP manager, continued to operate the office.
With the hiring of Latosha Walden, many suspect he is still running the OVP using her as a front for the community. Such perceptions are encouraged when incidents such as Walden being questioned at a Measure A advisory committee meeting about the performance of her office and it appearing she not fully know. Such an outstanding example is her not knowing her office was operating 40% under budget while applying for outside grants to hire more staff.
Questions about the effectiveness of the OVP remain as violent crime increased in 2016 for the 3rd year straight, or every year the OVP ans Ceasefire have been in operation.
The full text of the lawsuit can be here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-caed-2_15-cv-00529/pdf/USCOURTS-caed-2_15-cv-00529-1.pdf