Issa, Campa-Najaar meeting with DEC bemoaned by activists

John Sepulvado was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after spray painting the sidewalk.

A group of about 40 protest­ers gathered in front of the Santee Sheriff’s station Monday evening to denounce 50th Dis­trict Congressional candidates Ammar Campa-Najjar and Dar­rell Issa for publicly appearing to condone local vigilante group Defend East County.

The Democrat and Repub­lican, respectively, were inter­viewed by the group’s leader Justin Haskins and parts of the webstreamed video were re­leased over the weekend.

Protest organizer John Sepul­vado started the speeches by an­nouncing San Diego Unity— a social justice, equality, and em­powerment advocacy group— was gathering evidence to pass along to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in the hope of prompting an investiga­tion.

“How many times do we have to tolerate being abused by rac­ists? We’re tired,” Sepulvado said before announcing sev­eral speakers that night would be identified solely by first name for their protection and the gathering kept under an hour due to a threat he had received earlier in the evening from DEC warning him against holding the event.

Defend East County was formed in response to Black Lives Matter protests against po­lice brutality and has been criticized for encouraging racism and white supremacy on its social media pages.

One woman iden­tified herself as Persian-American and said she was disappointed that Campa-Najjar, “a Middle Eastern man can sit down and chitchat with DEC.”

Another speaker said that whether or not anyone in atten­dance voted for either Campa- Najjar or Issa, the reality is one of them is going to win the elec­tion and hold office.

“What next? Watch their ev­ery move. For the entire time they are in office, it is our job as voters to watch them and hold them accountable. Don’t stop paying attention,” she said.

As the protest drew to a close Sepulvado recalled how Campa- Najjar was “brutally subjected to racist attacks from Duncan Hunter back when he was cam­paigning against him,” and reit­erated plans to present a case to Becerra.

“We are not saying Defend East County is guilty, we are saying they need to be investi­gated,” Sepulvado said.

He whipped out two cans of red spray paint, announced he would be taking a symbolic stand against the red line of rac­ism, then drew a line across the sidewalk.

Several other people followed suit, one saying audibly “I’m so tired” as she sprayed a red line of paint.

San Diego Sheriff’s Deputies emerged from the Santee sub­station and arrested Sepulvado after he claimed sole responsi­bility for painting on the side­walk.

He was charged with misde­meanor vandalism, cited and re­leased later Monday night.

Issa, Campa-Najaar meeting with DEC bemoaned by activists

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