A photo of San Jacinto City Hall
A photo of San Jacinto City Hall (City of San Jacinto photo)

The San Jacinto City Council last week considered a resolution to censure Councilmember Brian Hawkins after his July 2 arrest.

“A censure is one way of distancing the public agency from bad behaviors that interfere with an agency’s ability to conduct the public’s business,” Mayor Pro Tem Crystal Ruiz said. “While censure does not remove an elected official from office, it may serve an important purpose by stating to the public that certain behavior is unacceptable to the other council members.”

San Jacinto Councilmember Brian Hawkins has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. (City of San Jacinto photo)

Ruiz placed the item on the agenda in response to Hawkins’ arrest by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of felony assault with intent to cause bodily injury and assaulting two children. He has since been charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

“What I was arrested for was salacious [with] no evidence,” Hawkins said. “EMTs, [Child Protective Services] and the hospital have all confirmed that there was no abuse that happened. These were my children, they were my children.”

Hawkins also said that the way he was arrested was “uncalled for,” and included law enforcement arriving in “12 unmarked cars.”

“I have videos,” he said. “They had assault rifles pointed at me when I came out of my parents home with my 5-year-old child. I just haven’t posted that video, because I am in this legal battle.”

Ruiz said that the intent of the resolution for censure was neither to embarrass Hawkins nor to seek his removal from his council seat, but to “resolve this matter and move forward as a unified body.”

“Our reputation as a council is on the line when we do something that draws negative attention to our community,” Ruiz said. “And that’s, our job is not to bring negative attention to our city, it should be to lift our city up.”

Councilmember Phil Ayala questioned the timing of the resolution since the investigation is still ongoing and Hawkins has neither pleaded nor been found guilty.

“I just have to share that, in my opinion, this is just something that I don’t think that we as a city council need to be worrying about until that court day comes, and he is given that opportunity to defend himself in front of a judge, because we are not judges here,” he said. “That’s not what I was elected to do.”

Mayor Alonso Ledezma said he understood the positions of both Ruiz and Hawkins, stating that he supported both Ruiz’s desire to ensure that “the city is clean,” and Hawkins’ right to due process. 

Following Ledezma’s remarks, the council took no action on the resolution and moved to the next item on the agenda after almost an hour of discussion.

A video of the full meeting can be found here on the city’s Vimeo page.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.