The Indio Police Department took a complaint Thursday alleging Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach and one of his managers were seen in the morning tearing down a campaign sign in Indio belonging to Zellerbach's opponent in the D.A.'s race, Mike Hestrin.
A law enforcement officer, part of the Riverside Sheriff's Association, allegedly witnessed the entire episode --recording a portion of it with his camera phone -- and confronted the suspects where the sign had been posted, at the intersection of Indio Boulevard and Jefferson Street. Indio police are investigating.
The video shows someone picking the sign back up. The RSA alleges that it is Ricardo Rubio, who works for the DA's office as a tribal liaison. The officer who witnessed what happened, said the two got out of a county vehicle at Jefferson and Indio boulevard. Zellerbach allegedly put down one of his own signs, then pushed down one of Hestrin's signs.
Zellerbach released this statement on Thursday afternoon:
" The sign was accidentally knocked over while I was installing one of my own signs, and, as the video shows, it was immediately put back up. At the time I had no idea that Javier Garcia Sr. was in the area, or perhaps following me, or that he would file a police report. As you know, Mr. Garcia is a strong supporter of my opponent, a member of the Riverside Sheriff's Association Union and an individual who has been very upset with me for my refusal to grant immunity to his son, Javier Garcia Jr., in exchange for grand jury testimony in a triple murder case. On the questions that have been raised about the car, because my schedule was filled with official events during the morning as well as a campaign event later in the day, my campaign reimburses the county for the use of the car for the entire day. There is no expense to taxpayers."
Zellerbach's opponent Mike Hestrin says, "It shows a lack of leadership and incredibly poor judgment. And you know, I think for a sitting DA, on county time, using county resources, I understand he was out there in a county car with a member of his executive staff to be putting up signs or kicking down signs, is just nonsense."
The RSA went on to ask for more Zellerbach to step down, "This kind of behavior is unacceptable. in our opinion he should resign, because how can we trust him, how can the citizens of Riverside County trust him," said RSA president Robert Masson.