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Calexico mayor responds to city councilman’s criticism of El Centro

Mayor calls for cooperation and "professionalism" after allegations against El Centro Police Department

CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Calexico's mayor is calling for "professionalism" after one of the city's councilmen accused El Centro police of routinely using excessive force.

City Councilman Raul Ureña claimed the El Centro Police Department (ECPD) leads the nation in incidents of excessive force. Ureña made the comments while addressing El Centro's city council in late May. KYMA.com has not been able to independently verify his claims.

El Centro mayor Cheryl Walker fired back against Ureña's allegations last week in an interview with News 11's Wiley Jawhary. Walker said the neighboring city leader had little insight into operations within the City of El Centro.

Now, Calexico's mayor is addressing the controversy. Mayor Rosie Arreola-Fernandez released a statement Wednesday evening calling for "professionalism and transparency."

Fernandez criticizes Ureña's behavior, writing:

"I believe the current behavior and actions from Councilmember Raul Urena are unethical and in addition, they hurt and offend the values that make this City a welcoming place for all."

-Statement from Calexico Mayor Rosie Fernandez

She also praises Mayor Walker's response:

"I applaud the City of El Centro and the City of Imperial for addressing Councilmember Urena’s recent statements of unsupported incidents of police brutality. They are hollow arguments and a shameful betrayal of our fundamental regional spirit."

-Statement from Calexico Mayor Rosie Fernandez

Ureña, and other community activists, have also lobbed criticism at Fernandez in the past. They say a 2020 DUI conviction should have prevented her from keeping her seat on Calexico's city council. However, she did, and ultimately was chosen to serve as mayor by her fellow council members.

KYMA.com has reached out to the city councilman for his reaction to the mayor's statement. He has yet to respond to our request for comment.

Full text of Mayor Fernandez's statement:

"The current political climate has presented the need to continue to work together and invest in maintaining professionalism and transparency. It is important to join and partner with other cities, in particular the City of El Centro and the City of Imperial to ensure we continue to treat each other with respect, dignity, and professionalism. As Mayor, I have the responsibility that these efforts are elevated through the voices and actions during my tenure as Mayor.

As City Councilmembers, we are accountable to the community and to each other for our actions and words. We must hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and ensure that we act with integrity and lead by example. I believe the current behavior and actions from Councilmember Raul Urena are unethical and in addition, they hurt and offend the values that make this City a welcoming place for all.

I applaud the City of El Centro and the City of Imperial for addressing Councilmember Urena’s recent statements of unsupported incidents of police brutality. They are hollow arguments and a shameful betrayal of our fundamental regional spirit. We represent the residents of Calexico and our values and principles are shared with everyone throughout Imperial County. We stand for the citizens of Calexico and work in unison as one council for
the wellbeing of the businesses and residents of Calexico.

To conclude, as Mayor I will continue to maintain effective communication to help strengthen regional diplomacy. I trust for a better future for our City, working hand-in-hand with our partners and our community.

The City of Calexico widely recognizes the need to work cooperatively with other municipalities and asserting political will where others have stepped back."

ROSIE ARREOLA-FERNANDEZ, MAYOR

Imperial County / Local Politics / Top Stories
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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director in Septemter of 2019, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.

Reach out to Lisa with story ideas and your digital feedback at lisa.sturgis@kecytv.com.

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