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Don’t rush to judgment over video of flower seller’s arrest, Perris mayor urges

By in Press Enterprise on July 20, 2017

By Alejandra Molina

Perris Mayor Michael Vargas said it’s crucial not to jump to conclusions when viewing a 43-second video clip of a Riverside County Sheriff”s deputy taking down a woman who was selling flowers outside the Perris High School graduation in June.

“A lot of times judgment is passed based on a quick video or a quick statement,” said Vargas, a retired police sergeant. “You have to look at all sides.”

Perris Mayor Michael Vargas

“I have to stay neutral until this investigation is completed,” he added.

The video began spreading across social media Monday, July 17, and has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. A Facebook page and a funding site have been set up in support of the woman who is being referred to as the “Flower Lady.” More than $3,000 was raised as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

The video, which includes graphic language and may be disturbing for some, can be seen by clicking here.

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The woman, who social media refers to as Joaquina, is not speaking to the media at this point. But, she was featured in a video thanking her supporters.

“The racism has to stop,” she said. “We have to defend our rights.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has identified the woman as Juanita Mendez-Medrano of Fontana.

She was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor obstruction and resisting arrest, said District Attorney’s spokesman John Hall. She was issued a citation and released from custody.

The Sheriff’s Department did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, July 19.

In its news release Monday, the department said the video clip showed only a brief portion of the incident.

“The short, publicly […]    

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