Citizen Complaint against Mayor Nielsen Triggers Tustin Police Report

First things first.  A tipster tells us that Tustin Mayor John Nielsen was investigated by Tustin Police for allegedly stalking a woman and her son the Sunday before election day.  So following the rules of journalism 101 which still apply, we called the Tustin Police’s Public Information Office and asked about it.  PIO  Paul Garavan said he’d look into it for us. (an UPDATE: OurTownTustin blogger Jeff Gallgher shared with us a copy of the Police Report and the call to the police was made by a man, not a woman. And it looks like the call was made earlier in the day but in a time of diminishing daylight that would make photography from a car a challenge.  Why the Mayor didn’t call the police directly is a mystery).

We then called the Tustin City Manager’s office for comment and still haven’t heard back (oh Lisa Woolery, where are you so you can’t return our calls?). I filled out a public records request for the police report and was told I’d get a call as soon as it was ready but that it could take up to 10 days to hear back.  The nice secretary at Tustin City Hall says Mayor Nielsen is on vacation and is Back East.

About 2PM, Paul Garaven, the PIO Tustin Police Department, gave us this statement that absolves the mayor from stalking charges but does call into question his lack of judgement for not contacting the police immediately.

“On the 4th of this month at 9:25 PM, we received a call of some suspicious circumstances and essentially the reporting party was reporting a suspicious individual parked in car in the 2500 block of Platt.  The person in the vehicle was taking pictures of people outside of the address in the 2500 block.  And when the reporting party started to approach the vehicle, the vehicle left the area. 

So the reporting party got a description of the vehicle and license plate, and the plate came back to Mayor Nielsen.  We took initial information report and a detective did a follow up report and spoke with Mayor Nielsen the next day.  Mayor Nielsen said he was driving when he saw a light-colored SUV stopped in the road removing signs out of the ground.  He followed the vehicle to the neighborhood because of his concerns about hundreds of political signs being removed in Tustin.  He thought  this person was removing political campaign signs.   Neilsen told Tustin Police there was an incident of a someone in light colored SUV caught on CCTV (closed circuit televison) removing political signs.  Tustin police did not see this video or have access to this video.

Upon further investigation at the residence near Platt, the signs that were removed were found to be real estate signs for an open house.

Garaven said Nielsen did not know the people  at the house.  “There really is no crime to file charges on here.” he said.  He also said Nielsen tried to snap photos of the house but at 9:25 PM, even with a flash and a great camera, it’s unlikely those photos would come out.  The Tustin Police do not know why the Mayor didn’t call them to report the van and took it upon himself to investigate the situation on his own.

Mayor Nielsen must be a charter member of the Chris Thompson fan club.

Our tipster claimed the Mayor stalked the family who filed the complaint.   So when we do get the report, we can revisit this story.  But note to elected officials out there.  If you see what you believe to be a crime happening, call your local police department.  If Nielsen did know the woman and youth who made the complaint and if there were similar “stalking” incidents, we’d be calling for the Mayor to resign.

Nielsen had more campaigns signs throughout Tustin than anyone. But in a county where even Richard Nixon was so paranoid about George McGovern, no margin of victory is enough for these guys.

So if you’re a Tustin resident and there’s a bald guy with glasses and a mustache taken photos of your yard late at night, do the right thing and call the police.

  19 comments for “Citizen Complaint against Mayor Nielsen Triggers Tustin Police Report

  1. Junior
    November 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    This is worthy of an article? Sillyness ………

  2. junior
    November 14, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Your headline is very misleading for this article. There was no “citizen complaint” filed against the Mayor as your headline would suggest. It was a citizen alert to the TPD regarding a suspicious circumstance which happened to involve the Mayor. Your headline is misleading – is that intentional?

    • November 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Junior, I have a copy of the police report I received last night from the city. Dan now has it as well. It shouted some creepy actions and gross misalignment on the Mayors part. If he was so concerned, why didn’t he report it to the police? Why did he hide his face from the guy when he was tracked Doreen at the exit gate to the tract? This isn’t silliness, this is dangerous behavior that calls in Nielsen ‘s ability to lead.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    November 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Junior, a citizen called the cops on someone taking pictures of his home and yard. When he approached the vehicle, the car drive away. The citizen called the plates in to the Police who tracked them back to the Mayor. Would you prefer a headline: “Mayor Stalks Resident”?

    • November 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Wait a minute. I’d prefer you didn’t steal the titles to my articles. .

    • junior
      November 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      He was not stalking anyone – he was attempting to take a photo of what he believed was sign stealing.

      Apparently, the mayor was mistaken about the sign stealing – and the resident was mistaken if he thought he was being stalked.

      You have blown this nothing story way out of proportion – like Pedroza would do.

      • November 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

        So, if he was so innocent, Junior, why was he trying to hide his face from the man as he was exiting the housing tract? This was shameful behavior on Nielsen’s part and conduct unbecoming a city official. Along with the mudslinging tactics while making a poor attempt at keeping his hands clean during the election, he should resign office.

        • junior
          November 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm

          Our tipster claimed the Mayor stalked the family who filed the complaint. So when we do get the report, we can revisit this story. But note to elected officials out there. If you see what you believe to be a crime happening, call your local police department. If Nielsen did know the woman and youth who made the complaint and if there were similar “stalking” incidents, we’d be calling for the Mayor to resign.”

          This is crap – pure crap. You don’t know shit about what really happened and are putting forward wild-ass speculation with nothing to back it up. This is irresponsible journalism.

          • November 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

            from the police report:

            A 44 year old man and his 16 year old son were unloading real-estate signs from their car into their garage for storage. The signs were from the man’s wife real-estate business and were being put away after being used on Sunday. The man noticed a vehicle being driven by a male white about 50’s taking pictures of him and his son as they unloaded the signs. The man became suspicious and began walking toward the vehicle to find out why the subject was taking pictures. The vehicle and driver fled the scene so the man ran after the car catching it near the exit gate of the Emmerson homes. The vehicle driver hid his face in his hands until the gate opened and then drove off. The vehicle is registered to Mayor John Nielson. Officers took an information report. The 16 year old said the incident did not really bother him.

            • junior
              November 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

              Such an incident would not legitimately be called “stalking.” There is no indication that the father and son were singled out by the mayor. Did the mayor know, or know of, these people? No indication of that – even by rumor mongers.

              Apparently the mayor was either driving by or even staking out the area – no crime in being a citizen observer looking out for a possible crime.

              Perhaps the mayor could have or should have stopped and explained his innocent actions to the resident. But then again, at that point the mayor may have still thought that there was a possible crime in progress and that the “criminal” was coming out to confront him.

              You have gotten this incident blown way out of proportion Dan and have shaded your coverage in a biased manner.

  4. junior
    November 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    The headline is giving a false impression that a citizen’s complaint was filed against the mayor by name – that did not happen.

  5. junior
    November 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Alternate headline:

    “Crime Fighting Tustin Mayor Nielsen Misses His Mark This Time – But Tustin Residents Say – Keep on Keeping Us Safe Mayor John”

    That is just as big a load of crap as your headline.

    • November 15, 2012 at 5:02 am

      That is a fantasy headline. Nielsen took the law into his own hands, attempting to photograph the “perps” when, if he wanted to do the right thing, he would have called the cops. Poor judgment. End of story.

  6. junior
    November 15, 2012 at 5:54 am

    “That is a fantasy headline.”

    It is over the line – untruthful and is deceptive.

  7. Cynthia Ward
    November 15, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Sorry, I do not keep up with Tustin, although I am looking into one incident, but I admit to not knowing the cast of characters well. However, i can see a scenario in which the Mayor thinks he sees someone stealing signs, follows to see who it is, realizes they are real estate signs and he has just made an ass of himself, does not want to be caught looking stupid, and takes off, hiding his face so nobody can point to him being a doofus. Stupid mistake, but an innocent one. Now if the Mayor has been seen specifically watching this family at other times, there is a problem, but I think this may have been mistaken identity and raw embarrassment.

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    November 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I’ve re-read my post and I’m ok with the reporting of facts here. I’m sure our tipster was hoping for something more salacious. Nielsen ought to at least apologize to the family for his misunderstanding.

    • junior
      November 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

      You better re-read the first sentence again Dan.

      “A tipster tells us that Tustin Mayor John Nielsen was investigated by Tustin Police for allegedly stalking a woman and her son ..”

      It is not good journalism to report an incident such as this as “allegedly stalking” without having ANY facts. That is not responsible journalism.

      I think that you owe the Mayor an apology and you should take down all references to “stalking” and “citizen complaint” since it has been fairly well proven that niether of those occured.

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