San Diego Police parked in the middle of the road to talk to a man yelling in Hillcrest on Dec. 20, 2022.
File photo of a San Diego Police vehicle in Hillcrest on Dec. 20, 2022. / Photo by Gabriel Schneider for Voice of San Diego

Last week, two San Diego police officers tackled and arrested two teenagers at Chicano Park. In response, a group of Barrio Logan residents and activists are calling for changes to policing in the neighborhood.

Here’s what you need to know.

Background: On Tuesday, Sept. 19, two teens were reportedly volunteering to scrape off old paint from benches and walls at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan. The teens were also reportedly removing fliers pasted around the neighborhood.

The San Diego Police Department has been mum on the arrest and the officers’ actions. But videos on social media show police officers explaining that they detained the teens because they were minors and the officers were investigating if they were truant.

This week: Aztec dancers dressed in decorative tunics and bight colored feathers lead dozens of protesters from Chicano Park to a police station in Logan Heights on Tuesday.

The group’s chants for justice and sounds of banging drums echoed through the neighborhood as the protest made its way to Central Division on Imperial Avenue.

I asked SDPD why the officers arrested the teens. And among other questions, I also asked exactly what time the officers began speaking to the boys.

The city of San Diego has a law against truancy. It’s known as “Daytime Loitering” which includes the time period between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. when teens can’t be in public without a guardian’s permission.

SDPD’s media department did not respond.

At a meeting at the police station this week, I asked Central Division police Capt. Jeffrey Peterson if he could address what happened at the park. He said no, because a complaint was filed and it’s now an ongoing personnel investigation.

Residents Make Demands

The police officers’ actions have angered many people in the neighborhood.

As I wrote last week, tensions were high at the Barrio Logan Planning Group meeting when a man demanded that a police officer leave. The group’s board chair asked the officer to leave, and he did.

The planning group holds its monthly meetings at the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, which is a few feet from where the officers arrested the teens.

The man, Lucas Cruz, is the chair of the Chicano Park Steering Committee. Cruz did not respond to my email. The Chicano Park Steering Committee has been overseeing the park since the 1970s.

As I’ve written in the past, the steering committee is a private group that controls what happens at the historic park in a way that no other city-affiliated group does. The committee looks after the park and organizes events there.

The steering committee recently put out a list of 13 demands on its Instagram account for SDPD, Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, who represents the neighborhood.

Click here to read the full list. Among the demands are: no police at the park, police officers should not talk to kids without parent’s permission and for the city to reevaluate its truancy policy.

“The community of Logan Heights is in a crisis due to the actions of SDPD. Our community is harassed, antagonized, and disrespected everyday and enough is enough,” the post reads.

Councilwoman Moreno’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Mayor Todd Gloria’s office refused to comment at this time.

I’ll keep following the story.

A note from me: Cup of Chisme is my weekly newsletter where I introduce readers to community stories, offer insight into our newsroom and round up what you need to know to start your week. If you want to read about the inspiration behind the name of this newsletter you can read more here.

Stories to Start Your Week

  • Our Lisa Halverstadt revealed in a new story how difficult it is for low-income and homeless San Diegans to get residential treatment for substance use disorder. The story and what it reveals is eye-opening. Read it here.
  • In the latest Politics Report, Scott Lewis explains why you should get nerdy with us at Politifest! We are brining you a gathering of the biggest players in water and some important discussions about housing. Read about the event here.

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She welcomes conversations...

Join the Conversation


  1. “SDPD’s media department did not respond.
    Cruz did not respond to my email.
    Councilwoman Moreno’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Mayor Todd Gloria’s office refused to comment at this time.”
    of course noone replied (i’m a bit surprised about Cruz); if they did, it wouldn’t be *chisme*.:-)

Leave a comment
We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.