Orange County Sheriff John Mina cruised to an Election Day victory last week as he gained nearly 55 percent of the vote. Mina is a household name in Orange County politics, and his ability to raise money and spread his message countywide led to his runaway victory.
But Mina’s victory lap didn’t last long. The one-term sheriff finds himself in hot water with local activists after a young Black man was shot and killed by a plain clothes officer at Florida mall earlier this month. Since the shooting, activists have pressured the sheriff’s office to release body cam footage of the shooting as well as any security came footage of surrounding buildings.
Mina acquiesced to one request: he released body cam footage from officers on the scene on election night after his victory was fully secured. But that didn’t quell the calls for Mina to do more as the footage was inconclusive. The officer who pulled the trigger and released the bullet that killed the young man did not have his body camera on at the time of the shooting.
Additionally, Mina has seemingly burned the goodwill he garnered earlier this year after the killing of George Floyd. Mina called Floyd’s death a “murder” and said that there was no place for the type of behavior the officer displayed who killed Floyd in policing.
This case, though, isn’t as cut and dry. During an interview with a local media personality, Mina said that citizens should blankly follow the commands of the police so that nobody gets hurt. The problem Mina is likely to have with making statements of that nature is the social environment we are currently in. He has also fumbled his overall response by not being entirely transparent with citizens about the shooting death in question.
Mina can still bask in the goodwill of voters by showing his overall care for transparency and justice by overly communicating with the public. But until he does that, he’s likely to continue to face pressure from protestors, the public, and activists.