An unruly neighbor wasn’t to blame when the sound of Disney music was heard late Monday night in a Santa Ana neighborhood.
The culprit? The music was coming from a Santa Ana Police Department patrol SUV at the scene of an auto theft investigation. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story,” “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” “Un Poco Loco” and other songs began playing after a YouTuber with a channel called Santa Ana Audits started recording a group of police investigating a car theft in his neighborhood.
“Hey, he’s playing music,” the YouTuber said in Spanish. “Because he knows that on my [YouTube] channel, I can’t upload videos with music in them.”
Playing copyrighted music, like Disney music, can be a tactic to prevent people from posting such videos to social media platforms. The platforms have filters that flag copyrighted material.
This is yet another entry in a pattern of police playing copyrighted music while being filmed. Starting last year, cops have played Sublime and The Beatles in Beverly Hills, country music in Illinois, and Taylor Swift in Alameda County, California, in response to being recorded by civilians, in what is looking more and more like a collective attempt of police officers attempting to trick online platforms into auto-censoring videos of their actions.
The car speaker stops playing, but this is where things take a turn. A man named Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, who just so happens to be a city council member in the Santa Ana ward where this is all taking place, also walks up to the squad car.
Hernandez explained that he lives about half a block away, and was getting ready for bed when he heard Disney music blasting outside. Concerned, he’d gone out to see what was going on.
At that point, a small crowd of residents had gathered, so Hernandez walked up to the officer who was running the impromptu Disney DJ set and asked why he was playing loud music.
“Why? Because it will be copyright infringement for him,” the officer says, pointing at the camera.
“So you’re using our resources that way?” Councilmember Hernandez says.
“No, I’m not using our resources. It’s my phone,” the officer replies.
“Do you know who I am?” Hernandez asks. The officer pauses, then says that he does recognize the city official — and his demeanor shifts.
“You’re not gonna conduct yourself like that in front of my neighbors,” Councilmember Hernandez continues. The officer apologizes to Hernandez, but Hernandez isn’t satisfied: “Apologize to him,” he says, motioning to the camera-holding YouTuber.
The officer, who is apparently familiar with the YouTuber, complies, calling him by name (though the YouTuber edited the mention of his own name out of the footage).
“My people live here, brother. Please treat them with respect,” Hernandez says to the officer. “There’s kids that need to go to school, there’s people that are working, and you chose to use our taxpayer dollars to disrespect a man with your music. That’s childish, sir.”
Throughout this entire conversation, the officer is still playing tunes, albeit now only through his cell phone speaker. Hernandez asks him again why he is playing Disney music, and the officer finally turns it off.
Hernandez takes the officer aside for a moment to speak privately, and they eventually come back and shake hands. Hernandez then addresses the neighborhood residents who had gathered to watch what was going on, assuring them that the officers will respect them, and encouraging them to return to their homes.
Watch the video below of the recorded incident (Raw Footage):
From ABC 7 News: