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Simi Valley councilman assailed for posting decapitation-video link

May 08, 2013|By Hector Becerra
  • Mike Judge, a Simi Valley councilman and LAPD officer.
Mike Judge, a Simi Valley councilman and LAPD officer. (City of Simi Valley )

In the last year, Mike Judge, a Simi Valley councilman and Los Angeles Police Department officer, has been scrutinized for posting links on his Facebook page to racy and suggestive websites.

When the Simi Valley Acorn asked him in February about the links to sites such as Hot Mirror Shots — which features topless and nearly naked women — and Hot Chicks with Abs, Judge told the local newspaper that he didn’t consider anything on his Facebook page inappropriate.

“There’s no porn on my Facebook,” he said. “I know what pornography is, and I don’t consider any of that pornography.”

The nearly 23-year veteran of the LAPD said he didn’t go “trolling” for the pages, but that he “liked” them after male friends whom he described as being in the “alpha category” shared them with him.

“I have a lot of friends in the military, a lot of friends in law enforcement, so I get a lot of these things,” Judge said. “Some people might find them distasteful, some might find them funny, that’s the way it is. I also post a lot of puppy pictures.”

But on Tuesday the Ventura County Democratic Party called for the Simi Valley Republican councilman’s resignation and censure after Judge linked to a graphic video of a woman being decapitated with a pocket knife. David Atkins, chair of the county Democratic Party, said the video appeared to depict a Mexican cartel murder.

“I started watching 10, 15 seconds of it before I clicked away. I’d seen enough,” he said. “When a councilman is a public figure and he starts sharing disturbing content like that from a website that’s basically torture porn ... that’s a problem because people follow what he ‘likes.’ ”

Judge did not respond to a phone message left for him by The Times at City Hall or to an email message.

Acting City Manager Brian Gabler said Judge’s Facebook activity isn’t something the city can regulate.

“Frankly, it’s not a city issue. The city doesn’t have a role,” Gabler told The Times on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Ventura County Star, Judge said the criticism leveled against him was politically motivated. He said he linked to the graphic video of the woman being beheaded because many of his Facebook friends are in law enforcement and he hoped it could lead to the identification and arrest of the killer.

“I’m very sorry that people don’t like things that I post because they’re graphic and violent,” he told the Star. “But outside Simi Valley, when I’m working, my world is graphic and violent.”

Judge told the newspaper he has a First Amendment right to post whatever he wants on his Facebook page.

Atkins, the local Democratic Party official, denies there was a political motive behind criticizing Judge. Atkins said the beheading video, which has been removed from Judge’s Facebook page, came from a website that features violent deaths, including executions, suicides and gruesome car wrecks.

Atkins said Judge’s Facebook activity was hypocritical in the context of largely conservative Simi Valley taking strong public positions against pornography and the porn industry, including requiring porn film shoot actors to use condoms.

Last year, Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber told The Times that “we don’t want to be known as the porn capital of the world” in passing the condom measure, which requires surprise inspections of porn shoots.

Diana Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade association, criticized Simi Valley’s actions at the time.

“Very little filming is done in Simi Valley, and I doubt that production studios are planning any increase at all in the area,” she said. “However, I am amused at the thought of Simi Valley hiring people to sit around and view porn on taxpayer dollars. I wonder what the training for that would look like.”

In an interview with the Star over the beheading video controversy, Huber said he was “not going to react hastily based on a press release from a partisan political party.”

“This is the first I’ve heard of this video,” he told the newspaper in an email. “I have no prior knowledge of this video or website. I am going to reserve my judgment until I know all the facts.”

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Twitter: @LATimesHekutor

hector.becerra@latimes.com

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