Law enforcement unions in Riverside County are calling for District Attorney Paul Zellerbach to step down after he was seen tampering with his election rival’s campaign sign. The incident has heightened tensions in the battle between police chiefs and law enforcement labor unions for control of the D.A.’s office.
Zellerbach is a career Riverside County prosecutor who also served 11 years as a judge before he was elected District Attorney four years ago. He is endorsed by Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and 11 other area police chiefs.
Rival Mike Hestrin works in Zellerbach’s office as a deputy D.A. and once headed the Riverside County Deputy District Attorneys Association. He’s backed by the Riverside Sheriff’s Association and the all the other police officer unions in the county.
Zellerbach has said he accidentally toppled a Hestrin sign while recently posting one of his own at an Indio intersection. He has said he should not have been carrying campaign signs in his county-owned official vehicle, since public employees are not allowed to campaign using county property.
Indio police are looking into the incident, a portion of which was recorded on a phone camera (you can view the Riverside Press-Enterprise video below). Zellerbach said the person who reported the incident to law enforcement is an investigator with his office who supports Hestrin.