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Op-Ed: Here is the truth

My name is Andrea Diaz and I am the fiancé of Victor Rivera.  The gentlemen that is being falsely accused of “attempting to run over/down sheriff deputies in Lebanon County”, back on December 14, 2021.  Not only do I have security footage of this event I also have footage of the event that took place on June 30,2022 when he was arrested, which has not been reported to any news outlets thus far.  Why not since they plastered lies and his face everywhere to start with? 

Andrea Diaz

My name is Andrea Diaz and I am the fiancé of Victor Rivera.  The gentlemen that is being falsely accused of “attempting to run over/down sheriff deputies in Lebanon County”, back on December 14, 2021.  Not only do I have security footage of this event I also have footage of the event that took place on June 30,2022 when he was arrested, which has not been reported to any news outlets thus far.  Why not since they plastered lies and his face everywhere to start with? 

Victor is currently being held at the LCCF on a bail of $250, 850.  Seems a little excessive, no?  Altogether I have 50 security footage videos of these events to prove the misconduct of the Lebanon County employees.

After doing my research have gathered more than enough to show how the justice system here in Lebanon County is flawed, unjust and corrupt.  I’ve had detectives verbally threaten Victor’s life just hours and days following December 14th.  Per the LPD police manual, I believe they violated many of their own policies, including to report complaints of misconduct to their superiors, which would have, given the magnitude of our complaints, opened up an Internal Affairs investigation (LPD police manual can be downloaded from, www.lebanonpa.org). 

I have remained quiet for the last 6-7 months as Victor has been slandered everywhere with fabricated, false, and inaccurate articles and LIVE news posted from comments and information given to them from DA Graf. I have finally been pushed to the point that I am reaching out to you as my last resort for our story and our truth to be told.  I have exhausted myself fighting for our rights that are continually denied while trying to follow their process of filing a complaint.  Everything I say falls on deaf ears and seems to just be a waste of my time.

The events that DA Graf depicted in the many news outlets (abc27, wgal, lebtown, ldnews, pennlive, fox43, dailyvoice, local21news, qhubonnews, Lebanon.crimewatchpa, multitude of Facebook sites; then shared and commented on) are nowhere close to accurate when giving a description of that night.  From my first-hand account and the footage; Victor’s Ford F-150 just pulled out of his parking spot going north on Gannon. 

He quickly brakes and puts truck in reverse, now going south on Gannon, backing into our van; of which I was in.  I had pulled into our other parking spot right behind our truck before he pulled out of his spot, he wasn’t aware that I pulled in. He managed to get past me in the van continuing in reverse, swiped a cable box on the side of our neighbor’s home. As the truck reached the “T” section, along the tracks, where Skull meets Gannon. 

The truck begins to accelerate towards Old 9th which is when I heard the dreadful sound of 2 shots fired, they were directed at Victor and the truck.  The deputies approached him in the dark startling him with weapons aimed causing all of this.  They were the ones who recklessly endangered so many that night.   It has been so difficult to hear all of their false accounts of that night.  The justice system continues to tell me that he needs to be held accountable for his actions.  As I ask them in return, “Who holds you guys accountable?”.  

My family has been so impacted by all of these lies, my children have been robbed of their childhood and denied time and moments that we will never be able to get back.  I stated and reported the deputies’ misconduct the night of December 14th: failure to ID themselves, use of excessive force (not as a last resort), shooting at an unarmed fleeing man, and then the false report given by deputies of the account.  And now false charges filed against Victor by the DA from that night resulting in his false imprisonment of those said charges. 

I do not believe any of my statements or complaints nor those of my neighbor, who stated he requested a supervisor that night, were ever properly reported up the chain of command or even attempted to verify.  I have reported and complained to Chief County Detective, Jonathan C. Hess; DEA Detective, Lawrence Minnich, District Attorney, Pier Hess Graf and just recently Chief Public Defender, Brian Deiderick. 

The investigation of the events of December 14th, were conducted by Lebanon Detective Bureau (Detective Hess) and DA Graf, and they concluded that the deputy who shot twice (2) at Victor was, and I quote DA, Graf (Lebanon Daily News article released April 1, 2022), “Deputy fired to protect self and others.”  Meaning this deputy was founded to be within the means and rights of his duties.  And Graf went on to say that

“Victor Rivera is still at large after attempting to run over deputies during arrest.”  I would like to see the evidence that Graf and Detective Hess gathered that lead them to that decision.  This is how I know the chain of command was not followed as they were to report all our complaints of misconduct, since they obviously couldn’t investigate one of their own impartially.  Internal Affairs should have been leading this investigation due to the severity of the complaints.  

On June 30, 2022, the officer that arrested Victor, ran into our 12-year-old yelled for her to “Get out of the way”, and then fired his taser in my home without being able to see who or where he was firing.  Our 10- and 5-year-old were in the home in the same room, and you could hear them screaming and crying. He could have hit one of them with his taser!!!   I had asked our public defender to accompany me, because I do not feel safe, to go place a formal written complaint into the Chief of Police on July 5, 2022.  As he yelled and insulted both Victor and me.  That was when I realized we don’t have a voice; not even the one that has been appointed to us.  So, at this point I asked myself, “What now!?”

All of my complaints and my literal cries for someone/anyone to listen, to help Victor, myself, and our family have fallen on deaf ears.  I am at a complete loss but yet I continue to fight this every day.  I am scared for Victor’s life.  The very same people who have traumatized, slandered, committed misconduct, even shot at him, and blatantly ignored all complaints that I’ve made and can provide proof of, are the very same people currently responsible for his safety, well-being, and life.  This is not okay. 

They violated many of our Constitutional rights as well as many of their own policies yet continue to say Victor needs to be held accountable.  And, before they take away my ability to advocate for my family and expose all of this to the media and the press, I felt it imperative to let everyone know the truth.  I wouldn’t wish this depth of despair or hopelessness on anyone but sadly here in America lately it does not seem like we the people have any rights, or we have to fight an uphill battle for them.  I refuse to remain silent just so that they can continue to live their lives while Victor is behind bars.  Nor will I allow my children to think that any of this is okay. 

They say we the people need to be held accountable for our actions; well, they too must be held accountable for theirs.  We should have easier access to resources and assistance to aide and direct us in how we should best handle these types of situations.  It is sad that we react as communities and a united people after a tragedy, but when able to potentially make a change and fight for ourselves or for loved ones we have nowhere to turn and feel hopeless because we either lack the knowledge, or money, or the voice to advocate. 

I wouldn’t wish this hardship on anyone, but yet families continue to feel the same feelings I myself feel this very moment.  We the people are what makes America, and it is about time that we the people are heard and respected and make them know we are not going quietly and submissively away because it makes it easier for them.  I’ll continue to steer this world into the world that my children and all of our children deserve.  This will not be the last time that I am heard, the truth cannot be silenced.

Please help my family and myself be heard,

*New information that has come to my attention: The deputy who shot at Victor on December 14,2021 is no longer with the sheriff’s department; when DA Graf released the articles late March early April stating that the deputy shooting at Victor was justified.  If it was justified, then why was the deputy no longer with the department when she released her statements to the news?  If he were let go for something he did wrong that night then how is Victor still charged with recklessly endangering of other person(s), and simple assault, why still criminal charges?

Why was a DEA detective present for a situation that had nothing to do with drugs; and why is he denying his presence at the scene the night of December 14, 2021?  Why has this detective been involved with all/ most of Victor’s arrest in this county since Victor was a teenager; regardless of the nature of the case/charges?  Victor has now been in jail at the L.C.C.F since June 30, 2022, why has he not been interviewed or able to give his statement either written or recorded of the events that have transpired?

Andrea Diaz

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