Well friends, family & followers:
It has happened. After all the delays & postponements, I finally went to trial last month on the 3 charges – 2 counts of battery on an officer & 1 count resisting arrest – (in fact in order to hedge their chances of winning, District Attorney Patrick Carey, added an additional charge of resisting arrest on the day the trial began-Jan 15, 2010, bringing me to a total of 4 charges) that the judge had originally thrown out in 2008, and the District Attorney’s office appealed. So here I am again, fighting for my future, my livelihood and my ability to earn a living in my chosen field all because the Sheriff’s department is not willing to admit that they erred in the way they stopped me and the way they handled me (or more correctly mishandled me).
The trial was very trying (7 days) and it was very hard to listen to Deputy/Detective Christopher Maurizi sit on the stand and literally lie about me and my actions and reactions to what he did at the time of my arrest. I tried very hard not to show my emotions to the court and jury, but it was hurtful and demeaning to hear someone describe me as an ‘out of control’ person who was yelling, screaming and very combative when all I wanted was an explanation as to why he had stopped me in the first place. The conversation started with a simple, “Hello, Officer, what happened, what did I do?” and ended with me being thrown to the ground, jumped on by 5 full-sized police officers, being choked to almost unconsciousness, being pepper sprayed twice in the face and eyes, being arrested and hog tied and tossed into the back of a police car, and charged with felonies, all for asking the questions, ‘What happened? What did I do?’
What I did learn during the trial however is that, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department policy and procedures and also clearly reinforced by the District Attorney who tried my case is: WHEN STOPPED BY THE SHERIFFS YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS! According to what was said in court and established at my trial, you must obey; you must comply; you must cooperate; you must not speak; you must not question; you must get out of your car; you must go to where you are instructed; you must stand with you legs open (so you are off-balance); you must bend over the hood of their car and if you ask questions or show any form of what the ‘officer’ deems is resistance, then he can physically reach into your automobile, grab you by your clothing and forcibly remove you from the car!!
Now here’s the rub — just a few days after my trial ended, I happened to see a Pasadena Police Officer on the local news responding to fake police officers stopping, harassing, robbing, and whatever else they were doing to people in the City of Pasadena. The officer on TV was actually instructing all people to question officers who pull you over if you are suspicious of them. Telling us as citizens, not to just get out the car when approached and also to stop in a well-lit area where there are people around to be safe (Good luck finding this perfectly described scenario at 1:30 in the morning). She said that the officer is supposed to identify himself and even show some form of I.D. if requested by you.
Hmmmmmmm….According to this officers logic we as regular citizens in this society can question on-duty officers, which I know is not at all the case in the REAL WORLD! I felt the description & details provided were not accurate in today’s day & time to say the least because we deal with REAL officers with authority issues & who don’t respond well with being asked anything at all! This just confirmed for me that the way I was treated was totally out line and unjustified & also that SOME officers themselves are oblivious to the DEMANDING/AUTHORITATIVE nature of some of these rogue cops.
The main problem I have is that the police department on one hand goes on TV with these ‘community advice’ sessions and they don’t help! Their suggestions are in direct conflict with what officers are charging and trying people for, for attempting to do exactly what they suggest you do and what I did.
But going back to the topic of my trial…after sitting through the testimony of 2 lying Sheriff Deputies, Deputy Chris Maurizi & Deputy Regan Fitzgerald, who both claim I battered them and 3 days of jury deliberations…the jury came back DEADLOCKED, a hung jury. The jury kept coming back asking questions, wanting more info to help make a decision, it even got to the point the attorneys on both sides had to do a 2nd closing argument because the judge was wanting a verdict to be reached. But to no avail, the jury could not agree, leaving me once again back at SQUARE ONE because the District Attorney made sure they refiled the case again, but only after trying to offer me an outlandish deal!
PLEAD GUILTY TO RESISTING ARREST, 3 YEARS SUMMARY PROBATION, & 1 YEAR ANGER MANAGEMENT.
I laughed because there is NO WAY they could/would ever get me to take a deal. Their supposed incentive was that I wouldn’t be receiving jail time if I took the deal, but if I didn’t take it, I need to remember I’m facing serious jail time….yea yea yea ….they can say all they want to, but I never resisted the deputy, so to take a plea is admitting guilt…..I’m NOT GUILTY so why would I plead?
So as of now, I go back to court March 5, 2010 for my trial readiness date. I should be set to go to trial again before the end of March. This will be my 3rd time taking the stand to plead my innocence, which is ridiculous considering how BROKE THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES is, but yet & still the DA’s office has NO PROBLEM spending thousands of tax payers dollars on a case that they know is ludicrous & false.
More to come…………………………………………