Protester Arrested After Last Summer's Anaheim Riots Beats Charges

hey_kids.jpg
Introduced as evidence in the case
Brown holding a sign moments before his arrest on July 29, 2012
A criminal court case stemming from the infamous hyper-militarized police response to protests in Anaheim on July 29, 2012 ended earlier this month on October 4th with all charges dismissed. Richard Brown, who the Weekly reported as affiliated with Occupy LA, was present with other activists that day walking en route to a vigil for Manuel Angel Diaz on Anna Drive where the 25 year-old was killed in a controversial officer-involved shooting the weekend before.

An equestrian unit was present as Brown approached the corner of Anaheim Blvd. and Broadway near City Hall. The activist posed on the sidewalk in front of them with an emblematic protest sign showing an illustration of Mickey Mouse that read "Hey Kids! Check out my military police!" Soon after, officers inexplicably moved in and made an arrest. He faced three resulting misdemeanor charges for harassing or interfering with a police horse and resisting arrest that ultimately did not stick.

The jury trial played out before the courtroom of Orange County Superior Court judge Julian Bailey, a Governor Jerry Brown appointee. Richard Brown was able to retain the services of David Haas, an attorney who has been involved in similar cases involving activists and OC police departments in the past.

"When we brought the motion for acquittal, the judge agreed that one of the two counts involving the police horse should be dismissed," Haas tells the Weekly. "The jury acquitted him on the count involving the police horse and then hung 9-3 for not guilty on resisting arrest. But ultimately, that couldn't have stood anyway. You can't resist an unlawful arrest."

The encounter involving Brown and the police was caught on camera (including in the above video) and numerous pictures were snapped by people in the crowd. Law enforcement's actions were filmed and it proved to be pivotal. "It was a major component of the trial," Haas says. "The jury was able to see the short encounter that the police claimed took place between Mr. Brown and the horse and also the part that involved his so-called resisting arrest."

The multi-agency police presence in Anaheim following the downtown riots on July 24, 2012 was roundly criticized, with detractors saying it held a chilling effect on those who, like Brown, weren't breaking the law but attempting to exercise their first amendment rights. Demonstrators numbered only about a few hundred that day.

"I think it speaks to the whole phenomenon of the perspective that law enforcement has on the exercise of first amendment rights," Haas says of his client's case. "The force that they brought and the way that they encountered Mr. Brown and the other people that were walking to a vigil was really over the top."

The charges were dismissed, but the question of how demonstrations in Anaheim will be approached by law enforcement in the future remains to be seen.

"Will they respond by expressing their support and sensitivity to first amendment rights or will they essentially perceive it as disorderly conduct and act against it as criminal conduct?"

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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19 comments
18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

That incident occured in front of my apartment building. Your police were clearly given orders to take down that specific Mickey Mouse poster.

One of these posters was placed in front of the Muzeo against the city hall placard honoring your former Mayors. As I was taking a photo of it two paramilitary goons jumped out of a car behind me , passed by me, snatched the poster and returned to their Super SUV.

Meanwhile there weren't enough cops at the mini mall just two short blocks away where store windows got smashed in. A patron at Starbucks (one of the stores where windows got smashed) told me he was inside the store when the vandalism occurred and there wasn 't one anaheim cop present - again two short blocks away a major protest is occuring.

OC Mex Food
OC Mex Food

Arresting people for no reason prepares you for a terrorist attack?

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Im glad the guy got acquitted. I hope he sues and wins. Who was the prosecutor on this case?

blufairie
blufairie

Now we know their next "tactic" is to use "delaying" as an unreasonable reason for arrest of innocent people who are merely standing up for their rights.  Anaheim likes to leave off the parts of the law that engage their side of responsibility.  You can't delay or obstruct an officer unless you do it WILLFULLY.  We now have at least TWO protesters and community activists with 148(1)(a) charges.  Just be forewarned.  

ocjusticewarrior
ocjusticewarrior

That was such a bogus arrest!  You know the Disney puppets ordered his arrest because of his sign!!  SO SO GLAD Anaheim lost!!  Next up is the 10/30/13 court date for Damion Ramirez, arrested by LAPD on 10/5/13 for protesting in Reseda!  We are absolutely allowed to exercise our 1st Amendment Rights!!  JUSTICE 4 ALL!!

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

You win for non sequitor of the day!

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Like mindless lemmings, your cops and deputies will do whatever is ordered by their superiors. They have been conditioned for decades to the notion that there are no consequences to violating their oath - on the contrary that it 's actually to their financial benefit.

Nelson Mills
Nelson Mills

so if Orange County comes under a terrorist attack you wouldn't want law enforcement prepared to deal with the threat, right?

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

I second that comment. Malicious false arrest.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@Nelson Mills How are a bunch of militarized police going to prevent or help in a terrorist attack in OC? The citizens are armed to the teeth so Im not afraid of the kind of attack that occurred in Mumbai India. If theres an explosion these guys aren't going to help in any way. In a terrorist attack on OC, you may want an F18 jet or two but youre going to need medical and emergency response forces a lot more than traffic cops dressed like the 3rd Army in Falujah.

And every dime that was spent on outfitting our civilian police as an invading and occupying army could, and should be spent on staffing and training medical and recovery staff instead.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

If there were an unfortunate terrorist attack here it's going to be in part because Sandra Hutchens / Kevin Raney / Raul Quezada and other assorted morons are wasting an ungodly amount of taxpayer money and police resources playing "screw the Hispanic man".

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Every resource spent on "screw the Hispanic man " is a resource not devoted to preventing a terrorist attack.

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