Tustin Police Cast as Heavies by Movie Theater Patron of 300: Rise of the Empire

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"On 03/15/14 at 8:15 P.M. the Tustin Police Department received a call from mall security of two suspicious males entering the movie theaters at 2457 Park," reads a release from Lt. John Strain, the agency's spokesman. "One of the suspects was wearing a backpack. Officers responded to the scene and evacuated the theaters without incident. The two males were located inside the theaters along with the backpack. At this time the investigation is ongoing and there is no additional information at this time."

No big whoop, right? Well, read on ...

The following comes from longtime reader, first-time writer (to us) "D.B.," who spins this tale of the same incident:

My wife and I were trying to enjoy the new 300 movie on Saturday evening and were successfully doing so when, with probably 10-15 minutes left, the movie stops and lights come on and around a dozen or so heavily armed police officers rush into the theater.

Everyone was frozen; I know I was. Thoughts of the Batman tragedy started racing through my head but were quelled (sort of) when I realized it was Tustin PD. I was still quite shaken but knew it was more than likely TPD making mountains out of mole hills as they are known to do.

Poor lil' guys want to be real cops so bad.

The officer who seemed to be in charge had his pistol drawn and was waving it gingerly in the direction of all the patrons seated in the theater. Most of the other officers had the standard issue 12 gauge pump shotguns, and they weren't just holding them they were aiming them at the audience.

We were asked to put our hands on the seats in front of us and wait to be escorted from the theater by row. Now this is after the people they were looking for were identified and separated from the rest of us patrons.

On the way out of the theater, there were more cops with guns in the hallway leading to the lobby just in case the suspects were able to shoot their way through the dozen or so armed officers in the theater.

Upon exiting the theater, we were told nothing when we asked and given passes for another visit to AMC theaters.

My assumption to the reason behind such a vulgar display of power were more realistic thoughts like escaped convicts, armed gunman or al-Qaeda. My wife, on the other hand, had heard something mentioned by the po-po in regards to a backpack and made the assumption that it was someone filming the movie.

"No fucking way," I thought at first, but quickly reminded myself it's Tustin PD.

The next day I looked online to try and get some closure but all I could find was a couple news sites stating the cops were called because of two suspicious dudes and one was wearing a backpack. Holy shit! People can just walk around with backpacks these days?!? What is this country coming to!?!

America, do not bring anything with you that doesn't fit in your pockets.

Purses are safe for now, but for how long?

The bottom line (cuz Stone Cold said so) is this, my friends: Tustin has too many cops that don't have anything to do. Most of the time you see them parked in the same spots for hours, often talking to other officers in cruisers.

Then there are the times when they will stop someone walking down the street who looks "suspicious." (Term usually refers to tattooed or person of color by Tustin PD standards). Whenever this occurs its not long before there are three or four more units that arrive to back up the initial officer.

One evening years ago I was almost ran over by the gang unit while riding my bike home from the store. They had abruptly pulled into a driveway to block my path, and I almost smashed into the black-on-black cruiser. After running my name and not finding anything useful to them, they noticed my address and asked basically if there was anyone I wanted to tell on.

The latest and greatest is their placement of a single empty cruiser at the gas station on Newport and Mitchell for most of the day and then the next day it will be at the liquor store on McFadden and Pasadena Avenue. No cops, just the car. Is this a big brother is watching ploy? Why not just get a cardboard standee of an officer and have the store owners set it out each day and save the taxpayers some gas money?

I have lived in Tustin most of my life, and I do think it's a great community but the cops are out of control because they don't have anything going on ever and there's way too many of them.

I don't hate cops by any means; I actually have some in the family and even contemplated joining the force at one time. But when detectives (who didn't identify themselves) are breaking people's arms for reacting when security almost runs them over and theaters are invaded like a crack house over a mysterious backpack, I think it's safe to say there is a too-much-free-time situation occurring. Why does Tustin even need detectives? I think car burglary and parole violations are pretty self explanatory.

Almost daily I see a Tustin cop breaking traffic laws that would earn us civies a ticket and a lot of questions. I am almost sure that none of their turn signals work (I haven't seen any). I feel that people of authority should lead by example, but that sort of antiquated thinking isn't shared by these people.

I think that we need to trim the fat and put those wages into our schools where they are needed. In the event that some major catastrophe were to occur in Tustin and they were shorthanded, we could borrow some real cops from SanTana or even use the Sheriffs. I am not apposed to be getting paid for driving around in circles all day, but I'd rather be productive for the check I receive at the end of the week, but that's just me.

P.S. Why aren't there any black Tustin cops anymore?

We'll be happy to print a Tustin Police response should one ever arrive.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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