OC DA Blames Schizophrenic Man For His Death after Fight with Santa Ana PD, Hospital Staff

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On the night of December 28, 2011, Mario Marin was angry with Santa Ana churchgoers. Outside the City Lights Dream Center Church, he cursed out congregates and clocked a pastor in the face. Unable to be subdued by church members, the Santa Ana Police Department were called in.

Officers Brian Booker and Sergio Gutierrez arrived on scene. Booker tased Marin, but it eventually took five cops in total to cuff and tie-up his hands and legs, restraining him with their knees and body weight.

Did the fight cause Marin's death five days later? An investigation by the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) finds no fault with officer actions, saying Marin "was the aggressor" in a number of fights in the days leading up to his death, and that any number of them may have caused it--but definitely not the cop one!

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OC DA Clears Orange Police in Shooting of Unarmed Woman

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On June 22, 2012, Olivia Reil went to Danny K's Sports Bar in Orange with her boyfriend Robert to celebrate a friend's birthday. Everything went well enough that summer night until Reil and her man got into a lover's quarrel as they sat in his truck. The two had been going out for a year, but she hadn't yet heard those three magic words: "I love you."

Robert drove Reil to a friend's place after leaving Danny K's, but she didn't get down with him. When Robert came back out, he found that she took off with his truck.

Later on that night, according to an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), Reil essentially called the police on herself saying a woman was armed and seated inside a truck.

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OCDA Says No Foul Play Or Negligence in 'Hospital Booking' Death

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The latest custodial death cleared by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office involved no actual jail cell. That's because the booking and arresting of Chad E. Smith in 2012 occurred in a hospital after he attempted suicide.

When he actually shot himself in the head is unclear since the OCDA's report fails to mention the date, but apparently it happened not long after Smith's girlfriend broke up with him over the phone.


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OC DA Clears Controversial Prison Firm in Garden Grove Custody Death

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When investigating custody-related deaths, the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office only looks at the question of criminal culpability. It leaves civil liability alone. The distinction comes into play with the agency's latest clearance in Garden Grove, a city that contracts with The GEO Group, a controversial and lawsuit ridden private for-profit prison firm.

Joel Duran came under GEO's watch on August 18, 2012 when cuffed by Garden Grove police officer James Franks for resisting arrest.

Duran was pronounced dead by a doctor nearly two-and-a-half hours later at a nearby hospital.


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VIDEO: Watch Anaheim Police Ruthlessly Enforce City's Anti-Homeless Crackdown

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Because the city has made it hard for them to stay
Anaheim's controversial war against the homeless in public parks has been in full effect for over a month now via an ordinance that bans tent camping and allows police to impound possessions. It's succeeded in pushing them out of the lawns of La Palma Park, which served as the city's nexus for homeless for years. But what of those who remained in other areas?

Despite damage control efforts by police and Anaheim officials to make it seem as if they're compassionate, enforcement at Maxwell Park in the city's West Side recently goes to show the overall effect of the new law is still to say: pack your shit and get out!

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"Mystic Arts" Returns to Laguna Beach

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Close up of Dion Wright's Taxonomic Mandala
Anyone familiar with Orange County's 1960s folklore knows that Laguna Beach was the center of Southern California's underground hippie scene.

In fact, that center had a street address: 670 S. Coast Hwy., where, just after the 1967 Summer of Love, a head shop, art gallery, book store and exotic-goods retailer opened its doors. Mystic Arts World, as the place was known, was also essentially a front for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the legendary group of surfers and smugglers who for a time operated the nation's largest hashish and LSD network.

Mystic Arts World burned down under mysterious circumstances (some, including artist and Brotherhood cohort Dion Wright, claim it was the work of members of the John Birch Society) some 43 years ago this month. But now, just next door, at 664 S. Coast Hwy., a new Mystic Arts has opened its doors, and the art gallery and exotic-goods store appears to have the Brotherhood's blessing.

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OC DA Sees No Harm, No Foul by Anaheim Police in Custodial Death of Homeless Man

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On Halloween 2012, Alan Douglas Bluck got drunk. After he passed out next to an empty bottle of vodka, Anaheim police arrested the homeless man for public intoxication. Early the following morning, a guard found Bluck unresponsive in the city jail and doctors later pronounced him dead at a nearby hospital.

As is customary by the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), the agency investigated the custodial-related death clearing all involved in the jailing and booking of Bluck.

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Kelly Thomas Murder Trial: Officers Ramos, Cicinelli NOT GUILTY!

Inside a packed, tense Santa Ana courtroom, former Fullerton Police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli have been found not guilty of murdering Kelly Thomas, the homeless Fullerton resident who died after being brutally beaten by Ramos, Cicinelli and several other officers in July 2011.

Specifically, jurors found Ramos not guilty of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Cicinelli not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.

Flanked by 11 sheriff's deputies, Cicinelli cried as the verdicts were read. Moments earlier, he had hugged family members, while the district attorney's chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, handed tissues to Thomas' mother, who was seated next to Thomas' father, Ron.

See our entire Kelly Thomas Killing archives here.


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OC DA Rings in the New Year By Clearing Santa Ana Cops in Shooting

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The Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) ended the holidays by publishing a slew of investigations clearing OC cops of wrongdoing in a number of shooting incidents.

A week into the new year, the agency issued its first report clearing two SanTana policemen in the fatal killing of 35-year-old Jessica Gonzalez last June.

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Surprise, Surprise: OC DA Clears Yet Another Officer-Involved Killing

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Jason Hallstrom
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through OC, not a cop who had shot faced charges, by the District Attorney...

In the Weekly's latest entry in its series of OC DA-cleared killer cops, two Santa Ana policemen were cleared of wrongdoing in an officer-involved shooting earlier this year. Officers Pete Picone and John Rodriguez opened fire in an incident on March 15, 2013 that killed Jason Hallstrom, 41, and injured Travis Mock, 29.

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