VIDEO: Santa Ana Police Clobber Burglary Suspect With Batons and Fists

Surveillance video still shot

On the night of June 20, Edgar Vargas Arzate reportedly ran away from SanTana police officers before giving himself up. That's where surveillance cameras perched above the front yard of a home captured a good-ol' fashioned clobbering.

The 27-year-old clearly puts his hands in the air and then lays on the ground appearing to be compliant. The first officer to approach Vargas pummels him with six straight punches. Another swings his baton at the burglary suspect's legs soon after.

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Santa Ana Pot Crackdown Begins Anew

Eric Hood/OC Weekly
Dabz a make her dance

According to a Santa Ana Police Department investigator who spoke with the Weekly, 17 medical marijuana dispensaries were visited by police in the past week. 42 tickets were issued to dispensaries operating in violation of the city's 2007 ban on pot clubs, three of which--Wax City, Emerald, and Wax-R-Us--have now closed. The operation came in the wake of a July 15 city council meeting in which councilmembers voted to appropriate $500,000 for ongoing anti-pot enforcement actions.

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Artist Tony Pedraza Arrested for Painting Utility Box in Downtown Santa Ana

Courtesy Tony Pedraza
Tony Pedroza's utility box art in progress

A local artist involved in helping build downtown SanTana's public art scene was arrested July 2nd for painting a utility box on Sycamore and Civic Center.

Tony Pedraza, a young muralist and painter from SanTana, painted the gunmetal gray caja after noticing other utility boxes in the city's downtown were being decorated through a city-commissioned art beautification program. Three days into his own project, a police officer approached Pedraza and asked if he had a permit; Pedraza answered no.

The police officer then asked Pedraza why he was painting the box. "I just told him I saw other boxes around that had been painted on and I was frustrated with the way they looked, like there wasn't a lot of effort put into them. So I decided to do my own box for the city, for free," Pedraza says.

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Santa Ana Officials Say They Got Associated Press to Correct "Erroneous" Water Use Story

Photo by flickr user tubblesnap
You can lead a horse to water, but ...
The Associated Press, citing state data, reported on July 16 that water consumption increased 65 percent from May 2013 through May 2014 in the City of Santa Ana.

That was apparently news to the City of Santa Ana's leaders and water officials.

Incorrect news.

"The fact is that the city's water consumption increased by only 7 percent during that time frame," according to Santa Ana's Public Works Agency.

Nabil Saba, the city's water resources manager, spoke with the Associated Press reporter who crafted the original piece, which was later corrected, according to a notice Santa Ana residents received recently.

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OC DA Files Gang Injunction Against Townsend Street Gang in Santa Ana

CopWatch Santa Ana
Santa Ana Gang Unit officers on Townsend Street
Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas and Commander Tammy Franks offered inanities when asked by community members last November if the po-po was looking to place a gang injunction that would affect the Townsend Street barrio in central SanTana. "We are constantly looking at data related to all our hot spot areas," Rojas said at the time, in response to councilman Roman Reyna. "If there are gang injunctions to be done here in the city, I will be at that community meeting." Commander Franks tried to assure skeptical audience members that a SAPD Gang Unit presentation at the KidWorks center that tipped off residents merely spoke of gang injunctions in the hypothetical.

But earlier this month, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) literally filed for a preliminary gang injunction on Townsend, and Santa Ana police served notices to those named in it just last week. So much for that community meeting, eh Chief Rojas?

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OC May Day Coalition Renews Call for Santa Ana to End City Jail Contract With ICE

Coalition member Theresa Dang poses with Chief Rojas as he gets photobombed!
Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas took his oath of office at last night's city council meeting, becoming SanTana's 20th police chief and the first Latino top cop in the city's history. But soon after the swearing in ceremony, Chief Rojas publicly acknowledged OC May Day Coalition members present in the chambers and alluded to the policy fight that awaits.

"We have our issues," Rojas said, pointing to activists standing up against a wall. In the packed house, they held protest signs calling on the city to end its collaboration and contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Santa Ana Targets Cinco de Mayo Cruisers, Sheriff Focuses on Drinko de Mayo Boozers

Paramount Pictures
Santa Ana police try to smoke out Cinco de Mayo cruisers today.

Don't be surprised if you see a cop in your rear-view mirror if you spend Cinco de Mayo cruising select Santa Ana streets.

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Officials Clear Santa Ana School Cop of Excessive Force in Viral Video; Witnesses Claim Otherwise

Unnamed officer on top of unnamed kid at Adams Park
Santa Ana School Police Chief Hector Rodriguez finished his investigation into the rough arrest of a 14-year-old at Adams Park that made national headlines earlier this month after an onlooker videotaped the incident. And, surprise, surprise: the top cop thinks his officer didn't do anything wrong.

"Unfortunately we had a subject who was vandalizing property, who assaulted and resisted an officer," Chief Rodriguez told the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education. "Based on a thorough investigation that included reviewing the videotape filmed by a citizen and interviewing of witnesses and the parties involved, I have concluded that the actions taken by the officer in this incident were reasonable."

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Santa Ana's Bristol Street Easter Cruise Over?


As a former cruise passenger on E Street in San Bernardino--because I didn't have a car and there was absolutely nothing else to do in San Berdoo--I find it disturbing that no one's invited me to the Bristol Street cruises in Santa Ana each Easter night.

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A Quick History of the Blunder-Happy Santa Ana School Police Force at Center of Controversial Video

Last week's viral video showing a Santa Ana school cop restraining a teen tagger with what witnesses described as a chokehold wasn't the first embarrassing moment for the department. They've been caught on film before and seem to be as adverse to cameras as vampires are to sunlight!

A juvenile court date for the kid and completion of an internal investigation by the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) Police Department await this week.

In the meantime, the Weekly compiled a short list of their best impressions of Reno 911!

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