Far-left LA D.A. Gascon’s chief of staff sues police over public intoxication arrest, alleging his civil rights were violated

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LOS ANGELES, CA- On Wednesday, January 5th, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s chief of staff filed a lawsuit against the Azusa Police Department (APD), allegedly accusing officers of violating his civil rights when they arrested him in December 2021.

According to reports, chief of staff 36-year-old Joseph Iniguez, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication on December 11, 2021 after officers pulled over a vehicle that was being driven by his fiancé shortly before midnight.

Hours before the lawsuit was made public, APD released several pages of documents in response to a public records request filed by The Los Angeles Times.

In the documents, an officer stated that Iniguez had “bloodshot” eyes and was slurring his speech when he allegedly interfered with the officers’ action during the traffic stop.

According to the police report, officers initially stopped Iniguez’s car because his fiancé, who was driving, made an illegal U-turn into a McDonald’s drive-through in the 900 block of East Alosta Avenue. 

Police said that Iniguez was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a misdemeanor, and was booked into jail before his release about four hours later.

The lawsuit Iniguez filed allegedly states that the arrest took place with “deliberate indifference to the rights violated, despicably, and with evil motive and intent, in disregard” of his civil rights.

According to the complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court, Iniguez and his fiancé, Dale Radford, were driving home from a wedding and stopped at the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant in Azusa when an officer approached their vehicle.

Iniguez said he stepped out of the car to film the interaction because he was concerned over the welfare of his fiancé, who was not arrested.

The suit alleges that the officer, identified as R. Martinez, asked Radford if he knew why he was pulled over and then stated that he was able to smell the odor of alcohol coming from inside the car.

The suit alleges that Iniguez told the officer that he drank earlier in the evening at a wedding reception and Radford was acting as the designated driver, and any odor of alcohol was from himself.

According to the complaint, after Iniguez began advising his fiancé of his rights, Martinez, named as a defendant, allegedly told Iniguez that he was in public and intoxicated and that he would be placed under arrest. 

The suit alleges that Martinez told Iniguez that he appeared “incapable of following simply directions for your safety and the safety of the public, therefore, you’re being placed under arrest for public intoxication.”

Iniguez alleges that it appeared from the officer’s demeanor that Martinez was frustrated that he had advised Radford of his rights.

When he was taken to the Azusa police station, Iniguez alleges that he was asked by an intake officer as to what his sexual orientation was. The suit contents that Iniguez “decline to answer out of fear for his safety.” The suit states:

“Despite having no answer and no such information, the jailer entered Plaintiff’s sexual orientation as bisexual. Plaintiff was moved from an intake cell to a cell toward the rear of the jail that was dark, extremely cold, and isolated.

Plaintiff did not have shoes or a jacket while in custody; as a result, the cold was oppressive and injurious.”

The suit also contends that as a result of what Iniguez claims was a false arrest and its aftermath, his “emotional and psychological distress and physical injuries include sleeplessness, debilitating anxiety and yet to be diagnosed conditions, all of which continue to this day.”

Reportedly, Iniguez is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, including general and special damages, and punitive damages assigned to the officers involved. 

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Far-left L.A. County D.A. George Gascón’s chief of staff arrested for public intoxication

December 22nd, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA  – The chief of staff for Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication earlier this month, according to authorities.

On December 11, 2021, at approximately 11:35 PM, Azusa Police Officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of the 900 block of East Alosta Ave. in the city of Azusa for a traffic violation, according to a police press release.

Joseph Iniguez, 36, was arrested for Penal Code section 647(f), known as misdemeanor public intoxication.

Iniguez was processed and later released from the custody of the Azusa Police Department early the next  morning as per standard practice for these types of arrests.

The press release notes that a “personnel complaint” had been filed because of the incident, and that the Azusa Police Department is cooperating with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

The department declined further comment because of the on-going investigation into a personnel matter.

In an interview obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning, Iniguez said he and his fiancé were driving home from a wedding and had stopped at a drive-through restaurant in Azusa when police approached them.

The stop was initiated by police because of a traffic violation which occurred on a city street, according to Azusa Police Lt. Rocky Wenrick.

Far-left LA D.A. Gascon's chief of staff sues police over public intoxication arrest, alleging his civil rights were violated

Iniguez said that the police asked his fiancé out of the car under suspicion of driving under the influence. He said he was concerned for her safety, he stepped out of the vehicle to film the intersection:

“I decided to get out of the car, stand near the car, on the passenger side, and I began to record.

“I wanted to record to preserve whatever was going to happen between that officer and my fiancé, because he was not DUI.”

The chief of staff said that police never asked him to return to his vehicle, but instead arrested him for public intoxication. He alleges police were targeting him in retaliation for filming them.

His fiancée was briefly handcuffed and detained, but was not charged in the incident.

Iniguez said he has filed an internal affairs complaint against the officer who arrested him. Wenrick, the Azusa police spokesman, declined to comment on Iniguez’s allegations.

Azusa police officers are not equipped with body or dash cameras, and the only video is that taken by Iniquez.

Gascón’s office said they are aware of the incident. Special advisor Alex Bastian said:

“The district attorney has the utmost confidence in Joseph. It’s a personnel matter so we can’t get into the specifics at this time.”

Iniguez’s case was referred to the district attorney’s office to determine whether criminal charges should be filed, according to the police department’s statement.

Given the apparent conflict of interest created by Iniguez’s position in the D.A.’s office, the case likely will be redirected to the California attorney general’s office.

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Prosecutor claims LA County DA Gascón ‘limiting charges’ against MS-13 gang member in brutal attack

April 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA – A member of MS-13 was charged this week with assaulting a transgender woman Thursday in MacArthur Park, but the prosecutor says he was blocked from charging a gang enhancement under orders from the District Attorney.

Gabriel Orellana, 19, was charged with one count of battery likely to produce great bodily injury following his arrest for the assault.

The suspect, along with another man who has not yet been arrested or charged, allegedly approached the woman, and shouted derogatory remarks before knocking her to the ground and striking her repeatedly in the head and torso, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos.

The woman was taken to a local hospital where she received stitches for open wounds.

Ceballos said that the crime should have been charged as a gang-related crime, but Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has ordered his prosecutors not to seek sentence enhancements.

Ceballos said:

“It was clearly a gang case. The gang allegation should have been filed. But I wasn’t allowed to do so.”

After being elected in December, Gascón prohibited the use of sentencing enhancements in most cases, which has drawn criticism from his own prosecutors and from victims’ rights advocates.

He has since reinstated enhancements “in cases involving the most vulnerable victims and in specified extraordinary circumstances.”

Orellana pleaded not guilty in court Monday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 6, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.

LAPD officials have expressed concern about violence against transgender women at the park. The attack was the latest of at least four attacks against transgender women at MacArthur Park since August. MS-13 considers the park part of their territory.

Two days before the attack, the police held a “midnight stroll” with community leaders through the park, offering food and resources to transgender residents. LAPD Chief Michael Moore told the city’s civilian Police Commission last week:

“Midnight stroll has been a strategy that the department has worked with the transgender community for some years, typically much later in the evening and typically in the Hollywood area of our city.

“But given the outlandish attacks on two transgender women that occurred in the MacArthur Park area just months ago, and the underlying incidence of gang violence and intimidation in that community, we thought that it was appropriate to have that outreach and that engagement in that park.”
 

 

 

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