Monday, November 06, 2006

Macias v. County of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 27, 2006)

It's been a fairly lazy November for the California judiciary thus far. Perhaps everyone's focused on the election; and, in some cases, on their own retention.

But that simply allows us to revisit the quality manner in which our government sometimes treats its citizens. Let's see, for example, what happens to Trinidad Macias at the hands of
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in this case:

"At approximately 5:00 a.m. on August 28, 2002, Macias was praying the rosary as he sat on the toilet in his home in Pico Rivera, California. Macias, then a 60-year-old retired college professor, has 90 percent hearing loss in both ears and was not wearing his hearing aid at the time. He was dressed in only a t-shirt, with no clothing below the waist.

Macias felt a rumbling sensation under his feet that felt like an earthquake, and then three deputies wearing combat-type clothing burst into the bathroom with their guns drawn. Macias pointed to his ears to try to indicate that he was deaf.

The deputies pulled Macias off the toilet, threw him to the floor, and dragged him outside, striking his shoulder against the wall in the process. Once outside, he was guarded by another deputy. Macias was forced to stand in his driveway wearing nothing but a t-shirt, with his genitals exposed, under guard and unable to reenter his house to get more clothing or his hearing aid, for roughly one hour. It took the deputies only about four minutes, however, to determine that there were no safety threats within Macias’ home. Because of Macias’ sparse clothing, it was immediately apparent that Macias himself was not a safety threat."

Why drag a half-naked 60-year old man praying the rosary on his toilet into the street at gunpoint and display him in public for more than an hour? Because "[a] confidential informant had told [police] that Steve Hernandez, a reputed member of the Pico Nuevo street gang, lived
in the garage at Macias’ home [and] [a]ccording to the informant, [] sold methamphetamines from Macias’ garage without Macias’ knowledge and also stored weapons either in the garage or under the house."


Not that it matters, but they found neither drugs nor guns in the house. But, hey, that rosary could easily have been used as a weapon.