June 05, 2003
First witnesses called in Aguirre trial

The DA called a few respectable suburban arrestees and the defense did its best to hogtie Chief C.O. "BAMF" Bradford to the defendant in the opening day of former HPD Captain Mark Aguirre's trial on official oppression charges. Let's go to the videotape:

The four witnesses said officers ignored their protests of innocence, bound them with plastic handcuffs and made them sit in the parking lot for hours before hauling them off to jail.

All said they were charged with attempted trespass, a misdemeanor, but the charges were later dismissed.

On cross-examination, each acknowledged hiring an attorney to seek compensation from the city.

Not sure why it matters if these folks are exploring a wrongful arrest lawsuit against the city. I guess defense attorney Terry Yates is trying to make them look greedy, which in turn may make the jury think they deserved to be arrested. Or something.

Yates said Aguirre had joined the police force in 1980 and climbed the ranks, earning praise and trust from superiors, including Police Chief C.O. Bradford.

Aguirre had cleaned up crime in other areas, Yates said, so Bradford sought his help in devising a plan to stop street racing.

Aguirre's plan called for a "zero tolerance" sweep of problem areas -- arresting, rather than merely ticketing, lawbreakers. Department superiors approved the idea, Yates said.

"Captain Aguirre never ordered anybody arrested," Yates said. "He went through the crowd and released several people.

"From what he could see, the officers were making arrests based on probable cause."

Yates said Aguirre was made a scapegoat because of an unrelated conflict with Bradford.

Boy, if the defense calls Bradford as a witness, that oughta be more fun than OJ's testimony.

I'm curious about the claim that Aguirre personally released several people. For one thing, that's the first mention of it that I've seen. Second, on what grounds was he releasing people? Did he have personal knowledge that they alone were not involved with the alleged drag racing but everyone else there was? This sounds awfully fishy to me. I presume that if Yates mentioned this in his opening statement that he'll produce witnesses to that effect when he presents his case. I'm looking forward to that.

This case is a day old and already it's meeting my expectations for entertainment value. I'd like to thank the DA's office for waiting until the summer rerun season began before commencing with the trial. Very thoughtful of them.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 05, 2003 to K-Mart Kiddie Roundup | TrackBack