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Friday, June 17, 2005
GG POLICE PURSUE PHONY CRIMINAL CHARGE AGAINST
WOMAN HIT BY MINUTEMAN SUPPORTER
Her home is searched by lawmen while she's at work
By DUANE J. ROBERTS firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTMINSTER, CA -- When Theresa Dang checked her
mailbox on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 15th, she
noticed one of the letters she received that day had
come from the Orange County District Attorney's
Office. No problem, she thought. Maybe Tony
Rackauckas, the District Attorney, had finally sent
her a letter in response to one that Dang and two
other people delivered to his Santa Ana office earlier
this month. But when Dang opened the letter, however,
she noticed it wasn't from him at all: it was, in
fact, a criminal complaint.
In a letter dated Thursday, June 9th, the Orange
County District Attorney's Office was notifying Dang
that she was being charged with violating Section
484(a)-488 of the California Penal Code, "Petty theft
and Carrying Away", a misdemeanor offense punishable
by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in the Orange
County jail for up to six months, or both. The letter
accused Dang of allegedly committing this criminal act
on the night of Wednesday, May 25th.
What did she do? Dang wondered. She called the
District Attorney's Office to learn more about what
this was all about, but got no response. Little did
she realize the answer would come the very next day in
a most unexpected way.
On the morning of Thursday, June 16th, while Dang was
at work, the Garden Grove Police raided the
Westminster home where she lives with her family.
According to several witnesses, including her father,
four Garden Grove Police officers arrived at her house
armed with a search warrant signed by an Orange County
Superior Court Judge. They went through every room of
the house she resides at, even searching those known
to be occupied by her brothers and sisters. But when
the lawmen found Dang's room, they completely trashed
it: they overturned her bed and threw all of her
personal belongings around. It's a mess.
What were they looking for? According to a copy of the
search warrant affidavit signed by Garden Grove Police
Detective Michael Reynolds, they were on the prowl for
a "Black full sized Maglite with Small diameter
handle". Say what? Here is the English translation:
the cops were seeking a black flashlight that can be
obtained at any Home Improvement store for around $10,
give or take a few pennies.
Although Garden Grove Police spent nearly an hour
rummaging through Theresa's personal belongings, they
never found what they were looking for. She claims
that when Detective Reynolds called her up via
cellphone, he was mad; he accused her of stealing a
flashlight that had been dropped by a police officer
on the ground about three weeks ago. "This is a very
serious matter", Reynolds allegedly told Dang. He
demanded that she tell him where that flashlight was;
and if it was no longer in her possession, who had it?
All of this would be very funny if this were part of a
script for some comedy show on television. But the
truth is, this is reality. Did Garden Grove cops take
time out from their busy schedule of apprehending
murderers, rapists, bank robbers, and drunk drivers to
raid somebody's house and look for a flashlight? Yes.
They did. And it happened here in Westminster,
California. Yesterday. At 10-o-clock in the morning.
In one of the worst cases of political repression ever
seen by the author of this article, the Orange County
District Attorney's Office and Garden Grove Police
Department have jointly launched an unprecedented and
outrageous attack against a young Vietnamese woman
whose only real crime was to express her dissent with
the powers that be.
Theresa Dang was one of about 300 people from around
Southern California who showed up on May 25th to
demonstrate against Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist,
who appeared at the Garden Grove Woman's Civic Club
that night to speak at a monthly meeting of the
California Coalition for Immigration Reform, the group
responsible for putting the racist Proposition 187 on
the ballot back in 1994.
During the protest, Dang was thrown to the ground when
she and three other protesters (including Jim
Lafferty, Executive Director of the Los Angeles
Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild) were hit by a
minivan driven by Hal Netkin, a Van Nuys bigot who
operates several websites on the internet which bashes
Mexico and blames "illegal immigrants" from that
country for all of California's economic problems.
Although the Garden Grove Police on the scene did
initially arrest Netkin on charges of "assault with a
deadly weapon" (especially after repeated demands from
the mass of protesters who assembled that they take
immediate action), they declined to pursue this case
further after he was brought to the station. Netkin
was released from their custody early the next
morning, around 1:00 am.
Theresa was very troubled by this. She was bothered
that Netkin had been set free, while five protesters
arrested by Garden Grove Police that night were facing
criminal prosecution on serious felony charges.
Seeking justice, she, along with two other people,
co-authored and signed a letter that was personally
delivered to the District Attorney's Office on the
afternoon of Wednesday, June 1st. A press conference
was later held on the public sidewalk outside.
In that letter, District Attorney Rackauckas was asked
that: (1) All charges against the accused protesters
be dropped; 2) Criminal charges be filed against Hal
Netkin, and; 3) An independent investigation into
misconduct be brought against the Garden Grove Police
Since that time, Theresa has been outspoken in her
criticism of how the Garden Grove Police Department
conducted themselves on the night of May 25th. She's
been appearing quite regularly on KPFK and other mass
media. Her voice has even managed to be heard on the
infamous Fox News channel.
This has apparently struck a raw nerve deep with top
brass inside the Garden Grove Police Department. So in
a clear act of retaliation, they are seeking to punish
Dang by either fabricating or blowing out of
proportion some incredibly trivial thing she allegedly
did at the May 25th demonstration.
We are asking that people throughout the Southern
California area begin preparing for a mass
mobilization to defend Theresa Dang against this
incredibly vicious attack by the combined forces of
the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the
Garden Grove Police Department.
As of this moment, Theresa has retained the services
of a Los Angeles-based civil rights attorney and is
currently working with friends and family to form a
committee to defend herself from this completely
ridiculous and scurrilous charge.
Although additional actions are being planned, for now
we're asking that as many people as possible make
arrangements to pack the courtroom during her
arraignment at the West Justice Center, scheduled for
the morning of June 27, 2005 at 8:30 am. The address
is 8131 13th Street, Westminster.
To learn more about what you can do to help Theresa in
her fight, please keep an eye out for future messages
posted on this listserv or website; or feel free to
send a message to the author of this article at the
above email address.
REMEMBER: AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!
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