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Costa Mesa Resident Sues City After His Arrest During Costa Mesa Council Meeting

by ACLU/SC Press Release Sunday, Mar. 05, 2006 at 5:51 AM

ACLU/SC Files Suit After Arrest, Beating of Speaker at Costa Mesa Council Meeting

ACLU/SC Press Release

ACLU/SC Files Suit After Arrest, Beating of Speaker at

Costa Mesa Council Meeting

Costa Mesa Resident Sues City After His Arrest During

a January Meeting

Thursday, March 2, 2006

ORANGE, Calif. – In response to the silencing, arrest

and beating of a local resident during a January city

council meeting, the ACLU of Southern California and

the Law Offices of B. Kwaku Duren filed a lawsuit

against the city of Costa Mesa today.

ACLU/SC staff attorney Belinda Escobosa Helzer filed

the lawsuit on behalf of Coyotl Tezcatlipoca, who at a

Jan. 3 city council meeting was abruptly silenced by

Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor half way through his

allotted time for public comment. Tezcatlipoca, who

also goes by Benito Acosta, was then immediately

surrounded by several police officers, dragged out of

the meeting room, beaten, arrested and later - while

still in custody - taken to the hospital for


“We are deeply troubled by what happened in January.

Our elected officials owe it to their constituents to

hear all perspectives and discuss all potential

problems or benefits on every topic and not curtail

debate,” said Escobosa Helzer, an attorney in the

ACLU/SC’s Orange County office. “We filed this lawsuit

to help ensure that the Costa Mesa government

maintains a forum for all types of discussion and

debate and that residents do not fear that if they are

opposed to something they will be arrested and beaten

for speaking their mind.”

Tezcatlipoca attended the January meeting and was

selected to speak as a representative by more than 100

people also attending the meeting in opposition to a

plan that would allow law enforcement officials to

enforce federal civil immigration law in Costa Mesa.

"I believe that no one should be punished for speaking

their mind," Tezcatlipoca said. "I wanted to speak at

the city council meeting because this proposal will

send shockwaves through the community if it is


“It is important that I speak up about what happened

so that it does not become more common. It’s painful

to talk about what happened to me, but I don't want

this rough, unfair treatment to scare people into not

speaking out about this proposal or anything else,”

Tezcatlipoca continued.

Escobosa Helzer, who has been monitoring the Orange

County proposals, says despite overwhelming public

opposition, Orange County and the city of Costa Mesa

are slated to enter into an agreement with Immigration

and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Costa Mesa City

Council agreed to allow the city police to enforce

federal immigration law and become a part of Orange

County Sheriff Michael Carona's October proposal,

which has yet to be approved by the County Board of


“Residents have major concerns about the proposal and

the ACLU has opposed it as well, but what’s at stake

is far more fundamental. We filed this lawsuit because

a fair and equitable process by which people can raise

legitimate concerns in Costa Mesa is in jeopardy,” she



To read the actual complaint that was filed in federal

court, click on the following link:

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