HIS NAME WAS JUSTIN PERKINS.


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And once again it happens, in 2018 style.  2009-16 was all about the Anaheim Police shooting fleeing young Latino men they later claim they thought might have been armed.  This year it’s always the brutal arrest of a homeless and/or mentally ill man gone horribly wrong, and the victim dying days later in the hospital.  Justin Perkins is the 5th (almost the 6th if Yamashita hadn’t pulled through) APD fatality this year – the third or fourth who was mentally ill, and the second or third where the cause was accidental asphyxiation while being arrested.

A lot of people will miss Justin.  A lot of people knew him as the fun-loving roadie for Agent Orange bass player Perry Giordano.  Bipolar and equipped with the mind of a 12-year old, he was said to light up the room with his smile, laugh and silly jokes when he’d walk in.  His funeral is tomorrow – Saturday the 10th – at 10am, at West Anaheim’s St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church.

It’s still in dispute, what started things off badly the morning of Wednesday October 27th.  Police were called to intervene in some dispute, reportedly an altercation between Justin and an employee of the apartment complex where he lived with his uncle, but it’s not even certain at this point that it was Justin that was involved.  But the police apparently knew of Justin, and he was afraid of police, so when he saw them approaching – according to witnesses – he ran into his apartment, and the police followed, tasered him and dragged him out.

The first thing Justin’s uncle saw when he came out was the police repeatedly hitting his head and body with their fists and batons – bodycam footage when released may presumably tell what led to that point.  As Justin began to fall to the ground, one officer began to apply a chokehold to him while the other continued beating him on his body and legs with his baton.

We will print these officers’ names when we receive them, sometime next week.

As the two policemen managed to beat and asphyxiate Justin into a cardiac arrest from which he never recovered, they were somehow “seriously hurt,” and were rushed off to UCI medical center.  The uncle failed to see any injuries on the police, who were quickly released from the hospital, but a witness says that Justin bit one of the cops’ fingers as he was being strangled.

Justin was then left to lie on the ground unconscious for what the witness estimates as 45 minutes before being taken, brain-dead, to West Anaheim Medical Center.  Despite what you were about to say, no drugs were found in his system.  It was two days before his 38th birthday, and it was two more days before he was officially declared dead, so it’s a matter of dispute whether he actually made it to 38 years old.  Sadly, he had really wanted to be an organ donor, and had had a very strong heart, but all his internal organs were RUINED from the severity of his oxygen deprivation.  I guess that happens.

At first his mother was not allowed to see him in the hospital, until an LAPD friend of the family called APD and raised hell.  Still for the four remaining days Anaheim police kept guard outside Justin’s room just in case – in case, who knows?  In case somebody saw what they had done?

With his cousin Noel.

Killed October 27, declared dead Halloween, and still NOBODY HEARD ABOUT THIS TRAGEDY UNTIL TWO DAYS AGO, NOVEMBER 7, when his family and friends began posting about it on Facebook.  Within hours the Register was out with a piece of police-spokesman stenography entitled “Anaheim Man Suspected of Seriously Hurting Two Police Officers Dies in Custody.”  You see how it goes, if you’re “nobody” and nobody fights for you?

Well, his family is fighting for him now!  They have retained hotshot LA attorney DeWitt M Lacy, who represented Rodney King.  No matter WHAT happened, to be revealed perhaps by bodycam, in those initial minutes, this was definitely HELL OF EXCESSIVE, DEADLY FORCE.

And me, I have to help you keep track, because that’s what I do…SINCE 2008 (a few of these were possibly unavoidable, most not.)

See you at the funeral tomorrow morning!

 


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.