Santa Ana Police hold Orange Juice Blogger at gunpoint, illegally search his car.




Pic of Igmar Rodas from Voice of OC – last time that he took on Santa Ana PD and won.

A few weeks ago, our occasional investigative reporter Igmar Rodas was held at gunpoint and briefly arrested by Santa Ana police, as he was on his way to his security job. We’re publishing this under his name, although he prefers I present this as an interview between me (Vern) and him:

V: So, WTF?

I:  I know, huh.  It was a little before 9pm on March 26, and I had just driven up to my home, in a mobile home park near First and Fairview.  I had to change into my uniform, to go to work that night…

V: Work?  What sort of job?

I:  I do security.  This was my first night at a new place, I was going to be doing security at a bar in Downtown Fullerton…

In his uniform, as he looked that night.

V: What’s your uniform like?

I:  Black teeshirt and pants, a bulletproof vest that says “SECURITY” on it, and a bodycam.  So, as I walked to my car I heard four gunshots that sounded not too far away.  It’s Santa Ana, so I didn’t think much of it, and I went in and changed.

V: Ugh.

I:  Yeah.  Then I heard what might have been two more gunshots, but more muffled.  It could have been farther away, or it could have even been fireworks.  I got back in my car, and backed up about 10 feet, before I noticed my path was blocked by a dark car with its door opened.  I leaned out the window to tell them to move the fuck away, and then I saw it was the Santa Ana Police.  They flipped on their bright spotlights, and two policemen immediately pointed their rifles at me and told me to get out of the car.

V: Oh shit.

I:  That’s EXACTLY what I said.  I was actually still on the phone with my girlfriend at that moment, and I thought – if they see this phone in my hand they’re going to think it’s a gun, or pretend they think that.  So I SLOWLY set the phone down on the dashboard… and I looked down at my bodycam.  I really wanted to flip it on, but I knew that could get me killed too.  I slowly got out, and when they saw I had a bulletproof vest on, they both raised their rifles to my head.

V: Sounds like they were ready to kill you.

I:  That’s what they do.  I waited for their commands.  I could feel their tension, like they really felt like shooting me.  They told me to start walking toward them, which I did, then they grabbed me roughly and handcuffed me, leaned me up against their SUV and patted me down.  They had their bodycams on, but I noticed when THEY noticed MY bodycam, and I think they thought it was on even though it wasn’t.

V: They couldn’t tell huh?

Wrists hurt by cuffs; click to enlarge.

I:  No, but their demeanor changed a little when they thought I was filming them.  The only thing they said to me or asked me after that was if I’d heard any gunshots.  But even that was illegal, to ask me anything, because I was now technically under arrest, since I’d been cuffed.  Then they went farther and searched my car.

V: Without your permission?

I:  That’s right, a 4th amendment violation.  Of course they didn’t find anything.  Then they just told me to go.  No apologies, no explanations.

V: Did you make it to work?

I:  Yeah, fifty minutes late.  I told my boss what happened, send him photos, he was cool about it.

V: You ever find out about those gunshots?

I:  Yeah, there was a short Register story about it.  A resident named Alfonso Jasso had shot another resident, Jose Luis Solis.  They’d been fighting with each other a while.  Just a month before, Alfonso told Jose he was gonna kill him.

V: Ha.  When someone tells ME they’re gonna kill me, I usually don’t worry too much, I figure they’re just letting off steam.

Igmar’s work vest.

I:  Nah, this guy was serious.  He shot him in the back, I don’t know how many times.  Then when a couple of female witnesses tried to help the victim, he shot toward them to scare them off.  THEN he went up close to Jose and shot him point blank, twice, in the back of the head.  Those were the two muffled shots I’d heard while I was getting dressed.  Meanwhile, right before the cops got there, Alfonso got into his small blue car and drove himself to the police station to turn himself in.  I’m not sure, but the two cops who held me at gunpoint probably didn’t know that – it all happened around the same time.

V:  I see the Register doesn’t mention any of that.  I guess, because the police didn’t mention it.  Pretty much that’s what you get from most papers, a police press release.

I:  Well, the SAPD tango’d with the wrong guy.  Last time they tried, it cost them their bicycle license city ordinance they’d had since the 70s, to use against poor minorities and the homeless in Santa Ana.

V:  Police and other authorities should be careful who they go after, cuz you never know who could be an Orange Juice Blogger – we come in all shapes and colors!


About Igmar Rodas

I've been an Activist on Police Misconduct since the early 90's as a result of several cops in Hollywood beating up a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd. I was a Journalist in High School and has kept it up until now. I'm an avid Professional Photographer which now most of my photography skills I incorporate it into my Journalism. I collaborate with the ACLU on Issues of Civil Rights Violations in Orange County, Made a Bicycle Municipal Code obsolete in Santa Ana when it was used to target the Homeless and Low Income people in Santa Ana. Now I'm focusing and Investigating Anaheim's Citywide Corruption.