Footage of Tustin PD’s killing of Luis Manuel Garcia.

It might be confusing, and hard to remember, coming as it did right before the fatal shooting of Brandon Lopez in Santa Ana by Anaheim police, and also right before the fatal shooting of Ronnie Andrew Garcia by Huntington Beach (at least that guy was armed and dangerous.) But less than three months ago was the TUSTIN fatal police shooting of homeless Luis Manuel Garcia. Since Luis was unarmed as Brandon was, both cases are going to the state Attorney General Rob Bonta for investigation, under the new law AB 1506. (Because you just know Todd Spitzer would find a way to claim ALL THESE COPS FEARED FOR THEIR LIVES.)

This week the Tustin PD released videocam of the killing, which was as bizarre and gratuitous as we had heard from witnesses. Apologies for posting the ABC news story here, I have not been able yet to get the original footage from Tustin PD:

[If that doesn’t work for you, click here]

So, you got that?  The cops knew Luis, they knew he was behind the bush.  He said he was coming out.  He told them he was doing his recycling, and asked them not to “hit” him.  (They’d hit him on other occasions I assume.)  He says he’s coming out, and he comes out with his recycling stick and a bag.  The stick apparently startles the male cop who reflexively fires a taser at Luis.  And so the female cop reacts to THAT by reflexively firing two BULLETS into Luis.  WTF?

And she’s STILL ON THE FORCE?  “Not on leave,” they told the family.  On the street with a gun?  Who is this psycho, when will we find out, when will she see justice?

Actually, the witness who described the incident to us also said that this female cop totally freaked out and passed out the moment she realized she’d killed Luis, and the other cops had to call an ambulance for her too.  Well,

  1. if this person kills without thinking or meaning to, I hope she doesn’t have a gun and never has one again;
  2. what kind of training puts a cop on a hair-trigger like this, where the split second their buddy fires a taser they fire their own gun twice without thinking?
  3. For that matter, the male cop had no reason to fire his taser either, there should be some kind of consequence there.

We went to Luis’ family’s first protest in August, at the scene of the killing, and some of them showed me the space behind the bushes that was Luis’ home.  I wanted to take a picture, but it was a mess – that was because some other homeless guy had taken the space over since the killing, but they wanted me to know that he was an EXTREMELY NEAT AND POLITE homeless guy.  Everyone knew he lived behind those bushes and his family, who could never convince him to come home, used to bring him food.  The cops knew he lived there, and the neighbors knew.  But SOME asshole neighbor reported falsely that he had a knife, so THIS happened – because those are the kinds of people police listen to.

And the stick.  Did you see in the police video how they call it a “solid wooden stick” and measured HOW LONG it was, just so you’d know how scary it was for the police to see it in the hand of a frail homeless man.  LOL, “solid.”  Just so the public knows it was not a liquid stick, or one of pudding-like consistency.  This reminds me of the stick that Anaheim police saw Chris Eisinger holding, and which he dropped when he ran from them, and which he also used for recycling (as his brother confirmed to us) but which gave the police an excuse to chase him down, tackle him and kill him.  

I’m glad Luis has family that JUST WON’T STOP – in more ways than one.  I mean they are endless, they are legion, and also they’re not going to quit till they get answers and justice.  I still hope they mob a City Council meeting soon, that is a good way to make them uncomfortable, and MAYBE make something happen.

Some of us were talking at the Anaheim Police Review Board last night.  It’s come out recently that even bad cops who lose their jobs or even go to jail, still keep getting their pension forever.  Well, it’s good when a family gets a financial award, but it shouldn’t come from the taxpayers who are getting tired of this shit, they should be awarded the bad cops’ pensions.

That makes four problematic police killings in Tustin this decade – a lot less than Anaheim, but then the City’s a lot smaller…

There was Edwin Fuentes, Army veteran with PTSD, shot and killed 2017.

There was Robert Villa, 2014, wrongly accused or suspected of having a knife, shot by TPD in his front yard in front of his mother

And there was Paul Quintanar, 2011, who was so scared by something the police said or did to him that he ran onto the freeway and was killed. His mother Marie Sales has a civil trial coming up:

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer 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.