The Assault at San Gabriel -- Please Readgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
THE ASSAULT AT SAN GABRIEL
Lessons in Gun Registration
A Sierra Times Special Report www.SierraTimes.com
By J.J. Johnson Sierra Times Reporter
February 7, 2000
It would normally be surprising to find the latest example of Jack-booted thuggery in the halls of a public transportation administration; but after all, this is California. The place: San Gabriel. This city in Los Angeles County is the home of Ruben and Denise Gonzalez.
On January 5, 2000, their home was raided-not by the FBI, ATF or DEA, but by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
MTA for short.
The Gonzalez are traditional Catholics who practice their faith based on the Council of Trent. According to Denise, both take their religious faith very seriously. That faith was tested back in 1995 and what followed was a pattern of events that led to the Terrorization of the Gonzalez family one month ago.
About four years ago, columnist Charles Cherniss of Pasadena Star News labeled the MTA as "a classic example of regional socialism." Living true to form, the MTA decided receiving federal funds was more important than protecting the rights of their own employees. AOL did something similar, but well get to that later.
The issue in question was and still is- mandatory, random drug testing of employees. This policy remains a controversy, even though its constitutionality has been tested in numerous courts. The MTA is a public entity, and according to Constitution attorney Nancy Johnson, "government agencies do not have the right to violate the Forth Amendment rights of civilian employees without basis." Yet the MTA insisted on going forward with the policy back in 1995.
Enter the Gonzalez employed by the public transportation outfit for over 20 years. They filed suit against the MTA for their random drug testing policy.
"I was ordered away from my job duties and forced to go to a medical center," Denise Gonzalez said in a press release in 1995. The Gonzalez said theirs was not only a violation of the God-given right to be free from illegal search and seizure, it violated their faith as well. "We are made in the image of God; our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Ghost and are therefore inviolate," Denise said.
Both Ruben and Denise always tested negative drug use.
Both Denise and Rueben said they suffered trauma from what they consider to be an assault and an affront to their deeply held religious convictions. This led to both seeking medical care. It was obviously her forthrightness that got the attention of her higher-ups. She states "Random drug testing is immodest, indecent and immoral. It is Marxist. It is the Mark of the Beast. Random testing of human beings is just as much a desecration as vandalism of a church or temple. In fact, it's much worse because it is an assault against a person; it strips you of your dignity and dehumanizes you.
On Januray 5, 2000, The Gonzalez family got an even more bitter taste of "dehumanization."
The Gonzalez' were already active in protecting their freedoms. She was the block watch captain for her community, as well as notary public. Ruben's an officer in the American Legion. They keep a clean home and have no past criminal records. Their "crime" was only having the courage to fight back.
Denise was under a doctor's care for a year but the MTA refused to allow her to return and charged her with being absent without permission, even though she had followed all the company rules concerning medical leave of absence. This lead to a lawsuit that was filed in the Los Angeles District Court in April of 1996. The charge: Gross discrimination based on religion and wrongful termination. This was an additional charge laid against the MTA.
Without merit, you ask? Well, take a look at an excerpt from the Motion to Dismiss filed in 1997 by MTA's legal counsel Sharon Sanders.
Sanders asserted that the Gonzalez' faith was nothing more than a "personal religious creed," and that Roman Catholics observe nothing more than "personal preferences." According to the Sander's affidavit, Denise Gonzalez had "unique personal and moral preferences "that are "beyond the parameters of the concept of religion as protected by the Constitution."
No doubt this lead to tempers flaring on both sides.
Federal Judge James Ideman dismissed the Gonzalez lawsuit in 1997 but his ruling has recently been overturned by the 9th Circuit court of appeals in March of 1999.
In October, 1999, and in spite of the pending lawsuits; and despite the injury and emotional distress the Gonzalez' have been subjected to, MTA ordered Ruben to undergo yet another random drug test. In the wake of this more recent assault against him, the MTA claims to have received threats from supporters of the couple and from Ruben and Denise themselves. The Gonzalez' deny these accusations. "These protests that were sent to MTA were within everyone's first amendment rights, " said Denise Gonzalez in an interview with the Sierra Times.
The case is still pending, but since the reversal of Judge James Ideman's ruling last year, the Gonzalez' were obviously marked.
The MTA claims they have received e-mail threats, such as ".if this was 1776, you'd be hung for treason." From one writer; and "if you tried to force me to submit to an illegal search & seizure, I'd put my .44 to your head," from another. Citations from the Bill of Rights, the Consitution and the Founding Fathers were quoted. Some letters just questioned the intelligence of "randomly" drug testing innocent employees. Especially repeated testing of middle-aged, Catholic employees of veteran status with no incidence of drug use in the past 20 years.
These "threats" did not come from the Gonzalez', but no matter. They were the most vocal, and they would pay. A few calls were made in order to lock down the location of these "subjects" who dared to speak out for their constitutional rights. One all of note was to America Online, that gallant defender of the first and forth amendments. Without even a warrant or probable cause, they were asked to supply the MTA with the locations of where the e-mails came from.
AOL's response: "You've got mail!"
Then the accounts were cancelled. To this date, and in spite of numerous inquiries, AOL representatives have not bothered to explain to the Gonzalez' why their account was cancelled.
Now comes the dark, ugly side of gun registration.
It just so happens that the Gonzalez' owned weapons, and being law-abiding citizens, they followed the California guidelines and had them registered.
Eyebrows raised yet? Well, they were at the MTA as well.
This gave MTA the brass nuggets to send the "transit police" to obtain a search warrant to (get this) "electronic terrorism" from one Magistrate Ronnie B. MacLaren in Los Angeles Superior Court. The co-conspirator was Officer James A. Grimes (#34090), who at least did not request a night search warrant. That was January 4th, 2000 at about 2:35pm.
January 5th, 2000- 7:54a.m.
With the sun just making it over the Los Angeles basin's clear, cool sky, Denise Gonzalez' suddenly heard a God-awful noise downstairs- a noise that woke her up and has never allowed her to sleep soundly ever since.
It was the sound of her front door leaving its hinges.
"I had made it halfway down the stairs when they burst in like storm troopers. There I was, a middle aged, unarmed woman, in a long flannel nightgown, standing on the stairs. Two of them came through the door and pointed their guns at me,: said Denise. "They were in black jackets, but not the helmets or ski masks." Most of them, in her words, "weren't jack booted thugs."
But there was one in particular. Detective Doug Raymond who insisted that he knew more about the law and the Constitution than any other human being on earth, according to Gonzalez'. Denise suggested that he read the Constitution rather than the Communist Manifesto.
"Do you think the Second Amendment is to be used to defend against Forth Amendment violations?" asked Detective Raymond.
Denise replied, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. And so did the founding fathers."
According to the search warrant obtained by the Sierra Times, the mission was to grab such deadly weapons as:
"Any computing or data processing devices and associated peripheral equipment such as computer units, central processing units, external drives and/or external storage devices, tape and/or other disks, modems.,"
What about real weapons, you ask? They didn't forget them, even though the accusation was about "electronic harassment." The warrant included:
"Handguns, rifles, and shotguns of any caliber/gauge and any ammunition for any handguns, and shotguns, any miscellaneous gun pieces or parts, any photographs of guns, or paperwork.purchases, storage, disposition, or dominion and control over any of the above items."
You get the drift. It took about 4 hours, but the Gonzalez' were cleaned out and left with the threat of a possible arrest in the future. Sierra Times will not disclose what was taken. But we can say this: They even took the crossbow. To date, there have been no criminal charges. But the damage has already been done.
During the search and seizure, Denise was asked, "Where are the guns? We know you have them because we found registrations issued to Ruben Gonzalez."
The Gonzalez' opened their hardened safe as an alternative to the MTA police opening it-by force. They were even asked if they had any knives.
Ruben, who was not home when the raid first started to take place (But arrived about an hour later after Denise called him to come home) has sought counseling to deal with the fears that both he and his wife endure nightly.
Both live with the emotional scars of wondering when they may come back again. Denise said, "The police officers left with all our property. They violated our Fifth Amendment right; we were denied due process. They left us with a broken front door with no means to secure it; and with no means of self-defense."
It also cost Denise her desktop publishing business. All because of a "court system and police body that is our of control," according to Denise Gonzalez.
"The MTA lied to get the search warrant. They failed to mention that we have a pending lawsuit against them and that we've been subjected to intimidation, harassment and terrorism by them for five years. Five years!" She finished by stating "We are not the terrorists. We were terrorized by state-sanctioned terrorists." Both are hoping something can be done, as they are going broke due to legal bills.
Perhaps nothing can be done, but Sierra Times will be seeking information from the men of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Los Angeles County, California who all left business cards at the Gonzalez' home. Perhaps one day the people listed below will learn about respecting the rights and private property of others.
Detective Doug Raymond
Transit Services Section
Detective Unit, One Gateway Plaza, LA
Lt. Denis Cremins #20071
Transit Group Transit Services Section
LAPD One Gateway Plaza, LA
(Lt. Cremins was very cordial and had a pleasant discussion with the victims about literature, authors, Libertarianism and Catholicism vs Gnosticism. He's also the one who gave the order to ram the door down)
Andy Woods #34205 Police officer II
Transit Services Section, Detective Unit
Los Angeles Police Department
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Joe Hopkins, Police Officer II
Transit Services Section, Detective Unit
LAPD One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles
Officer Barr #34036 LAPD
Transit Bus Division, 900 Lyon St. L.A.
Jose Martinez, Police Officer III G.H.O.S.T. team,
Section LAPD, 900 Lyon St. L.A.
Andy Grimes #34090
Police Officer III, Transit Services Section, Detective Unit
LAPD One Gateway Plaza, LA
Officer Evan Guevarra #34091
Transit Group G.H.O.S.T. team
LAPD, 900 Lyon St. L.A.
Officer C. De La Cruz #34064
LAPD Transit Bus Division
900 Lyon St. L.A.
Officer T. Waymire #34200
LAPD Transit Bus Division
900 Lyon St. L.A.
-- SK (email@example.com), April 28, 2000
Well, well, well, just one more horror story which only goes to reinforce my notion that we're no longer a nation governed by a Central Government but rather are ruled by every out-of-control bureaucracy.
While I no longer remember the names, place or details, wasn't it the IRS that came armed into the home of some young couple, the wife was pregnant and because of the ensuing melee, she lost her child?
This incident was a few years back.
Now, who is to blame for all this? It's us!
-- Richard (Astral-Acres@webtv.net), April 28, 2000.
This could be any of us. How frightening.
-- x (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 28, 2000.