Students Arrested at Gunpoint
With his hand delicately clutching the gun on his side, Santa Monica College Police Officer Cesar Becerra discreetly slipped away from a throng of riotous students who had gathered around a lone protestor in front of the school library.
A man who called himself Paul had been speaking out against pornography and homosexuality. As crowds gathered, students challenged his message.
As the bystanders' distaste towards the man's rant and stinging poster reached its boiling point, Officer Becerra was summoned to an emergency. He made his way to the parking lot behind the Science building with such urgency; he seemed like a creature ready to pounce on its prey.
He had been called to the parking lot shortly after the student activity hour at 12:40 p.m. Becerra approached a parked Lexus and joined Officer Russell D. Ruetz as both men took stances at opposite sides of the car with their guns drawn in full view.
The incident involved SMC student Enoc Connors (who gave his name to a Corsair reporter) and another unidentified male as both were ordered to step out of the vehicle by Ruetz.
With the smell of marijuana permeating the site, the latter suspect stepped out of the vehicle, was searched and finally cuffed before being escorted into a police car.
However, Connors was not as cooperative as both officers had to repeatedly demand that he step out of the vehicle.
When Connors eventually did so, he too was searched, cuffed and left standing under the sun as Ruetz proceeded to search the car.
As Ruetz rummaged through the contents in the car, Connors relentlessly complained that this was a violation of his rights. "I didn't do anything illegal," said Connors. "Y'all are just harassing me," he said to little avail.
His words did not fall to deaf ears though as both Ruetz and Becerra attempted to make clear the reasons for his arrest. Connors protested that he was being illegally detained. Ruetz sardonically replied, "So you were legally smoking marijuana then?"
"Ain't nobody smoke s---," answered Connors, "and I got my marijuana license," he said while leaning against a parked green Toyota adjacent to the car in question.
With Becerra standing at Connors' side he said, "Why don't you stand up? I don't think the person who owns that car would appreciate you scratching it," to which Connors replied, "So what?" and a shrug of the shoulders.
As the search continued, the marijuana license Connors claimed he had was never found. "There are a lot of white pieces of paper here. Are you going to help me out or make me search for it?" said Ruetz.
After Ruetz seized several items from the car including an iPod, cell phone and several bills of cash, he finally opened the trunk only to reveal a variety of high-end electronics equipment such speakers and a laptop.
Defiant, Connors said, "This is illegally violating my rights."