By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Mashayekhi found the nearest pay phone—at a Carl's Jr.—and called the Anaheim Police Department. They said the house where he was assaulted was actually in Buena Park. Mashayekhi felt dread as they told him they would dispatch the Buena Park P.D.
* * *
Mashayekhi had refused to set foot in Buena Park for the past five years, specifically to avoid its police officers, he says. (Only later, he says, he realized it was the same neighborhood he drove "Angela" to 10 days earlier.)
According to the police report from that night, officers immediately confronted the people in the house where Mashayekhi was allegedly assaulted.
Mashayekhi remembers that the officers, who wore SWAT-style bulletproof vests, bathed the entire house in floodlights.
"It was like a motion-picture set," he says.
Police found clues in the garage—including an overspray stain from orange paint that had been used on Mashayekhi's hands. However, the paint itself, the Taser, the hammer and Mashayekhi's belongings—money, wallet, cell phone—were gone.
Mashayekhi says he refused medical treatment so he could be near the bust and identify his assailants. He identified the man who had been calling himself "Hector"; his real name is Gilbert Carrillo Jr.
Two hours later, police arrived at Mashayekhi's place, he says, and a forensics officer took his clothes. He says other officers walked in and began visually searching his room. One of them asked to use the bathroom, he says.
"What do they think, I was trying to flush something down the toilet?" Mashayekhi asks.
Carrillo was charged with robbery, false imprisonment, threatening a witness and a possible sentence enhancement for threatening with a deadly weapon (the hammer).
Even though the men who assaulted Mashayekhi also threatened to kill him if he went to the cops, Mashayekhi says he wouldn't let himself be intimidated.
Carrillo, who has prior convictions for weapons and drugs, posted $100,000 bail three weeks later. A month later, at Norms, Mashayekhi sees danger on every corner. He recounts a harrowing story about how a group of young Latinos spotted him driving to his favorite halal market in Anaheim. They began to chase him in his car. He thinks they were gang members.
"I went through a red light, and then another red light, and they stopped," he says. "But I couldn't call the police because that's like crying 'wolf,'" he says.
Since he was forced to abandon his apartment and forfeit his deposit, he's been hurting for money, he says. He's been staying in different dive motels from Long Beach almost all the way to San Diego. To keep afloat, he's had to rely on a no-interest loan offered through the help of a local mosque, he says.
But even though he is the prosecution's only witness in this crime and claims his life has been threatened, he has been denied victim/witness-relocation assistance.
He believes it is because the Buena Park police are being "vindictive" toward him.
When the check comes at Norms, about $4 for two bottomless cups of coffee, Mashayekhi insists he pay.
* * *
Even though Mashayekhi claims to have a crime-fighting, police-assisting background, his history with the Buena Park P.D. has been troubled.
Although once their informant, he says, an incident on July 26, 2002, ended that relationship and began a legal battle that wouldn't end for nearly four years.
According to a Buena Park police report from that night, a woman under surveillance was arrested for drug possession moments after she entered Mashayekhi's cab.
Mashayekhi, who was not questioned by the police, told the cops where to find him if they needed a statement. He would be at a now-shuttered $30-per-night hotel called the Villager's Lodge in Buena Park.
When questioned, the woman told police she was on her way to Mashayekhi's room to "party."
By "party," she meant do "speed," the police report said, and by "speed," she meant methamphetamines.
So a few hours later, those same officers came pounding on Mashayekhi's door. He answered the door wet and wearing a towel, according to the report.
Mashayekhi and police disagree on how the cops ended up searching the room. Mashayekhi says they forced entry without a warrant. The police report says they were invited in. When the cops entered the room, they headed directly to the bathroom to check for other people in the room, according to the report, and found the screen had been popped out. Outside the window, the report says, cops found two "speed" pipes and some plastic baggies.
According to the report, they also claim that inside the hotel, officers found 4-inch plastic straws for "snorting."
The officers wrote in the report that Mashayekhi had "white residue" under his fingernails and on his tongue and a heart rate of 132 beats per minute. They charged him with drug possession and being under the influence.
Once Mashayekhi was in jail, a nurse and two officers held his arms and legs and took a blood sample. The results were never entered into evidence.
Mashayekhi's version differs from the police report. Although the police wrote they went to the hotel looking for drugs, Mashayekhi says police claimed he had a "fugitive" in his room. Police barged in on him when he was alone and shirtless in his hotel room, he says. He claims they hurled racial slurs and insults at him, calling him "taxi jockey" and "towel head."