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
In court filings, Buena Park police disputed claims of racial insults; the department would not comment for this story.
Mashayekhi claims he might have looked drugged-out because he just returned from a more-than-20-hour marathon shift of taxi driving. To stay awake, he drank coffee and took caffeine pills, he says, as well as over-the-counter cold medication. He says he also has a nervous tic: he sometimes forcefully sniffs air through his nose.
The "speed" pipes were not his, he says. In a 2004 deposition, he said when he checked into the hotel that night, none of the rooms had been cleaned. He was so tired it didn't matter. Inside his room, he says, a previous guest left a bag of clothes and other miscellaneous belongings. Besides, he says, the hotel was so "cheap and sleazy" that it wouldn't be surprising to find "dirty needles under the mattress."
After the arrest, he refused to plead guilty, even when detectives he'd worked with as an informant told him to just accept it, he says. Eight months of jury trial delays later, the charges were dropped.
Mashayekhi filed a lawsuit in September 2003 for unlimited damages, more than $25,000 worth, claiming his civil rights had been violated and that he was falsely arrested.
Much like the recent case with Carrillo, Mashayekhi put his knowledge as a former reporter to work. According to documents, Mashayekhi wrote letters to Los Angeles Times reporters Jean Pasco (no longer with the paper) and David Reyes, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. He told them about his work as an informant for the police and included pictures of himself with John Wayne, Fidel Castro and Elizabeth Taylor.
Although Mashayekhi repeatedly brought up his history as a police informant, the city countered with the help of one of Mashayekhi's former contacts for the police, Garden Grove Detective Rick Wagner.
Wagner wrote and signed a statement saying Mashayekhi, whom he had known four years prior to the arrest, admitted he was guilty.
"I had discussions with Mr. Mashayekhi concerning his arrest by the Buena Park Police Department. . . . In those conversations, he admitted to me that he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest, and the drug paraphernalia . . . in fact belonged to him," the letter signed Nov. 13, 2003, reads.
Wagner is no longer an investigator, but he still works on patrol. He did not return calls as of press time.
In June 2006, after three years, the city of Buena Park successfully had Mashayekhi's lawsuit dismissed.
According to city clerk Shalice Reynoso, the city paid a contracted law firm $22,370 to fight the suit.
After the suit was dismissed, Mashayekhi says, he feared retaliation from the Buena Park police.
"When you sue the police, they always remember you," he says. "I wouldn't go there because I figured Buena Park police have a hard-on for me."
That case wasn't the end of Mashayekhi's legal troubles. Civil court records show that an ex-girlfriend, Tina Murphy, attempted to serve him with a restraining order in February 2006. The motion was denied.
Mashayekhi says Murphy has "mental problems" and he has not seen her in a year. He says he doesn't know where she is now.
A call made to a phone number listed in court documents was answered by a sober-living facility in Santa Ana. A woman who did not want to be named said Murphy is "back in prison." Murphy's criminal record shows a long list of convictions, most recently in December for burglary and forgery; there are others for drug-related offenses.
* * *
When contacted by the Weekly, DA's officespokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder says Mashayekhi was never denied victim/witness-relocation assistance. He had not completed the required forms.
"We've asked him to fill out the proper paperwork," she says. "We've reached out to him, and it's never too late for him to reach back."
Mashayekhi says he began hotel-hopping after the late-November assault, but documents show that living in hotels and feeling unsafe is nothing new to him.
In a 2004 deposition, Mashayekhi says he lives in weekly rate motels "for security reasons" because of the dangers of being a snitch.
"I missed four times being killed because the justice system in this country is like a revolving door; they get arrested, and six months later, they are out, and they pinpoint that I did it and I run into them.
"I'm in a taxi, you run into them all of a sudden, and they say, 'I remember you. You're a snitch.'"
When asked by the Weekly why he had not filled out the paperwork for victim/witness-relocation assistance, Mashayekhi says he thought he had. A few days later, he followed through.
About a week after that, he was denied.
Following the denial, Mashayekhi told the Weekly in a telephone interview that he was told an additional supplemental police report prepared by Buena Park Detective Sergio Lepe might have alleged he was involved in a crime and could not receive relocation assistance.
Lepe, who confirmed to the Weekly that he was assigned to the case, declined to comment on the contents of the report.