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
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FullertonsFuture.org is the first website to post photographs and videos pertaining to the beating death of Kelly Thomas, but the Weekly is the first media organization to get them up, on Navel Gazing July 25. The combination of the image Thomas' battered face in the hospital bed taken shortly after his death and the videotape taken by onlookers who watched as the cops tortured him as he screamed, "Dad, dad, dad" eventually plays a role in a stunning decision by prosecutors (read ahead).
What we learned: As a veteran Orange County defense attorney once remarked, no cop will ever be charged with murder in this county unless the victim is a) white, b) handcuffed, c) lying down and d) part of an incident in which cops are stupid enough to be caught on camera.
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Ninjas on Aug. 2 supposedly attack and rob Margaret Howell in Gallery HB at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach and later in her Fountain Valley home. Howell claims in legal complaints that Todd White, the SpongeBob Squarepants illustrator-turned-internationally known gallery artist, is behind the mayhem, while White fires back that no one was attacked and his representatives were amicably confiscating unauthorized copies of his work Howell sold.
What we learned: Patchy the Pirate better watch his arrrrrrrrse.
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We here at Team Navel Gazing are used to being informed that fewer eyes gaze on our hard news (and film) posts than those on other Weekly blogs about computer games, undie runs and undies running while playing computer games. But when we are skunked Aug. 12 by a Heard Mentality music blog post titled "Ten Album Covers Improved by Cats," we shed a collective tear just as Iron Eyes Cody did in that PSA from the '60s.
What we learned: Okay, kitty tongues on Prince did make us moist.
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Steven William Barton wanted to smell soiled white panties from a Huntington Beach granny, and he was willing to break into a 66-year-old woman's home to satisfy his craving. As we share in an Aug. 16 report on Barton's unsuccessful appeal, he succeeded for a couple of minutes until police tracked him down and took the panties away.
What we learned: One sniff is worth 40 years to life in state prison.
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We mistakenly think the gig is finally up Aug. 18 when state Department of Justice officers herd an office full of employees from the Weekly World Headquarters building in Costa Mesa into the adjoining parking lot. But those weren't Weekly employees (this time); they were workers from the Law Offices of Anthony Kassas, which shares a common lobby with our newsroom. Attorney General Kamala Harris accuses the firm of running a marketing scheme aimed at further separating foreclosed homeowners from their money.
What we learned: We no longer have to deal with smug douchebag sales reps roaming the halls and clogging the urinals with tissue.
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Santa Ana's gentrification wars are always heated, but the discussion went to the inferno once City Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez compared a local, Jewish property owner to Hitler, as we report Aug. 25. Alvarez—never the sharpest tool in OC's council-member drawer, but surely the bitchiest (sorry, Beth Krom)—apologizes only once the Anti-Defamation League gets involved.
What we learned: Not all Mexicans are smart.
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San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve, who previously called for guns to be allowed in city parks, reveals during a Sept. 6 vote on a local dog park that he has a pooch named Muhammad after the Islamic prophet. Religious and civil-rights leaders soon demand apologies, and the host of The O'Reilly Factor deems Reeve "a pinhead."
What we learned: We actually agree with Bill O'Reilly on something.
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In Orange County, citizens historically look the other way when dirty cops and deputies kill, maim, scar, harass, rape, steal, vandalize, lie or otherwise prove their corruption. But District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, a conservative Republican, finally says enough is enough during an emotional Sept. 21 press conference. Too bad it took the savage police murder of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton for the local justice system to confront scumbags wearing badges.
What we learned: There might actually be a limit on what dirty cops can get away with in OC.
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All defendants in the so-called "Irvine 11" case are found guilty Sept. 23 of two criminal misdemeanor charges—disturbing a public meeting and engaging in a conspiracy to do so—for disrupting a speech by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine in February 2010. The Muslim students are sentenced to three years of informal probation and 56 hours of community service.
What we learned: Only in OC is not minding your manners a crime.
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It's reported Sept. 28 that Rubicel Aguilar Perez claims that his 11-year-old daughter got pregnant not because he raped her, but because she sat on a sperm-drenched toilet seat in his Santa Ana home bathroom and accidentally allowed his post-masturbation output to climb into her vagina without his knowledge, a story a jury found pathetic.
What we learned: There is actually a more pathetic liar than ex-Sheriff Mike Carona.
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More than 25 years after he allegedly stabbed Saddleback College drama student Robbin Brandley 41 times in an unlit campus parking lot, Andrew Urdiales, a former Camp Pendleton Marine, finally returns to Orange County Oct. 4 to face trial for her murder, as well as that of several others. Seeing as how he confessed to the crime back in 1997, you'd think he'd have arrived sooner. But besides killing several women in Southern California, Urdiales also went on a murder spree in Illinois, where he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Because that state abolished its death penalty several years ago, Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas figured the time is right to bring Urdiales back here for a jury trial, after which, if convicted, he'll be eligible for execution again.
What we learned: Despite the economic recession, as long as there's a chance to lethally inject you, Orange County has no problem picking up your one-way travel bill.