The Execution of Andy Tran

[Moxley Confidential] Garden Grove police used a Taser to kill a mentally disabled Vietnamese man who was complying with their commands

Zimmerman said he's not the type of person who rails about police misconduct, but it disturbed him that the cops stood over a purple-faced Tran, accused him of faking his death, slapped him in the face, then placed him in handcuffs—a move that restricted breathing and, though they are trained in first aid, rendered no medical assistance. He believes it took the officers as long as two minutes before they summoned paramedics. Concluded Zimmerman, "These [cops] were just screwing around. That could have been one of my kids."

After reviewing evidence brought by the police as well as Sean Hennessey, the Tran family's hard-charging, Westminster-based attorney and former Orange County public defender, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter noted contradictions in Gendreau's use-of-force explanations, relied on the coroner's report to reject the GGPD's claim that the Taser blast didn't immediately kill Tran and observed that the officer knew Tasers could be fatal.

"Ample facts exist that would allow a reasonable jury to conclude that Andy did not pose a threat to anyone's safety," Carter wrote in his opinion rejecting Gendreau's demand for immunity. "A reasonable jury undoubtedly could conclude that the intrusion onto Andy's constitutional rights was significant."

Tran in a wedding photo
Tran in a wedding photo
Tran at home
Tran at home

Details

Facing Zimmerman's credible testimony, Carter's unsympathetic rulings and an unambiguous record of its own prevarications, GGPD settled the federal civil-rights complaint in late April before a jury could consider the killing. The police still don't want the public to know all the facts. GGPD insisted the terms of the settlement remain secret.

The Register still has not updated its original, erroneous story.

This column appeared in print as "The Execution of Andy Tran: Garden Grove police used a Taser to kill a mentally disabled Vietnamese man who was complying with their commands."

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