Members of Santa Ana's Latino community-outraged over a police shooting that left an unarmed stolen-car suspect dead-demanded answers from the City Council on Sept. 21. Jose Manuel Campos was allegedly trying to flee in a stolen car on Sept. 7 when he was shot in the head by an unidentified officer. The 28-year-old died the next day. Police reportedly claim the cop feared for his life because Campos angled his car toward the officer. But community members, who believe police could-and should-have handled the incident differently, want an investigation, according to Josie Montoya of the countywide service organization Los Amigos. They'll get one, said a reassuring Mayor Miguel Pulido, speaking on behalf of the council: as is routine in police shootings, the district attorney's office will investigate the incident (there, don't you feel reassured?). Police Chief Paul Walters advised everyone to await that probe's outcome before pressing forward. Campos' mother, meanwhile, wants the officer who offed her son to come forward and tell her why he did it. “I want answers,” Rosalba Campos reportedly said, “and I want justice.”SHADY PAST The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 22 to sign an exclusive agreement with a partnership bent on bringing a National Football League team back to town. Taxpayers purportedly won't have to pay a dime; the agreement has Capital Pacific Holdings picking up the tab to build a new stadium (estimated cost: $300 million) and the NFL expansion fee ($500 million). What's interesting is how OC's major dailies identified one of the partners. Wayne Wedin was tagged a “sports consultant” in the Register and an “economic consultant” in the Times. Both left out some of his former titles. He was a Brea city councilman until being forced to resign in the early '90s amid conflict-of-interest charges; he had helped a company he was working with on an outside project get a contract for a city project. Wedin was a consultant for the Los Angeles Unified School District on what would become the most expensive school building project in America. He was dumped, and the district official who hired him resigned earlier this year after it turned out Wedin had negotiated the building contract with an OC company he was working with on a different project. Wedin had also proposed shady bond financing for the schools deal. His most recent troubles involved a government-building project in Panama, where as a consultant, he hired the same builder who got him in hot water at LA Unified. The saving grace for Anaheim is that the city is entering the NFL sweepstakes very late. Houston is believed to have the inside track for the expansion team, and at least three other Southern California groups-including one representing Irvine-are in line ahead of Anaheim. Still, with Wedin on the job, folks in City Hall might want to nail everything to the floor for a while.REORDER IN THE COURT In a 3-0 ruling released Sept. 23, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a federal judge to re-sentence a bank-fraud defendant without regard to his citizenship status. Tuan Anh Giang, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Vietnam, reportedly pleaded guilty last year to a $70,000 credit-card fraud. The prosecutor and defense lawyer had recommended probation for Giang, who cooperated with authorities in the investigation of a company accused of promoting fraudulent schemes among Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County. But Judge William Keller of the U.S. District Court in LA sentenced Giang to six months in jail-the maximum allowed by law-and said: “If he wasn't naturalized, he's going back to Vietnam. . . . You don't come over here and commit crimes like that when . . . this country extends its hand to you in the form of citizenship and you turn on the country like that.” The appeals court said it presumed Keller did not base his ruling on Giang's ethnicity or naturalized status but that “even the appearance that the sentence reflects a defendant's race or nationality requires a remand for re-sentencing.” The court also noted that a panel in 1989 overturned Keller's sentencing of a Colombian drug dealer. In that case, the judge noted the defendant was from a “country of origin” of narcotics and said, “I want the message to go to Colombia that we are not going to accept this kind of thing.” Do you suppose two overturned sentences are sending a message to Keller that we are not going to accept this kind of thing?
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.