The damning of the crisis-mired Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office is coming out of the courtroom and into the streets. Protesters will gather outside OC Superior Court today in SanTana from 2:30-5:30 p.m. calling for Tony Rackauckas and crew to be held accountable. Chicanos Unidos, a grassroots group battling the OCDA over the Townsend Street gang injunction, organized the action and have a simple message for Tony Rackauckas.
"From what we've seen, the OCDA hasn't represented our people," says Carolyn Torres of Chicanos Unidos. "What we are saying is that we're the people and the DA is not acting in our name no matter what the legalities are."
The lack of prosecution for killer cops coupled with the DA's zeal for gang injunctions originally spurred the call to action months ago. But much more has happened since then to broaden the scope, and the protest is tying it all together.
On March 12, OC Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals booted the OCDA from the Scott Dekraai murder case. The 2011 Seal Beach hair-salon massacre should have been as easy win but turned into a debacle when Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders uncovered evidence that OC Sheriff Deputies lied under oath violating due process rights of Dekraai and others with OCDA stupidity at best, glee at worst.
In the wake of the Dekraai debacle, the Orange County Bar Association weighed in with a letter accusing the OCDA of picking on Goethals by seeking to have him disqualified from 57 cases since February 2014.
Chicanos Unidos has a whole host of other complaints including the prosecution of AJ Redkey and PM Beers, two live-stream activists charged with failing to disperse during a Kelly Thomas verdict protest last year. The OCDA is retrying the case this month after a jury deadlocked the first time around.
"We were already focusing on the DA when all this other stuff came out," Torres says. "We thought it was going to be harder to convince people the DA is so corrupt but now we're finding that it's been known but people haven't been willing to come out publicly."
And speaking of corruption, the protest outside the Central Justice Center will head next to the SanTana city council presided over by Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido, supposedly under investigation by the OCDA…just like he supposedly was last decade, and the decade after that.
Demands for the protestors are simple: Chicanos Unidos thinks the OC Board of Supervisors should start acting like the bosses they are of the DA, and that California's Attorney General ought to use the powers of her office to dig in.
"We want Attorney General Kamala Harris to start investigating," Torres adds. "There's already been movement toward that, but it needs to be pushed."
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2