City of San Diego to Approve Settlement with Ray Lutz for Voter Registration Arrest near Occupy San Diego Meeting Area
Citizens Oversight (2013-12-08) Ray Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1391
Media Contact: Ray Lutz
619-820-5321 / firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of San Diego to Approve Settlement with Ray Lutz
for Voter Registration Arrest near Occupy San Diego Meeting Area
Case against other defendants, CBRE and ABM Security also settled in mediation
10 AM, Tuesday Dec 10th, 2013 (Meeting starts at this time)
San Diego City Council Chambers, City Admin. Bldg, 12th Flr, 202 "C" St. CA 92101
Item #118, "Settlement of civil rights claim of Ray Lutz, Risk Management File No. 5789, including all cross-complaints."
Voice your support of the settlement with Lutz, as well as concerns about other abuses of power and disgusting arrests of citizens engaged in peaceful political activity.
Mr. Lutz will be available for interviews at 9:00am in front of the Civic Center Office Building.
SAN DIEGO (Dec 09, 2013) -- A settlement has been reached between plaintiff Ray Lutz and defendants City of San Diego, CBRE Group, and ABM Security in mediation hearings conducted by Hon. Judge David H. Bartick, in Federal Court. The settlement with the City of San Diego has already been approved by the City in closed session. The item is on the open session docket to be processed on December 10, 2013 starting at 10 A.M. in the San Diego City Council Chambers.
Over two years ago, on Nov 29, 2011, former U.S. Congressional candidate Ray Lutz was arrested for attempting to register voters in the primary public square in San Diego, the Civic Center Plaza, in front of the Civic Center Office Building. The entire arrest was documented by a You Tube
video that went viral shortly after the arrest, at this address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsHlNR-nVR0
The area around the Civic Center Office Building is considered private property, even though the area is within the public square bordered by City Hall, the Civic Auditorium, the Community Concourse, and the Civic Center Office Building which was 93% leased to city offices, including the City Attorney's offices, at the time of the arrest. So the although the area is technically private property, that is a very artificial designation, as it is surrounded by public buildings and is known as the public square of San Diego.
Municipal Code § 52.80.01 "Trespasses upon Privately Operated Business Premises Prohibited" prohibits trespassing on private property but exempts "peaceful political activities" in areas that are accessible to the public. Unless registering voters is not considered "peaceful political activity" it seems impossible that the defendants could prevail in court, and thus they agreed to the settlement, with the stipulation that Lutz had to agree that they were not admitting any liability.
Lutz encourages all who support the right to peaceful political activity, such as registering voters, in the public square of San Diego, to appear and voice their support of the settlement, as well as to voice any concerns regarding the disgusting abuse of recent invalid arrests or other actions by the San Diego Police Department. They used the "encroachment law", Municipal code § 54.0110, which was originally designed to stop construction of dumpster bays in alleyways, to disallow placing anything down on city property, including chairs, U.S. Flags, and even a Christmas tree.
Although Lutz's attempt to register voters in the Civic Center Plaza was near the area where Occupy San Diego established an encampment during October 2011, his actions to register voters were not endorsed by Occupy San Diego, but were sponsored by Citizens Oversight, a 501c3 organization that encourages civic engagement.
Lutz sued the City of San Diego, the Police Department, various officers, and the Civic Center Office Building management, CBRE, and others. Defendants executed a written statement confirming they were performing a citizens arrest for trespassing.
"After more than two years, we are happy that the defendants settled this case rather than spending another year in court, benefiting no one except for attorneys" Lutz said. "We agreed that the defendants do not have to admit liability of any wrongdoing, which is a standard element in settlements."
CBRE agreed to circulate a letter among building clients instructing them to obey the law, which clearly allows peaceful political activity, even within private areas of the public square in front of the building.
This case further underlines the misuse of power by the City and DA, citing memories of Jeff Olson's "sidewalk chalker" attempted prosecution and felony charges against the O.B. resident who trimmed some bushes, which were dropped after intense public scrutiny.
"We want to make sure this never happens again. Apparently, taking them to court is just about the only way to get anyone's attention," Lutz said. "We tried to have the city listen to our concerns about improper arrests in the Civic Center Plaza area long ago. Finally, we have their attention, and time in the schedule of the City Council meeting to allow our voices to be heard."
One provision in the settlement requires that the city expunge the arrest from Lutz's record, and this has already been completed.
Other information and videos, including interviews of witnesses at the time of the event and rallies that occurred while Lutz was in jail can be found at this URL:
Information on the "encroachment law" and trespassing law, can be found here: