Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS. : COURTS : Irvine to Settle Suit Over Arrest of Autistic Man
The youth riding the bicycle through Irvine about this time last year looked like an 18-year-old. He was 18 years old, but he was autistic, and his brain functioned like a 4-year-old’s.
Irvine Patrol Officer Shari Lohman saw him riding his bike and detected what she later described as “suspicious actions.” She approached him, and he fled on his bicycle. She pursued, and he fled on foot. She called for help, warning that he was “possibly on drugs.”
The youth, Guido Rodriguez Jr., was running home. He was inside his garage screaming for his mother when officers caught up to him. Despite Rodriguez’s mother’s shouts that he was retarded and couldn’t understand them, one officer grappled with Rodriguez on the front lawn, subdued him and took him into custody. He was released when his father arrived to explain matters.
Three days later, blood appeared in Rodriguez’ urine, and doctors removed his kidney.
A district attorney’s investigation into the incident exonerated the police officers. It cited Rodriguez’s history of kidney troubles--"a lifelong condition resulting from a birth defect.”
But last week, the City of Irvine agreed to an out-of-court settlement that will pay the family between $200,000 and $400,000, according to sources close to the case.
“I felt it was fair,” said Rodriguez’s father, Guido Sr. “It’s not what I wanted, but it saves a lot of time and aggravation.”
Since the incident, the family has moved to Corona.