Foe of Police Abuse Injured During His Arrest in Pasadena

Times Staff Writer

The head of the Coalition Against Police Abuse was released on $5,000 bail Sunday after being treated at the jail ward of County-USC Medical Center for head and eye injuries he suffered in an altercation with Pasadena police.

Michael Zinzun, 37, who is the Peace and Freedom Party nominee for Richard Alatorre's vacant 55th District Assembly seat, was arrested on suspicion of using threats of violence and obstructing or resisting officers making an arrest.

Pasadena Police Department spokesman Sgt. Michael Vanergrift said the incident began Saturday night when bystanders tried to interfere with two officers who were arresting a burglary suspect. The officers radioed for assistance, he said, and Zinzun arrived shortly after the reinforcements.

Vanergrift said Zinzun struck an officer who was struggling with another person suspected of trying to interfere with the arrest, and then ran from the scene, pursued by Officer James Balestreros, who subsequently placed him under arrest.

Members of Zinzun's family accused police of using excessive force in the arrest.

His wife, Florence, said Zinzun tried to talk to one of a dozen officers who were arresting a man across the street from his home, in the 800 block of North Summit Avenue in Pasadena. The officer's response, she said, "was to hit him in the eye with a flashlight."

Both Balestreros and Zinzun received emergency treatment at Huntington Memorial Hospital, after which Balestreros was released and Zinzun taken to County-USC Medical Center for further treatment.

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