Riot Defendants Charge Officer Discrimination

Times Staff Writer

Lawyers for four men arrested during a demonstration in Glendale in November are trying to link racial discrimination in the police force to their clients' defense.

At a hearing Monday, the attorneys said they will request police personnel records and intelligence information to show that their clients were unfairly singled out for arrest. They said the information will also show that the arrests were racially and politically motivated.

Municipal Judge Barbara Lee Burke agreed to a defense request that she view an 81-minute Police Department videotape of the tumultuous protest in Glendale before hearing their discovery motions. Burke continued the hearing to Sept. 19.

Finds Conflict With Tape

One defense lawyer, James E. Blatt, told Burke that "everything that's indicated in the police report is almost . . . entirely different" from what is on the tape.

Burke denied a request to watch a second videotape containing 22 minutes of television news broadcasts of the Nov. 22 rally.

The four were among more than 250 people protesting the appearance at the Glendale Holiday Inn of avowed racist and convicted church-bomber J. B. Stoner.

One of the defendants is Irv Rubin, 43, of Arcadia, leader of the Jewish Defense League. Rubin is charged with riot, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and resisting and obstructing peace officers.

Another defense attorney, civil rights lawyer Leonard Weinglass, said police officers' comments recorded as they were making the videotape showed a predisposition to arrest Rubin and others who opposed Stoner.

"The police officers are talking among themselves, and you can hear them looking for, before anything happened, certain individuals," he told the court.

Weinglass said he and his colleagues will ask for personnel records of Sgt. Randall Tampa and other officers assigned to the fracas to show "the bias that existed," among officers.

During the trial of a discrimination lawsuit by a Latino policeman, Tampa admitted he had drawn and circulated racially derogatory cartoons. Tampa was one of three police sergeants supervising officers at the rally.

'Why Select Tampa?'

"Why did they select Sgt. Randall Tampa, who was singled out by a federal judge for outrageous racial conduct?" Weinglass asked.

Besides Rubin, the defendants are Roger Marheine, 41, a Pasadena City College professor; Public Defender John Michael Lee, 43, of Sherman Oaks, and Jose Hernandez, 33, of Los Angeles, a member of the Los Angeles-based International Committee Against Racism.

Marheine is charged with the same offenses as Rubin and with two counts of battery for allegedly kicking two Nazi "skinhead" youths. Lee is charged with unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and resisting and obstructing peace officers. Hernandez is charged with riot and battery after allegedly throwing a soda can.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World