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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Council Candidate Mistakenly Arrested

George Arnold, a City Council candidate who regularly lambastes council members during their meetings, is said to be particularly riled this week after having been tossed in jail after an arrest that city officials acknowledge was a mistake.

Arnold, 61, was arrested Monday afternoon for failing to make a court appearance, though the charge had been previously waived.

The mix-up resulted from a miscommunication between the Police Department, City Atty. Gail Hutton and Municipal Court in Westminster, Police Chief Ron Lowenberg said Wednesday.

“This is an unfortunate situation, and I’m saddened and sorry that this misunderstanding occurred,” Hutton said.

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Arnold was cited in March for selling T-shirts near the Municipal Pier without a business license, and was ordered to appear in court April 21. However, after he challenged the citation, City Atty. Gail Hutton dismissed it, ruling that he could legally sell his shirts because he was raising money for his campaign for a council seat.

The court apparently never got word that the citation had been dropped, so when Arnold failed to appear, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Police officers stopped Arnold outside a store after he allegedly made a turn in his pickup truck without signaling, Hutton said. When a routine record search by the officers revealed the warrant, they arrested him. He spent about an hour in jail until the confusion was cleared up.

“But George is really ticked about this,” said Bob Biddle, a friend of Arnold’s and manager of the store at which he was arrested.

Arnold, whom Biddle said left town Tuesday for a weeklong vacation, was not available for comment Wednesday.

Lowenberg said that his officers acted properly during the arrest.

“They ran a record check on George, and (the computer) spit out this warrant, so they brought him in. They were acting in good faith . . . and according to procedure,” he said.


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