The Persecution of Theresa Dang: Part I
- Hello all:
Theresa Dang's trial unexpectedly happened to end
today, with the jury going into deliberations at
around 4:00 pm. We're expecting them to come up with a
verdict sometime tomorrow morning (December 1st).
I've just written a brief article about my reflections
about what happened today in court. Please check
The Los Angeles Times website to see if they published
an article about this matter I'm not vouching for it's
accuracy, but it might contain useful information.
I'll be writing Part II of this article soon.
Duane J. Roberts
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
THE PERSECUTION OF THERESA DANG: PART I
Regardless of what the jury decides, the Garden Grove
and the DA have lost the most important battle
By DUANE J. ROBERTS
WESTMINSTER, CA -- Shortly after concluding his
opening remarks, Orange County Deputy District
Attorney Erik Petersen showed the jurors who assembled
in Department W10 on this chilly Wednesday morning a
small snippet of a videotape that I had the
opportunity of watching at a friend's house several
The footage they observed was of a scene taken outside
the Garden Grove Woman's Civic Club on the night of
Wednesay, May 25, 2005, where Jim Gilchrist, founder
of the infamous Minuteman Project, was speaking to a
small crowd of about 150 adoring fans and supporters.
The images jurors saw flickering on the television
before them were of protesters and cops: it's dark and
you can see people carrying signs; some of them are
running around, while others shout into bullhorns. If
they looked deeper into the screen, they would have
seen that several policemen were surrounding somebody
they had just tackled to the ground.
But they also would notice a young Vietnamese woman
crouching over, picking up something. As she moves
closer to the camera, the jurors would clearly see
this woman had a flashlight in her right hand. She
would walk backward into a protester directly behind
her, disappearing from sight. But a brief moment
later, they'd see her again, only this time, without a
Deputy District Attorney Petersen spent most of his
time today trying to villify this young Vietnamese
woman -- Theresa Dang -- for committing what he
defined as being an "opportunistic crime." Although he
told the jury he didn't consider what she did as being
the "crime of the century," nothing stopped him from
treating her as if she had been Al Capone's mistress.
He threw the book at her.
The truth is, Dang didn't commit a crime at all. As
Dang testified at her trial today, she believed the
flashlight she picked up off the ground at the May
25th protest had been owned by the person who had been
tackled to the ground by Garden Grove policemen. And I
believe her. Why? Because it's not uncommon for people
attending protests and demonstrations at night to
carry flashlights; the images on the videotape showed
me nothing out of the ordinary.
For now, the trial is over with, and the jury is in
the deliberation phase. But regardless of what kind of
verdict they reach tommorrow, the Garden Grove Police
Department and the Orange County District Attorney's
Office have already lost the most important battle --
the battle for public opinion. It's going to take them
years to recuperate from the enormous amount of
ill-will, mistrust, and negative publicity this case
has generated for them.
END OF PART I
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