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ACLU, Mansoor contend in court

Trial for Benito Acosta, an OCC student arrested at a city meeting last year, is expected to last through midweek.

October 01, 2007|By Alicia Robinson

Two police officers told the court when Acosta refused to leave the chambers and then began struggling with them, they were afraid violence would erupt because the crowd became noisy and advanced on them.

“It was a very volatile issue that could be a flash point to a much more serious situation if it was allowed to continue,” Costa Mesa Police Officer Dan Guth said.

But, for the same reason it’s tough to prove what Mansoor thinks about the Minutemen, the prosecution might get hung up trying to show Acosta came to the meeting with plans to disrupt it.

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When Peelman asked local attorney Chris Blank on Friday whether Acosta intended to use civil disobedience, Blank said although he and Acosta are on friendly terms, he never heard of any such intention.

Guth said when officers were struggling with Acosta outside the chambers, his supporters tried to surround them and threw objects at them, though he couldn’t say what objects.

When the trial wraps up, likely by the middle of next week, it won’t be the end of the issue. There’s still a pending civil case the ACLU filed against the city on Acosta’s behalf. If that reaches trial, many of the same arguments probably will be brought up again.

To view the video of the Jan. 3, 2006, council meeting, go to costamesa.granicus.com/Viewpublisher.php?view_id=4#council


ALICIA ROBINSON may be reached at (714) 966-4626 or at alicia.robinson@latimes.com.

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