Just before the gang injunction was slated to go to trial, Los-Angeles based attorney Jaime Segall-Gutierrez filed a second claim for damages against the city and its police department. The two-page claim — which looks similar to the one Segall-Gutierrez filed in January that was rejected in February — alleges that his four new clients were slandered by the police department last November at a press conference dubbed “Operation Falling Dawn.” At that media event, Police Chief Cam Sanchez presented the names and mug shots of 68 individuals he said were gang members, gang associates, or drug customers.
But Segall-Gutierrez, who will only collect a fee if he wins the case, claims his clients are not active gang members and have only been charged with misdemeanors or infractions. He is seeking “in excess of $1,000,000” per client for four individuals: Jason Hernandez, Ruben Rodriguez, Albert Sanchez, and Junior Frank Drew. “We’re doing this mostly because we want to call into question the gang injunction,” Segall-Gutierrez said. (The four are not named on the gang injunction.) He said he plans to file a lawsuit in federal court if the city also rejects this claim. In response to questions about the claim, City Attorney Ariel Calonne said state law protects the police chief from claims of libel or slander when performing an official duty.