Updating The David Martinez Case

July 11, 2016

All Posts, News

Updating The David Martinez Case

When the story of the fatal Swat raid on a house on North San Marino Avenue in San Gabriel, California broke 623 days ago, it appeared to most people to be an open and shut case. In the last 21 months it has lost that kind of clarity.

When Pomona Swat officer Shaun Diamond died during that “dynamic entry” raid in service of a search warrant, based on a still secret affidavit, Los Angeles and national media relied on a hackneyed “angle,” or prefabricated plot, to explain to the public what had happened. The premise of this “angle” was that America was in the midst of a civil war being fought between an army of militarized policemen and hordes of terrorist “gangs.”

Diamond was almost universally reported to have been a “hero” who was “murdered” by a “Mongols motorcycle gangster” named David Martinez. What actually happened was something different and much more important for the American public to know. But the real, national issue that the case illustrated was almost immediately hidden under a deluge of sentimental, pro-police propaganda and self-righteously angry, anti-Mongols rhetoric.

Paramilitary Police

Among the recognized national press, only Radley Balko writing in the Washington Post seems to have gotten it right. The day after the Swat raid, Balko wrote: “The tactics the police used here created confrontation and risk. Why not apprehend him as he’s coming or going from the house? I suspect few people will have much sympathy for Martinez. But the tactics also put his father at risk, a guy neighbors spoke highly of to the local media. These tactics put cops at risk. Other bystanders, like children, are at risk too. All unnecessarily. At some point, maybe we’ll accumulate enough bodies to start realizing that.”

Balko has written extensively about the “militarization” of American police. It is an old, if mostly ignored, public issue about which neither of the two presumed Presidential candidates nor the sitting President have any publicly voiced opinions.

But it is still one of the elephants relieving itself in our national living room and it didn’t start with the raid on Martinez’ home. Two decades ago, a sociologist named Timothy J. Dunn defined this militarization as “the use of military rhetoric and ideology, as well as military tactics, strategy, technology, equipment, and forces.”

A couple of years later, in 1999, Diane Cecilia Weber wrote a briefing paper for the Cato Institute that warned that “state and local police officers are increasingly emulating the war-fighting tactics of soldiers,” and that “a culture of paramilitarism” already pervaded many police departments.

Diamond was almost certainly a victim of that “culture of paramilitarism” rather than the lawlessness of a “motorcycle gangster.” He dressed like a special operations soldier, he called himself an operator and he was part of a squad that arrived in a tank and used military weapons and tactics. No doubt he did all that with the best of intentions.

Door Breaching

The raid in which Diamond died was one of seven simultaneous, destructive raids on homes of suspected Mongols. The raids were executed at four in the morning and they were clearly intended to be a form of extrajudicial punishment. Police would later say the Swat raiders were looking for a gun used in a crime. But the nature of the raids was absolutely intended to terrify, humiliate and inconvenience the residents of those homes for their affiliation with a notorious and often vilified “outlaw motorcycle gang.”

Diamond died after he was shot in the back of the head with what seems to have been a TESAR or Hatton door breaching round: which is a kind of 12 gauge shotgun round that fires a “slug” made of wax and metal powder and is commonly used by militarized police and the Army and Marines to open locked doors; in war torn cities like Fallujah and Los Angeles. The details of the exact sequence of events that got Diamond killed should have been revealed at Martinez’ trial long ago. But Martinez has never stood trial.

And many people, naïve about American criminal justice, have wondered why. So here is what has happened instead.

Everybody Stonewalling

Paul Kim, who is prosecuting Martinez, has spent much of the last year running for judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He finished third in last month’s primary elections with 14.8 percent of the vote.

Martinez is on either his third or fourth lawyer, depending on which lawyers you count. At the time he pled not guilty to murder, Martinez was represented by Pasadena attorney Tom Medrano. After Medrano resigned the case, over what seems to have been Martinez’ inability to pay him, Martinez was briefly represented by public defender Mearl Lottman. Lottman was soon replaced by Brady B. Sullivan who is widely regarded as the best trial attorney among Los Angeles County public defenders. Sullivan had enormous resources at his disposal but he has a reputation for being rude and that seems to have led to his estrangement from Martinez and the defendant’s family.

Martinez is now represented by Edward Anthony Esqueda who seems to be much more charming than Sullivan and much less esteemed by his peers. Esqueda was placed on three years probation and suspended from the practice of law for 90 days by the California Bar in September 2011. He was again placed on one year’s probation by the Bar Association in August 2012. Esqueda has declined to answer or acknowledge repeated emails and telephone calls from The Aging Rebel about the case over the last year.

James M. Allard, a widely known and well respected private detective in Long Beach was part of Martinez’ defense team. He is no longer part of the case and he has refused to comment about it. An informed source told The Aging Rebel that Allard “hopes to participate in Martinez’ defense again.”

So far, Martinez has appeared at 29 pretrial hearings or conferences. The last of those conferences was at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on July 7. There are no additional pretrial proceedings scheduled for the next 30 days.

Martinez does not yet have a trial date.

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26 Responses to “Updating The David Martinez Case”

  1. john miller Says:

    Rather than act like men and admit the cops made mistakes its easier to destroy someone life. Cowards playing soldier

  2. Punisher Keeper Says:

    Well said… Its all in the name of power and control….

  3. Paladin Says:

    “Lottman was soon replaced by Brady B. Sullivan who is widely regarded as the best trial attorney among Los Angeles County public defenders. Sullivan had enormous resources at his disposal but he has a reputation for being rude and that seems to have led to his estrangement from Martinez and the defendant’s family.”

    Rude or not, Martinez is making a fatal mistake by not going with Sullivan.


  4. xplor Says:

    A swat team that doesn’t cover their 6.?
    They would have had the house surrounded.

  5. old & stoned Says:

    “still secret affidavit” – “superceeding secret indictment”

    read the writng on the wall – if you CAN possibly find a way to defend yourself, be certain, they’ll change the rules or straight up fuck ’em off.

    God Bless Mr M & his family.

  6. Shyster Says:


    Looks like his next court date is 8/4/16 and since it’s not in Dept. 100 it’s not a Trial Date. Brady Sullivan is a kick ass Death Penalty lawyer. And he was Free!


  7. LoneWoofwoof Says:

    Rebel, thanks for the in-depth update. Searches of mainstream media for the status of the case came up with zero. Rebel goes the distance.

  8. Meh Says:

    Assumption is the mother of all fuckups, Assuming a raid is necessary when the target moves about in plain sight on foot without weapons in public space in the course of his daily affairs is a stupid assumption. A hostile target could have cameras, dogs, and weapons ready so why raid the target at its base?

    There is no tactical advantage in doing so, great potential disadvantage, so I argue it is dangerous for all concerned. That makes it wrong from any angle.

    If that had been a tactically correct ambush there would be more than one SWAT KIA. The alternative of a simple plain clothes force performing an arrest at low risk seems to have escaped the cops.

    I didn’t do tip-of-the-spear shit for a living, but the combat vets here might agree it’s better NOT to storm a dark building potentially holding even one ready hostile if you don’t have to.

    Paladin wrote:
    “Rude or not, Martinez is making a fatal mistake by not going with Sullivan.”

    If someone who is superbly capable of saving my ass bluntly tells me to shut up and color, I’ll probably shut up and color but in any event I’ll master my emotions. Some people are direct and blunt. I like that approach but others demand to be told what they want to hear. If you can’t listen, there’s no point in having defense counsel. (That’s not to say you shouldn’t take care to be an informed client so you don’t get railroaded by a bad or enemy defense counsel, but THING instead of getting butthurt.)

  9. Meh Says:

    typo, should be “THINK instead of getting butthurt”

  10. Maven Says:

    I sat for a while with the comment form open thinking of something to say to express how screwed up this whole situation is. But I’m speechless. I just hope David Martinez gets justice soon, but I won’t hold my breath.

  11. Jackie Treehorn Says:

    The swat goons fucked up and this poor guy is gonna be fucked for the rest of his life.

  12. popeye Says:

    I eagerly await the heavily redacted transcript.

  13. James Crawford Says:

    It would appear that the deceased cop was shot by one of his collegues armed with a shotgun loaded with door breaching rounds.

  14. Fantasma Says:

    COPS, LAME in life, LAMER in death. Fuck cops and fuck any system or group of “Good Guys” who would purposely ruin a person’s life hiding the truth. I’m personally glad the ASSHAT caught some “friendly fire”… just saying…

  15. Brad H Says:

    Ya know, I remember when a police shooting was an “oh my god” moment. Now, it seems to be so normal most don’t raise an eyebrow. The investigations into murders by police are nothing but a whitewash. Any right thinking human with an IQ higher than an amoeba knows this.

    Yet when something like Dallas happens, the press goes on and on about hero Leo’s being killed in the line of duty. Flags are flown at half mast. On and on and on. The truth is cop mortality has dropped to some of the lowest levels in recent history while murders by police have roughly doubled in the last twenty years.

    When you murder one of your own, how does it feel? Can’t you just stand up, admit you fucked up? How about letting an innocent man have his day in court. Be men and accept your responsibility!

    Oh by the way, did any of the pigs involved in the multiple raids root out the imaginary weapon they were supposedly searching for? What a fuckin joke!

    I wish Mr. Martinez all the luck in the world.


  16. fallendesperado Says:

    “No Knock Raids” “Civil Asset Forfeiture” “Waco TX” – Cops need to quit fantasizing about their glory days in Fallujah and try becoming Americans that up hold the U.S. Constitution above all else. As I contemplate our future by looking at our past it’s hard to believe “we the people” have allowed the malignancy of a totalitarian police state to take root in our country….over time we’ll be consumed by it’s cancer. We can only hope that David Martinez will prevail but I’m not hopeful considering he’s just a biker and not one of the well moneyed elitists.

  17. Phuquehed Says:

    I’m with Fantasma. FTP, FTG, FTF

    The only good pigs, are those not breathing.

  18. Potmetal Says:

    @Paladin: Spot on.
    @Xplor: You are right, @James Crawford calls it correctly.
    @Meh: ZERO chance we would have pulled a raid in Iraq when the target was easily captured with less risk to us. This was all role playing fantasy for cops. Everyone up the chain should be fired for even considering that option. Fucking lunacy.
    @Fallendesperado: Little by little they strip away our identity as free people.

    How much longer until you’re walking own the street and you hear- “Pick up that can citizen” by some cop in full kit and mask?

    Seig is right.


  19. Eochaidh MacDhalaigh OghaChruithne Says:


    I HAVE LIVED IN THE MONSTER: INSIDE THE MINDS OF THE WORLD’S MOST NOTORIOUS SERIAL KILLERS, Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman, 1997, St. Martin’s Paperbacks: New York, New York, United States of America:

    P. 231 [notice the date, 1997] F.B.I. Special Agent Ressler: “I want to take a moment here to comment on the co-ordinated series of raids on the Aum [Shinri Kyo] facilities that were mounted by the police over a period of nearly two months. Having taken part in many raids performed by the FBI and by the U.S. Army’s [Criminal Investigations Division] corps, I can say with admiration that the raids on Aum, which were of enormous magnitude, were very well done. Despite the cult’s previously demonstrated capacity for violence, and the knowledge that weapons might well be stockpiled inside the compounds, the raids were conducted without a single shot being fired, and without casualties on either side. In fact, the Japansese raiders were able to rescue a half dozen people who were being held by the cult against their will, and who were near the point of death. At Waco, Texas, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the FBI, and other U.S. government agencies involved in the attack on the Koresh compound met potential violence with violence on the attacking side–with sad results. In a largely similar situation, the Japanese police were able to raid the disparate facilities of a cult that had already killed many people, and to come out of the raid clean and with arrests that had little likelihood of being contravened by the courts on the grounds of inadequate preparation or procedures.”

    THE INNOCENT MAN: MURDER AND INJUSTICE IN A SMALL TOWN, John Grisham, 2006, Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.: N.Y., N.Y., U.S.A.:

    PP. 123 and 124 “Denis Fritz was living with his mother and an aunt in Kansas [?], keeping busy by painting houses…”

    “Late on the evening of May 8 [1987, Friday], he was watching television by
    himself…The phone rang, and an unidentified female voice asked, “Is Dennis Fritz there?”

    “I’m Dennis Fritz,” he answered, and she hung up…It was almost 11:30.”
    “15 minutes later he heard a series of car doors slam nearby. He got up,
    barefoot, and was walking to the front door when he saw a small army of
    combat-ready troops, dressed in black and heavily armed, moving across the

    “The doorbell rang, and when he opened the door, two plainclothes cops
    grabbed him, pulled him outside, and demanded to know, “Are you Dennis

    “His mother ran from her bedroom as police entered the house to “secure” it, though, when questioned, they were unclear as to whom and what they wished to secure. Denis did not own a firearm. There were no other known or suspected murderers on the premises…”

    “In their finest hour, the two small-town cowboys [Detective Dennis Smith,
    Captain, Ada Police Department, Oklahoma and Agent Gary Rogers, Oklahoma
    State Bureau of Investigation] had conned the Kansas City Fugitive
    Apprehension Unit into conducting the dramatic but senseless raid.”

    “Fritz was placed in the backseat of a police car…As they left, Fritz
    looked at the heavily armed SWAT boys and thought, How stupid. Any part-time deputy could’ve made the arrest at the local grocery store.”


  20. Mike 184 Says:

    I have am glad that Rebel is keeping this in the light. It’s complete bullshit.

    Multiple raids for 1 gun? Yeah right. How are those raids in south central going looking for 1 gun from a um, wait what was the gun used for again??? Yeah all bullshit.

    I don’t see any of the cop/cop club trolls on here now talking about this one. Yeah cause you guy know it could just as easily be your ass that gets blamed for firing a magic bullet. Because you guys have either seen this happen, or pinned something on someone before yourselves.

  21. Jonny Sumo Says:

    I admit I am a little confused by Mr Martinez predicament, I have asked some one on here (I am from the UK, and obviously laws and heir interpretations differ), and he was saying that any homicide in he commission of a felony becomes a murder charge.

    So are the police/prosecution saying that because the officer was involved in ‘raiding’ Mr Martinez property it then becomes his responsibility that someone died? (under that same guidance’) or are, as it seems to read to me, they ridiculously suggesting that Mr Martinez somehow fired (or possibly used a catapult) to project a breach round from his house to swerve through the air and strike an officer in the back of his head?

    Is this not like saying that if a police man is run over while approaching your car on a traffic stop then that’s your faulty because you ’caused’ him to have to step out of his car?

    In the UK the sight of an armed police man is usually either at an airport or on TV, so this is strange to me…having said that, I am very pleased that our ‘average officer’ doesn’t carry a gun, when they gave one force here Tasers they then had to take them away again due to the amount of self inflicted or accidental discharges…

    A big query for me as well, IF the officer was killed by a colleague (as it very much appears), hen who decided to give that colleague a weapon that he obviously didn’t know how to operate? I always thought there is no such thing as a dead snake or a safe gun…so you don’t point a gun at anything you don’t want to hurt…like a colleague…
    Thoughts n prayers to Mr Martinez, J

  22. Jonny Sumo Says:

    apparently my ‘T’ key is a little temperamental, apologies for the missing T’s…J

  23. Mike 184 Says:

    Another note Jonny, it was his Father’s home not his.

  24. Paladin Says:

    @ Jonny Sumo,

    In the United States, if an individual is killed during the commission of a crime (be it an alleged perpetrator or otherwise), all those alleged to have willingly participated in that crime are held culpable for that individual’s death and can be charged with murder.

    David Martinez allegedly fired a weapon in the direction of law enforcement personnel attempting to gain entry into the Martinez’ home in order to execute a search warrant, looking for a firearm used in a prior crime. The case against Martinez alleges that a projectile fired from Martinez’firearm fatally wounded one of the officers attempting to serve that search warrant.

    Martinez’ situation becomes more complicated if Martinez has been convicted of a prior felony. Martinez would then be prohibited by State and Federal law from being in possession of a firearm or ammunition.

    There are circumstances where citizens have been found justified in repelling government servants. The State of Indiana has modified its Castle Doctrine law to include the force necessary, up to and including lethal force to repel government servants that are reasonably believed to be acting unlawfully. SECTION 1. IC 35-41-3-2, AS AMENDED BY P.L.189-2006.

    Long May You Ride,


  25. Corrupt Says:

    Sad to say, but it appears that the ROE on our military at war is more restrictive than the treatment civilians are subjected to by law enforcement. Something has to change if we are to remain free.

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