Cases alleging racial discrimination are piling up in federal court.
On July 27, Pedro Zuniga, his wife, and children charged El Cajon police and others with assault, false arrest, false imprisonment, negligence, and violation of civil rights. According to the suit, Zuniga was awakened from his sleep, unlawfully assaulted, battered, arrested, and removed from his home.
In late May of last year, police charged Zuniga with stealing a car and leading the police on a high-speed chase. But Zuniga could show that the car was stolen from him. He was asleep while it all happened. He told his story in court, was released, and told he would not be charged again. But in late July, he was arrested and battered again, according to the suit. Zuniga was arrested the second time because of law enforcement's "failure to recall the warrant that had initially and unlawfully been issued for his arrest earlier in the summer," charges the suit.
In another case, filed July 28, Aaron Gallegos and his family members, who live in an area of La Costa, charged that 53 Melrose Homeowners Association, Inc., and Professional Community Management, Inc., discriminated against them on the basis of race and national origin. Aaron Gallegos is multiracial and his wife Aileen Gallegos is Asian-American.
Among many things, the suit charges that the head of the homeowners' association said the Gallegos lifestyle "is affecting property values."
The Gallegos family was told that toys on the front porch were a no-no, that the planting of shrubs had to go through an architectural committee, and snapdragons could not replace failing roses without permission, says the suit. A homeowners board member allegedly called Mrs. Gallegos "a f-ing bitch" and she was hit with spit from his mouth. The family is charging violations of federal and state fair housing laws, among other things.