Ray Lutz, a 2010 candidate for Congress known for his 11-day hunger strike, has filed a second lawsuit over his arrest last November in connection with Occupy San Diego.
His first legal action—targeting CB Richard Ellis Group as manager of the Civic Center property—was dismissed at Lutz’s request Jan. 27. One-time San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre represented Lutz.
But according to a nine-page civil complaint filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court, Lutz is expanding his suit to include the city of San Diego, a police officer and two dozen others not yet named. His new attorney is Bryan Pease of downtown San Diego.
The suit says he was at a “small, unobtrusive table in Civic Center Plaza for registering voters,” when he was arrested by private security “that was then accepted” by police Officer Tony Lessa.
No monetary figure is mentioned in the suit, but Lutz seeks damages for the care and treatment of physical injuries and “emotional distress,” attorney fees, costs of suit and punitive and general damages.
No trial date has been set, the La Mesa native said in a statement Friday.
A video of the arrest was uploaded to the YouTube account of Julie Kramer the day Lutz was arrested. It has been viewed more than 18,500 times.
In the statement, Lutz says he put his registration table in an area of the square designated as private property open for public use.
He says the San Diego Municipal Code limits trespassing on private property but explicitly allows “peaceful political activities” in areas that are normally open to the public.
“Certainly, registering voters must be considered peaceful political activity that is a sacred right in our democracy,” Lutz said Friday.
He says he came armed in late November with a copy of a 1980 Supreme Court decision known as the Pruneyard case, “which clearly states that the public has the right to use privately owned malls for peaceful political activity, such as gathering signatures or handing out political literature, with time, place, and manner restrictions.”
Lutz, 55, said he had registered five voters and was in the middle of registering a woman who had just turned 18 when managers from the office building interrupted him and asked police to arrest him for trespassing.
“The defendants in this case who forced me to shut down my voter registration table in the public square of the city violated every notion of propriety,” Lutz said. “This is just one ugly example of how the City of San Diego misused the power of arrest during the Occupy San Diego protests in the Civic Center Plaza.”
In August 2010, while a Democratic candidate in the 52nd Congressional District, Lutz went on an 11-day hunger strike aimed at forcing a series of debates against Republican incumbent Duncan D. Hunter.
Hunter agreed to one debate in mid-October; his campaign said it had been planned it all along.
More information about the Lutz case case can be found on his website. Comment is being sought from the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and CBRE.