Ray Lutz Sues San Diego, Officer for False Arrest, Battery in Occupy Incident

Last November, former candidate for Congress was arrested while doing voter registration.

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.

Komfort September 15, 2012 at 04:54 AM
If Lutz was a giant gay flag, the city would give him the public property he needs for his cause. http://sdgln.com/news/2012/05/15/breaking-news-rainbow-flag-will-fly-hillcrest
F. Dunn September 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Komfort, why are you dragging the rainbow flag into this story? To my knowledge, Lutz is not gay, so I don't get the connection. Watch the youtube video. Five or six cops were "needed" for this arrest of a neatly dressed, non-threatening middle-aged guy who offered no resistance. I'm not blaming the police. They were just doing what they were told to do. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that Lutz has a case here.
Kathy September 16, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Ray Lutz will do anything for attention, even negative attention. Ray should educate himself on what Trespassing means, then perhaps he could avoid getting arrested again. Of course, it all comes down to money and attention for Ray. Just what we need another politician screwing the American taxpayers out of money. I guess Ray needed more funding for his campaign and suing was the easiest route to go. Ray knew dam well that he would be arrested for his planned act and conveniently have someone video taping the entire incident. Ray, do you really not understand that all you did was tie up the police instead of being on patrol protecting our City? How do you sleep with yourself at night, Ray? You really are your own worst enemy, Ray.
Rob September 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Ray is the reason they invented Straight Jackets and Thorizine...and Proof the Gene Pool is Polluted...He should grab his butterfly net.. catch the endangered ones and sell them on E Bay..!


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