LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — The city of Laguna Beach will pay more than $18,000 to a DACA student who was arrested in 2018 and sent to ICE in violation of California’s sanctuary state law.
The settlement was announced Wednesday by UCI’s School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, which was co-counsel with the ACLU of Southern California in the claim filed on behalf of Edgar Torres Gutierrez.
Gutierrez, a student at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, was arrested in June of 2018 on suspicion of driving under the influence and held by Laguna Beach police for 15 hours. He was then transferred into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement before being released, according to UCI Law. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving, but was not charged with any immigration violations.
“I still think about my experience with the Laguna Beach police,” Gutierrez said in a statement. “When the officer told me I was not going to be able to go home, I became fearful. I also felt betrayed. I take responsibility for the actions that led to my arrest, but I didn’t deserve to be treated differently than other residents who put their trust in the police.”
Gutierrez notified the LGBTQ Center Orange County, where he worked as a volunteer, about his situation, which led to the claim against the Laguna Beach police. Because his detainment was a violation of the California Values Act, otherwise known as the sanctuary state law, the city of Laguna Beach settled the claim by agreeing to pay Gutierrez $18,750 and provide training to all sworn officers and new hires on pertinent laws.
UCI Law says the settlement will also allow Gutierrez to file an official complaint with the police department, to trigger an internal investigation into the why he was detained and transferred.