Orange County Supervisors have agreed to pay the online investigative news site Voice of OC $121,396 in attorney fees spent to force release of records about a kerfluffle involving one of their own.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer, a former reserve police officer who is likely to run for district attorney, was unnerved enough by a lay preacher bearing religious witness who accosted him in a taco restaurant in 2015 that he handcuffed him and placed him under citizen’s arrest.
The man was released as innocuous by responding officers after briefly questioning him, but the sheriff’s department, after investigating the incident, concluded that Spitzer’s actions broke no law.
According to the Voice of OC, it sued the county in March 2016,
after officials refused to release records concerning a public statement Spitzer wanted to issue about the 2015 Wahoo’s Fish Taco incident. After more than a year in court, Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm ruled in May the Wahoo records are public and ordered the county to release them. The ruling became final in June.
Attorney Kelly Aviles, who also serves as Vice President for Open Government Compliance with Californians Aware, represented Voice of OC in the litigation.