Opening statements in trial over AV Hospital scuffle

LANCASTER – A jury listened to opening statements Monday morning in the trial of Marco Chiclana, the man charged with several felony counts after a violent scuffle with deputies outside Antelope Valley Hospital nearly two years ago.

Chiclana’s family had called deputies to the hospital for assistance because Chiclana’s father was disoriented after surgery and trying to leave the hospital against medical advice. When deputies responded, Chiclana ended up in a fight with six deputies inthe  parking lot, which was captured by hospital surveillance cameras on April 2, 2011. (View the video above)

Chiclana, who suffered multiple facial fractures and head injuries, is charged with battery on a peace officer, resisting arrest, attempted mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon for his role in the altercation.

Opening statements in the trial were given by both the prosecutor and Chiclana’s defense attorney Monday morning.

Chiclana says he sustained these injuries after an altercation with deputies in front of AV Hospital.

Chiclana says he sustained these injuries after an altercation with deputies in front of AV Hospital.

Prosecutor Jason Quirino said the whole case boiled down to Chiclana’s unwillingness to cooperate with deputies, which caused the situation to escalate into injury to Chiclana. Quirino used a PowerPoint presentation to break down several still frames from the surveillance video, while explaining the facts he would be relying on to prove his case.

The evidence would show that Chiclana’s father, Damaso Chiclana, had just got out of surgery and was trying to start his son’s white Nissan Xterra with a screwdriver in order to leave the hospital, Quirino told jurors. Family members struggled to remove Damaso Chiclana from the vehicle, and during the scuffle, Marco Chiclana was hit in the face with the screwdriver, Quirino said. The family contacted the sheriff’s department for help, and a single deputy responded to the call about a male Hispanic being stabbed in the face with a screwdriver, Quirino told jurors.

That deputy, Jeremy Esswein, would testify that he was unclear about who the victim was, who the suspect was, and who had the screwdriver, Quirino told jurors.

“He has limited information and perceives the situation as high risk,” Quirino said.

Deputy Esswein believed Marco Chiclana was the suspect because Chiclana appeared “agitated,” Quirino said.  The deputy took Chiclana’s left arm and tried to search him for weapons, but when Chiclana pulled away, the deputy called for backup and became concerned for his safety, Quirino said.

“The deputy punches the defendant and the defendant punches right back,” Quirino said.

Other responding deputies saw the two men exchanging blows and attempted to subdue Chiclana, all the while saying “stop fighting” and “stop resisting,” Quirino told jurors.

Deputies used punches, knee strikes and flashlights to subdue Chiclana, who stopped resisting only after he was tasered, Quirino said.

“I think the evidence will show the defendant was injured, but it was because of his resisting officers,” Quirino told jurors.

“It’s not pretty,” Quirino said, before showing a 90-second video of the fight in its entirety.

Defense attorney Kris McFarren did not show the video during his opening statements, but called it “the most significant piece of evidence” in the case.  McFarren urged jurors to use their own “judgement” and common sense” to interpret the video.

McFarren said Chiclana was a married father of two with no criminal record and had never been arrested. Chiclana and his family tried to get help from the hospital in keeping Damaso Chiclana admitted, but they were told the hospital could not keep a patient against the patient’s wishes, McFarren said.

The family contacted the sheriff’s department for help, and when the officer responded, Marco Chiclana approached the officer and attempted to shake the officer’s hand, McFarren told jurors.

“The evidence will show my client is attempting to tell deputy Esswein what’s going on,” McFarren said.

When the deputy tries to restrain Chiclana, family members and bystanders warn the deputy that he has the wrong guy, McFarren told jurors.

“Deputy Esswein decides ‘I need to take this guy down,’” McFarren said. “He hits him first, and he will admit that… and then all hell breaks loose.”

McFarren said the encounter left his client “battered, bloodied, and broken” on the pavement, and that Chiclana required surgery for his injuries.

But jurors were not there to decide if the deputies broke the law, McFarren said. They needed only to determine if the prosecution had proved its case against Chiclana without a reasonable doubt, McFarren said.

The trial is expected to last about three weeks, during which time the jury could hear from up to 60 witnesses, Superior Court Judge Lisa Chung said.

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  13 comments for “Opening statements in trial over AV Hospital scuffle

  1. teresa
    March 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Cops were wrong in this situation. I hope the jury is smart enough to see that

  2. Kay
    February 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Why does AV Times keep showing this fight video? Trying to influence the jury? Shameful!

    • hall monitor
      February 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Facts are facts….If the cops were in the right, then what’s the problem letting everyone see the video?

  3. Letlow
    February 26, 2013 at 8:03 am

    That hospital security guard should be fired! On the video, the clueless guard appears to be just standing around when the first officer walks up to the scene. Why not take the initiative to approach the officer explain the situation?

    Had the security guard done so, the officer would have seen the security guard’s uniform and trusted what the guard had to say. Then the whole situation may have been avoided. Instead the security guard stands haplessly at the curb leaving the family to explain things to the officer and opening the door for chaos.

    When all hell breaks loose, then the security guard springs into action to hold back family members as their loved one gets pummeled. Fire the security guard!! His incompetence is caught on tape for all to see!

    • Uncle Tom
      February 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Were you there? Did that security see what happened before the Sheriffs arrived? Did that security know who was the aggressor? Did that security see who stabbed who, and with what, and where this alleged weapon was? You don’t know what the security saw, knew or was aware of.

      • Letlow
        February 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

        Oh please! Stop picking up for the incompetent security! That’s their job, to SECURE the hospital. If the drama was happening right in front of the hospital, surely the security officers should have known what was going down and who the main players were before the sheriffs arrived. If the security officers didn’t know, then that only proves my point of how INCOMPETENT they are!!! Plus, in the civil lawsuit (which I read) it says that the security officers were the ones who told the family to call the sheriffs. Incompetent security, any way you slice it!!!

        • Jerry
          March 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm

          More like a case of incompetent commenter

  4. The Truth
    February 26, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Warrants on the Familiy members??. That is pure crap. When the LAPD gets sued, they need to be charged extra for that stunt. Nice trick if your a Dirt Bag. The officer has issue’s (Hang Over) marital problems, sadistic what ever, and took those problems out on Chiclana. Remove him from the LAPD, unless his pathetic performance, is standard procedure.

    • February 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

      You’re absolutely right! They should immediately remove him from the LAPD and then… wait a minute… the LAPD has nothing to do with this! Apparently you missed the dozen or so references in the article about the sheriff deputy. (sarcasm intended)

      • hall monitor
        February 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

        correction LASD, the sentiment is the same….

    • The Truth
      February 27, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Also when something like this occurs, then need to do a drug test, to see if the officer is on Steroids, Alcohol, or whatever.

  5. Allen A. Baumann
    February 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I met Editor Makeda Dilworth awaiting screening into the AV Court House today, 25 Feb 13.
    We exchanged pleasantries and I asked her for her Business Card.
    This is my first encounter with the AV Times and I am super impressed.
    I plan to log-in daily, if possible, and follow the AV news in your refreshing, synoptic, well written articles.
    Just as a “side-bar,” I have dropped the AV Press for over ten years having been an ardent supporter and subscriber for many years. I find Dennis Anderson one of the most obnoxious “editors” encountered. At one time he and I had a professional relationship; however, his “kinship” with the local “powers” slants their “news.”
    Again, thank you for your fresh approach to telling the news.

    • ed
      February 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      The A.V. Press has a good editor. It needs a new owner.

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