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“On the day of Tran’s death, the department—which is legally obligated to serve the public with steadfast integrity—produced at least 13 lies, misrepresentations or crucial, factual omissions. That’s quite a suspicious feat for a single-paragraph press release.
The fraudulent statement was only the beginning of a callous, six-figure cover-up campaign. For four years, Garden Grove officials have attempted to thwart legal efforts by the victim’s bereaved family to force the police to admit the officers botched the incident and caused an unnecessary death. As their initial story crumbled with the emergence of unfavorable facts, government officials tried to smear Tran’s reputation by claiming he’d been highly intoxicated on booze during the incident, but that went nowhere because toxicology reports performed during the autopsy found no trace of alcohol. Then, they threw the courthouse equivalent of the kitchen sink, arguing that California cops who kill on duty deserve the professional courtesy of immunity from any civilian—including judges and jurors—later holding them accountable if they negligently take an innocent life.
Despite the police version, Tran wasn’t a hardened criminal, but rather a loving husband and, due to a disability, a stay-at-home dad for his bubbly 3-year-old son. As with the Kelly Thomas case, the GGPD also knew he suffered from an onset of adult schizophrenia because they’d been called to take him to the hospital for medical aid on five occasions prior to the fatal incident. Tran, who’d emigrated from Saigon to the United States with his family at age 13, had never carried weapons or been violent, though he’d been arrested for minor drug possession 12 years earlier, a charge later dismissed. The police and Register inference that he had been attempting to burglarize a residence proves especially despicable when you learn he’d taken the screen off a window of his own home.”
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“When officer Daniel Karschamroon arrived at the scene, he saw Tran at the window and issued a series of commands. Tran seemed to snap back to reality and didn’t hesitate to obey each order, according to all accounts. As Karschamroon began to finish handcuffing Tran and take him as a code “5150” mental patient to the hospital, eyewitness Mark Zimmerman, a neighbor standing about 30 feet away, saw no hint of resistance. But a second cop arrived. Karschamroon did not tell his colleague that Tran was resisting arrest or preparing to assault them, but officer Richard Gendreau nonetheless took out his Taser gun. With Tran standing still with his hands on his head, Gendreau fired a high-voltage dart into his thigh.
“Andy was doing everything the police officer told him to do,” recalled Zimmerman. “He was never violent, and then the ‘cowboy cop’ just shoots him with the Taser.”
The scene was chilling.
“That was it,” said Zimmerman. “Andy’s knees hit the ground, and then his face [did]. It was lights out for him. He didn’t ever move again. He was dead. It was like dropping a sack of potatoes from a second-story window.””