9-11 VANDAL CHARGED WITH ASSAULT -POLICE GIVING PROPERTY-OWNER RUNAROUND ON OTHER CHARGES: Courtesy of Drudge
Arrest made at Memorial
Police say woman accused in assault
By Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
LA HABRA -- A 19-year-old Orange County woman is free today after La Habra police arrested her for allegedly assaulting a woman who maintains a patriotic display on a fence here.
Jennifer Quintana was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault Tuesday after police responded to a call that she had pushed and poked two women at the scene of a memorial display for Sept. 11, 2001, victims at Whittier Boulevard and Macy Street, according to La Habra Police spokesman Cindy Knapp.
Knapp issued the statement at a press conference Wednesday.
Parts of the incident at the memorial fence which was vandalized during the weekend were filmed by television news camera operators and shown on the late news Tuesday night.
News reports Tuesday of unknown vandals on Saturday burning and ripping American flags, destroying flowers and putting up antiwar signs to replace patriotic messages on the fence were picked up and disseminated by the Drudge Report on the Internet, triggering a massive, national e-mail reaction as well as a media frenzy.
Knapp reported that when Quintana came on the scene Tuesday evening she pushed one woman out of the way, then grabbed and poked Tracey Chandler, the Whittier mother of four who has maintained the memorial following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Knapp said Quintana was cited and released Wednesday morning and her court appearance was pending.
A police press release reported that witnesses said Quintana walked through the crowd making comments about her involvement in the vandalism including flag burning over the weekend. However, Knapp said that information at the time of the press conference was insufficient to arrest her for the vandalism.
The information from Tuesday night's incident will be added to the ongoing police investigation, said Knapp.
Press statements issued by Knapp Wednesday also reviewed how the incident began Saturday when police witnessed three individuals rearranging signs on the fence. The police came back a second time on Saturday. Sunday afternoon, police were dispatched back to the fence to take a crime report. This time, they said there was substantial damage, which they believe was done early Sunday morning.
"We are hoping to tie together all events and have it to the district attorney by the end of the week,' said Knapp.
Chandler said she was more shocked by Quintana's actions at the fence than by the original destruction of the memorial.
"She walked through the crowd saying 'They can't arrest me, they won't do (expletive) to me,' said Chandler. "To do that, to walk through a crowd of angry people, well she must be one hamburger short of a Happy Meal.'
Police offered no further information about Quintana and efforts to reach her Wednesday were unsuccessful.
In another development Wednesday, Jeff Collison, owner of the property the fence is on, went to the La Habra Police Station with Chandler and David Bisset, a Whittier resident who has contributed to the memorial. Collison wanted to lodge a formal complaint against the vandals.
He said he was told by police that he couldn't file the complaint because he was not the victim.
Collison and Chandler said they will continue talking to media people who have requested interviews since the story on the damaged fence was published.
"I will talk to the people who have called me,' he said, "because I want to see the people who did this prosecuted.'
Knapp said information from Collison also would be incorporated into the ongoing investigation into the vandalism.
As the investigation continues, the fence is again taking shape, true to Chandler's promise to make it bigger and better than before.
"It's great. There are more flags than ever now,' said Dusty Rhodes of Whittier.
La Habra Mayor Juan Garcia declined to comment.
Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028, or by e- mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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