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Growling during Lathrop council meeting prompts police inquiry

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POSTED December 2, 2009 2:38 a.m.
LATHROP – Lathrop resident J. Chaka Santos just found out that growling at someone at a council meeting could land you into trouble with the law.

Santos, a businessman and Marine Corps veteran, complained to the City Council Tuesday night that the visit to his home by a police officer was “humiliating.” He said the officer came by his house the Thursday after the council’s last meeting in November.

Apparently, said Santos, “somebody complained that I growled at somebody.”

That somebody, as it turned out, was longtime Lathrop resident Arnita Montiel who often attends council meetings with her husband Jim.

Santos said he did not have any clue at first why the police wanted to talk to him until the officer asked, “Did you have a confrontation with somebody at (the last council meeting)?”

Santos denied having a “confrontation” with anybody and admitted to simply making a “growling” sound as he walked past Montiel after the council meeting was adjourned.

“I just walked by her and (demonstrating the growling sound he made). I didn’t even look at her,” Santos said.

He told the council he has consulted with his attorneys about the incident. After all, “my city doesn’t have any problem with lawsuits,” said an indignant Santos.

“Somebody complained that I growled at somebody. Holy mackerel! What’s going on here? That’s humiliating, that you send an officer to my home because of my growl at the last meeting. What’s this city coming to? There’s bad karma here,” he said.

Chaka said he did not receive any citation from the police officer.

“But the city now has a case number (on the growling incident) because of the complaint,” he said.

Montiel did not attend Tuesday night’s council meeting.
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