Tuan Nguyen's paranoia may be justified.
In our April 27 cover story, “Tuan's Paradoxes,” we profiled the homeless man and dialysis patient who conspicuously protests “Big Brother” from his van parked in downtown San Diego. Nguyen claimed that police officers arrested him on Dec. 30 and committed him to a mental hospital because they did not like the fact that he was loudly protesting the Central Intelligence Agency during the Big Bay Balloon Parade. He says police officers lied on their reports when they claimed he had been cursing at parade-goers and further fabricated evidence when they told hospital employees that he had threatened people.
Since the story was published, a private citizen has informed CityBeat and the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that his family witnessed the encounter.
“We were about 10 or 15 feet from him the whole time and he was fairly loud and definitely distracting,” the citizen says, adding that Nguyen “definitely did not” curse or threaten anyone. “The police need to be honest, as well. Even though I don't particularly care for this guy, it's kind of disturbing from a [civil-rights] perspective.”
The citizen asked not to be identified in the press but agreed to speak on record to authorities.
“I think he may not like me, but clearly he is honest man,” Nguyen tells CityBeat.
Nguyen has no plans to leave the street, despite his niece's request to move in with her.
“I am grown up enough make the decision, and I don't think anybody can change my decision,” says Nguyen, who holds master's degrees in physics and computer science. “My decision is to stay in the Downtown until they give me back my life. If not, I will die Downtown.”
He clarifies that he doesn't believe he's unhealthy; rather, he says the CIA has the power to assassinate him by causing a heart attack or stroke.