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Articles Posted in Cops Out Of Control?

arrested.jpgRecently, numerous Police Officers in San Diego have been arrested and charged with serious criminal cases including rape, kidnapping, assault, stalking and DUI. San Diego Police Department have questioned the way it trains new officers and reviews existing officers. Chief of Police, William Lansdowne, proposed a seven point program that will hopefully reduce any misconduct performed by San Diego Officers.

This”new” program was initiated due to raising rates of Officer crime including accusations of domestic violence, sexual battery, DUI’s and a variety of other serious crimes. Many aspects of this program emphasize the responsibility Officers have to come forward when witnessing fellow colleagues break the way or abuse their power. Breaking this “code of silence”, held by many Officers, is a major goal that Lansdowne hopes to achieve.

Officers under investigation and accused of crimes include:

handcuffs.jpgArmando Arriaga, a 46 year old California Highway Patrol officer, plead guilty on Tuesday to driving while under the influence as well as reckless driving. Mr. Arriaga was arrested on July 7th after witnesses reported that a BMW was slowly and repeatedly tapping the rear bumper of a PT Cruiser in an alley in downtown Oceanside. When Oceanside Police officers arrived they found Mr. Arriaga and his wife Melanie Arriaga both out of their vehicles. After police questioning, they learned that both Mr. and Mrs. Arriaga had an argument after spending the whole afternoon drinking wine at their home. Mrs. Arriaga decided to go sleep in her car to get out of the house, but when Mr. Arriaga constantly bugged her to come back inside she left for her cousin’s house a short distance away. Mr. Arriaga pursued her in his BMW in attempt to change her mind to come back home.

Melanie Arriaga informed the officers that her husband didn’t mean her any harm and had never hurt her in any way. However, the Oceanside officers arrested and booked him into jail with charges of assault with a deadly weapon as well as driving while intoxicated (DUI). Mr. Arriaga’s blood alcohol concentration level measured 0.17 percent which is double the legal limit of a 0.08 percent. Mrs. Arriaga was also arrested and booked into jail on DUI charges, but her blood alcohol level measured at 0.04 percent. Oceanside police officers investigated this case thoroughly to make sure there was no signs of domestic violence, especially not to show bias towards a fellow Police Officer.

Mr. Arriaga was sentenced to five years of informal probation, a $2000 dollar fine, ten (10) days public works service, alcohol program/classes for first time DUI offenders, and 100 hours of community service. The punishment is slightly harsher than a regular first time DUI conviction in San Diego County. However, the judge felt that because of Mr. Arriaga’s job as a Police Officer that better behavior was expected from him. Law enforcement officers who allegedly violate the law are also innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt! But once they plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury, their punishment should be harsher as they have sworn an oath to protect and serve!

On Thursday, April 15th, a large crowd of supporters gathered in front of the Escondido City Hall building in support of the Driver License checkpoints that the Escondido police department has continuously conducted for the past six years.

More than a 150 people showed, lead by Patricia Bennett, in support of the traffic checkpoints. In contrast this support for the checkpoints and for Police Chief Jim Maher, who has been pressured to remove the traffic checkpoints or resign, the protest against the traffic checkpoints was three times smaller. What does this say about the cities feelings towards the checkpoints and the Police Chief as cars passing by drew honks and cheers? However, what’s poplar doesn’t always equate with justice!

These traffic checkpoints are a very controversial issue in Escondido and possible other neighboring cities who might start to adopt same or similar policy changes. Simply, are the traffic checkpoints conducted by the Escondido police department constitutional? I think not especially when every car is stopped and the driver interrogated by law enforcement about their drivers license. Supporter’s claim the checkpoint have lowered the hit and run cases by a third. But the one question remains, are these checkpoints specifically targeting low income area’s where Latinos are being targeted? If so, then theses checkpoints need to be reformed immediately or changed in the way they are conducted to meet all constitutional requirements.

San Diego County Sheriff Deputy in Encinitas pepper sprays and arrests a 60-year-old hostess of an event for U.S. Congressional candidate Francine Busby.The sheriff deputy claims that Shari Barman became combative with a deputy who was at the fundraising event to investigate a noise complaint. Wild and crazy 60 year old!!

Francine Busby said the gathering was not loud and described the deputy’s use of pepper spray on Ms. Barman and guests as “shocking.” Ms. Busby plans to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray for his 50th District congressional seat in 2010. Bilbray beat her out for the open seat in 2006. Politics involved?

Who was responsible for the confrontation’s escalation? I’m sure the sheriff deputy will say that Ms. Barman was responsible for the escalation but hopefully a full investigation will reveal the truth! I find it hard to believe a crowd of mostly middle-aged persons at a political fundraising gathering are going to escalate a situation with a sheriff deputy investigating a noise complaint! This investigation won’t go away!

San Diego & Oceanside California Highway patrol officer Abram Carabajal, now retired, was held to answer after a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior Court, North County, Vista, [need to upload link legal resource page] before Judge Runston G. Maino. Mr. Carbajal has been charged with three felony counts of accepting a bribe, conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury.

The three felony charges stem from an alleged fix my traffic ticket in exchange for sex back in 2006. An Encino woman, Shirin Zarrindej, allegedly conspired with former CHP officer Carabajal to have her traffic ticket dismissed in exchange for sex. Ms. Zarrindej has a prior conviction for bribing a Los Angeles police officer back in 1998 in a prostitution case at which time she served 60 days in jail.

On July 1, 2008, the two met a Oceanside hotel after Carabajal lied in court to get the speeding ticket dismissed. Ms. Zarrindej who is also being charged in the same case is claiming that she was a victim to Officer Carabajal’s sexual advances and that there was insufficient evidence she conspired with or bribed him.

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