Former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos is now serving more than eight years in prison for conduct that has sparked a compilation of lawsuits against the city and questioned the dignity of command staff. Whether or not command staff condoned Arevalos’ improper behavior is yet to be uncovered. Fourteen separate plaintiffs have sued the San Diego Police Department, eleven of which have settled and three of which are still pending. According to the City Attorney’s Office, of the eleven cases that have settled, the city is to pay $1.55 million in total compensation to the plaintiffs. The remaining cases yet to settle realistically portray how the department failed to discipline officers and the command staff provided special protections and treatment to specific employees and other law enforcement personnel.
Many of the allegations against the department contain testimony from other officers speaking of the corruption going on behind the scenes, which the department is strongly disputing as false. Lt. Kevin Mayer stated, “Trust within the community is essential, and maintaining that trust has always been a priority of the department.” However in a July deposition, an 18-year veteran of the department testified that police officials routinely hid officer misconduct from the public. This testimony was in support of a lawsuit issued by a woman who pleaded Arevalos molested her in a convenience store bathroom. Another testimony in this case from former sergeant Kevin Friedman revealed that the officer was taught to not ticket other officers, prosecutors, or investigators for traffic violations while in training at the police academy and admitted to destroying a dozen or more citations for friends throughout his career. He admitted that many other officers did the same. Last year, a data analysis by U-T Watchdog confirmed that one out of every 79 citations goes missing and perhaps Friedman’s testimony explains these occurrences. Friedman also said he let law enforcement officials’ family and friends slide when caught in legal scrapes because it was the department practice to do so. Former officer, Arthur Perea, testified that commanders favor officers who are “in the club” over those who are not and stated, “A lot of things that happened on the San Diego Police Department don’t ever hit the media. A lot of misconduct. Officers getting arrested for DUI off duty. DUI crashes. Beating up prostitutes. Pursuits involving other law enforcement agencies while off duty. Sex on duty. And those- and the code of silence is that the department keeps it quiet and does not release it to the media or outside of the department.” The surplus of allegations have succeeded in bringing to the surface many issues inside our legal entity here in San Diego, and it is important to remember that no one is exempt from the law and may find themselves facing legal charges.
“Pattern of Police Misconduct Alleged”– U-T San Diego, September 16, 2013