L.A. County sheriff's deputy charged with perjury, filing false report

District attorney says deputy 'knowingly and intentionally' included untrue statements in the police report

The police report said Christopher Gray tried to free two men under arrest by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.

"I saw [Gray] reach for the rear door handle of the patrol vehicle," the sheriff's deputies wrote in their supplemental report, which was signed off by their supervisor.

But videos of the incident obtained by the Los Angeles Times tell a different story. 

As deputies conducted a traffic stop on the night of Aug. 23, 2012, Gray stood nearby with his arms folded. A deputy asked Gray to move from the street onto the sidewalk, and when he didn't comply, the deputy handcuffed him before shoving him onto a patrol car.

On Tuesday, prosecutors announced that one of the deputies involved in Gray's arrest, Gregory Rodriguez, was charged with two felonies: filing a false police report and committing perjury.

Prosecutors allege that Rodriguez "knowingly and intentionally" included statements in the police report that he knew were untrue, according to the criminal complaint.

If convicted, he faces up to four years and eight months in jail.

Gray's attorney applauded the district attorney's office for filing criminal charges against a sheriff's deputy but questioned why prosecutors did not charge Rodriguez with battery.

During the arrest, deputies severely injured Gray's shoulder, according to attorney Olu K. Orange.

"Why is it that whenever a police officer is prosecuted, he’s not charged with any of the stuff a normal person would be charged with?" Orange said. "Why the disparate treatment?"

Rodriguez has been relieved of duty since April 2014, and he was notified last month that his pay would be suspended. He remains a Sheriff's Department employee pending the outcome of his criminal case, department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Rodriguez's partner, Deputy Monica Farias, citing insufficient evidence, according to district attorney's office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.

Gray spent about five days in jail after deputies booked him on suspicion of attempted lynching for trying to free someone from the custody of a law enforcement officer, Orange said. Criminal charges against him were later dismissed.

While in jail, Gray, a father of two, lost his job and has been unable to afford shoulder surgery, Orange said.

In October 2013, Gray filed a federal civil rights lawsuit the Sheriff's Department and the county.

The case was settled for about $550,000 in January, although the Board of Supervisors has not approved the settlement, according to a source familiar with the case.

Gray's attorney said that though the settlement offers some recompense, his client's life has been fundamentally altered.

"He shouldn’t have to be going through this because someone chose to violate his rights and lie about it," Orange said.

Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned June 18. 

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