Sex. Lies. Abuse. How these L.A. deputies landed on a secret 2014 list of problem officers
About 300 L.A. deputies are on the Brady list, a secret record of problem officers.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department keeps a secret list of about 300 deputies with histories of dishonesty and similar misconduct that could undermine their credibility when testifying in court. Even prosecutors and many high-ranking sheriff’s officials can’t see this so-called Brady list.
When Sheriff Jim McDonnell attempted to give the list to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the deputies’ union sued him. Lower courts ruled that the list is confidential, and the California Supreme Court has announced it will decide the issue.
The Times reviewed a version of the list from 2014 and obtained government and court documents that detail the accusations against the deputies.
False statements and false report
Deputy Andrea Cecere was serving lunch at a courthouse lockup area when an inmate began cursing at her. She commanded Andrew Norwood to put his hands behind his back, then handcuffed him, according to several deputies who saw what happened.
“Suddenly, I saw Deputy [Gerald] Jackson strike Norwood several times behind the head with a right hammer fist,” wrote Deputy Armando Vasquez in a sheriff’s internal affairs document filed in court. “Deputy Jackson then took inmate Norwood down to the floor where he continued to strike … Norwood several times in the head with his right fist.”
Two other deputies corroborated the account. Norwood suffered swelling around his eyes, a cut inside his mouth and a cut on his wrist.
But when Cecere wrote up a report about the August 2009 incident, she claimed Norwood refused her orders and she was unable to get him into handcuffs. Cecere said the inmate swung his right arm at her and threatened to spit in her face, prompting Jackson to come to her aid.
After an internal investigation, the Sheriff’s Department suspended Cecere for 20 days in 2011 for false statements and false reporting, according to court records.
A judge later rescinded the suspension because the department waited too long to discipline her, but did not weigh in on the underlying facts of the incident.
Cecere did not respond to requests for comment.
As of August, she was assigned to Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters. Last year, her pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $133,000.
False report and unreasonable force
Christian Chamness had recently been named “deputy of the year” at the sheriff’s station in Lancaster when he pepper-sprayed a 73-year-old man in the face.
In his arrest report, Chamness claimed Raymond Davison blocked deputies as they tried to leave a barbershop where they had arrested Davison’s son and another man.
“He began to advance on me,” Chamness wrote of Davison, who was arrested and charged with resisting or delaying a peace officer. “I … ordered him once more to step aside. He refused so I sprayed him with a 3- to 4-second burst.”
But a security recording from outside the barbershop contradicted the deputy’s account.
The video, obtained by The Times, shows Davison outside the barbershop speaking to deputies, one of whom is holding down the elderly man’s left arm. Davison and Chamness exchange words and the deputy sprays him in the face three times. Davison is never seen blocking or advancing on the deputies.
Once the video emerged, the charges against Davison and the other men were dropped.
The men filed a lawsuit alleging that there was no basis for the arrests or force and that deputies concocted a false justification for their actions. The county, which paid $195,000 to settle the suit, issued a report saying misconduct had been committed by sheriff’s personnel and that “appropriate administrative action was taken.”
A report by the Sheriff’s Department’s watchdog said the case “caused a firestorm of issues” and that four deputies were disciplined over the July 2007 arrest.
Chamness was suspended 25 days for a false report and unreasonable force, sheriff’s records show.
“We dispute any accusation that Deputy Chamness intentionally misrepresented any of the events that day,” said Adam Marangell, an attorney for the deputy. He declined to comment further.
As of August, Chamness was assigned to the Hall of Records. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $135,000.
We’re investigating L.A. deputies with histories of misconduct. Submit a tip.
While assigned to Catalina Island in 2011, William Cordero wrote a false report that failed to mention a civilian who was riding in his patrol vehicle and witnessed a crime, according to a disciplinary letter the Sheriff’s Department sent him. The letter said he also was involved in an unauthorized foot pursuit and failed to alert the sheriff’s radio channel.
He was suspended 15 days.
Cordero claimed in a lawsuit against the county that the investigation was in retaliation for making complaints about a captain who escorted a county inmate to a golf course. The inmate was a former pro golfer, and he gave the captain golfing tips, the lawsuit said.
Cordero alleged in the lawsuit that he ended up being harassed by other deputies and transferred off the island against his wishes. His lawsuit is pending, and he is challenging his suspension.
The department began its investigation of Cordero a year after the 2011 conduct that resulted in his suspension and months after he complained about the captain’s actions, said his attorney, Matthew McNicholas.
“We strongly believe that the only reason the discipline was initiated was to retaliate against him,” said McNicholas, who added that his client did not write a false report.
Cordero is back working at the Avalon station. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $203,000.
Casey Dowling was a deputy when a 14-year-old girl accused him of molesting her. She told authorities Dowling, then 28, had given her his phone number and told her to call if she needed police assistance, according to a district attorney’s memo that detailed her allegations.
On Dec. 6, 1995, she informed Dowling she’d suffered a knife attack. She said the deputy told her to sit in his patrol car, where he touched her breast, according to the memo.
The girl told investigators Dowling later drove her home and followed her into her bedroom. There, she said, he touched her again under her bra, according to the memo, which said Dowling failed to issue a crime report about the alleged knife attack.
When the teen confronted Dowling about his behavior, he contacted his union, according to the 1996 memo.
The district attorney’s office determined that there were “several circumstances which support the conclusion that Deputy Dowling has committed the violation alleged” but found insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime.
County records show that Dowling was discharged for “immoral conduct” in 1997 and filed an appeal with the county’s Civil Service Commission, the details of which are confidential. State law enforcement records show he got his job back a few months later.
The teenage girl, now 36, told The Times that her encounter with Dowling was traumatizing. She considered suicide and had anxiety about being touched. “If I didn’t have the run-in with him, I know my life would be different,” she said.
Reached for comment, Dowling said he did not believe he was on the Brady list but declined to elaborate or talk about the incident.
An attorney who represented Dowling in an unrelated civil case a few years ago said the department placed the deputy on leave, but never discharged him.
“I can tell you through a moral certainty I remember he was relieved of duty for two months because of allegations against him,” Bradley C. Gage said. “That was investigated and found not to be true, he got his job back, end of story.”
Two days after this article was published, Gage sent The Times a Sheriff’s Department letter saying that Dowling had recently been removed from the Brady list.
According to the letter, Dowling had previously been accused of making false statements but had reached a settlement with the department in which the charge was changed to “unfounded.” The letter, sent to Dowling in March, gave no other details about the case.
As of August, Dowling was a sergeant assigned to the department’s Parks Services bureau. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $189,000.
“While conversing in the car, Deputy Dowling began to talk about her clothing resembling gang attire. He then reached under her blouse and bra and touched her breast. He then drove back to her house.”
Jose E. Gonzalez
It was a routine drug arrest that landed Jose Gonzalez in trouble.
He and his training officer were working in Bellflower in December 2006 when they arrested a woman in a motel parking lot on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine. According to Gonzalez’s report, he found six baggies of meth in her purse.
Two weeks later, just before he was about to testify in the case, Gonzalez told a prosecutor that only two baggies were found in the woman’s purse and the remaining four were discovered in her motel room, according to a district attorney’s memo.
The deputy said his training officer told him to write the report as if all the baggies were found in the purse so that the drugs could be booked together into evidence, the memo said.
Gonzalez later told a different prosecutor yet another story: He had forgotten that four of the baggies were found in the motel room when he wrote the false report, and it had been his training officer who found the drugs.
Based on Gonzalez’s conflicting accounts, the district attorney’s office dropped the case against the woman. Prosecutors considered filing criminal charges against Gonzalez, but determined they had no corroborating evidence to prove he intentionally falsified a report.
Gonzalez did not respond to requests for comment.
As of August, he was a sergeant assigned to Twin Towers Correctional Facility. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $159,000.
David Anthony Hernandez
David Hernandez’s testimony didn’t line up with the facts. The deputy had been called as a witness in a drug case, but it soon became clear to the judge that Hernandez’s statements were “at complete odds” with the evidence and “absolutely fatal” to the prosecution.
Hernandez claimed that in 2007, he ran the license plate of Frisco Cervantez and discovered arrest warrants associated with the vehicle’s registered address. The deputy testified he approached Cervantez and detained him. Hernandez said he found a baggie of cocaine in his wallet.
But Cervantez’s attorney obtained sheriff’s records that proved the deputy had run the license plate after the arrest, not before. When confronted, Hernandez said he may have made a mistake, according to a court transcript.
The case was dismissed, and Hernandez was eventually charged with perjury and filing a false report. Then-Sheriff Lee Baca told The Times that the deputy had manufactured events to justify his decision to detain Cervantez.
Hernandez pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report. He was ordered to perform 250 hours of community service and placed on probation for two years.
The Sheriff’s Department handed down a 15-day suspension, sheriff’s records show.
Reached by phone, Hernandez said he did not want to comment.
As of August, Hernandez was assigned to the sheriff’s Industry station. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $182,000.
“The officer’s admitted on the stand that he has made a mistake, and the mistake is, as far as I can see, absolutely fatal.”
Thomas Jensen brought his pastor along when he met with a sheriff’s internal investigator in February 2000. The distraught deputy was accused of fondling a woman he had been assigned to protect from an ex-boyfriend who was a gang member.
Jensen had previously denied that he had any physical contact with the woman. But with his minister in tow that day, the deputy admitted that he had kissed the woman and that he had always wanted to see what her breasts looked like, according to a district attorney’s memo.
He said he never touched the woman’s breasts, but a subsequent polygraph indicated Jensen was not being truthful, the memo said. After the test, Jensen told investigators that he recalled asking the woman twice if he could see her breasts and that she refused.
The encounters surfaced after the woman complained to a Crescenta Valley Station supervisor that she had reluctantly unbuttoned her blouse at a deputy’s request. She declined several times to give the deputy’s name and chose not to make a formal complaint. Based on the woman’s statements, a lieutenant confirmed Jensen’s identity, according to the district attorney’s memo.
A prosecutor concluded that the deputy’s behavior was “inappropriate.” The prosecutor declined to file a charge of sexual battery because of contradictory statements made by the woman, who had been convicted of perjury, and the difficulty in proving the interaction was not consensual, the memo shows.
In a recent phone interview, Jensen said he never did anything improper with the woman. He admitted to lying to investigators, telling them at first that he didn’t get out of his patrol car when he spoke to her. But he said he was racked with guilt over the lie.
“That was the closest I ever came to physically dying from stress,” Jensen said.
He finally revealed to investigators that he did exit his vehicle, hugged the woman and gave her a friendly peck on the cheek, he said.
“That’s why I’m on the Brady list. It’s the most horrible thing in my life, yet it’s the best thing, because God knocked me on my butt,” he said.
Jensen said he was suspended 30 days for lying and demoted from a patrol sergeant to a deputy in the jails.
He retired in 2013 and earned $97,000 in county pension last year.
Obstructing an investigation
The drug bust went down at an auto body shop in Paramount, the result of intelligence gathered from a reliable informant who had gone undercover.
But Cypress Police detectives came up short when they searched for the expected large stash of methamphetamine and fully automatic machine gun.
Days earlier, Timothy Jimenez had learned of the drug investigation while working as a bailiff at the Norwalk courthouse, according to a district attorney’s memo. The deputy had attended high school with both the dealer and the informant.
The dealer’s girlfriend later told investigators Jimenez had warned her about the informant and advised caution, the memo said. She in turn tipped off her boyfriend.
Jimenez’s actions in July 1995 were “potentially dangerous and life-threatening” as well as “a blatant betrayal of his fellow law enforcement personnel,” a prosecutor wrote in the memo.
Despite the conclusion that Jimenez intended to obstruct justice, the prosecutor declined to file charges, saying she could not prove the deputy engaged in a conspiracy.
The informant told investigators he was afraid of Jimenez and what could happen if he were to help prove a case against him.
Jimenez, reached at his house, said he did not want to speak about the case.
“It happened 22 years ago and I don’t even remember what happened,” he said, adding that the allegations were “false.”
Jimenez would not elaborate and declined to comment further.
As of August, Jimenez worked as a sergeant at the department’s Walnut station. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $140,000.
“Jimenez’ actions were highly improper and inappropriate as well as potentially dangerous and life threatening. He put every person involved in the narcotics investigation ... in peril.”
David William Johnson
Failure to safeguard a confidential document
When the Sheriff’s Department was looking into hiring David Johnson, an investigator discovered the following comment written in his file:
“I would be afraid to hire; very nervous; very uneasy; attitude problem; requires direct supervision; has problems dealing with minorities; would not rehire; … needs to be checked deeply before hiring.”
The quote was added to internal sheriff’s records reviewed by The Times that also detail how Johnson mishandled a confidential report that ended up being passed around to other officers.
Johnson had been working at the now-defunct county Office of Public Safety when he retrieved a fax of a Sheriff’s Department incident report that detailed the arrest of a fellow officer. Johnson in turn failed to protect the confidential document and it was copied without authorization and shared with others, the sheriff’s records say.
It is unclear whether it was Johnson who duplicated the report, but he was suspended for 10 days in 1999 for failing to safeguard a confidential document, the records show. The suspension was reduced to four days as part of a settlement.
Johnson was one of dozens of officers with histories of misconduct who were absorbed by the Sheriff’s Department in 2010 after the Office of Public Safety was disbanded.
A woman at his home said Johnson would not comment for this story and told a reporter to leave the property.
His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $130,000.
False statements and false report
Roosevelt Johnson was suspended in April 1999 for 30 days for making false statements, putting false information in records and failing to perform to standards, according to a confidential Sheriff’s Department employment summary reviewed by The Times. The summary does not give details about the misconduct.
The document also says Johnson has received at least 14 commendations in his career, including three for “exemplary conduct.”
Johnson, who did not respond to requests for comment, was a commander assigned to Men’s Central Jail as of August. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $210,000.
No one disputes that drugs and cash were found in the car.
But prosecutors came to harbor serious doubts about the rest of Deputy David Jouzi’s account of the February 2012 arrest he made in Rosemead.
Jouzi wrote a police report saying he pulled over a vehicle on a minor traffic violation and found a large quantity of methamphetamine inside. At a court hearing in the drug case, Jouzi said the same thing under oath.
But he never mentioned that he’d been working with an informant to identify the suspect’s vehicle and that the traffic stop wasn’t random but part of a setup he helped orchestrate, according to a memo from the district attorney’s office.
When prosecutors questioned him privately, Jouzi insisted it had been a regular traffic stop, the memo says. It was only when Jouzi was about to testify again that he came clean.
Prosecutors concluded that Jouzi “deliberately misrepresented a material fact” to them and dismissed the drug case.
The memo said there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Jouzi for perjury or writing a false report but said his “false statements to members of the district attorney’s office … warrant attention on an administrative level.”
Jouzi said in a lawsuit filed early this year that he had been identified by the Sheriff’s Department as a “Brady” officer and that a prosecutor filed a “Brady” memorandum about him alleging Jouzi had lied. Jouzi, who is of Palestinian descent, claimed in the lawsuit that he was the victim of racial bias and denied lying to prosecutors about the arrest. He demanded that the district attorney’s office withdraw his designation as a “Brady” officer. The lawsuit is pending.
He said in a phone call that his actions in the arrest of the drug suspect were approved by his supervisors and that he was punished for his documentation of the use of an informant — a procedure in which he said he was never trained. He said he was the victim of a biased investigation and that he believes the Brady list does not reflect a fair and accurate roster of deputies who’ve committed misconduct.
Jouzi was fired in March but is appealing his discharge, he said. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $118,000.
The ad on Backpage.com promised “FREAKY fun” and was accompanied by a photo of a woman’s cleavage and an assurance to would-be customers: “Fetishes welcome.”
Orlando Macias was off duty that day and called the listed number to talk to “Krystal,” the woman named in the ad.
“It’s not my first time,” Macias told her, according to a transcript of the phone call filed in court. At one point, Macias grew suspicious about her cheap prices.
“Are you a cop?” he asked.
“Oh my God! Don’t even say that. Are you?” said the woman on the other end — an undercover Ontario police officer hoping to lure johns in a prostitution sting.
On the call, Macias said he wanted to spend a half-hour with her, which they agreed would cost $90. About an hour after they spoke on July 29, 2010, Macias entered a room at the Motel 6 near the Ontario Airport and was arrested.
He was charged with soliciting a prostitute and disturbing the peace, court records show. Macias pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace in 2011 and was ordered to pay a $654 fine. Macias was suspended 15 days for immoral conduct, sheriff’s records show.
In 2016, he entered a burning house and carried a woman out of the building — actions that won him a medal of valor, according to a sheriff’s awards program.
In a recent interview with The Times, Macias confirmed his suspension and said he was placed on the Brady list.
“I had heard the term Brady list, but I didn’t know exactly what that entailed,” he said. “I guess it just depends on who you talk to — for me it wasn’t a big deal.”
He retired from the department in March and earns an annual pension of $115,000.
It was shortly after midday in the City of Industry, but the patrol deputy wasn’t where he was supposed to be.
Scott Maus’ cruiser was instead parked in a secluded spot of the Puente Hills Mall, and the on-duty deputy was inside with a woman he had pulled over.
He had seen her driving moments earlier and they exchanged smiles before he flashed the red lights of his squad car behind her on the 60 Freeway, according to a district attorney’s memo. He asked her about her tattoos and told her she looked familiar, though the two had never met.
At Maus’ invitation, they drove to the mall, which was outside his patrol area.
The deputy groped the woman and didn’t stop when she told him he was hurting her, she later told investigators, according to the memo. She reported that he put his hand behind her head and “guided her” to perform oral sex on him before penetrating her with his fingers, the memo said.
The next day, the woman told sheriff’s investigators that Maus didn’t use force or threats but that she felt intimidated and did not consent. Investigators found semen in the patrol car and on Maus’ uniform. The deputy admitted to the encounter but said it was consensual, the memo said.
Prosecutors declined to charge Maus with sexual assault, concluding that jurors would probably find that the woman’s actions were voluntary.
The county agreed to pay her $150,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she alleged she was sexually assaulted. A county counsel memo cited medical records showing she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and would need intensive psychiatric treatment for years. Maus, the memo said, was disciplined for immoral conduct.
In approving the payout, the Board of Supervisors urged the Sheriff’s Department to fire those who commit “wrongful acts in the course and scope of their employment.”
Approached recently at his house by The Times, Maus said he would call the police if the reporter returned before slamming his door.
As of August, he was assigned to MTA headquarters. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $210,000.
“Deputy Maus told [her] to park her car and get into his patrol vehicle. When [she] entered the passenger’s seat, Maus reached for her breasts.”
Jeffrey L. Moore
The allegations were disturbing.
Jeffrey Moore’s wife told authorities that he put a gun in her mouth and threatened her, according to court records. A few months later, his wife alleged, Moore grew enraged when she invited a realtor over to sell their Corona home, cut up some of her clothes and then held a steak knife to her.
Moore, who disputed his wife’s account and argued she had been the aggressor, was charged with several felonies that included assault, kidnapping and making criminal threats. He was tried twice, and a judge dismissed the case after jurors deadlocked in the second trial.
During an internal affairs investigation by the Sheriff’s Department, Moore admitted to cutting up his wife’s blouse, wrestling with her over her cellphone and threatening her with a steak knife, according to a Sheriff’s Department disciplinary letter filed in court. The department handed down a 15-day suspension in 2009 for family violence, the letter shows.
Moore and the department agreed he could serve his punishment by completing several education courses, including one on anger management. Moore lost a lawsuit against the county in which he sought back pay for the time he had been on unpaid leave during his criminal case.
He did not return a message seeking comment.
As of August, he was a sergeant at the department’s emergency operations bureau. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $181,000.
It was August 2003 and Deputy Jose Ovalle realized there was a problem with the evidence. An inmate’s shirt bloodied from a jailhouse brawl had been lost.
Ovalle had a solution. He grabbed a shirt out of the jail laundry, doused it with taco sauce and snapped a photo of the faked blood before booking it into evidence, according to law enforcement and court records.
A week later, another deputy reported Ovalle’s actions.
The Sheriff’s Department decided at first to fire Ovalle but later agreed to a settlement in which he kept his job while admitting his misconduct. The department handed down a 30-day suspension.
Years passed without the district attorney’s office being notified. The deputy would be presented with a gold medal for meritorious conduct for saving a woman from a burning car.
But in 2009, a prosecutor learned of the taco sauce incident and reported it to his office, according to a district attorney’s memo.
The office declined to prosecute Ovalle because the legal deadline for charging someone with manufacturing evidence had passed, the 2011 memo said.
Contacted by The Times about the incident, Ovalle said, “It was a long time ago,” but declined to comment further.
But while testifying in a 2010 drug case, Ovalle described his actions as a “huge mistake that I regret to this day.”
“I was a naive deputy — a brand new deputy only two years on,” he said, according to a court transcript. “It damaged my career forever.”
As of August, Ovalle was a sergeant with the department. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $235,000.
Jimmie Pate got a radio call late one night in May 2001. A sheriff’s sergeant ordered him to help with a couple he had caught smoking marijuana near a vista in La Cañada Flintridge.
Pate arrived, searched the couple’s vehicle and found a baggie of marijuana. While the sergeant had conducted the initial part of the call, he told Pate to “write him out” of the police report so that his name wouldn’t appear, according to a district attorney’s memo. The sergeant said he lived far away and didn’t want to be “inconvenienced” by having to testify in court, according to the memo.
Pate, who had recently completed his probationary period in patrol, felt pressured by the supervisor and did as he was asked, falsely writing the report as if he alone conducted the investigation, the memo said.
Prosecutors determined Pate’s misconduct didn’t warrant criminal charges but explained the misconduct as “a lazy sergeant’s attempt to avoid his obligations as a member of a law enforcement agency and an unseasoned deputy’s failure to stand up to the improper demands of his supervisor.”
Pate was suspended 10 days in 2002 for false reporting, internal disciplinary records show.
In 2002, Pate and another deputy were awarded a medal of valor for chasing down an armed man with a history of violence who was suspected of stealing a car.
Pate did not respond to requests for comment.
He is now assigned to the Burbank courthouse. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $113,000.
The woman said the deputy had been violent for a decade when she began fighting him in court.
A civil lawsuit against Deputy Antonio Ramirez, filed by the mother of his two daughters, claims he pushed the woman to the ground, hit her in the face with a book, kicked her, twisted her wrist and threatened to kill her during various incidents in 2012.
The woman claimed Ramirez pressured the couple’s 11-year-old girl not to report the abuse to anyone, warning her he could lose his job, which would mean they would no longer have a house or any money.
Ramirez denied the claims.
Prosecutors declined to charge him with domestic abuse or witness intimidation, citing a lack of physical evidence. A sheriff’s sergeant determined there was “mutual combat” between the woman and Ramirez, according to a district attorney’s office memo summarizing the criminal investigation.
Still, a prosecutor concluded that interviews with the daughters corroborated their mother’s claims and that one of the girl’s statements in particular were believable, according to the memo.
In 2013, the Sheriff’s Department notified Ramirez he would be suspended 15 days for family violence against the woman who filed the lawsuit, according to documents filed in the case.
Last year, a jury concluded Ramirez had engaged in domestic violence against the woman and awarded her $185,000.
Ramirez did not respond to requests for comment.
As of August, he was assigned to the sheriff’s Pico Rivera station. The county listed his pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, as $45,000.
His attorney in the civil lawsuit, Richard Fannan, declined to comment on behalf of his client, who he said was on disability leave last year. The county did not answer repeated queries over several months about Ramirez’s total compensation.
Brian J. Richards
A firefighter arrived at the emergency room covered in blood, the result of a severe beating.
The assailants were Brian Richards and Joshua Titel, two off-duty custody deputies.
They had been drinking at a party when they headed to the San Dimas home of Titel’s girlfriend. There they encountered Stephen Paige, the girlfriend’s ex and father of her daughter.
Richards and Titel ran at the La Verne firefighter and slammed his head against a truck, Paige later told a sheriff’s investigator, according to county disciplinary records. The deputies claimed they had been provoked, but a third off-duty deputy who witnessed the fight corroborated Paige’s report.
Paige was repeatedly struck and kicked while lying motionless until he lost consciousness, according to a Civil Service Commission document reviewed by The Times. He would end up missing six weeks of work.
In 2008, a grand jury indicted Richards and Titel on a felony charge of assault. Richards pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and Titel to misdemeanor assault. Titel was demoted to custody assistant.
The Sheriff’s Department initially decided to fire Richards but agreed to a settlement in which he kept his job and was suspended 30 days, according to sheriff’s records.
The deputy told The Times he served the suspension in 2010 and that the incident had no impact on his career afterward.
“I had no knowledge I was on the Brady list and it never affected me through my years of service,” Richards said.
Last year his total earnings, including overtime, was $166,000. He left the department in February.
It was the deputy’s word against that of an inmate.
The man being held on vehicular manslaughter said Deputy Abran Rodriguez asked a woman visiting the jail with her two young children to show him her breasts.
Rodriguez denied the claim, saying it was the inmate who offered to have his girlfriend expose her breasts in exchange for a longer visit that day at the North County Correctional Facility.
But the visitor soon filed a complaint. Another inmate also said he heard Rodriguez’s lewd comment, which “blew him away.”
Sheriff’s investigators concluded Rodriguez had made false statements, according to court records.
They cited multiple witnesses and an audio recording that they said corroborated claims by the inmates and the woman, according to court documents that outline the disciplinary proceedings. The records say internal investigators found that Rodriguez fabricated an explanation to cover up for his inappropriate comment and made false statements during the investigation.
“It was pretty awful that he thought he could get away with something like that,” the woman recently told The Times. “I stood up and testified and spoke against him, because he wasn’t going to talk to me that way. … He probably shouldn’t be working in that kind of environment and shouldn’t have that power over people.”
The department notified the deputy he would be suspended for 15 days in 2011, but he contested his discipline in court.
A Superior Court judge concluded the evidence showed that Rodriguez made false statements to investigators. But the judge also found that the Sheriff’s Department failed to prove an additional allegation, that Rodriguez mouthed the words “call me” to the woman. The judge directed an appeals board to reconsider the deputy’s discipline in light of his findings.
In a phone interview, Rodriguez again denied making false statements and said the appeals board has yet to reach a final decision.
As of August, he was still assigned to that facility. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $104,000.
False statements and false report
It was 5:30 a.m. and John Sanchez was finishing up his shift at the Lennox station.
A lieutenant had ordered him to get a judge’s approval to obtain a search warrant at night.
Sanchez had already obtained the judge’s signature, but had used an outdated form.
The deputy didn’t want to wait several hours for the judge to become available, so he decided to doctor the document, according to a district attorney’s memo.
He typed two sentences about night service onto his computer and printed it onto the already signed warrant, the memo said. He then marked the night search box himself with an X.
The lieutenant realized what Sanchez had done and confronted him.
“According to Deputy Sanchez, night service, in his opinion, had been approved by the judge because he had included the request in the narrative of the warrant and affidavit,” the memo said.
Prosecutors declined to file charges against Sanchez, noting that the warrant had not been filed with the court. Superior Court Judge Eudon Ferrell, who had originally approved the warrant, told investigators he would have endorsed the new form if Sanchez had brought it to him.
In an interview with The Times, Ferrell, who said he could not recall details about the case, said that legal procedures need to be followed.
“To circumvent that and basically make it appear that some judge approved it, that’s pretty egregious,” he said.
Sanchez was suspended for false statements and putting false information in records, according to county records. He did not respond to requests for comment.
As of August, Sanchez was still with the Lennox station. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $133,000.
“Deputy Sanchez made the decision ... that he did not want to wait ... to request the judge to sign the new face page. Instead, he typed the two new sentences into his computer.”
Deanna Santino was charged in 2007 with felony assault, child abuse and false imprisonment of an 8-year-old boy, a family member who was living with her at the time, according to the district attorney’s office.
Santino pleaded no contest to misdemeanor corporal injury to a child and false imprisonment. She was sentenced to three years’ probation and 90 days of community service, and was ordered to complete a year-long anger management training and a year in a parenting program. She was also ordered to have no contact with the victim unless arranged through the Department of Children and Family Services.
In 2011, Santino was lauded for rescuing a 1-year-old boy who had been accidentally locked in a car in 95-degree heat.
Santino did not respond to requests for comment.
As a sergeant at Pitchess Detention Center, Santino made $124,000 last year, including overtime and other earnings. She no longer works for the department.
The accusation caused a furor within the Sheriff’s Department. A deputy alleged she was the victim of sexual coercion by several high-ranking officials.
Joseph Stephen, then captain of the Malibu/Lost Hills station, acknowledged at the time that he was one of the targets of an internal investigation into her claims.
In an interview with The Times, he accused the woman of trying to deflect attention from her own legal troubles. “She’s trying to save her own skin,” he said in 2013, when the inquiry was underway. “She’s trying to lash out and see what sticks.”
The female deputy had made the accusations after facing her own allegations of misconduct, several sources told The Times while the investigation was underway. She was convicted of resisting arrest, spousal battery and vandalism in 2014, court records show.
Stephen said he never directly supervised the deputy.
At the time, Stephen called the deputy’s allegations “absolutely, unequivocally” false but declined to say if they had had a sexual relationship.
“I don’t want to get into that,” he said.
Stephen was demoted to lieutenant later that year, but nine months later was elevated back to captain.
He did not respond to requests for comment.
As of August, he was the captain at the Marina del Rey sheriff’s station. His pay last year, including overtime and other earnings, was $234,000.
Jesus Valenzuela Jr.
Jesus Valenzuela Jr. was charged in 2013 with misdemeanor battery on a woman he was dating. Valenzuela pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of vandalism, according to Los Angeles County court records.
He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to complete a 10-week anger management program.
Valenzuela, reached at his house, acknowledged his criminal case but declined to discuss whether he was disciplined.
As of August, he was assigned to the sheriff’s Walnut station. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $136,000.
David B. Vasquez
Illegal gambling and false report
David Vasquez was charged with 39 counts of illegal gambling in 1999, court records show. The deputy pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts while the rest were dismissed. He was sentenced to four years’ probation, court records show.
In a deposition, Vasquez said the Sheriff’s Department fired him in 2000 for the illegal gambling case and a separate 1998 incident in which the agency found he had submitted a false police report about a traffic stop. He filed an appeal and got his job back as part of a settlement with the agency that resulted in a 30-day suspension, according to a transcript of the deposition filed in court.
He did not respond to requests for comment.
Vasquez received a meritorious conduct medal in 2010 for rescuing people from a house moments after the dwelling was burglarized by a man suspected of carrying a gun.
He was assigned to the Special Enforcement Bureau as of August. Last year, his pay, including overtime and other earnings, was $207,000.
We’re investigating L.A. deputies with histories of misconduct. Submit a tip.
9:55 p.m. Dec. 10: This article was updated to add that the Sheriff’s Department sent Dowling a letter in March notifying him that he had been removed from the Brady list.
5:05 p.m. Dec. 9: This article was updated to say Abran Rodriguez denied making false statements and that he said an appeals board has yet to make a final decision on his discipline.
This article was originally published at 5 a.m. Dec. 8.
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