Burbank man files claim against city on allegations of threats, false arrest

A Burbank man who is a witness in the federal corruption case against a Burbank police officer, along with members of his family, has filed a government claim against the city of Burbank alleging that he was threatened by the officer and falsely arrested.

In the claim, Jeremy Bassett and his family members allege that they were threatened or coerced by the Burbank police officer, Anthony Valento, and Bassett’s estranged wife, Gayle Bassett.

Jeremy Bassett’s fiancée, April Rickman, along with his son, mother and grandmother are listed as claimants in the document, which was filed last month.

According to the claim, the claimants seek damages exceeding $10,000.

Neither Valento nor his attorney Dale Rubin could be reached immediately for comment.

Valento, 42, was indicted last month on federal corruption charges after allegedly agreeing to attempt to influence prosecutors to reduce or dismiss domestic violence charges against Jeremy Bassett in exchange for money for Gayle Bassett, who is Valento’s girlfriend, as part of the pair’s divorce settlement, records show.

Jeremy Bassett reported the allegations to the FBI in July and agreed to record a series of conversations between himself and the couple to be used as evidence in the federal case.

The now-dismissed criminal case against Jeremy Bassett — which his attorney said was falsely pursued — stemmed from an alleged September 2012 incident involving Gayle Bassett. All charges against Jeremy Bassett were dismissed in October.

In the claim against the city, the family alleges that the Burbank Police Department “refused to make a report of the charges of criminal threats” against Jeremy Bassett by Valento and Gayle Bassett.

The family also claimed that Valento handcuffed Jeremy Bassett’s 7-year-old son “in retaliation for an Internal Affairs complaint that the plaintiffs initiated” against him, according to the claim.

“This is an officer that felt he was above the law and did anything he could to inflict pain, suffering and punishment not just on the husband of his girlfriend, but everybody else in his family,” said Jeremy Bassett’s attorney, Bradley Gage.

City Attorney Amy Albano said the city is following its normal claims process, but declined to comment on the allegations, citing pending criminal charges and administrative proceedings.

City officials have until Monday to accept or deny the claim, after which the claimants can choose to file a lawsuit. Gage said he does not anticipate he will hear from the city in time.

“I don’t expect to hear back from them about a settlement. I expect to file a lawsuit,” Gage said.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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