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 California Police Abuse and Police Brutality 
 Page 5


 
 02/01/2006 - LOS ANGELES, California - A videotape shows a sheriff's deputy shooting an unarmed Iraq war veteran who appears to be following orders to get up off the ground, and now the FBI is investigating for possible civil rights violations.

Elio Carrion, an Air Force policeman who spent six months deployed in Iraq, was to have rejoined his unit Tuesday. Instead, he was hospitalized in good condition.

The incident began Sunday night, officials said, when Carrion was a passenger in a blue Corvette that was speeding about 100 mph near the Chino Hills, California, area, east of Los Angeles.

The driver, whom authorities didn't identify, failed to pull the car over after police signaled to do so, leading to a five-minute chase that ended abruptly when the vehicle crashed into a brick wall, said Cindy Beavers, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

What happened next was captured on video shot by amateur photographer Jose Luis Valdez, who told The Associated Press that he recorded the incident after the car crashed in front of his home. KTLA-TV aired the videotape early Tuesday, then distributed it later in the day.

In the tape, an unarmed Carrion appears to be on the ground as a deputy sheriff stands above him with his gun drawn.

"Get up!" the deputy shouts. "OK," Carrion says.

"Get up!" the deputy shouts again. "I'm going to get up," Carrion says, and he begins to rise.

The deputy fires three shots, reportedly striking Carrion in the chest, leg and shoulder.

Moaning while on the ground, Carrion attempts to explain to the deputy he's an Iraq war veteran. "I mean you no harm," he says. "Shut the [expletive] up!" the deputy shouts. "Shut the [expletive] up!"

The deputy shouts that he has "one down," then again tells Carrion to "shut the [expletive] up."

"You don't get up!" the deputy says.

Then the tape contains the voice of a neighbor who appears to have watched the incident. "You told him to get up!" the voice says.

Beavers, the sheriff's spokesman, declined to release the name of the deputy involved in the shooting but said he was put on leave. She said Sheriff Gary Penrod had invited the FBI to join the investigation.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller and U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek confirmed the the agency's involvement on behalf of the Justice Department.

They said the FBI would look into possible civil rights violations. Media reports prompted the probe, Mrozek said.

Beavers said the sheriff's department would review the video forensically "to clear up any questions about dialogue."

"We think it is unfair to make any sort of judgment against any of the parties involved," she said.

The driver of the car, she said, was arrested on charges of felony evading.=============

   01/26/2006 - SANTA ANA, Calif. Former Los Angeles police Chief Bernard Parks was slated to testify Thursday in a in a civil rights lawsuit relating to the Rampart scandal filed by three current or former LAPD officers.

Officer Paul Harper, Sgt. Brian Liddy and former Sgt. Edward Ortiz filed the suit against the city of Los Angeles and others, saying they were falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted as scapegoats.

On the night of April 26, 1996, partners Liddy and Harper arrested Allan Lobos, while Ortiz, a supervisor at the scene, approved of it, according to police reports.

Statements by officer Rafael Perez, whose allegations of police misconduct by himself and other anti-gang officers triggered the scandal, accused Liddy, Harper and Ortiz of framing Lobos.

Perez, as part of an agreement, received five years in prison for stealing cocaine in exchange for identifying allegedly corrupt officers.

The lawsuit accuses Parks, now a Los Angeles city councilman, and ex-
District Attorney Gil Garcetti of conspiring to deprive Harper, Liddy and Ortiz of their civil rights based on evidence elicited from convicted felons and liars.

Jurors voted to acquit all three officers on the count of framing Lobos, however, Liddy and Ortiz were convicted of obstructing justice. The judge overturned those convictions, ruling she had committed an error that tainted the jury's verdict.

===============

     01/10/2006 - An Oakland police officer who admitted to making illegal traffic stops on five different Asian women last year was sentenced today to six months in the county jail.

 Officer Richard Valerga, 51, pleaded no contest on Nov. 22 to two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of interfering with the civil rights of his victims, all of whom were Asian immigrants.

Valerga's attorney, Paul Brennan, asked that Valerga not receive any jail time because he has no prior criminal history and had distinguished records as a police officer for six years and as a member of the U.S. Navy.

But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Beatus agreed with prosecutor Mark McCannon and county probation department officials that a six-month jail term was appropriate for Valerga.

Valerga theoretically could have been sentenced to one year in the county jail for each of the four counts to which he pleaded no contest.

McCannon said, "He clearly could have gotten a lot more time, but I'm satisfied with the sentence."

McCannon said, "It's appropriate for him to go to jail even though it will be harsh on him,'' as former police officers often have a hard time in jail both emotionally and physically.

Valerga originally was charged with seven misdemeanor counts, but prosecutors allowed him to plead no contest to four counts.

Charges were filed against Valerga in August after a joint, three-month investigation conducted by Oakland police and the district attorney's office that was prompted when a victim came forward.

Investigators determined that Valerga made illegal vehicle stops on Asian women between January and April 2005.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the women had recently immigrated to the U.S. and were illegally detained by Valerga, authorities said.

Valerga was placed on paid administrative leave in May when the allegations were brought to the attention of the Oakland Police Department's command staff. He resigned in November.

McCannon said "was fixated on Asian women" and hasn't shown any remorse for his conduct, claiming that the stops of the five women were all based on a misunderstanding.

==============

    01/06/2006 - The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office filed documents with the Superior Court of Humboldt County Wednesday, requesting that a felony charge previously filed against Humboldt State University student Katherine Marie Zimmerman be reduced to a misdemeanor.

 Following a Critical Mass bike ride Nov. 2, Zimmerman, one of its organizers, was charged with misdemeanor battery on a peace officer, disobedience to an order by a traffic officer, resisting/obstructing an officer, impeding traffic and blocking a roadway.

 The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred during the bike ride when the protesters allegedly rode in the lanes on the freeway, causing unsafe conditions and refused to listen to officers directing them on the shoulder, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Price said in a previous interview with The Eureka Reporter.

 “They actually got out and stopped all lanes of traffic; we actually had a helicopter in the air and we have photos of that,” he said. “We (also) had a videotape in a patrol car of them when they were taking up one lane and they refused to get on the shoulder.”

 Zimmerman was one of four protesters arrested during the bike ride.
Others involved in the protest held a news conference Nov. 7 accusing officers of using “unnecessary force on peaceful protesters” and denied the officers’ allegations.

Elise Castle, a participant in the ride, said the police stopped traffic; the bicyclists did not.

 “I think the police caused more unsafe conditions than we did,” she said.
When the DA’s Office received new information about the officer’s alleged injury, it added the felony battery charge, Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz said in a previous interview with The Eureka Reporter.

 Because of the “serious nature of the injury conveyed to our office by the (CHP), a decision was made by the assistant district attorney to amend the complaint to add an additional count alleging felony battery of an officer against Ms. Zimmerman,” according to the DA’s filing.

After adding the charge, Schwartz requested the officer’s medical records and discovered that although he was injured, the information regarding the extent of his injuries was erroneous, the document stated.

Because of that new information Schwartz made the new filing Wednesday requesting that the complaint be amended.

A pretrial hearing for Zimmerman has been scheduled for mid-January.

==========

May. 18, 2004 - Contra Costa County (Calif.) prosecutors dropped charges in more than 10 drug use cases last month because a Pittsburg, Calif., police officer allegedly filed false reports.

The Pittsburg Police Department finished an investigation Tuesday into reports filed by former Officer Jim Hartley that contain identical admissions by different people.

The District Attorney's Office will now decide whether or not to file charges against Hartley.

Prosecutors first began to question the accuracy of the incident reports and notified police in late March of the suspiciously similar narratives in them.

Hartley, a Brentwood, Calif., resident and 14-year police veteran, resigned voluntarily in early April. He did not respond to repeated phone calls from the Times.

District Attorney Bob Kochly confirmed that an investigation of Hartley is under way.

"We have an investigation ongoing," Kochly said. "It centers around the accuracy of police reports that have been submitted."

Pittsburg Chief Aaron Baker said that based on suspects' field and laboratory tests, the cases appear to have been legitimate, but the reports were filed in a "devious" manner.

"From what we can determine at this point, the people that he arrested were under the influence of opiates - he was just too damn lazy to write the reports," Baker said.

************

  March 28, 2004 - Carlsbad, Calif. -- A California woman says it's not enough that police said they're sorry for wrongly raiding her home.

 Carlsbad police raided the home because they thought the high electrical bills were a sign that pot was being grown in the house.

 Police Lt. Bill Rowland says the family's $250-to-$300 monthly electric bill could indicate the presence of high-intensity lights used to grow marijuana indoors.

 Officers got a search warrant and showed up recently with drug-sniffing dogs. What they found was a mom who does lots of laundry and lots of dishes, has three power-hungry computers and three kids who don't turn lights off when they leave a room.

The woman now wants a formal apology -- in writing.

Police say they've apologized verbally several times but insist they acted properly.

*******************

  September 16, 2000 - The father of an 11-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Modesto police officer walked away from a federal courthouse Friday after promising to post a $20,000 bond.

Moises Sepulveda, a 33-year-old auto mechanic, was released barely 56 hours after a police SWAT team accompanied by federal drug agents forced their way into his family's McAdoo Avenue home in the Highway Village neighborhood that adjoins Highway 99.

"I am destroyed," Sepulveda said in Spanish during a telephone interview hours after his release. "They killed an innocent child." By Friday night, Sepulveda was back at home surrounded by family and friends.

He said he is innocent of the charge -- conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He declined further comment on the advice of his lawyer, John A. Garcia of Merced.

 The drug raid was part of a coordinated countywide sweep that ended shortly before sunrise Wednesday with the shooting death of Sepulveda's son, Alberto.

The raid stemmed from a 19-month investigation into a Stanislaus County methamphetamine distribution ring.

Police say officer David Hawn accidentally killed the boy during the raid.

 Hawn, who has spent more than 18 of his 21 years on Modesto's police force with the SWAT team, remains on paid leave. That is routine when an officer is involved in a shooting.

 "One thing we still won't be able to determine (soon) is why it happened," officer Terry Miller said. "Was it a malfunction or an officer error or did something else hit the trigger? We just don't know."

Details surrounding the shooting remained sketchy Friday.

 Earlier in the day, Modesto police planned to make public more information about what happened. Release of that information, however, was postponed and now is expected to be made available later this weekend or early next week.

 Miller said the information will be drawn from statements made by the officers involved, as well as the accounts of family members who were inside the house.

 Father released Federal Magistrate Lawrence J. O'Neill freed Moises Sepulveda after he posted a $20,000 unsecured bail bond Friday and promised to use the equity in his home to cover it. The bond must be secured by Sept. 29, the day Sepulveda is scheduled to return to Fresno for arraignment on a felony charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  

======

  October 30, 2000 LOS ANGELES -  A costume party guest fatally shot by a police officer after he allegedly pointed a fake gun had told friends he feared getting killed by police.

"His biggest fear was getting killed by cops, because he's a tall black man. He said that before," Mary Lin, a friend of the victim's, told the Los Angeles Times.

 Anthony Dwain Lee, 39, died at the West Los Angeles mansion where he was shot shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday.

It wasn't clear if he knew the officer he pointed a gun at was a real policeman, or if he thought he was just another partygoer in a Halloween costume, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman said.

 Lee was an actor who had appeared in small TV and film roles, including on the shows "ER" and "NYPD Blue" and as the character Fred in the 1997 Jim Carrey movie, "Liar Liar."

 Police said several hundred people, many of them in costume, were at the Benedict Canyon mansion, known to some as "the Castle" for its extravagant design.

Officer Tarriel Hopper and his partner went there in response to a noise complaint, and were looking for the mansion's owner as they walked along an outside walkway.

Police reported that the officers looked through a window and saw Lee and two other people in a room.

Lee looked up toward Hopper and allegedly pointed a gun that looked authentic in his direction, police Officer Charlotte Broughton said.

Hopper responded by firing several rounds from his weapon through the window. Investigators later determined Lee's gun was fake.

"It does not appear that (the officer) did anything wrong," Broughton said. "When somebody has what appears to be an authentic weapon, you respond the way you're trained to respond."

Hopper, 27, has been with the department three years, police said. The shooting is being investigated by the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division and a team from the district attorney's office.

========

January 27, 2000 - A San Francisco police officer accused of failing to report an incident of alleged brutality was spared dismissal and instead was given a 30- day suspension yesterday.

The Police Commission unanimously imposed the sanction on Officer Anthony Montoya but delayed action against Officer Edgar Gonzalez who is accused of beating a handcuffed suspect on May 11, 1997.

Montoya was charged with neglect of duty. He admitted that charge and will serve 15 days of his suspension immediately, with the remaining 15 days to be held in abeyance for two years.

According to documents in the case, rookie Officer Edward Clark and Montoya, a six-year veteran, were in a patrol car when they stopped a motorist at South Van Ness Avenue and Market Street for driving with his lights off.

The two officers suspected that the driver, Leandro Lezcano of Millbrae, was intoxicated and summoned Gonzalez, a Spanish-speaking officer, because of language difficulties.

After Lezcano, then 23, was handcuffed and placed in the police car, he began shouting profanities at Gonzalez, the documents show. Gonzalez, a nine-year veteran, reportedly climbed into the back seat and beat Lezcano.

Montoya was originally accused of witnessing the beating but doing nothing to stop or report it. The charge was changed to a simple neglect of duty count.

Gonzalez attended yesterday's session in hopes of reaching a settlement but his case was held over when no compromise could be reached.

Neither officer faces criminal charges.

  The police department's case against Montoya and Gonzalez is based in part on an accusation made by Clark. Clark resigned in 1997 from the department, later blaming Montoya, his training officer, for his poor performance evaluation.

Clark subsequently filed a civil claim against the city. In that claim, Clark alleges that Montoya had told him to form a ``human shield'' so no one could witness the beating.

 After the incident, Clark's claim says, Montoya told him to ``write a false police report deleting anything that happened between Gonzalez and the suspect in the back seat of the automobile.''

 The report that Clark submitted said Lezcano refused to give a breath sample and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for a blood sample.

 At some point, Clark said in his report, Lezcano kicked Clark and Gonzalez and had to be placed in restraints.

*********

  August 5, 2004 - A San Francisco civil jury rejected a plaintiff's claim Wednesday that he was beaten and his civil rights violated when he was arrested almost two years ago by then-San Francisco police Officer Alex Fagan Jr. and a fellow cop.

The jury's finding means 35-year-old James Smith is not entitled to collect damages from the city.

 Nine of the 12 jurors, who spent a day deliberating the case, did find that Fagan had threatened Smith when the officers confronted him for being drunk and abusive on Sept. 18, 2002. But the jury unanimously rejected the notion that Fagan's threat was either based on Smith's race or was somehow in violation of his civil rights, as required for Smith to receive damages from the city.

The case has been widely seen as a dress rehearsal for another pending trial against Fagan, who is facing criminal charges for a Nov. 20, 2002, off- duty street confrontation with two men over a bag of fajitas.

Fagan, who is no longer on the police force, is the son of former Police Chief Alex Fagan Sr., who was the assistant chief at the time of the fajita incident.

During the San Francisco Superior Court trial that began last week, Smith claimed he had been threatened with death and beaten while handcuffed by an out-of-control Fagan Jr. and his partner, John Broucaret.

 The city's lawyer, Deputy City Attorney Sean Connolly, called Smith's suit a "shakedown,'' saying there simply wasn't any evidence to support the allegation that the drunken and belligerent Smith was repeatedly beaten while being arrested at Haight and Cole streets.

 Fagan did not testify, and Broucaret flatly denied to the jury that any such threat had been made to Smith or that the suspect had been beaten.

However, Sgt. Vickie Stansberry, Fagan's supervisor, noted the threat in her account of the incident.

In another finding, nine jurors rejected the notion that Fagan had beaten Smith, while three found he did. All 12 agreed that Broucaret had done nothing wrong.

 The jury also agreed that neither officer had interfered with Smith's constitutional right of free speech in complaining about police misconduct.

 City Attorney Connolly proclaimed vindication for Fagan Jr., whose conduct as an officer has triggered three other lawsuits against the city.

"The man is happy -- it has been a long time for him,'' Connolly said of his client. "Alex Fagan is perceived as an easy target. There was no evidence to support the allegations.''

 Juror Chester Williams agreed, saying the panel found a lack of evidence to support Smith's claims. Williams noted that the claimed injuries did not appear as severe as one might expect based on Smith's account of being repeatedly kicked and punched.

 He and other jurors lauded Sgt. Stansberry, who testified and whose damning memo recounted Fagan's threat on Smith's life.

"She was quite brave in doing that,'' Williams said of Stansberry's memo.

 Smith was not in court for the outcome. His attorney, Eric Safire, called the verdict "a sad day for civil rights'' in the city.

 "Basically, they found that Fagan is a bad apple, but so what?'' Safire said. "By their verdict, they found that it's OK to threaten a man, lie about it on the stand and take the Fifth Amendment, and they still get a pass."

******* 

  07/09/2005 - Two San Francisco police officers -- already charged criminally for allegedly giving alcohol and fireworks to underage girls -- have been formally brought up on misconduct charges by the Police Department.

 Officers Arkady Zlobinsky and Michael Turkington were charged last month with misdemeanors of conspiracy and furnishing alcohol to minors. The Police Commission is expected to hold a hearing on the charges in the near future. The officers could face suspension or dismissal if found guilty.

 Steve Johnson, who oversees legal representation of officers for the Police Officers Association, the police officers union, declined to comment on the case.

Both officers were on duty and in uniform when many of the alleged incidents happened in June and July of 2004.

 Zlobinsky, 37, a seven-year veteran of the force, and Turkington, 34, an officer for five years, are charged by the chief of police in the disciplinary case with neglect of duty and general misconduct charges.

 Zlobinsky is charged with neglecting his patrol duty by ordering a 16- year-old girl he met in a liquor store into a department vehicle, so she could meet and possibly date his partner. The unnamed partner refused to meet the girl in the June 20, 2004, incident, the charges state.

 "By soliciting a 16-year-old ... for the purposes of promoting romance with (another officer) who was riding with him that night, while both of them were on duty and in uniform,'' Zlobinsky violated department orders and that was grounds for discipline or dismissal, the charges signed by Police Chief Heather Fong state.

 The charges allege that Turkington took two 17-year-old girls and a 16- year- old girl to West Sunset Park on June 30 of last year and gave them a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Gatorade. Turkington allegedly persuaded an unnamed officer to leave Taraval Station and meet him at the parking lot of the West Sunset playground.

 On July 4 of last year, Turkington and Zlobinsky met the girls and asked them if they wanted to shoot off illegal fireworks that had been confiscated that night. The officers allegedly gave bottles of beer and fireworks to the three girls.

 "Any reasonable police officer must know that such conduct violates the standards of the department and is cause for discipline or dismissal from employment,'' the charges state.

 After the girls went to other parties, the officers met up with them again. At that point, the then-off-duty officers allegedly made advances on two of the girls -- Turkington on a 16-year-old and Zlobinsky on a 17-year- old.

 Zlobinsky already faces department disciplinary charges in connection with a 2004 incident in which he allegedly released a domestic-violence suspect who should have been arrested.

 The department disciplined him in 2003 for picking up women at a party and driving them around while on patrol without telling dispatchers. He was suspended for 15 days in that case, put on probation for two years and ordered to write a 2,500-word paper "about the importance of SFPD officers knowing and following department general orders."

************* 

    Feb. 16, 2005 - Off Duty U.S. Customs officer shoots unarmed 19-year old Arab-American in head and face. Authorities state that officer committed no wrong-doing and did not even book him for questioningThis incident happened about 15 minutes from my house in the Madrid apartment complex in Mission Viejo, CA on Feb 5, 2005.

  As far as a political discussion, this would probably fall under the same category as Amadou Diallo Case, and Abner Louima in an example of law enforcement brutality bordering on outright criminality. Here are the relevant facts:

  Early in the morning on Saturday February the 6th around 1:30 am, Bassim Chmait along with three other friends were walking through an apartment complex heading towards a college house party. As they were walking through the apartment complex one of the neighbors threw a soda can at them from above. In frustration, one of the young boys threw the can into the street, and continued walking down the pathway of the apartment heading to the party. At that point Douglas Bates, an off duty U.S.

  Custom's officer, left his home with his badge in hand and gun drawn confronting the group of 4 to 6 friends. . he started to yell at them, and when the group of boys turned around, they saw the provoker yelling at them about laughing and being too loud, he was heading towards them pointing his gun a them with a badge in the other hand, yelling "You don't want to fuck with a cop, do you?" Apparently he was upset at the noise and commotion. Mr. Bates then pistol whipped one member of the group. The aggressor was an off duty border patrol/homeland security officer who was not in uniform, his name is Douglas Bates. The four unarmed boys were questioning him, asking why he was pointing his gun at them and begging him to put it down. One of the four boys that were there kept asking the gunman to stop pointing the barrel of the gun in his friends direction.

  Because of that, the aggressor pistol-whipped his friend on the forehead w/ the gun. Anticipating that the provoker was going to hit his friend again Chmait Bassim got in front of his friends telling the man to please put the gun down. Almost instantly the off duty cop shot Bassim in the head and face by Douglas Bates. After shooting Bassim, Mr. Bates simply walked back into his apartment. While friends were screaming for Bassim and neighbors dialed 911. About 5 minutes later the murder opened his door, with the gun still in hand and yelled at neighbors to shut up, and he want back inside his apartment.

 This story comes straight from four witnesses, and neighbors that were there when the murder took place, they saw and heard everything that occurred that night.

  You would think that this would be an easy case to prosecute. You would think that Douglas Bates is in jail right now. But he’s not, he’s a free man, he was never arrested, he was never charged, he was never even asked to come to the police station to give a statement. The Orange County Sheriff's Department Spokesman, Jim Amormino stated, "We treated this the same as we would any case. There was no clear evidence of a crime being committed, so there was nothing to book him on." 

*************

     Jun. 18, 2004 - Two Palo Alto police officers did not violate department procedures when they beat and pepper-sprayed a motorist last summer, according to an internal affairs investigation, which admonishes their supervisors for being too quick to fault the officers.

 The internal report, obtained by the Mercury News, concludes that ``had both officers been properly interviewed on the night in question, all their actions would have been legally justified.''

 However, officers Michael Kan and Craig Lee face criminal assault charges after their July 13 confrontation with 60-year-old Albert Hopkins, who says he was targeted because he is black. A preliminary hearing continues Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court on the case that has raised questions about how Palo Alto police interact with minorities.

 But the 35-page report drawn from a re-enactment of the altercation and interviews with 30 people -- including witnesses, doctors and high-ranking police officers -- paints a picture of a by-the-book following the law when they pulled a ``hostile and agitated'' Hopkins from his car, then pepper-sprayed and clubbed him on the leg after he refused to cooperate.

 The report says California's penal code gave the officers the right to both detain Hopkins and ``use whatever physical force necessary'' when he refused to step out of the car.

 The officers said they feared for their safety when Hopkins reached for the console in his car.  Furthermore, the report accuses senior officers of rushing to initiate a criminal investigation based on what one sergeant described as a ``Readers Digest'' version of what happened at the scene.

*****

    May 21, 2004 - The city of Oakland has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who said he had been beaten by police officers.

Brian Johnson said officers had kicked, stomped and punched his head and chest on July 9, 2002, after he walked away from them near his home in the 2900 block of Magnolia Street in West Oakland.

 Johnson, who was on probation, was aware of alleged misconduct by former officers known as "the Riders" in his neighborhood and "sought to avoid contact with Oakland police officers," according to the lawsuit filed last year by civil rights attorney John Burris.

 Oakland City Attorney John Russo recommended that the City Council approve the settlement Tuesday night to avoid the risk of a harsher verdict at trial.

*****

   MAY 18, 2004 - A San Francisco police officer has been brought up on charges of using excessive force for a baton blow that broke a woman's arm during anti-war protests that tied up downtown last year.

 Officer Anthony Nelson, 33, who works at Southern Station, is charged with improperly striking the protester March 20, 2003, then falsifying an incident report to exaggerate the threat she posed when officers confronted a line of protesters along Market Street.

The demonstrator, Linda Vaccarezza of Sonoma, was treated for a broken forearm. She recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

 "I'm just happy someone followed through with it," said Vaccarezza, a court reporter who said she lost work after the attack.

The charges against Nelson will be lodged at Wednesday's Police Commission meeting and could result in his suspension or dismissal.

Steve Johnson of the Police Officers Association, which represents officers before the Police Commission, declined to comment.

 According to the investigation by the Office of Citizen Complaints, Nelson said he had been forced to hit Vaccarezza with his baton when she charged him with a wood-backed sign.

Vaccarezza told investigators that she had simply been complaining about how police were treating other protesters at the time and had done nothing aggressive.

****

     04/07/05 - California - A San Diego police sergeant is to be arraigned Thursday in Riverside County on charges of sexually assaulting two girls in Murrieta last July, an official said.

According to the Riverside County District Attorney's office, Toby Freestone, 40, has been formally charged with child molestation, sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He has been ordered to surrender to authorities at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta Thursday morning.

Freestone, who works in the SDPD's Special Events Unit, received word of the legal action on Friday.

 The counts stem from alleged incidents involving two underage females back in July 2004. A district attorney spokesman says the case was reported to the Murrieta Police Department last month.

 Specifically, the veteran police officer is charged with two counts of child molestation, one count of sexual battery, two counts of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 14 and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Investigators confirmed the case involved two underage females.

SDPD officials say Freestone's police powers have been suspended and he has not resigned. 

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