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Yet another reason to have body worn cameras

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2015 | Firm News |

Do you think these would happen if these officers had cameras on?

The body camera is good for everyone. It records what is actually happening and not someone’s impression of what happened. As a former Prosecutor, I can tell you without a doubt when in the trial the jury usually believes the officers. The camera will no doubt be beneficial for citizens who had a different perspecitve than the officers.

I will say the camera helps the officers because it will thwart any false accusations that is thrown at officers often.

Video is such a great tool for the field of law. It is a memorialization of what happened. It helps both law enforcement and those accused. One key point I wonder is how long will the video be stored and not purged. For instance, someone accused of a San Diego DUI may be able to show they were in fact not the driver of a vehicle. The video would show who exited the drivers side. However, the police would not be wanting the video. It would be defense counsel. A person has to be arrested, get out of jail, find and retain and attorney. The attorney would have to gather facts before they would even have a chance to subpoena the video.

The CHP has Dash Cam videos called MVARS. The video is an effective tool in discerning how the San Diego DUI stop went. I have had situations where the client said something was said or done that just was not on the video. The fact it did not happen helped resolved the issues the client had and the case was resolved.

I am proud to say SDPD (San Diego Police) has been implementing the body cameras.

For all sides in the matter I hope the body cameras become an everyday tool of law enforcement.

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The San Diego City Council agreed Tuesday to pay $250,000 to a woman who alleged that she was groped by an on-duty police officer after being arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen truck.

The woman alleged that Officer Donald Moncrief made “unwanted sexual comments” and then touched her breasts and exposed himself while he was taking her to jail in February 2013.

San Diego agrees to pay $1.3 million to 2 women abused by police officer

Moncrief, now 40, was suspended after the allegation was made public. He later left the Police Department, although city officials decline to say whether he resigned or was fired.

The incident was investigated but no criminal charges were brought.

The payment settles a lawsuit filed by attorney Daniel Gilleon on behalf of the woman against the city and Moncrief.

Along with approving the $250,000 settlement, the council also agreed to pay a total of $1.3 million to two women sexually assaulted by ex-Officer Christopher Hays.

Hays, who resigned after his arrest in February 2014, pleaded guilty to felony imprisonment and misdemeanor assault and battery under color of authority. He served five months in jail.

The charges against Hays involved touching women inappropriately and for sexual gratification during pat-downs, according to court documents.

A lawsuit filed by Gilleon on behalf of a third woman allegedly abused by Hays is pending.

Efforts to reach Moncrief for comment after the council action were not successful.

In the lawsuit against Moncrief, Gilleon alleged that the department had an unofficial policy of allowing misconduct by not informing on fellow officers. He linked the allegations against Moncrief to the criminal case against Officer Anthony Arevalos.

Arevalos was sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison after being convicted of assaulting women while on duty as a traffic officer. He was fired by the department.

Since the allegations against the three officers, the department has made several changes, among them requiring officers to report all instances of misconduct by other officers, requiring that two officers be present when a woman is being taken to jail, reinstituting a professional standards unit, and requiring body cameras be worn by beat officers.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, appointed to her post in 2014, has taken a tough stand against officer misconduct and vowed to fire any officer caught abusing a member of the public.

Still, Councilman David Alvarez said after Tuesday’s settlement that he does not believe the department has done enough to prevent future misconduct and to hold management accountable for past misconduct.

“The actions that led to this settlement sicken me,” Alvarez said. “We need to face this problem headon and hold management accountable.”

Alvarez was the lone vote against the settlements.

If you are charged with a San Diego DUI or other Criminal offense, you need to call our firm immediately. We are available to take action on your case today. Please email or call us at 858-751-4384 or email me at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation. The key is to be proactive.

The full article can be found here.

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