While he was a traffic cop at the San Diego Police Department, Anthony Arevalos had a reputation for arresting an unusually high number of women, his former supervisor testified in court Wednesday.

During the final day of testimony in Arevalos’ ongoing criminal trial, Sgt. Kevin Friedman said traffic officers jokingly called Arevalos the squad’s “Las Colinas transport unit” because he arrested so many women on suspicion of drunk driving. Las Colinas is the name of the county jail for women.

Arevalos, who’s charged with soliciting sexual bribes from seven women during traffic stops, often bragged about the beauty of the women he pulled over, Friedman said. Arevalos would throw driver’s licenses on a table in front of other officers, he said, or print out a woman’s photo using state vehicle records.

“If someone was attractive, he would display it,” Friedman said.

Friedman’s comments highlight one conclusion from my June analysis of the arrests Arevalos made while he was a traffic cop. Arevalos arrested the highest proportion of women among police officers who made 20 or more drunken driving arrests in a 20-month period before his termination. The average officer arrested three men for every one woman. Arevalos arrested an almost equal number of men and women.

Police Department officials refused to respond to my analysis and wouldn’t say if the department knew of the trend before I brought it to their attention. Though Friedman didn’t comment on specific numbers, his testimony showed that he and other officers who worked with Arevalos did know of the pattern. Still, Arevalos continued patrolling downtown San Diego and stopping women more often than his peers.

The Police Department considers supervisors like Friedman the first line of defense for misconduct. Friedman told detectives after Arevalos’ March arrest that he had spent more time supervising Arevalos in the field because of the way the officer boasted about the women he stopped, prosecutor Sherry Thompson said during Wednesday’s testimony.

But on Wednesday, Friedman denied making that statement. He testified that he actually spent more time with Arevalos than other officers because they both worked downtown. He said it had nothing to do with Arevalos’ reputation with women.

Friedman was called to the stand by Arevalos’ attorneys, who wanted him to testify about two traffic stops highlighted in the case. Friedman assisted Arevalos on the stops and testified that he didn’t recall seeing anything unusual in either.

Arevalos’ trial is scheduled to continue Thursday with closing arguments and then jury deliberations. Arevalos faces a maximum 21 years in prison if convicted.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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