Before Anthony Arevalos’ criminal trial began last month, the San Diego Police Department portrayed him as a traffic cop gone rogue. Police told news media they had no knowledge of the incidents that led prosecutors to charge him with 21 felonies including sexual battery, bribery and false imprisonment.
As his trial unfolded, however, it became clearer that numerous San Diego police officers had suspicions about Arevalos’ illicit behavior. Though some officers said they witnessed Arevalos violate numerous department policies, he continued wearing a badge and patrolling downtown San Diego.
In some cases, the trial didn’t explain whether officers had reported Arevalos’ misbehavior to their superiors or kept it to themselves. The officers weren’t allowed to testify or the issue didn’t come up during questioning.
But on Thursday, after a jury convicted Arevalos of eight felonies and four misdemeanors, Police Chief Bill Lansdowne added new details about the department’s knowledge of Arevalos. He told the Union-Tribune that officers’ suspicions never reached department leaders before Arevalos’ arrest.
“Clearly there were some red flags that should have been reported but weren’t,” Lansdowne told the newspaper. “We’re going to be addressing all of those issues.”
The Union-Tribune’s story didn’t elaborate on which flags Lansdowne was unaware of until this year. I asked the Police Department for clarification this morning but haven’t heard back.
In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of a few flags raised during Arevalos’ trial that I’ve previously reported:
Court testimony showed Arevalos shared lewd photos with fellow officers and boasted about the attractiveness of the women he pulled over. Because he carted so many women to jail, officers dubbed him “the Las Colinas transport unit.”
One officer told prosecutors that Arevalos had downloaded up-skirt photos from a fellow officer’s investigative case files while the officer wasn’t looking. Arevalos kept the pictures on his cell phone, the officer said.
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