Ex-cop: Complaints filed against SDPD officer 15 years ago - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ex-cop: Complaints filed against SDPD officer 15 years ago

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) -- There is new information in the case against Anthony Arevalos, a recently terminated San Diego police officer charged with felony sexual misconduct.

In an exclusive interview with News 8, a former veteran police officer is speaking out about allegations that surfaced 15 years ago against officer Arevalos. The ex-cop says complaints were filed with two supervising police sergeants back then, but no disciplinary action was taken against Arevalos.

Arevalos currently is charged with 18 felonies for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances and in some cases groping young, female drivers he pulled over in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Ex-cop Bill Taitano worked for 18 years as a San Diego Police officer and said he was forced to resign in 2007 for his alleged misuse of city computers.

Taitano told News 8 that he believes the Arevalos investigation shows a double standard within the department.

"I made a mistake and I paid. I was ultimately asked to resign." Taitano said. "I am speaking now because I feel it's important for the department to do the right thing for everyone involved and not play favorites."

Taitano said the department looked the other way 15 years ago when a complaint of sexual misconduct was made against officer Arevalos by a fellow officer. That officer does not want to be identified, Taitano said.

The alleged incident began when Arevalos and the unnamed officer were called to a report of a naked woman running around a South Bay park in SDPD's Southern Division.

"They eventually got her to put her clothes back on," said Taitano. "The decision was made that she needed to be transported to County Mental Health."

While the woman was in the back seat, Taitano said Arevalos handed her his baton and asked her to perform a lewd act. Arevalos had a still camera in his possession and wanted to take photos, Taitano said.

"The other officer vehemently opposed that and told Arevalos. ‘That is not right. We shouldn't be doing that. You shouldn't be doing that,'" said Taitano.

After dropping off the women at San Diego County Mental Health, the officer riding with Arevalos then reported the incident to two sergeants at SDPD Southern Division, according to Taitano.

News 8 is not identifying the two sergeants involved because the allegations are unproven. Both officers are still employed by SDPD in supervisory roles and one has since been promoted to lieutenant.

"That incident should have been investigated by the supervisor who heard about the incident and those findings should have been forwarded to internal affairs and ultimately the chief (of police)," Taitano said.

Instead, according to Taitano, officer Arevalos got off with a slap on the wrist.

"The second sergeant it was reported to supposedly did have a talk with Arevalos and told Arevalos not to be taking photographs of anybody in the field," Taitano said.

News 8 asked a San Diego police spokesperson if the alleged complaints made against officer Arevalos 15 years ago were ever investigated.

"This is actually the first our upper management is being made aware of this allegation," said Lt. Andra Brown. "We haven't really had the chance to look into whether it was investigated or whether there was a formal investigation done."

"We'll look into it to determine what the department did or didn't know, and did or didn't do back 15 years ago," Lt. Brown said.

Taitano said he is looking forward to the findings of that investigation.

"I hope they do; I hope they do a thorough investigation and interview those who were involved and determine why something wasn't done 15 years ago," Taitano said.

Asked why he believed an internal affairs investigation was never launched against officer Arevalos 15 years ago, Taitano replied, "He got away with it because he had friends in the right places. He had people covering for him because they may not have wanted to get in trouble for something they might have done. In other words, if they report Arevalos, Arevalos reports them."

The officer who was with Arevalos during the alleged incident 15 years ago declined to be interviewed by News 8. Both he and Taitano said they have been interviewed by San Diego County District Attorney investigators looking into the Arevalos case.

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