San Diego's police chief apologized Tuesday for an "unprecedented amount" of accusations against officers in recent months, including five which have resulted in criminal charges.
"I want to personally apologize to every citizen of the city of San Diego," Police Chief William Lansdowne said during a late-morning briefing outside department headquarters, adding that there was "no excuse at all" for the alleged misconduct.
Over the past three months, nine cases of alleged misconduct have arisen, including five that have resulted in criminal charges. Lansdowne described a seven-step program to help prevent such misconduct in response to the accusations. The program includes increased internal affairs staffing, more ethics training, a 24-hour complaint hotline, a review of the department's discipline manual and use-of-force tactics, a "wellness" assessment during officers' annual evaluations and a series of meetings with all employees.
Lansdowne said the department's image has been "tarnished" by the misconduct cases, and command staff believes the program will help restore SDPD's image.
- May 9, (DUI): The latest incident came to light Monday. Officer William Johnson, a 12-year veteran, was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in the South Bay. He was off-duty and arrested by Chula Vista police around midnight Saturday after a collision that left another motorist with minor injuries. Johnson will be on a desk assignment pending the case's outcome.
- May 1, (Excessive Force): An officer is under investigation for possible use of excessive force while arresting an allegedly drunk and combative man outside the Alibi bar in North Park, SDPD Executive Assistant Chief David Ramirez said. The officer, one of three involved in the arrest, has not been named, but the incident was captured on a witness' cell phone camera and aired on local news stations.
- April 11 (Assault): An SDPD patrolman allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old neighbor in Mira Mesa after he allegedly caught the teen smoking marijuana. The officer's name has not been released, and he is on desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation and concurrent review by the District Attorney's Office, a department spokeswoman said.
- March 29: An SDPD officer was recorded wrestling 27-year-old David Rangel of San Diego at a Mexico-Venezuela soccer game at Qualcomm Stadium. Rangel was allegedly inebriated and disruptive. The recording, posted on YouTube, shows the officer on the floor, at times using an arm to put Rangel in a chokehold from behind and finally shoving his head onto the concrete. A loud smacking sound is heard when the side of the suspect's face and the palm of his hand hit the floor. The department is investigating.
- March 24 (Domestic Violence): Officer Roel Tungcab, 39, was arrested after a fight with his wife in their Imperial Beach home. He faces misdemeanor domestic violence charges.
- March 11 (Sexual Assault): Officer Anthony Arevalos, 40, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman following a traffic stop in the Gaslamp Quarter. Four other woman subsequently came forward with similar allegations. Arevalos pleaded not guilty to 18 related charges and has since been fired.
- Feb. 22 (DUI Hit-and-Run): Officer David Hall, 41, was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run while driving under the influence on Murray Ridge Road in Serra Mesa. Hall recently pleaded not guilty and faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted.
- February (Stalking): Sgt. Kenneth H. Davis, 47, is accused of stalking a fellow officer and making harassing phone calls to her. He has been ordered to stand trial and faces up to three years in prison if found guilty.
City News Service contributed to this report.