SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The San Jose Police Department is reeling from four separate scandals involving on-duty and off-duty officers.
An officer has been arrested for allegedly masturbating in front of horrified crime victims inside their home. A second officer is suspected of showing up drunk at a baby abduction crime scene.
A third officer is accused of offering a methamphetamine pipe to a police informant in exchange for information. In a fourth incident, a rookie police officer suffered a fatal overdose of fentanyl after returning home from a party.
Mayor Sam Liccardo said the slew of scandals shows “a drumbeat of serious transgressions committed by young SJPD officers. We have a serious problem at the SJPD.
Liccardo added, “These officers do not represent the very high moral and professional standards upheld by 99% of the hardworking SJPD officers who protect our community today. Nothing angers a good cop more than a bad cop. I know that the overwhelming majority of officers in this department are furious like me.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the masturbation incident was particularly “disturbing.”
“Law enforcement officers respond to our homes to help victims of crime, not to terrorize, traumatize and create new victims,” Rosen said.
Masturbating in front of victims
Constable Matthew Dominguez, 32, was arrested on Thursday for indecent exposure. Police Chief Anthony Mata escorted him out of the police station.
“Last week I said that when an officer breaches the public trust or engages in criminal conduct, I would personally fire them. Today I did,” Mata said on Thursday. .
The charges stem from an incident on April 21 when Dominguez and two other officers were called to the home of a family in San Jose. The family had called 911 because a mentally ill family member showed up at the home in violation of a domestic violence restraining order.
“Officer Dominguez started by speaking with the 23-year-old daughter of the family. Officer Dominguez took an interest in her and continued to interact almost exclusively with her,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
“She gave Officer Dominguez the potential location of her brother, prompting Officer Dominguez to order the other two officers to leave and attempt to locate the brother,” prosecutors wrote.
When Dominguez was alone with the girl and her mother, he unzipped his pants.
“(The mother) saw Officer Dominguez unzip his pants, place his hand in his zipper and began to rub his crotch. Simultaneously, the daughter saw him rubbing his crotch,” wrote the prosecutors.
Dominguez then exposed himself to the mother and daughter, prosecutors say.
The two women fled the house.
San Jose police wrote, “The shocked and frightened victims ran away and reported the officer’s behavior to two nearby male relatives. One of the male relatives alerted Dominguez’s two fellow officers to what had just happened.
Dominguez’s body-worn camera was apparently activated throughout the incident.
Dominguez will be arraigned for misdemeanor exposure on June 22 in the courtroom. If found guilty, he could face up to a year in prison and be placed on the sex offender list for 10 years. Dominguez is currently on administrative leave.
Bribe for meth pipe
Another SJPD officer is being investigated for allegedly offering a methamphetamine pipe to a woman in exchange for information.
The officer’s name has not been made public and the incident happened in December last year.
Mayor Liccardo said: “This officer’s conduct amounts to a serious violation of the ethical and professional standards of this service. Chief Mata responded appropriately by placing this individual on leave. I am confident that the (SJPD) will do whatever is legally necessary to ensure that he no longer wears an SJPD uniform.
drunk at work
The most recent scandal involves an officer who was allegedly intoxicated while at the crime scene investigating the April 25 abduction of a baby.
The officer was reportedly drunk as he was tasked with surveying the neighborhood for witnesses to the baby’s abduction. The officer raised the suspicions of an FBI agent who was also at the crime scene, and the officer reported his suspicions to the SJPD.
“I apologize to the family of 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar. When an officer…tarnishes the badge, we all suffer the consequences,” Police Chief Mata told reporters at a police conference. press on May 3.
Mata said, “I will make no apologies for the criminal conduct of our police officers. I expect officers to come to work and serve and maintain them to the highest standards. We believe in duty, honor, integrity. I will not tolerate any inappropriate behavior.
The SJPD launched an internal affairs investigation on April 26 and the officer was placed on administrative leave. The name of the officer has not been released.
SJPD Deputy Chief Paul Joseph said: “We are empathetic to people struggling with drug addiction and provide many opportunities for officers and employees to seek help. But if they choose not to ask for that help…there will be consequences.
Fatal drug overdose
A rookie police officer, De’Jon Packer, was found dead at his home in Milpitas on March 13. A coroner determined Packer died of a fentanyl overdose.
Packer, 24, allegedly overdosed at home just hours after attending a party. He was previously a star football player at San Jose State University.
Mata said police officers are not immune to problems that plague society as a whole, including drug addiction. Studies have shown that on average, a police officer experiences or is exposed to a traumatic experience three times for every six months of service.
Packer’s death is still under investigation by the SJPD’s internal affairs unit.
Mayor Liccardo is pushing for the SJPD to require mandatory, random drug and alcohol testing of all officers, as well as overhauling the police department’s recruiting and hiring process for new officers.
“I know Chief Mata takes these incidents very seriously and we agree that we have a lot of work to do. In the days ahead, I look forward to the specific and actionable steps the department will take to improve the screening and training of new police academy candidates, as well as the oversight and investigation of police misconduct. agents,” Liccardo said.
“We will continue to advance changes to the contract with the SJ Police Officers Association for random drug and alcohol testing of all officers,” Liccardo said.