‘Teflon’ Cop Avoided Serious Investigation for Years
Documents from a civil lawsuit filed by Anthony Arevalos’ final victim reveal just how much high-ranking police officials knew about his behavior prior to his arrest.
File photo by Sam Hodgson
Jane Doe’s lawyers sought a court-ordered monitor to oversee SDPD and address numerous misconduct problems. They say SDPD missed numerous red flags about Officer Anthony Arevalos, the cop who was convicted of soliciting sexual bribes from Doe and other women.
Before former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos’ arrest in 2011, his supervisors knew he had made sexually charged comments to a woman with mental disabilities while transporting her to a hospital. They knew he looked at pornography at work on his department-issued computer. And they knew he had been accused of behaving inappropriately toward a 16-year-old girl during a traffic stop.
Supervisors had also cleared Arevalos of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old woman while taking her to jail a year before his arrest. They had sent him back out on the streets to patrol downtown alone. In that case, the sergeant in charge of the criminal investigation was convinced of Arevalos’ guilt, and a district attorney who later reviewed the case found problems with the department’s investigation (though still declined to prosecute him for it).
One of Arevalos’ colleagues described him this way: “Teflon.”
“I felt he believed no matter what he did, that he would not get in trouble,” said Henry Castro, who worked in traffic division with Arevalos and said in court filings he’d used the word.