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.”


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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.

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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.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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    This article relates to: Anthony Arevalos, News, Police Misconduct, Public Safety

    Written by Keegan Kyle

    21 comments
    joe vargo
    joe vargo subscriber

    toulon, all cops should retire at that age.

    joev
    joev

    toulon, all cops should retire at that age.

    susanf
    susanf subscribermember

    otherwise, this looks like lip-service without any intention to make necessary changes. accountability starts at the top in organizations like this. he doesn't get it .

    susanf
    susanf

    otherwise, this looks like lip-service without any intention to make necessary changes. accountability starts at the top in organizations like this. he doesn't get it .

    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman
    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

    This sounds so familiar. Oh, I know, it's the Penn State University football department scandal. The story never reached the upper echelon. There were red flags that should have been reported but weren't. People inside knew the score but said nothing. Wow.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    I was just being sarcastic, I believe I've seen the picture before. Good story, and I think Lansdowne has done a generally good job managing continued downsizing of his department. But, he still badly needs a "grapevine" connection. I think he has an intimidating image within the department, largely because of his age and the fact he came in as an "outsider". I wish him the best in straightening out the situation, which is by no means out of control. SDPD isn't LAPD of 20 years ago.

    toulon
    toulon

    I was just being sarcastic, I believe I've seen the picture before. Good story, and I think Lansdowne has done a generally good job managing continued downsizing of his department. But, he still badly needs a "grapevine" connection. I think he has an intimidating image within the department, largely because of his age and the fact he came in as an "outsider". I wish him the best in straightening out the situation, which is by no means out of control. SDPD isn't LAPD of 20 years ago.

    Jim Dodd
    Jim Dodd subscriber

    After a Navy career I can tell you the captain is responsible for *all* that occurs...not knowing is no excuse...he should know...jim dodd

    JimDodd
    JimDodd

    After a Navy career I can tell you the captain is responsible for *all* that occurs...not knowing is no excuse...he should know...jim dodd

    Charles Rickman
    Charles Rickman subscribermember

    I believe the Chief about as much as I believed Arevalos. However, when the civil suits hit the courts, assuming they will get that far, the Chief should have to pay these incredible damages the city if facing in my opinion.

    tellmewhy
    tellmewhy

    I believe the Chief about as much as I believed Arevalos. However, when the civil suits hit the courts, assuming they will get that far, the Chief should have to pay these incredible damages the city if facing in my opinion.

    Will Dawson
    Will Dawson subscriber

    I find it hard to believe that with 11 charges and 8 convictions that Lansdowne "WAS NOT AWARE" that one of his officers was committing heinous and felonious sexual acts while on duty. "Once is happenstance, twice is coinsidence, three times is enemy action" [Auric Goldfinger]. If the chief of police is not "AWARE" of 11 felonious actions by one officer he may be too out of touch and not in control of his department. In either case he should be relieved of his command as he is not in charge of his staff and the fact that he says "I WAS NOT AWARE" proves that he is not capable of effectively managing the SDPD! His staff has shown they have no confidence in him as chief to inform him of these crimes by his department.

    Sandawg
    Sandawg

    I find it hard to believe that with 11 charges and 8 convictions that Lansdowne "WAS NOT AWARE" that one of his officers was committing heinous and felonious sexual acts while on duty. "Once is happenstance, twice is coinsidence, three times is enemy action" [Auric Goldfinger]. If the chief of police is not "AWARE" of 11 felonious actions by one officer he may be too out of touch and not in control of his department. In either case he should be relieved of his command as he is not in charge of his staff and the fact that he says "I WAS NOT AWARE" proves that he is not capable of effectively managing the SDPD! His staff has shown they have no confidence in him as chief to inform him of these crimes by his department.

    joe vargo
    joe vargo subscriber

    SDPD montra, "If in doubt, deny". CYA from the top down.

    joev
    joev

    SDPD montra, "If in doubt, deny". CYA from the top down.

    Dagny Salas
    Dagny Salas memberadministrator

    Dagny Salas, web editor

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    to handle emergencies. I'm not going to criticize those decisions, but you have to wonder whether the "grapevine" any leader needs to warn him of impending problems in his organization has broken down. SDPD has some very high quality leadership, but the "omerta" atmosphere common is police departments seems to be alive and well in San Diego. It's a real shame, because this is a department that has an extraordinary rapport with most of the citizens it serves.

    toulon
    toulon

    to handle emergencies. I'm not going to criticize those decisions, but you have to wonder whether the "grapevine" any leader needs to warn him of impending problems in his organization has broken down. SDPD has some very high quality leadership, but the "omerta" atmosphere common is police departments seems to be alive and well in San Diego. It's a real shame, because this is a department that has an extraordinary rapport with most of the citizens it serves.