Cop Costs Taxpayers $60,000 And One (1) Drug Bust After Lying About Almost Everything Related To The Traffic Stop

from the blowing-it-like-pro dept

Oh my. What fun it must have been for this officer to find out his lies were contradicted by his partner's body camera footage. Thanks to these lies, Officer Joshua Bates of the San Jose Police Department is now former officer Josh Bates, target of a federal civil rights lawsuit. But his troubles began during the traffic stop, culminating in this (first) judicial vindication of Cosme Grijalva.

Saying he was “troubled” by the testimony, Superior Court Judge Eric Geffon threw out the drug case in October against former suspect Cosme Grijalva, after the prosecution dismissed the charges. The City Council on Tuesday agreed to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by attorney Jaime Leaños on Gijalva’s behalf for $59,900.

No charges and a cash settlement. That's the way things break when officers lie. And lie Bates did. Several times

First, he trapped himself in a lie during cross examination. While seeking to obtain consent to search Grijalva's car, Bates used his phone to contact a translator to help bridge the language gap. Pushed for details on this mysterious translator -- one that had changed sexes during the course of his testimony -- Bates finally settled on calling the translator "she." Then he admitted it wasn't a department translator, but rather someone named Lilia... who just happened to be Bates' wife.

Body-camera video recorded by Bates’ partner, Ian Hawkley, who is also named in the suit, shows Bates telling his wife over the phone: “So what you’re going to do is you’re going to tell this person that I know there is methamphetamine in the car — crystal, and you are going to tell him that I’m going to get a dog who’s going to come over and is going to sniff and tear their car apart.”

Hawkley's video came as a surprise to Bates. Not a complete surprise, though. At one point in the recording, Hawkley let Bates know he was "in the red" (recording) and had been "for awhile." By that point, too much damage had been done. Bates had already called his wife to translate his threat for Grijalva and was engaged in a warrantless search of Grijalva's van without his consent. Bates did not activate his camera, violating PD policy. He also admitted to trying to get Hawkley to deactivate his body cam.

Bates apparently had an ongoing aversion to complying with the Constitution and PD policies.

There is evidence suggesting this might not have been a one-time instance for Bates. According to court documents filed by Singh, the week before Bates’ encounter with Grijalva, he and another officer stopped and arrested a bicyclist on suspicion of alleged marijuana possession. Body-worn camera footage reportedly showed that Bates omitted mentioning a pat-down search in his police report on the incident.

Other video from that case also shows Bates having a conversation with another officer about how to come up with probable cause to make an enforcement stop when there is nothing readily apparent.

Bates also fudged the paperwork in this case. He tried to align his testimony with his bogus police reports but got tripped up by his own faulty memory and his partner's recording of the incident. And that has netted him two lawsuits and an early exit from his law enforcement career. Bates resigned shortly after this disastrous courtroom performance. With any luck, he'll be employed by another law enforcement agency before too long. You know how it is with bad hombres like this. They get sprung on technicalities and are back on the streets (in uniform) within days or weeks of an unceremonious sacking/resignation-tendering.

The only thing in this story that makes it an anomaly is the resignation. Other than that, it's par for the course. Cops lie. And the reason they do it so frequently is that they almost always get away with it. Cameras are changing that… slowly. But they're only slightly better than nothing at all at this point. The sad thing is, we'll just have to take what we can get because law enforcement agencies clearly aren't interested in upsetting the apple cart and letting all these "bad apples" roll into the nearest gutter. Change comes from within and law enforcement has proven itself highly resistant to change.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 3:41pm

    Every case this officer touched is now suspect

    In cases this egregious, they really need to go back and dismiss charges on many that depended on this officer and his partner with no other evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 4:34pm

      Re: Every case this officer touched is now suspect

      In cases this egregious, they really need to go back and dismiss charges on many that depended on this officer and his partner with no other evidence.

      Aught to, but, unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. That would be too much like justice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 21 Jul 2018 @ 8:35am

      Re: Every case this officer touched is now suspect

      The usual victims of police misbehavior are not able to afford competent legal defense and are thus easily railroaded into a plea deal.

      A plea deal means that you accept a punishment instead of justice. It doesn't matter whether you are proven innocent beyond a trace of doubt afterwards.

      You can try suing for compensation if the whole plea deal can be shown to have been based on fraud and lies, but the party to sue then are the individual perpetrators rather than the court who was not involved.

      And you can probably be thankful if you don't get charged for food and accommodation due to wittingly having accepted a plea deal for a deed you did not commit.

      We'll probably see that further perversion of justice in time to come.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 21 Jul 2018 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re: Every case this officer touched is now suspect

        Prisoners ARE charged for food and accommodation. In fact, if the prisoner is on Social Security, it's redirected to the prison facility in its entirety, because fuck their family.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2018 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Every case this officer touched is now suspect

          Apparently, running prisons is a very profitable business.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 3:57pm

    What to do, what to do...

    Scott Greenfield has a related post up over at Simple Justice called The Problem With “Make The Cop Pay” Solution He, nor the comments so far, mention any sensible solutions to this particular problem, though they don't mention the ever-greening of the 'cop license' by other agencies who hire cops with bad behavior who have left other jobs.

    I think there is something to refusing resignations and firing for cause instead that speaks, though this does not help the victims who have been financially and socially and possibly physically or permanently burdened by the bad behavior. This should be extended to removing any law enforcement license or certification so they might not revise and extend their ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 4:21pm

      Re: What to do, what to do...

      Cops are given a get out of jail free card - film at eleven.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 11:18pm

      Re: What to do, what to do...

      Scott Greenfield has a related post up over at Simple Justice called The Problem With “Make The Cop Pay” Solution

      He really buries the lead. "The problem is that the cop may be judgment proof. If the cop has no wealth or assets, there is no fund from which to collect a judgment."

      Okay, that's a problem, but you'd have the same problem if a broke private citizen decided to frame you and assault you. Scott doesn't mention anything about police pensions, which are often generous (unlike "average" workers who don't usually get pensions nowadays) and can be garnished... and have often resulted in outrage when paid to disgraced cops.

      It's fairly straightforward that people should be liable for their own illegal behavior, and go to prison for criminal behavior like assault.* That covering for the crimes of others is itself illegal. That employers can face responsibility when failure to properly manage their employees causes injury.

      * (Your proposal is all good, but the behavior in Scott's example would result in jail time for any assailant that's not a cop.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2018 @ 10:55am

      Re: What to do, what to do...

      Why wasn't this cop charged with perjury? It sounds like he lied on the stand.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 4:48pm

    Letting a 'bad apple' go... eventually

    Then he admitted it wasn't a department translator, but rather someone named Lilia... who just happened to be Bates' wife.

    Bates did not activate his camera, violating PD policy. He also admitted to trying to get Hawkley to deactivate his body cam.

    Body-worn camera footage reportedly showed that Bates omitted mentioning a pat-down search in his police report on the incident.

    Other video from that case also shows Bates having a conversation with another officer about how to come up with probable cause to make an enforcement stop when there is nothing readily apparent.

    That sort of behavior does not magically spring into existence. A good cop does not just wake up one day and decide, 'you know, those 'rules' and 'laws' are too much of a pain, thing I'll ignore them from now on'.

    While it's nice that they let him resign and therefore he's no longer working for them from the sounds of it he should have been given the boot long before this point, such that the appearance isn't that what he did was a problem, simply that this latest act was too public for them to continue putting up with him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 5:31pm

    saddly Hawkley will be forced off the depatment within the year and not offered another job because he refused to delete the cam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 6:24pm

      Re:

      Well, Hawkley should still be punished for allowing his partner to engage in obviously illegal behaviour. Sure, it's great that he was recording, but he was also standing and not doing his job.

      This is a clear case of a bad apple - Bates - spoiling the rest of the barrel.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Zgaidin (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:32pm

        Re: Re:

        While it gives me the willies to stand up for a cop, I think I actually disagree in this case. Sure, he could have intervened on the scene and tried to stop his partner, but at least he a) recorded it all, and b) handed over the recordings in both cases. While the situation theoretically could have ended at the scene, in the end he provided the necessary exonerating evidence to his partner's apparent "surprise."

        I will note, however, that him just doing his job properly is warmingly good news, and that's worrisome.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 20 Jul 2018 @ 5:44pm

    The other 1%'ers

    Unfortunately, cops being held to account is probably about 1%.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 6:08pm

    But bad cops don't make drugs good -- as Techdirt wishes.

    You're now intentionally searching out those so low there's no dispute. But the cost is you've no nuance left, no middle ground where cops are ordinary people trying to prevent harm and preserve some decency: you've demonized them. Techdirt is now blatantly anti-cop, anti-law, and anti-American.

    And you're going to run out of such stories, just as have run out of pirate victories and copyright anomalies. Techdirt can now run only about one in eight pieces off Torrent Freak, because those of pirates going to jail just don't fit your template.

    Once you were merely trying to come up the "new business models", but that became trying to justify piracy, and out of that tangle began taking up for underdogs, leading eventually to sticking up for criminals, Kim Dotcom, "Dread Pirate" Roberts, Google and its invasive total spying, more recently hoping that downloading child pornography could be thrown out on technicality.

    You're pretty much like the cops in the story: have an agenda to push, and cut corners to do it.

    Now you're down to just hating cops and trying to gin up the few fanboys.

    It's where I KNEW you'd end up by allowing egregious vulgarity and ad hom. Yes, that IS a linear process, kids: you can't let the forms of civil discourse slip and retain the good parts. You've slowly immersed into the cesspit and see nothing but your own filth.

    Anyhoo, though stories of late aren't worth commenting on, partly because no dispute, know that I'm HOOTING as you go completely under!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 6:16pm

      Re:

      Was wondering when you'd strut on to crow the praises of corrupt authority.

      How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along, bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:30pm

      Re: But bad cops don't make drugs good -- as Techdirt wishes.

      Says the guy that uses a false dichotomy in his subject line.

      One being bad doesn't suddenly make the other good.

      Pretty sure the saying goes "the end doesn't justify the means". Ergo, a cop using illegal means to accomplish an otherwise good goal is still a bad cop.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:53pm

      So what was the name of your failed band?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 9:44pm

      Re: But bad cops don't make Trolls good

      Aaaand The (Anonymous) Coward stands up for dirty cops. And better - going after bad cops is anti-American.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 22 Jul 2018 @ 1:13pm

      Re: But bad cops don't make drugs good -- as Techdirt wishes.

      The fact that there are good cops (and there are) doesn't mean the actions of bad cops shouldn't be exposed.

      Cops need to be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens, because of the special powers they're granted.

      I agree that Tim's whole "cops lie" thing overdoes it sometimes - some cops lie, I have no reason to thing *most* cops lie.

      But bad cops and bad policing NEED to be exposed and punished. And good cops need to be praised.

      (And, BTW, drugs are neither good nor bad - they're just chemicals and have no moral qualities. Only people and their actions can be good or bad.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 6:25pm

    Saying he was “troubled” ...

    Missing hyperlink?

    Saying he was “troubled” by the testimony, Superior Court Judge Eric Geffon threw out the drug case in October against former suspect Cosme Grijalva, after the prosecution dismissed the charges. The City Council on Tuesday agreed to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by attorney Jaime Leaños on Gijalva’s behalf for $59,900.

    Man gets $60K for wrongful arrest after cop’s testimony thrown out”, by Tracey Kaplan and Robert Salonga, Mercury News, June 26, 2018

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:00pm

    Hawkely must be one of those good cops who stand by bravely recording the illegal actions of their partners but bravely choosing to not intervene.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 11:03pm

    Cue a Union screaming it's just a few bad apples & we shouldn't blame the cops because they aren't given enough respect & those black kids are demons who will drag the innocent officers soul to hell if they aren't shot faster than a cop shoots a pitbull 4 houses down from the warrant they are serving on the wrong house. Luckily some arbitrator somewhere will say the officer was treated unfairly when the city reviewed the lies in court & the multiple lawsuits over rights violations and demand he be put back on the street with backpay.

    While I applaud his partner refusing to break policy & turn off the camera, how in the actual fuck did he allow this case to get all the way to court before letting the powers that be discover his video proves this bad apple was way worse than anyone expected?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      A Union, 21 Jul 2018 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      It's just a few bad apples & we shouldn't blame the cops because they aren't given enough respect & those black kids are demons who will drag the innocent officers soul to hell if they aren't shot faster than a cop shoots a pitbull 4 houses down from the warrant they are serving on the wrong house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2018 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      how in the actual fuck did he allow this case to get all the way to court before letting the powers that be discover his video proves this bad apple was way worse than anyone expected?

      Perhaps because he wanted to be sure that video would not be accidentally erased while in evidence storage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2018 @ 12:51am

    What troubles me most of all is the Judge only willing to go so far as to call it "troubling".

    Is a "troubling" testimony recorded on their Brady list?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Ammar Yasir, 22 Jul 2018 @ 1:32pm

    Cool Stuff

    Nice one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2018 @ 1:17am

    "There is evidence suggesting this might not have been a one-time instance for Bates. "

    The evidence is the behaviour itself, I'd suggest. There's too many obviously bad moves for this to be the first time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2018 @ 7:04am

    Here is where part of the outrage should be.

    Did the guy have meth in his car? Was he a drug dealer? The article doesn't say.

    The shame in this is also that a criminal is going free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2018 @ 7:46am

      Re:

      "Did the guy have meth in his car? Was he a drug dealer? The article doesn't say."

      It doesn't matter. The fact that he could have been guilty of what he was accused of doing does not excuse law enforcement for trampling all over his rights and lying to the court. If you dislike this, I would suggest that those who are charged with enforcing the law should also follow it while doing so.

      "The shame in this is also that a criminal is going free."

      He is not a criminal until he is found guilty by a court of law with his rights as a citizen, including due process, intact. Until that point, he is deemed innocent.

      It's interesting that you appear to be taking the claim of a cop found to be openly lying to the court at face value. Especially since there's no other reason to suspect meth was present anywhere at the scene from what I can see, let alone the victim being a career drug dealer, as you seem to be suggesting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2018 @ 7:23pm

        Re: Re:

        I wasn’t excusing the actions of the cop, in fact I blame him for violating the constitution as well as letting a potential drug dealer to go free

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Jul 2018 @ 2:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "letting a potential drug dealer to go free"

          See what I mean, though?

          You are still convinced that the man was possibly a drug dealer, possibly had drugs in his car. Yet, the only evidence of that are the works of a corrupt cop who has been demonstrated to have repeatedly lied during and after that traffic stop, as well as numerous other occasions with similar lies. There is no other reason to believe that man had done anything wrong at all from the details in the story, yet here you are still believing he may be guilty of a felony.

          Of course, he could be guilty as hell, but whatever happened it's 100% on the cop. Either he let a criminal go, or he came close to locking up an innocent man. Given that the court has now thrown out the case due to the officer's actions, he is an innocent man until proven otherwise.

          Again, if this angers you, demand that the police follow the law, not that anyone they baselessly accuse remain under suspicion.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2018 @ 8:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Unless you think the cop planted drugs in the vehicle, then there probably was drugs in the car, otherwise, why would they go to trial?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 24 Jul 2018 @ 8:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, first of all, it's not exactly out of the realm of possibility that a cop as corrupt as this would also be planting drugs. For this and any other arrest he's been involved with.

              Secondly, there's been plenty of cases - especially where incompetent or corrupt cops were involved - where field kits have tested positively for illicit substances where the suspect was later found to have no drugs. Some of these have gone to trial, or even later had the victim proven innocent after imprisonment because someone was tampering in the lab.

              There is, again, the possibility that this was an otherwise legitimate bust that the cop screwed up by being such an idiot. But, until that's proven, stop assuming that the victim was the guilty party here. He is innocent, until such time as he is later found guilty.

              This is why due process exists, because otherwise you wouldn't have a chance against pieces of shit like this.

              "why would they go to trial?"

              Presumably because the poor guy had "evidence" supplied by the cop weighed against him. But, since the case got thrown out because a large part of it was not true, I see no reason to presume that any of it was true.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2018 @ 12:19pm

      Re:

      Just how many times can the cops stop and search your and your friends vehicle on a whim, as part of a campaign to catch all drug dealers?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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