San Diego deputy fired for slapping woman in wheelchair, threatening tourists who tried to intervene

Jeff McDonald

The San Diego County Civil Service Commission has upheld the firing of a sheriff’s deputy who slapped a woman in a wheelchair at least twice without provocation, then pulled out his badge and threatened a family of tourists from Arizona who tried to intervene.

When the unnamed and inebriated deputy was taken away by responding San Diego police, he resisted arrest, kicked at the patrol car’s doors and windows and demanded “professional courtesy” from officers, presumably an attempt to be released without charges.

“He told the San Diego city police officers that they were lucky he did not have his gun,” a commission report states.

The incident apparently occurred sometime last year, and was not made public until the civil-service proceeding was completed.

According to the report, “The causes of discipline were: four charges of failure of good behavior, intemperance, discourteous treatment of the public and acts that are incompatible with and/or inimical to the public service. Employee knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily stipulated that all of the charges were true.” The deputy appealed the ruling nonetheless, arguing the punishment was disproportionate to the offense.

“Employee argued that this has been his only instance of bad behavior in 23 years of military service and police work,” the report said. “He attributed the conduct to family stress. Conversely, he argued that the outrageous nature of the conduct shows that it should be discounted from any estimate of his real character.”

Civil-service commissioners disagreed, unanimously adopting the recommendation from a hearing officer that the termination be upheld.

“Employee discredited the department and law enforcement to the public and to another local police agency,” the civil service report states. “Department is now forewarned and cannot responsibly continue to place employee in a position of power.”

Commissioners reached their decision Feb. 3. Under county policy, proceeding records do not become available for public inspection until one day after the meeting has concluded. U-T Watchdog requested records from the February meeting last week and received them Monday.

 

Jeff McDonald, April 6, 2016, LA Times, “San Diego deputy fired for slapping woman in wheelchair, threatening tourists who tried to intervene”, http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-san-diego-deputy-wheelchair-20160404-story.html?platform=hootsuite
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