Bay Area cop facing dismissal for sexual misconduct at golf course was called “Creepy Joe”

Officer denies allegations by multiple women of sexual misconduct, claiming he was the victim of a “witch hunt”

Three police officers in Fairfeld were found to have committed sexual misconduct, newly released records show

On the streets people called him officer, but out at the local golf links the female workers called him “Creepy Joe.”

Again and again, women who worked at the Paradise Valley Golf Course told investigators that Fairfield Police Officer Joe Griego harassed them, public records show. He grabbed one woman by the breast and asked her if her “boobs” were real. Another worker, who was nine months pregnant, said she overheard Griego saying falsely that he was her baby’s father. He also told his golfing partners, who included current and former officers and Fairfield City Councilman Chuck Timm, that “he wanted to get a piece of her,” according to detailed documents released by the Fairfield Police department Wednesday under Senate Bill 1421, the state’s new police accountability law.

Timm did not return a phone call Thursday.

Women also said Griego made lewd comments, slapped them on the behind and squeezed one of them on the shoulder so hard it hurt while telling he wanted to give her the “biggest tip of her life,” according to the documents.

The women told investigators that they dubbed Griego “creepy Joe.”

In addition to two separate investigations of Griego, the department also released records of two other findings of sexual misconduct by two other officers.

Facing termination in 2015 after an investigation of the women’s allegations, Griego left the department before he was disciplined. He’d already been suspended for a month without pay earlier that year after another woman who was taking a parenting class he was teaching for the department complained that he told her that even though she was divorced she could “still have lust.” The woman told investigators he tried to hug and kiss her, advances she resisted.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Griego called the investigations into his actions “witch hunts” motivated by complaints he made years earlier against the department  for allegedly violating his privacy rights. Yet he also said, “I played some sort of role in this,” but denied touching the women and making lewd comments.

“I was buried under these allegations,” he said. “I was a target.”

Fairfield Police Chief Randy Fenn did not immediately respond to a message Thursday afternoon.

Female employees said they learned how to “deal with” Griego, and at least one changed her work schedule to avoid contact with him, records show. Another woman refused to cooperate with investigators.

An expert in police sexual misconduct said many women are afraid to report officers’ behavior.

“Most of the instances of police sexual misconduct and police sexual violence that occur on duty are never complained about by the victims,” Bowling Green University Criminology Professor Phil Stinson said. “You know the police subculture, as I call it, is a closed-door society,” he said. “It’s an us vs. them mentality. It’s a boys club.”

In two others cases, through, women came forward with complaints against Fairfield officers.

In one, Detective Zachary Sandoval was suspended without pay for a day in 2015 for an unwelcome sexual advance he made on a Starbucks barista. The woman complained about an inappropriate encounter in August 2014 with the plainclothes officer, who was a regular at the coffee shop.The two had exchanged cell phone numbers, and Sandoval offered via text message to let her charge her phone in his car. Then Sandoval “asked her if he could give her a kiss,” the documents say.

“I was like, ‘I’m married.’ And he said, ‘I’m married, too.’ So I just gave him this really disgusted face and I just left the car,” the woman said, according to a transcript of her interview with investigators. But Sandoval told investigators he couldn’t remember if he asked the woman to kiss him.

“That is a rather large thing not to remember,” an investigator said.

Fairfield also released hundreds of pages on Darryl L. Webb, a former patrol cop who was fired after posting ‘revenge porn’ images and video on the internet of him and his ex-girlfriend.

Police searched his phone and found videos of him exposing himself in a patrol car, according to the records. Webb pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in 2016, and was given community service, avoiding a possible sentence of one year in jail.



Fairfield detective suspended amid probe of video that shows him punching defendant

A 28-year-old man arrested by Fairfield police, pictured in the red shirt, briefly shook hands with Mayor Ed May during a press conference Wednesday. May said a detective that struck the defendant, which was caught on video, is suspended for five days without pay pending the ongoing Internal Affairs investigation. ( )

A veteran police officer is on unpaid leave after a video showed him striking a man in the face at a Fairfield gas station.

Detective Gary Lavender, a retired Birmingham detective who joined the Fairfield Police Department 10 years ago, has been suspended for five days without pay pending the ongoing investigation.

“I regret the whole incident took place. I don’t think that what took place is necessarily reflective of all of our officers,” Mayor Ed May II said in a sometimes-hostile press conference on the steps of Fairfield City Hall. “We aren’t going to have problems with accountability in the City of Fairfield while I’m mayor.”

The 10-second video of the incident, which happened Tuesday afternoon at the Citgo gas station, was posted to social media mid-afternoon. The video showed the detective yelling and walking up to a black male before striking the man in the face.

What led up to the incident has not been made public, but authorities said the 28-year-old man was arrested, along with his two brothers – ages 37 and 39 – who had active arrest warrants. The 28-year-old man, authorities said, was trying to take the brothers’ car after their arrest, but police said the car needed to remain on the scene for evidence.

“I am now aware of the full scope of what took place out there,” May said. “I’ve had an opportunity to hear both sides of the story and I’ve had an opportunity to make a decision on the action that I feel is appropriate at this moment to be taken.”

Video shows Fairfield police officer punching man

Video shows Fairfield police officer punching man

In the video, it appears the Fairfield police officer slapped or punched the citizen’s face.

Heads of the Outcast Voters League, the Jefferson County Millennial Democrats, Black Lives Matter and other organizations went to Fairfield demanding officials fire the officer who struck the 28-year-old defendant. Both the officer and the defendant are black.

Activist Carlos Chaverst was among those who went to the police department, and he was arrested after he and officers got into an argument while there. He was charged with obstructing government operations, and released about two hours later after posting a $1,000 bond.

Those activists were at May’s Wednesday press conference as well. The mayor said he’s received multiple texts and phone calls, and asked for patience.

“Your passions cannot be my only concern. I’ve got an entire city to worry about,” May told the crowd. “I’m disappointed, to a degree, of what appears, and I may be wrong, to be the unwillingness of the people to give me an opportunity to address the situation which only recently developed. It hasn’t been 24 hours.”

“I have every attention of addressing these matters of concern, but I would like to do it in a fair and timely manner,” he said.

May said he doesn’t yet know whether the detective’s actions were just justifiable, but said, “On appearance I want to say his actions are questionable and because of the questionable nature, these questions demand answers and what I intend to do is get the answers.”

He said he met with the detective, and hoped to meet with the the man who was struck. That man attended Wednesday’s press conference, and was about to meet with the mayor when the activists and his representative halted the meeting.

The press conference grew confrontational at times, and May said he deserves the respect of the people. “I don’t intend to be intimidated or bullied with any decision I have to make,” the mayor said. “Don’t come out here and instead of trying to help a n….r, destroy a brother.”

May said the police department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the incident, and he hopes to have answers by the end of the week.