20 California Police Officers Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Other Abuse While on Duty

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Charges of Possessing Child Porn, Sexual Misconduct Could Decertify 20 CA Police Officers

Charges of Possessing Child Porn, Sexual Misconduct Could Decertify 20 CA Police Officers

Apr 5, 2023

20 police officers stationed throughout California face possible decertification by the state’s law enforcement accreditation body, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Unless cleared by a Commission of Peace Officer Standards (POST), each officer would be stripped of the license to carry a badge in the state of California and no longer able to work in law enforcement.

Decertification is, according to the Los Angeles Times, an additional punishment to whatever actions prosecutors or their own departments take against the accused officers.

The officers are reportedly accused of various types of serious misconduct, including:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Fraud
  • Excessive force
  • Abuse on duty
  • Extorting cash, drugs, and property from drivers
  • Filing false police reports
  • Destroying evidence
  • Possessing child pornography

The Los Angeles Times reported that the list includes law enforcement officers from:

  • San Bernardino
  • San Francisco
  • Stockton
  • Rohnert Park
  • Redwood City
  • Sonoma (county)
  • San Diego (county)
  • Kern (county)
  • San Bernadino (county)

KRON 4 reported that six of the 20 police officers facing possible decertification are from the Bay Area.

Those Bay Area officers include:

  • Brendon Jacy Tatum: Rohnert Park DPS
  • Joseph Huffaker: Rohnert Park DPS
  • Kevin Lyons: San Francisco Police Department
  • Kevin Sien: San Francisco Police Department
  • Adam Marlowe: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sean Patrick Nimau: Redwood City Police Department

According to KRON, in 2021, “Tatum and Huffaker were accused of extorting cash, drugs and property from drivers on Highway 101 without reporting the seizures or submitting the drugs to evidence. They allegedly continued doing this after being fired from the Rohnert Park DPS when they pretended to be ATF agents. Tatum then allegedly drafted a false press release and filed false police reports to cover their tracks.”

The list of embattled police officers has been made public for the first time since California became the latest state to implement a process for decertifying police officers for serious misconduct, the Los Angeles Times said. The ability to decertify police officers took effect on January 1 under California Senate Bill 2.

“Since SB [Senate Bill] 2 has gone into effect, POST is now responsible for not only holding peace officers accountable for their actions, but ultimately, protecting the public from peace officers who may pose a risk,” Annemarie Del Mugnaio, Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division Assistant Executive Director, told KRON 4.

According to the Times, in the majority of cases, the officers were suspended pending the completion of an investigation by POST investigators.

“A POST advisory board will decide the officers’ fate. A temporary suspension can last up to three years. Officers convicted of a felony will be barred from working as a peace officer again in California,” the Times confirmed.

Some of the temporary suspensions were related to serious crimes, according to the Los Angeles Times. Such crimes confirmed by the newspaper included:

  • Nicholas Bloed, a Stockton police officer, was arrested in November on multiple sexual assault charges including assault, sodomy and oral copulation by use of force. He was temporarily suspended Feb. 15.
  • San Bernardino Police Officer Fidel Ocampo Rodarte: Reportedly issued a temporary suspension March 1 following his arrest last November on suspicion of firing his service weapon into the air outside the Dogwood Tavern along Highway 189 in San Bernardino County. A search warrant was served at his home.
  • San Bernardino Police Officer Sonny Aguilera was given a temporary suspension last month, but no public information is available about an arrest or charges related to the allegation. San Bernardino officials did not return a message seeking to determine if he was still employed by the department.
  • In Rohnert Park, Officer Joseph Huffaker has been temporarily suspended and charged with extortion after he was accused of illegally seizing cannabis from drivers during traffic stops and later falsifying records to cover up his actions. Another former officer in Rohnert Park, Brendon “Jacy” Tatum, was convicted of three federal charges for being the ringleader in the traffic stops where cannabis was taken and has been deemed ineligible to serve.
  • San Francisco police officers Kevin Lyons and Kevin Sien have been temporarily suspended after they were arrested last year in connection with the destruction of evidence. They’re accused of destroying credit cards, identification records and suspected methamphetamine discovered in the luggage of a person staying in a hotel.
  • Lyons and Sien allegedly told staff that cataloging the evidence would take too long and instead disposed of the credit cards and IDs in a shred bin and flushed the drugs down a hotel toilet, according to state court criminal complaints.

Fox 2 KTVU published the following list of police officers who are also under investigation:

Shawn Patrick Nimau, Redwood City PD, ineligible: Nimau was arrested in 2020 on federal charges of possessing child porn. He pleaded guilty in 2022 and was sentenced to two years in prison. His criminal attorney, Paul DeMeester, told KTVU on Monday that Nimau’s decertification resulted solely from his client’s conviction, but otherwise he was a “great cop.” Nimau was victimized himself as a child, DeMeester said, which led him to child pornography on his personal time.

“He was honest and hardworking and even saved some lives,” DeMeester said, according to KTVU. “DeMeester said he understands the point of decertifying officers, but in this case, he thinks the process is unfair specifically for Nimau as he was a good employee who was battling his own personal struggles.”

Adam Marlowe, Sonoma County Sheriff, egregious or repeated acts that violate the law. Temporary suspension: The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said they just launched their investigation into Marlowe and reported what they needed to by law to POST. At this point, there is nothing to disclose and Marlowe is still employed with the office. A federal case against Marlowe alleging excessive force was dismissed, but it is unlikely that is the reason Marlowe was placed on the decertification list. His civil attorney did not know why.

Brandon Michael Lawrence, Kern County Sheriff, ineligible: Lawrence was sentenced in December 2021 to six months in jail after having sex with inmates.

Christopher Awad, Fort Bragg PD, voluntary surrender: In April 2020, the District Attorney found that he purposely withheld evidence from a prosecutor about his inappropriate relationship with a DUI suspect in a Bay Area hotel.

Harjinder Singh Heer, Livingston PD, ineligible: Heer was arrested in 2021 for making false arrests regarding an illegal fireworks detail.

David Wesley Hubbard, Kern County DA, abuse of power. Temporary suspension: No information immediately available. Hubbard used to work for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

David Morris, Sierra County Sheriff, dishonesty. Temporary suspension: No further information was immediately available.

Claudiu Murzea, Cathedtral City PD, egregious or repeated acts that violate the law. Temporary suspension: No further information was immediately available.

Fidel Ocampo Rodarte, San Bernardino PD, abuse of power. Temporary suspension: Rodarte was arrested in November 2022 on suspicion of firing off his service weapon after drinking at a tavern with his friends.

Jonathan Sanchez, Kings County Sheriff, egregious or repeated acts that violate the law. Temporary suspension: More information was not immediately available.

Nicholas Stewart, Oakdale PD, egregious or repeated acts that violate the law. Temporary suspension: Stewart was arrested in January on suspicion of domestic violence.

J. Deshawn Torrence, Sanger PD, sexual assault. Temporary suspension: Torrence was arrested in January on domestic violence allegations.

Allen Wereski, San Diego County Sheriff, egregious or repeated acts that violate the law. Temporary suspension: Wereski was charged with felony possession of drugs on jail grounds. He e has pleaded not guilty.

Jassiem Wills, Madera County Sheriff, dishonesty. Temporary suspension: No information was immediately available.

Additional Police Sexual Misconduct Cases in California

In January, Dordulian Law Group published a blog detailing a case involving a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department who was charged with sexually assaulting two female inmates while working at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange, California.

Although he pleaded not guilty in January, Arcadio Rodriguez, 30, of Stanton, was charged with the following counts:

  • One misdemeanor count of sexual battery
  • One misdemeanor count of a detention facility employee engaging in sexual activity with a confined consenting adult
  • One misdemeanor count of possession of a cell phone in a correctional facility

If convicted on all charges, Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in the Orange County Jail.

Additionally, in August of 2021, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy who also coached girls softball – Antonio Heriberto Galindo – was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl from Rancho Cucamonga.

At the time of the arrest, Galindo, 41, was booked on the following charges:

  • Contacting a minor with intent for sex
  • Oral copulation with person under 18
  • Sexual penetration against the victim’s will

In August of 2022, an odious case involving a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy – Sean Essex -was made public through an unsealed indictment. Essex, 51, was charged with sexually assaulting four girls who were between the ages of seven and 13 at the time of the alleged crimes.

The full list of charges against Essex included:

  • 18 counts of oral copulation of a child
  • 12 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14
  • Two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14
  • One count of possession of material depicting a child sex act

Essex was arrested by the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau last year and if convicted on all charges, he faces 14 25-to-life counts and 18 15-to-life counts.

How to File a Civil Lawsuit Against a Law Enforcement Official

Civil claims/lawsuits differ from criminal lawsuits in the sense that the latter are always filed by the District Attorney’s Office in an effort to secure a jail sentence or fine. Civil lawsuits, however, may be filed directly by a sexual assault survivor. In a sexual assault civil lawsuit, the intent is to recover financial compensation for the victim, taking into account the harm that has been endured.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, civil claims can be extremely empowering options for survivors of sexual assault, providing an opportunity to confront an assailant while also potentially affording various advantages, such as:

  • Possibility of remaining anonymous during and after the litigation process
  • Sexual history may remain off limits without a court order
  • Most civil claims are settled privately and out-of-court
  • Potential to secure maximum financial compensation for numerous damages
  • Opportunity for a survivor to obtain justice on his or her own terms

To learn more about filing a civil claim for a California law enforcement sexual assault crime, contact the experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) via 866-GO-SEE-SAM.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Founded by former sex crimes prosecutor and member of the National Leadership Council for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence nonprofit, DLG is a leading California sexual assault and abuse firm. At DLG, we believe survivors, and we fight tirelessly to ensure that they secure justice through maximum financial compensation.

Go See Sam