Police Abuse

California Cop Arrested Two Days After Allegedly Assaulting DUI Suspect

A story about a police officer being held accountable by his colleagues

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Rocklin PD

It is possible to try to hold bad cops accountable and to bring charges against them when they are accused of misconduct, even in places with expansive union and civil service protections. But this requires so-called "good cops" to blow the whistle on the bad apples instead of simply complaining about being painted as guilty by association.

That's what happened in Rocklin, California, over the weekend. Officers who saw a fellow cop acting inappropriately reached out to their superiors; rather than trying to downplay what the officers said they saw, the higher-ups took the complaint seriously. The police chief reviewed body and dash cam footage and, agreeing with the cops who came to him, kicked the videos over to the district attorney for investigation.

Officer Brad Alford of Rocklin was arrested this week and charged with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm, assault under the color of authority, and filing a false police report.

The officers who blew the whistle on him were not identified, but along with Alford they were involved in the arrest of a man, also unidentified, suspected of driving under the influence. According to the police chief, Chad Butler, the officers informed their superiors that Alford "used a baton in a manner that appeared to be excessive."

After the chief requested the district attorney's office investigate the matter, the DA announced it had decided Alford's actions caught on tape "rose to a criminal level." Though the DA has already pressed charges, Butler insists the investigation is continuing, arguing this is was why he could not release video of the incident. The DUI suspect was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries, according to a police spokesperson, but the department would not provide details on the nature of the injuries, citing privacy laws.

A lot could still go wrong. Because of California's civil service protections, the department cannot fire the officer immediately. And despite apparent video evidence, a conviction is not guaranteed. It requires guilt to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. That standard certainly should not be lower simply because the defendant is a cop. But the standard required for the government to deprive someone of his liberty need not be required for the government to deprive its own employees of a job.

A policy that aims to rid a department of bad cops before those cops become deadly could go a long way in improving policing. It could reduce police violence while also reducing the likelihood that police misconduct will compromise criminal investigations, as happened recently in Baltimore.

NEXT: Nearly 300 Baltimore Criminal Cases Dropped Over Police Misconduct

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  1. This sounds like good news.
    Why can’t I shake the image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown?

    1. Why can’t I shake the image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown?

      Though the DA has already pressed charges, Butler insists the investigation is continuing…

      It’s certainly possible the chief is still looking for some way to get his Hero in Blue off the hook. That would explain why the investigation is still open.

    2. I read this, and I can’t help but think this guy broke some part of the “blue code” like sleeping with someone’s wife or something and this is then getting back at him.

  2. “The officers who blew the whistle on him were not identified, but”

    …but they might want to start looking for other employment, and maybe new identities.

  3. Those snitch cops who blew the whistle better watch their backs. They will get what’s coming to them good and hard. Nobody crosses the thin blue line amd gets away with it.

    1. I think odds are at least even that it’s the other way ’round- this guy did something to piss off the Thin Blue Line, and they figured out a way to punish him for it. Because really, this is like seeing a unicorn. Sets off my skeptic alarm bells.

  4. “Excessive Baton” was my nickname in seminary school.

    1. Because you were one of the marching band’s baton twirlers.

      1. After the first day they wouldn’t let him carry a real baton. He was told to walk with the others and pretend.

        After the first time he ‘pretended’ they let him go.

  5. I can only imagine how bad this cop must have beat down the driver for his buddies to snitch on him.

  6. Though the DA has already pressed charges, Butler insists the investigation is continuing, arguing this is was why he could not release video of the incident.

    It’s never enough for you, is it, Krayewski?

  7. “Officers who saw a fellow cop acting inappropriately reached out to their superiors”

    OMG someone finally found some good cops. These guys deserve applause.

  8. (Cop union rep steps up to microphone at press conference)

    “Don’t let the isolated actions of a few individual bad actors cast a shadow on the outstanding and heroic service of our rank and file.”

    Reporter: “So you’re agreeing that Officer Alford went too far?”

    Union rep: “No, I was talking about those rats who snitched.”

  9. I suppose its a start. But next time, since they were on scene, they *could have prevented a crime* by intervening instead of standing by and ‘investigating’ afterwards.

    90% of the value of a police force is in the crimes its existence prevents from ever happening, not in the crimes they clean up after.

  10. The government at all levels holds individual citizens to the highest standards of behavior while holding each other to no standard whatsoever.

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