According to officials, the Los Angeles County district attorney chief of staff was arrested on charges of public intoxication and reportedly threatened to place the arresting officer on the “Brady List.”
The New York Post reports, Joseph Iniguez, 36, was apprehended during a traffic stop in Azusa on December 11.
Prosecutors told the Orange County Register that Iniguez, the senior assistant to Los Angeles County DA George Gascón, was arrested for allegedly being under the influence of drugs or alcohol after his fiancé’s Tesla was stopped for conducting an unlawful u-turn. One prosecutor explained, “At one point he told the officer that pulled them over ‘you f**k up’ and then said he’d put him in the Brady system,” a list that allegedly tracks officers who willfully lie while on duty.
When an officer on the list is involved in a criminal case, prosecutors must inform the defendants and lawyers. Another prosecutor said it could be career-ending for officers who are found to be dishonest and put on the list.
Iniguez told the Los Angeles Times he and his fiancé were on their way home from a wedding when Azusa police stopped them as they pulled into a drive-thru restaurant. Iniguez claims the officers believed his fiancé was driving drunk and asked her to get out of the car. Iniguez also got out of the vehicle to document the incident, saying, “I decided to get out of the car, stand near the car, on the passenger side, and I began to record.”
Iniguez was arrested for public intoxication. His fiancée was detained but not arrested and discharged at the scene. Iniguez alleges officers arrested him in reprisal for recording the traffic stop. Still, he could not provide the footage he claimed to have recorded to the Los Angeles Times. Iniguez has filed a complaint against the arresting officer. Still, the Azusa Police Officers Association has accused Iniguez of creating a “spectacle” out of the situation by failing to disclose all facts.
Union president CJ Wilkins said, “The facts of the case will eventually be released, and when this frivolous and retaliatory complaint is complete, I am most certain the officer will be found to have been in complete compliance with the state law and department policy. The officer that arrested Mr. Iniguez did so with full legal authority and without malice.”
However, Wilkins also said he doesn’t think Azusa Police Chief Mike Bertelsen will conduct a proper investigation into the arresting officer, who has reportedly been recognized several times by Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards for reducing alcohol-related crashes.
Bertelsen responded to Wilkins on Facebook, saying, “The men and women of our police department do an outstanding job every day serving our community with honor, and they have my full support. We are committed to accountability and transparency, and we are fully cooperating with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and Attorney General’s office in this matter.”
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