City Council approves hiring of outside law firm to handle 2 Anthony Arevalos-related civil suits

City has settled 10 of 12 lawsuits

SAN DIEGO - The City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to spend $250,000 to retain an outside law firm to handle civil lawsuits arising from the actions of convicted former San Diego police Officer Anthony Arevalos.

The ex-cop was sentenced to almost nine years in prison for demanding sexual favors from women he pulled over for alleged drunken driving violations in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Ten of the dozen lawsuits filed against the city and Arevalos by female victims have been settled, but the remaining two are the most difficult, according to the City Attorney's Office.

The city and officer are expected to present evidence against each other, creating multiple conflicts of interest, according to city attorneys.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald said she normally opposes retaining outside legal help, but it was "a no-brainer" this time.

"We don't want to defend employees who break the law and harm people," Emerald said.

The city will retain the firm of Haight, Brown & Bonesteel LLP for the final two cases.

In the fall, the city settled with three women. One agreement, for $675,000, compensated a woman who said Arevalos reached into her jeans and also asked if her breasts were real.

Another woman accepted $170,000. She said the former officer cupped her breasts three times during a traffic stop.

A $75,000 settlement went to a woman who said she suffered a panic attack when he pulled her over and made suggestive remarks.

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