Under oath, retired cop says Anthony Arevalos could have been stopped

Claims SDPD 'turned the other cheek'

SAN DIEGO - A video deposition, obtained by Team 10 under court order, alleges a convicted San Diego Police officer cheated on academy exams to get his badge.

Anthony Arevalos will spend nearly nine years in prison for abusing his police power.  He traded tickets for sexual favors, assaulting women in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

"He bragged that he had all the answers because he had somebody connected to him from the San Diego Police Department that gave him all the answers to the tests," retired San Diego officer Francisco Torres said in a recorded deposition. "He offered several of us, to help us out, to give us the answers."

Torres attended the police academy and worked in the same squad as Arevalos.

"I know I did, try to avoid going to calls with Arevalos because you knew it was going to go sideways," Torres said.

Torres was deposed as a flurry of civil lawsuits target the San Diego Police Department and City government.  Torres provided testimony in a case involving a woman who Arevalos sexually assaulted in a 7-Eleven bathroom. The woman is suing the city and police department, alleging Arevalos violated her civil rights and never should have been an officer.

In the deposition, recorded in July 2012, Torres claims Arevalos was hired before he finished the police academy because he had connections in the SDPD.  

Torres claimed, while under oath, Arevalos' connections covered for him as he assaulted women throughout his career.

"They just turned the other cheek and walked away from it," Torres said. "That's the way the police culture is.  If I didn't see it, it didn't happen."

Torres claimed when he worked with Arevalos in the late 1990's, patrolling border areas including San Ysidro, he saw Arevalos take pictures as a mentally ill woman performed sex acts.

He says the pictures show the woman with Arevalos' police baton in the back of his squad car.

"He had his Polaroid out and when I got there the female was in the back seat naked with her hand cuffs in front of her and she had the baton," Torres said.

Torres said he reported the incident to his supervisor Danny Hollister and Arevalos' supervisor, Rudy Tai.

Tai is now the head of the department's criminal intelligence unit.

Hollister is a Sergeant.

"This all could have been stopped years ago," Torres said under oath.

He said Arevalos had personal relationships with Tai and Hollister.

"They would go out and party together, go drinking, go bar hopping, go see women together," Torres said.

The San Diego Police Department refused to comment for this story and would not allow an interview with Hollister or Tai.

The department and city attorney have fought to keep Arevalos' internal affairs reports secret. Court documents filed by the city attorney on behalf the the SDPD say releasing them would "undermine the ability of police to investigate police misconduct."

None of Torres' allegations show up in court records. The incident with the baton never led to charges by the San Diego County District Attorney.

Torres' testimony was not part of Arevalos' criminal trial. According to lawyers close to the case, the court thought it would be prejudicial.

The same lawyers said Torres had the credibility to cripple the defense's case.

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