Photo at left: Arevalos on CBS Channel 8 News
[This is the second entry in SD on the QT's week-long "Instant Justice" series. The first entry is http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/almost-factual-news/2011/jul/11/instant-justice-week-part-1-tijuana-police-chief-p/">here.]
Disgraced and Dismissed SDPD Officer Reinstated and Given Commendation Following Success of New "Instant Justice" Initiative
"Sometimes, innovation looks illegal at first blush."
PULLING OVER IN A WELL-LIGHTED AREA, JUST OUTSIDE THE GASLAMP QUARTER - Just a few days ago, veteran San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos was an outcast, a man charged with violating his sworn duty to serve and protect the people of San Diego. He stood accused of nearly 20 felonies, committed against five different women, all of whom he had pulled over for supposed traffic infractions. In one case, it was alleged that he had suggested "taking care of the situation" by going to a dark corner. In another, of saying, "You could have made this all go away if you had just let me spank you."
But then came the weekend of July 4. That's when the SDPD instituted its "Instant Justice" program, which allowed people receiving citations for non-traffic infractions to avoid the hassle and expense of court by picking up trash for five hours. The program proved such a success that the policy was soon expanded to include traffic infractions, and that's when Arevalos' lawyers stepped in.
"The only thing my client is guilty of is being ahead of the curve," said defense attorney Jan Ronis at the press conference called to announce Arevalos' return to active duty as of the wee hours of this morning. "Giving these women the opportunity to settle their legal troubles on the spot is exactly what 'Instant Justice' is all about. I let [San Diego Police Chief William] Lansdowne know that my client should be given a commendation and hailed as a pioneer, not stripped of his power to innovate in the cause of justice. And I am happy to report that my arguments did not fall on deaf ears. Even as we speak, a team of extremely enthusiastic police officials is hammering out the particulars of this new policy."
Details of the "new policy" are of course hard to come by, but sources speaking to SD on the QT on the condition of anonymity note that an order for 300 leather paddles from DisciplineDelight.com was recently placed using a city charge account.