SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Fifteen recent DUI cases involving former officer Anthony Arevalos have been dropped by the city attorney's office, News 8 learned Wednesday.
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong says one of his clients who alleged misconduct by Arevalos during a DUI traffic stop is elated her case was recently dropped by the city attorney's office.
"They looked at everything and decided, hey, this isn't a murder case, this isn't a rape case, this is a DUI. It's serious, but it's not the most serious crime out there and we're just going to dismiss these cases, cut our losses and move on without them," Armstrong said.
The 40-year-old has pleaded not guilty to 18 felony counts including sexual battery, assault under the color of authority and receiving a bribe during alleged DUI traffic stops dating back to September 2009.
According to the city attorney's office, the 15 DUI cases involving Officer Arevalos were dismissed between March 25 and April 21 of this year. Arevalos was arrested March 11 after a female driver complained of being sexually assaulted by the officer in a downtown bathroom.
In 14 of the dismissed cases, the city attorney alleged the blood alcohol level of the defendant met or exceeded the legal limit of .08. In the 15th case, it's alleged the defendant was under 21 and had .05 percent or more of alcohol in her blood.
"If we have a dirty cop pulling over women for the specific purpose of propositioning them, or worse yet, groping them or trying to have sex with them, there has to be a remedy for that, and the remedy is you get your criminal case dismissed under the circumstances," Armstrong said.
The city attorney also says there were three DUI cases involving Arevalos that were not dismissed. They were settled with pleas by the defendants because the city attorney could prove the case without Arevalos' testimony. There were other officers who could testify to the facts of the case.
Even with these actions, Kerry Armstrong still believes the city is in a lot of civil liability because of Arevalos' history of allegedly abusing female drivers while on patrol.
"At least some supervisors knew about it up to 15 years ago, didn't do anything about it and here we are now with a whole list of victims and I think the city's going to be on the hook for it for a lot of money," Armstrong said.
Even though his client's case got dismissed, he says she lost a DMV hearing that suspended her license for a year. The department says it won't drop its action unless Arevalos is convicted.