Officer in alleged assault resigns
Sept. 25, 2012 — One of the two police officers who allegedly assaulted a Janesville man during a late night, May 16 party on Gay Street in Susanville is no longer employed by the Susanville Police Department.
Jordan Drury, 24, was arrested following an altercation in which officers allegedly repeatedly used their department-issued tasers during his arrest. Several witnesses to the event reported they believed the officers used excessive force.
On a Facebook page, injustices in our community, Drury alleges officer Michael Milito was one of two officers who assaulted him outside the party.
Responding to questions from the newspaper, Susanville Police Chief Tom Downing said officer Milito no longer works for the Susanville Police Department because he recently resigned. Citing California Penal Code section 832.7, Downing said he couldn’t comment further because the information contained in Milito’s personnel file is confidential.
According to that code section, the information in an officer’s personnel file remains confidential unless the information is obtained as part of discovery in a court proceeding.
“This section shall not apply to investigations or proceedings concerning the conduct of peace officers or custodial officers, or an agency or department that employs those officers, conducted by a grand jury, a district attorney's office, or the attorney general's office,” the code section reads.
Downing ordered an investigation of the incident — but not by an agency that would require public disclosure.
Responding to a call from the newspaper in May, Downing said, “I’ve placed one of my officers on paid administrative leave, and I’ve hired an outside investigative firm that’s going to investigate this incident to the fullest and make a recommendation to me. I can’t make any further comment because it’s a personnel matter.”
At the time he said outside, independent investigators are often used in cases such as this one that might tend to erode the public confidence in a law enforcement agency.
Penal Code Section 832.7 also requires the department to “provide written notification to the complaining party of the disposition of the complaint within 30 days of the disposition.”
Drury said he received a letter from Downing last week.
“I got a letter from Mr. Downing yesterday,” Drury said Thursday, Sept. 20, “that said the investigation had proved they (the arresting officers) had used excessive force, but he wasn’t allowed to tell me what actions had been taken against the police officers.”
Drury said he just wants to make sure other citizens don’t have to go through an experience similar to his.
“I would like the police department to tell the public what action they’re taking to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Drury said. “I know there’s nothing they can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but it would be nice to know what they’re doing to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
In the hours after his arrest, Lassen County District Attorney Robert Burns ordered Drury’s release from the Lassen County Jail and rejected the original felony charge of resisting an officer. He said his office would review the case as a misdemeanor instead.
But in August, after a review of all the evidence in the case, Burns decided there is “insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction and successful prosecution is unlikely,” and he dismissed the charge against Drury.
Manuel Raul Faustino, 21, of Susanville, was also arrested for interfering with the officers while they were attempting to arrest Drury. Burns said he declined to prosecute that case as well.
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