Six Current, Former San Francisco Police Officers (one from Pleasant Hill) Indicted on Civil Rights Charges

February 27, 2014 12:50 pm · 49 comments

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Five San Francisco police officers and one former officer have been indicted on charges of civil rights violations related to alleged illegal searches and theft of property seized from people arrested, federal prosecutors announced today.

The six men were charged in two separate indictments issued under seal by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on Tuesday and unsealed today.

The indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. In one indictment, three officers formerly assigned to the Police Department’s Southern Station are accused of conspiracy against civil rights and deprivation of rights in connection with unauthorized searches of single-room-occupancy residential hotel rooms in 2010 and 2011.

Those officers are Arshad Razzak, 41, and Richard Yick, 37, of San Francisco, and Raul Eric Elias, 44, of San Mateo.

The indictment alleges they conspired to “injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate” residential hotel occupants by entering and searching their rooms without legal justification. The officers are accused of additional counts of illegally searching two rooms in December 2010 and January 2011.

Razzak and Yick are also each charged with two counts of falsifying records and reports of the searches.

The allegedly illegal searches came to light in March 2011 when San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released surveillance videos from a Tenderloin neighborhood hotel that showed events that he said were inconsistent with police reports and sworn police testimony.

Haag said the federal probe began after District Attorney George Gascon, who was police chief at the time of the incidents, cited a conflict of interest and referred the matter to U.S. authorities.

In the second indictment, two current officers and one former officer formerly assigned to the Mission Station are accused of conspiracy against civil rights, conspiracy to distribute drugs, conspiracy to steal from a government program and sale of marijuana.

The indictment alleges they took for their own benefit property, money and drugs they had seized during an arrest in March 2009.

Those defendants are Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill; Officer Edmond Robles, 46, of Danville; and former officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert.

Vargas was scheduled to make an initial appearance before a magistrate this afternoon and the five officers are due in court on Friday.

Adachi said in a statement, “Today’s indictments are confirmation that the constitutional rights of San Franciscans matter.

“I commend the U.S. Attorney for taking seriously the reports from ordinary citizens who had been humiliated, stolen from and hurt by police officers sworn to protect them,” Adachi said.

1 The Theorist February 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM

You what the largest unchecked gang in America is?
Bloods? Crips? MS13? Nope, it’s our civilian police force.
We’ve heard and seen mild corruption from our own Concord PD, I mean it was in the interest of justice, of course!
But it’s the UNseen and UNreported corruption that we should worry about.
When you shot someone in the back, it’s first degree murder; when a police officer does it, it’s covered up, evidence lost, expert key eyewitnesses are miraculously found and it’s called “an unfortunate incident”.
Time for change is coming.

2 Mister Wister February 27, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Every day occurrences!
http://www.policemisconduct.net/

3 Cartman February 27, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Boil them.

4 Sickend February 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Well what do you know, this isn’t the only place police are getting away with this. Just this week in King City they arrested 3 police officers for similar behavior. It’s about time all these crooked cops get caught, just think how many haven’t been.

5 Grob February 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

These days the public might as well assume that every police officer is crooked. Just take a look at you tube and you can spend days looking at all the police misconduct videos out there. Just imagine all the misconduct not caught on video.

6 Always Right February 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

One bad apple spoils the barrel.

7 Bob February 27, 2014 at 1:49 PM

The theorist is right on !! Todays cops are just legal gangs.

8 Clayton Pete February 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The vast majority of cops are honest, devoted good guys, and I’ll defend the police to the end. Do not break the law, and you’ll be fine.
But a crooked cop? That is the worst. No pity. Throw the book at them and see how they do in prison.

9 Jess February 27, 2014 at 2:01 PM

There was a story on the news yesterday about the arrests of the King City acting police chief, former police chief, several officers, and the owner of a towing company who is the brother of the acting chief. They would tow the cars of poor Hispanics. When the owners couldn’t pay the towing and impound fees, they’d sell the cars and keep the profits. They were essentially targeting and stealing the cars of poor people who couldn’t fight back. I hate crooked cops.

10 Evelyn February 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The vast majority of police officers are honest and care about the job they do for protecting the the community they work. The ones they find, even after first offense, should be fired.

11 Reality says... February 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

+1 for Clayton Pete…but I think as a person the public instills a large amount of their trust in and who is looked upon to be a positive example in our community, when you break that trust there s/b a higher level of punishment. Same for public servants.

12 Elwood February 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Every profession has a few bad apples. Apparently, the bad cops are being ferreted out and will be punished.

To all you cop bashers: Why do I have the feeling that most of you have had problems with LE caused by YOUR behavior?

And to you bleeding hearts: Next time you need help call a liberal.

13 CrankCord Doug February 27, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Stories like this only confirm the fact that the vast majority of cops are NOT good. If they were, you would not need federal prosecutors to indict these ‘bad apples’… the SFPD would have done it long ago. What this story states is that a small portion of police force actively engage in criminal activity while the rest of the force is non-indicted co-conspirators. Just look at the dirty DUIs in Concord… they could not have occurred without the criminal actions of CPD officers. One of my friends is with the CPD; he was aware these arrests were suspect but said nothing for fear he would lose his career. That is how the mafia works!

14 name1 February 27, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Don’t want to pile on the cops because they have a tough job under the microscope. But they should be under a microscope and these camera covering thugs sure took a long time to be investigated.

15 Must be Thursday February 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

I have a lot of admiration and respect for law enforcement. To protect and to serve.

I’m saddened and angered by rogue cops. I’ve always wondered if they were bad guys to begin with, and they just “slipped through.”

Or does dealing with what they deal with on a daily basis turn some officers corrupt? Probably both.

Corrupt cops are frightening. I hope it gets better before it gets worse….

16 Julio February 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

It just takes so darn long.

17 Always Right February 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I agree 100% with Clayton Pete. Most cops are good guys. It is a tough job with risk, temptation, and so many rules and protocols it would make your head spin. Ever department needs to set high ethical and performance standards that are modeled by senior staff, reinforced at each roll call, and are a point of pride for each officer.

Police in our city and state are paid very well. They need to get it right every time.

18 Rant Bot February 27, 2014 at 2:54 PM

B-b-b-but wait, these aren’t bad guys from Pittsburg or Antioch…from reading Claycord comments, I learned all the criminals come from there!

19 Truth Teller February 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Law enforcement and pro athletes – everyone’s an expert on them even though they’ve never been one.

20 Horse n around February 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

@ Truth Teller. Very true. I like your statement. :)

21 C'mon People February 27, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Do a little research and you will find that this is
not a new problem,I know you all realize this.
I grew up in South Central L.A., people would be
disappeared down there in the old days.
The problem is that 80% of humanity is dishonest
at one level or another,go ahead and start posting
but it’s true, probably closer to 100%,
Given the right opportunity. Police, Politicians,
are no different, sometimes it’s money, sometimes
power, cheating on taxes, the list is endless.
All we can do is catch them when we can and
Prosecute them at a higher standard.We must
also do our own personal best to do the right
thing every time.

22 Huh? February 27, 2014 at 3:28 PM

@ CrankCord Doug—-#14

Your screen name as well as your mentality says more about you than it does police officers. If you really think most police officers are bad, I feel sorry for you.

23 Chronic Halitosis February 27, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Honestly I think the problem of bully cops is right here in our community.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201491298633308&set=pcb.10201491300993367&type=1&theater

24 TinFoiler February 27, 2014 at 4:45 PM

The Theorist nailed it.
Enough is enough – There’s an endless supply of Police abuse videos on youtube. It’s time to clean house.
To Protect and Serve…………………the 1%

25 Chronic Halitosis February 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

But you don’t live everywhere. You live here where this is happening.
What do you think reining in the excessive pensions means?
I understand the natural coward ness that occurs when things come close to home. Everyone has a loud opinion on something they can’t do anything about. Something far away. Basically those opinions are a waste of space.
I just highlighted the candidates statements of 2010. And with the information within this matter there is enough to at least relieve Mr. Bray of all court appointed cases. Remove Judge David Flynn off the bench in Concord, for negligence. If I was a judge and word got around that I was manipulated by Oliver Bray and Craig Judson to moved a demented brain injured man out of his Veterans Administration hospital bed of 10 years to no where.Based solely on the whims of the lawyers agenda, with no doctors statements in support of and 10 doctors statements in contrary to . I would investigate the matter and heads would role. But the guilty kill the messenger. We don’t just except the cops are crooked and go on with it.

26 ME February 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Hope they go to Jail, the place they help send others. Nothing is worse than a Bad Cop, nothing. Scary as hell. And I would imagine Jail would be a bad cops worst nightmare, maybe run into someone they arrested. Freaken evil blanks… The power we trust in officers, and to be breaking the law, is one of the things I fear most, because I have ran into a couple in my life, and they are hands down the scariest blanks in America IMO. As are any cop who covers up for one.. I think we need to crack down on the police and clean house. And have a complete civilian watch on every police force. They work for us. They are sworn to protect us. We pay the,. It should be our right, and duty, to watch them, CLOSE!!!!!!!!!! For possible corruption etc…

27 Atticus Thraxx February 27, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Where the hell were their supervisors? Good number of people pulling down six figures supposed to be professionally responsible for the officers they supervise. Start hammering some of them loudly and publicly, stuff like this gets tightened up in a hurry. Seems to me anyways.

28 Paladin February 27, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Quite a rush to judge going on by people who know about this case only what headlines a slanted media publishes in order to sell ad space. If this were anyone other than cops being accused and tried in the court of public opinion you would be screaming foul. Look out, your prejudices are showing!

29 Huh? February 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Atticus, you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed. Being a police officer is not one of those jobs where you have a boss breathing down your neck at all times. These officers are 100% RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

30 Anonymous February 27, 2014 at 6:23 PM

This whole argument is stupid. The cop lovers will defend the cops and the meth monkeys and conspiracy people will indict all of them.
I have my own opinions and could care less what other people think.

Anyone looking for perfection by any group is going to look a long time.

And Atticus, you raise a good question, but the nature of police misconduct is to hide it from supervisors, although one indicted person was a supervisor, so that theory is out for this case.

If you read posts like #27 you can see why cops sometimes loose patience with people.

31 Atticus Thraxx February 27, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Paladin, cops aren’t getting singled out. On Claycord we pre-judge everyone. We try ‘em, convict ‘em and sentence ‘em. Not fair, but efficient. The trick is not to take any of this seriously. Its vaporlife.

32 Concord February 27, 2014 at 8:54 PM

can’t tell the crooks from the cops any more.

33 Chronic Halitosis February 27, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Wow I think I’ve been pretty patient. It is not vapor life its real life you jerk! If there were real cops then we could make real arrests. I’ll start with Judge Flynn in Concord. When Judge David Flynn can show supporting statements from a treating physicians supporting removal of the veteran from the entire veterans administration system with somewhere to go. When Flynn can do that He can return to the bench. Flynn is a disrespectful self preserving coward. Flynn aided Oliver Bray with his lawyers agenda which unfortunately accidently killed the veteran. I’m more like someone who has been raped and is trying to come forward the only way I know how and your mocking and laughing at me. Nice. Cops are getting singled out. The Marine Corp taught me if I can’t kill them take their name.

34 ManInTan February 27, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Being active in the law enforcement field for a very long time, I have seen crooked cops stories every few years for a long, long time. I know in my heart most cops aren’t “crooked” by the reactions I see when fellow cops are busted. Most of my peers get extremely pissed. I’ve even seen tears. Sadly it forces the majority of cops to work even harder to regain trust that someone else violated. I don’t for a minute think I can change the minds above that are made up about lumping all cops as gang members etc. I can say, from the inside looking out, most of my brothers and sisters are sickened when these stories come out, again, knowing we’re going to have to work even harder to rebuild the trust somebody else has violated.

35 A crooked system February 27, 2014 at 11:01 PM

How often do cops who work for the same department turn their own in for abuse of power or ANY illegal on-the-job activity? Rarely. How often do they look the other way and do nothing. Hmmmmm?

36 LitlleWing February 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM

ManIn Tan @ 36:
I really want to believe you. And what you say makes sense. However it seems disingenuous when you consider the code of silience that officers adhere to. It is almost as if you are saying :
‘We are sickened to find our fellow officers commit these crimes against citizens. But we are not so sick that we would actually break a code of silence’.
As everyday citizens we take a backseat to fellow, corrupt, officers. it is disheartening at best.

37 I GET IT! February 27, 2014 at 11:48 PM

Even though I don’t agree with “the thin blue line”, I understand it. There’s a difference.

People in law enforcement are risking their lives on a daily basis. If you “turn on your own”, and you call for backup, GOOD LUCK!

I respect law enforcement, but I’m not defending them. I don’t have any family or friends in the business. The only contact I have with the police is when I’m pulled over, and it’s very rare.

I’m defending logic. You can’t “snitch on your own” and expect “backup” when your life is on the line.

Anybody with an ounce of common sense understands the “thin blue line.” You don’t have to agree with it. Just understand it.

It’s not just law enforcement. The medical profession is worse. (Doctors).

The medical profession I can relate to.

38 old concord February 28, 2014 at 12:31 AM

Police kill over 1,000 citizens every year in America . Less Americans dyeing in Iraq an here . Animals are not even important enough to keep stats . sad , The age of propaganda and hiding the facts are gone thanks to the information age . The government made to many criminals and tore to many families apart . We need to change from this legalistic punishing of free men . We pay through the nose to hurt each other .

39 Former Law-Guy February 28, 2014 at 5:35 AM

We should all back up a step and examine the actual allegations. Please picture in your mind these “residential hotels.” Imagine the filth, the overwhelming scent of urine and marijuana, and all the drunk and high people that the officers would have to deal with therein. What exactly lead to the police being called out to the scene? A stabbing, domestic violence allegations, or ??? Is the “theft” of marijuana something akin to when a teenager is caught with beer and the officer just pours it out and sends them home. Did the officers take the weed and then sell it for profit? Or…is it a big deal because the weed thrown away was someone’s “medicine?” I challenge the smart asses posting here to spend just a few hours roaming around one of these residential hotels in SF, and then tell us whether you want SFPD to come in and clean the place up.

40 Horse n around February 28, 2014 at 6:51 AM

What if?……. They were stealing money from the drug dealers? Because, ya know? Drug dealers aren’t going to call the police and say ” hey, someone just came in and stole all of our drug money.” If the police did that, it’s still wrong, but I wouldn’t be as upset about it.

41 Mr. Pink February 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Long live Serpico.

42 @ old concord February 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The last time I checked the population of the United States was hovering at over 313.9 million (313,900,000,000) people. Assuming your number of 1000 people killed every year by the police is correct and ignoring the inference that the killing were unlawful, that would be less than .0000318% of the population were killed by the police. By contrast 34,080 people died in automobile accidents. That would be 1.14% of the population. You have over 3585% higher chance of dying in an automobile accident than you do at the hands of the police.

43 @ I GET IT! #39 February 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Ummmm… Well, I don’t! It’s ok with you and “understandable” that they not do the right thing at all times? FAIL!!! A crooked cop who also doesn’t watch your back should have been long gone early in the process, period.

44 Happy Friday! February 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I understand what I Get It, #39 is saying. You’re right, you don’t get it. Most people do…..

45 @Happy Friday February 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

So it’s acceptable to you when a crooked cop no longer watches his honest partner’s back. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? I’m not one to encourage that kind of routine. And no, most people do not agree with you.

46 Chronic Halitosis February 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM

If you turn someone in whom might be crooked…You don’t wear a sign and announce it. And if that much of the force is so crooked that if you do the right thing you might not get back up??? Go back to the bottom line if you have been paying dues to the Contra Costa County Bar Association You have been supporting a terrorist organization. Your mentors are crooks and you are not to be listened to.

47 Larry March 1, 2014 at 12:17 AM

They haven’t been proven guilty. Very little details have been revealed. Don’t presume punishments on men that haven’t had their day in court.

48 @ Larry March 1, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I’d bet every concealed gun I carry that much of the damaging evidence will be thrown out and these crooked cops will serve little time, if any.

49 Nicole March 1, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Crooked cops serve time, even though less time than they should. I also see why cops don’t snitch on each other. Nobody likes a snitch. Crooked cops need to be weeded out, the question is HOW?

If anyone had the answer, there wouldn’t be crooked cops!

Internal Affairs??

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