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Records: SDPD Officer Accused Of Sexual Assault Resigned And Never Charged

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A San Diego police officer was accused of sexual assault. Records show that he resigned and was never charged with a crime. Also, San Diego becomes the fifth city in California to open a chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. It's a national organization dedicated to giving a voice to survivors of crime. And a new Trump Administration policy is making it easier to deport Chaldeans. KPBS will take a look at how that’s impacting local communities. Plus, why is inflation in San Diego worse than other cities?

EDITOR’S NOTE: In an earlier version of this podcast, we reported John T. Earnest, the suspected gunman in the fatal Poway synagogue shooting, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday. The hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19. KPBS regrets the error.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, August 19th I've Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The suspected Poway shooter will be in court today and newly released document show. There was strong evidence to support a woman's claim at a San Diego police officer. Sexually assaulted her. The DA's not going to file against a police officer unless she has two that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Mm.

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. San Diego's become the fifth city in the state of California to open a chapter of a national organization dedicated to giving a voice to survivors of crime. KPBS as Maya Trib Wolsey has the story

Speaker 4: 01:36 crime survivors for safety and justice is a growing network of survivors that's adding San Diego to its list of chapters serving the needs of victims of crime. One way it does this is by adding their voices to discussions centered around criminal justice policy on both the local and the state level to niche. Hollins is the state director of crime survivors for safety and justice. She says the majority of crime victims believe that addressing trauma in the community is an important public safety strategy.

Speaker 5: 02:04 More than anything. What crime victims want is for what happens as to never happen again and to hold systems accountable for making our safety a priority in a way that's really going to work.

Speaker 4: 02:16 The organization advocated for Senate bill three seven five which would extend the time a victim can claim compensation from the restitution fund from within three years to within 10 years. Maya trouble, C K PBS news.

Speaker 3: 02:30 Moxie theater opened Claire Barron's play dance nation over the weekend. KPBS arts reporter Beth OCHA, Mondo has this preview. Moxie theaters dance nation tells the story of a dance team of 12 and 13 year olds as they climb their way to the nationals competition. The dance contest provides the backdrop, but playwright Claire Barron's interest is in exploring ideas about success, ambition, and desire from a female perspective. Baron specifies that all the child dancers should be played by adults, says director, Jennifer Thorne. I think that she does that because it's sort of hard when you are 12 and 13 to have perspective about this horrible and powerful age and something about the distance that these actors have from that age really gives us the chance to feel what it's like. Dance nation runs through September 15th at Moxie Theater. Beth, like Amando, KPBS news, San Diego ads are paying high prices for housing, gas, and food.

Speaker 3: 03:28 KPBS is Sarah Casiano says that is due in part to a higher rate of inflation. The San Diego Union Tribune crunch some recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared to the same time last year, the cost of rent in San Diego is up almost 4% gas, almost 3% and medical costs are up over two and a half percent. Miro Copak was San Diego state and bottom line marketing told KPBS that San Diego is inflation rate is lower than it was in 2017 in 2018 but it's still the third highest in the nation behind San Francisco and Los Angeles. San Francisco is almost a 4% inflation rate. La Three and we're 2.8% and the national average is just under 2% he says that San Diego's inflation rate is likely to increase in the second half of this year. Sarah Cuts Yannis k PBS news, the Lake Tahoe we know today could look very different by the end of the century because of climate change. Capital public radio is, as we're David Romero explains, imagine Tahoe with little to no snow.

Speaker 3: 04:33 A lot more people, extreme wildfires, and maybe even a change of late color. That's what scientists say could happen in Tahoe. By the year 2100 the California Tahoe conservancy is working on an assessment of how vulnerable the region is to climate change. All their models predict a warmer climate up to nine degrees warmer on average over the next decade. Devin Middlebrook works for the Tahoe regional planning agency with climate change. You know, we're projected to have two to three weeks more summer on each end. Winter's gonna start later and earlier. You are all of a sudden seeing potentially more tourism during the summer because of the heat. The assessment should be done by early fall and an action plan is supposed to be approved by the end of the year. The public will have at least one more chance to chime in on the plan. In November in Sacramento, I'm Ezra David Romero. Earlier this month, Jimmy Aldo food at Cal d and Man from Michigan died shortly after being deported to Iraq. His family says it's because he lacked access to insulin, their KPBS reporter Max. Revlon never looks at how Aldo Wood's death reverberated with the Kelty and community in alcohol.

Speaker 6: 05:41 The 41 year old alder ood was one of the first call DNS, a group of you, Rocky Christians to be deported to Iraq. Following a 2017 agreement between Iraq and the United States for decades, the U S had deemed Iraq too dangerous to accept deportations. Oklahoma is the center of the second largest population of call DNS in the United States behind Detroit. A lot of them have yet to become citizens, leaving them vulnerable to possible deportation as a result of low level criminal convictions or other reasons. 25 year old Marvin Micah was born in the u s to call Dan parents who left Iraq in the 1980s he says the reason a lot of Canadians haven't become citizens is because they don't know how to get help to navigate the difficult process.

Speaker 7: 06:25 Really, it's understanding when to apply it and why they should apply because there's not people knocking on doors saying, Hey, what's your, what's your residency status? Should you be applying for citizenship?

Speaker 6: 06:35 He places the blame for Aldo [inaudible] death on this country's broken immigration system.

Speaker 7: 06:40 That happening today is really a failure and kindle a sustain on the individuals and the federal government. Anyways, having those immigration debates today

Speaker 6: 06:48 since 2017 immigrations and customs enforcement has identified a list of more than 1400 Iraqis nationwide who are eligible for removal to Iraq, Maxilla, Nadler k PBS news,

Speaker 3: 07:02 a year and a half after the fatal Sacramento police shooting of Stefan Clark, California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law today, a new standard for when officers can use deadly force capital. Public radio's been Adler reports. It took months of negotiations, but California appears to have resolved one of the nation's most polarizing debates with a compromise. The deal between civil liberties and law enforcement groups raises the legal standard for deadly force starting next year from reasonable to necessary, but it leaves the definition of the word necessary up to the courts. The officer's conduct leading up to the shooting will be considered, but so too will the suspect's behavior. And there's language in the bill that requires police to use other alternatives such as deescalation or less lethal options before using deadly force. But those requirements are a statement of intent, not a specific checklist. Finally, there is a separate bill moving through the legislature that creates new training standards for officers and money and the state budget to pay for that training.

Speaker 3: 08:01 And at the State Capitol, I'm Ben Ampler, newly released records are giving us far more specific details about a San Diego police officers, alleged sexual assault of a woman in 2013 the records are from an internal police investigation and they raise questions as to why the officer was never charged with a crime. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Treg as her talk with evening edition Anchor Ebony Monet about the documents and just a warning. This story has disturbing content. So Clarence, start off by giving us some background of this alleged assault. Sure. So in 2013, officer Donald Moncrief was called to the Oti Mesa port of entry to pick up a woman who is trying to drive a stolen car into Mexico and he was supposed to transport her to prison in his police car. Uh, the woman who is not named in the documents then, uh, later alleged that Moncrief sexually

Speaker 1: 08:56 assaulted her. She said that he asked her to masturbate while he masturbated and that he asked her for sex and that he touched her breasts before dropping her off at prison. And we now have even more details about what allegedly happened. What do they tell us? Well, the, the documents really show that there was a lot of evidence that supports what the woman says. Uh, the investigators who wrote the report called Moncrieff behavior quote, highly suspect. Here's a quote from that report,

Speaker 8: 09:26 officer [inaudible] account of led occurred is highly suspect, and even if it were to be believed, demonstrates a complete lack of common sense and judgment.

Speaker 1: 09:36 And investigators had a harsh reaction to the officer's account of, of what happened, calling it highly suspect. Why so? Well, for several reasons. Uh, the woman was a known Mexican gang member and bullets were found in her car, but Moncrief never searched her and took her handcuffs off at some point during the 25 mile drive to Los Colinas detention facility in San Te. Uh, here's another quote, he told investigators,

Speaker 8: 10:03 to be honest with you, I don't search females, I don't

Speaker 1: 10:07 Moncrieff also said he drove a direct route and did not stop on the way to prison, but tracking of his squad car showed he stopped multiple times during the trip. Moncrief claimed that in the days and weeks that followed, he did not call the woman at all, but telephone records show that he called and texted the woman 26 times. So those are alarming contradictions. But you comb through these documents, what stood out to you? Well, the biggest thing that stood out was how appalled the investigators seem to be with Moncrief claims. Um, here's one thing that they said,

Speaker 8: 10:39 officer Moncrief inept, lackadaisical attitude towards officer's safety is deplorable.

Speaker 1: 10:45 They also seem to be completely incredulous of his story.

Speaker 8: 10:49 Officer Moncrief had no reasonable explanation for why he would have driven a masturbating female prisoner to a remote location to re hand cover.

Speaker 1: 10:59 So Clara, what ended up happening to this officer, basically nothing a, he was allowed to resign before going through a full administrator review. And while police sex crime investigators forwarded the case of the San Diego district attorney, he was never charged. I asked Dan Ghillean, a lawyer who represented the woman in a later civil lawsuit against the city about this. And here's what he said,

Speaker 9: 11:22 the DA is not going to file against a police officer unless she has to. And the only way she's ever gonna be forced to do it is if the media pay attention to it.

Speaker 1: 11:31 So Claire, since he was allowed to resign without fully being reviewed, we've seen in the past that sometimes officers will simply just apply for another position at a different district. Is there anything in place to prevent that from happening in this case? What's next? Uh, basically no, because he resigned before going through with this review. It means that future employers may never, that anything bad even happened. I talked to a San Diego police spokesman and he told me if someone resigns to avoid an administrative review and then applies to work at another law enforcement agency, that future employer may not know anything had happened. The only way they might find out would be if during a background check the supervisor or peer told the employer there was supposed to be a review.

Speaker 3: 12:17 KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trig. Sir, thanks so much. Thank you. KPBS reached out to Moncrief and did not receive a response. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. If you're not already a subscriber, take a minute to become one. You can find San Diego news matters on apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.