San Diego Police Department on trial! A woman this week testified SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos made suggestive comments after she mentioned to him him a DUI could ruin her dreams of going to law school.
Danielle F. was riding in the back of the officer’s police car on the way to jail when she went into “panic mode” and begged the officer to drop her off at home. As one of 7 purported victims, she said she jokingly told the officer that she could get him a free drink at a club where she worked, but even that couldn’t happen because employees had to pay for their drinks.
“He said, `People offer me lots of things. What do you have to offer?”‘ Danielle testified.
The woman said Arevalos continued with “Women seem to have a lot of things to offer to get out of things.”
Danielle testified that she was taken back by Arevalos’ comments.
“I definitely thought he was implying something sexual,” she testified.
The woman said she was contacted by Arevalos as she and a friend were about to enter a Gaslamp nightclub after 1 a.m. in January.
She said she thought the stop was “unfair” because she wasn’t driving at the time.
“He didn’t technically pull me over,” Danielle testified.
The woman said Arevalos told her he saw her stumbling and drop her keys. She said Arevalos tricked her into blowing into a breathalyzer.
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms said the woman’s blood-alcohol was measured at .11 or .12 percent.
“I felt like I should have done the blood test,” Danielle testified.
Arevalos faces more than 19 years in prison if convicted of 21 felony counts.
Arevalos was with the San Diego Police Department for 18 years before being fired earlier this year when the charges — including assault under the color of authority, sexual battery by restraint, false imprisonment and soliciting or receiving a bribe — were filed.
In her opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson told jurors that the Gaslamp Quarter was a “board” for a game played by Arevalos — “a game called `What Can You Offer Me?”‘
Arevalos used his position of authority to barter and trade sexual favors from alleged female drunken driving offenders. Thompson ran through the experiences of all seven women, some of whom were ultimately arrested for driving under the influence and others who were let go.
“Jane Doe” had just ridden on a Mardi Gras float and was trying to get to work when Arevalos pulled her over, Thompson said. The young woman was panicked and hyperventilating, she said.
“He says, ‘Calm down, there are other options,”‘ Thompson said. “She doesn’t know what to do, and the negotiations begin.”
Arevalos ended up rubbing her private parts in a 7-Eleven bathroom, according to Thompson.
Adams said the GPS confirmed the officer’s presence at the convenience store, and employees identified him.
Thompson said another alleged victim flashed her breasts at Arevalos, and he rubbed under the underwear and bra of a third woman.
Prominent San Diego Criminal Defense lawyer Jan Ronis, in his opening statement told jurors they should keep an open mind because the women were under the influence of alcohol at the time, which “skewed” both their perception of events and their memories.
Also, several of the women have filed claims — the precursor to lawsuits — pending against the city — and two of them have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in separate cases since their allegations against Arevalos were made, San Diego DUI lawyers learned.