May 15, 2004
Dear Commissioner Helmick, Capt. Leist:
Last May, I wrote a letter to Capt. Larry O'Shea of the Rohnert Park CHP Office concerning the department's handling of very serious domestic violence allegations against your officer, Curtis Lubiszewski. A copy of that letter is attached for your ready reference.
As you can see, this letter was clearly a complaint against Officer Lubiszewski and Sgt. Scott Bertelsen, as well as an agency complaint against the Rohnert Park CHP. As I read your policies, that should have triggered the opening of an internal agency investigation. I can only assume that was not done as I have received nothing in response to my letter.
Therefore, please consider this my formal request for an agency investigation into the Rohnert Park CHP's handling of the administrative investigation into Lubiszewski's domestic violence, as well as individual complaints against Lubiszewski, Sgt. Bertelsen, and Capt. O'Shea. Due to the many irregularities in the case thus far, these investigations should be conducted by the BIA unit in Sacramento. As new and very egregious misconduct has occurred since my letter, I will outline the issues to be investigated
1. Sgt. Scott Bertelsen's assignment to conduct the administrative investigation. Bertelsen has been Lubiszewski's sergeant and personal friend for some ten years. I'm aware you have no procedure for investigating officer-involved domestic violence, and that your complaint procedures make it permissible for the sergeant to conduct low-level investigations. This, however, was an investigation of 14 years of domestic violence against two different women by one of your officers . . . hardly a low-level investigation.
Sgt. Bertelsen's misconduct in his handling of the investigation.
My complaints against Capt. Larry O'Shea and Lt. Dan Moore.
4. My complaint regarding Lt. Moore's inappropriate and biased remarks to one of the victims. After a three-hour meeting with the CHP, Rohnert Park Police and the District Attorney's office where three victims/witnesses gave statements of egregious and ongoing violence and abuse, Moore's parting comment to Bonnie Garrett, who had suffered 9 years of abuse at Lubiszewski's hand, was this: "I'll be glad when this is over and we can get back to handling real emergencies." Although this information was contained in my letter of June 27,2003 to Capt. Leist, I have no reason to believe it was ever investigated or that Moore was reprimanded.
5. Numerous violations of CHP Citizens' Complaint Investigations procedures, including:
§ 1-1, 3a, § 3-3, ¶e: Complaints will be acknowledged by correspondence within 5 business days. Complaints by Grabner, Garrett, Leslie and myself were never acknowledged.
§ 3-3, ¶f: The CHP 240B or CHP 240D, as appropriate must be provided to all potential complainants. Grabner, Garrett, Leslie and I have never received such documents.
§ 3-3, ¶f(2): The Department is also obligated to provide each complainant with a copy of his/her allegations. Grabner, Garrett, Leslie and I have never received such copies.
§ 3-4, ¶h(2): If a complaint is from a third party, send the inquiring party correspondence acknowledging receipt of their concerns ... I have never received any such correspondence.
§ 4-1, ¶1d: The normal suspense period for complaints received at the command ... is 60 days. These complaints were initiated over the period January to May, 2003. We were informed by Capt. Leist in October, 2003 that the investigation initiated in January was complete, and even then, only after I contacted him to find out what the status was. Had I not made that call, we would still not have received notification on any of the complaints.
§ 7-13, 7(b); Appendix D-2: Closing correspondence to complainant . . . is required in all cases. Deviations from this policy shall be approved by BIA. According to your policy, this correspondence should include a clear statement of the results of the investigation (§ 7-14, ), and be sent out within 30 days of the investigation being approved (§ 7-14, ). Appendix D-2 shows clearly that the closing correspondence should detail complaints one-by-one and state if they were sustained and whether disciplinary action was taken. To date, despite my complaint about this to Capt. Leist in October, none of the complainants has received any written information that the investigation has been closed.
In fact, when I spoke with Capt. Leist in October, though he informally advised me the investigation was complete, when I asked which of the allegations had been sustained he refused to answer, citing employee confidentiality. As you can see from Appendix D-2 of your complaint procedures, that statement does not correspond with your policy. It was only in the testimony during Lubiszewski's trial that we learned the only sustained allegation was that of him driving his kids in his patrol car, but not the 14 years of domestic violence.
§ 7-4, ¶(12): If the complainant . . . requests their identity be kept confidential from the employee, enter "Confidential." At least one complainant, Bonnie Leslie, expressed extreme fear of retaliation by Lubiszewski in our meeting with Capt. O'Shea, and asked that Lubiszewski not be notified of her complaint. She was not advised of this right to have her complaint handled in a confidential manner. It was not. Lubiszewski retaliated against Ms. Leslie.
My new complaint against the CHP.
As you can see, there were certainly enough irregularities and deviations from CHP policy to warrant our concern and scepticism that the investigation into Curtis Lubiszewski was sincere, unbiased, or complete.
So, to be
clear, I am asking that new investigations of Lubiszewski and
the other officers detailed in this letter, as well as an agency
investigation into the Rohnert Park CHP, be conducted by your
BIA Investigations Unit in Sacramento.