Accusations that a San Diego police officer fixed traffic tickets for some county employees are the latest in a series of misconduct allegations against officers in the San Diego Police Department.
Sources tell NBC San Diego that Sgt. Kevin Friedman, a veteran of the department's traffic division, is being investigated for fixing tickets for members of the District Attorney’s Office.
According to those sources, Sgt. Friedman didn’t just void the traffic tickets. He eliminated the paper trail by physically tearing up the tickets and discarding the scraps.
"We are aware of the allegation and it's currently under investigation. However because it's a personnel investigation we can't really comment on it,” said Lt. Andra Brown.
Legal analysts tell us, if people who were issued those tickets are sworn investigators or prosecutors, they could face possible exposure to misuse of office or obstruction of justice charges.
They cite possible conflict-of-interest concerns if the police department and District Attorney’s Office are involved in bringing criminal cases.
"You'd have to bring in outside people. The attorney general is probably the first and foremost that might come in for that, as well as the Department of Justice here in California. Or even the FBI, for that matter. If they used telephones, if they used the wires to effectuate a fraud, the feds could be involved," said Attorney/Legal Analyst Marc Carlos.
Lt. Brown says misconduct will not be tolerated in the San Diego Police Department.
“Any accusation of misconduct, whether it's founded or not, sheds a bad light on the police department and we're very concerned about it,” said Lt. Brown. “People need to be able to trust the police department, they need to be able to trust we're going to do the right thing, and they need to trust we're telling them the truth.”
Sgt. Friedman’s case is the latest in a string of misconduct allegations against the police department.
Just last month Anthony Arevalos was convicted on multiple felony counts of sexual battery, assault and asking for bribes. Sgt. Friedman testified at his trial.
Sgt. Friedman is on administrative duty pending the investigation, Lt. Brown said.
This isn’t the first ticket-fixing scandal involving the San Diego Police Department. The chief and assistant chief were reprimanded 25 years ago for being part of a widespread practice of fixing hundreds of tickets for colleagues, friends, relatives, influential civic figures and members of the news media.
Prosecutors declined to file charges.