As proof of that knowledge, Beck cited the numerous complaints filed against Wersching, often by his superiors. Those included Wersching's theft of fireworks (a felony) and his late-night car crash on the beach, which involved at least two felonies, because Wersching was drinking and failed to report the accident (see "The Wersching Machine," June 13).
Another incident took place on March 7, 1999, while Wersching was off duty and driving with a woman passenger. As he drove down Beach Boulevard, he nearly ran over a Latino pedestrian. When the man slapped the side of Wersching's car, Wersching responded by striking the pedestrian over the head with a beer bottle. The pedestrian's friend then did the same thing to Wersching—which resulted in him—and not Wersching—being charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Beck found out about the incident when he was allowed to review Wersching's disciplinary file while preparing Rezek's lawsuit. So he questioned Wersching about it, according to a court-hearing transcript attached to Rezek's lawsuit.
According to the transcript, Wersching responded by saying, "Yes, I was considered a target of this complaint and somehow or other, it got shifted into something where I wasn't the target. And so, hence, it's not on my jacket."
The victim subsequently filed a complaint against Wersching and even supplied witnesses, Beck asserted under oath. But HBPD's Internal Affairs Division declined to file any charges against their officer.
"The victim and his witnesses supplied Internal Affairs with evidence sufficient to prosecute Officer Wersching," Beck told the judge. "The department disciplined Wersching for wrecking a city vehicle and failing to attend court, but refused to discipline him for maliciously arresting and injuring citizens."