By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
22 ROGER BAKER Anaheim Police chief
Besides overseeing a department notorious for whacked-out cops—see Scott McManus (No. 5), Harald Martin (wanted to allow INS agents to check citizenship of high school kids)—Baker also likes using public funds to spy on community activists. In a 2001 report obtained through a public-records request, longtime activists Amin David and Josie Montoya discovered they were the target of an investigation by the Anaheim PD. In seeking to discredit the department's most vocal critics, the report showed, Anaheim police investigators interviewed 31 people, generated 509 pages of documents and spent 270 staff hours at a total cost of $10,300. While the flow charts purported to link David, Montoya and other Anaheim Latino activists to "known criminals," the report failed to cite any evidence or allegations that the activists were themselves involved in criminal activity. Baker has yet to apologize for the public slur against David and the now-deceased Montoya. MITIGATING FACTOR: He retired two weeks ago and is moving to Puget Sound.
23 BALTAZAR DE LA RIVA Santa Ana police flack
There isn't a police spokesperson in Orange County as uncooperative as de la Riva. He rarely returns press phone calls; when he does, de la Riva usually refuses to comment; when he comments, de la Riva stonewalls. Pity, really, since de la Riva is a nice-enough person when he's off-duty, a man who never misses the Wednesday early-morning meetings of Los Amigos and is a born-and-bred Santa Ana resident. De la Riva is the ultimate example of how the police code of silence can turn even the kindest man into a supreme asshole. MITIGATING FACTOR: The man's stare could make a canary out of any suspect.
25 JOHN FREDERICK STEELE II former Port of LA security guard
When this 30-year-old security guard was not patrolling the Port of Los Angeles last year, he was spending his off hours leading the Long Beach-based Brandenburg Division of the Aryan Nations, whose website alerted neo-Nazi rock fans to white-power pop concerts at the Shack in Anaheim. Also known as "Jack Steele," he was charged in late 2002 with filing false documents, weapons violations and perjury in connection with the arrest of a woman who was allegedly stockpiling bomb-making materials. Post-Sept. 11, Homeland Security officials feared Steele posed a "domestic terror" threat since nasty stuff could conceivably enter the port. Ironically, Steele had to cancel a Hitler birthday celebration because cops searching his residence found hundreds of pieces of Nazi artifacts, including Nazi uniforms, pictures of Hitler and hate literature—a violation of his probation on previous assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charges. MITIGATING FACTOR: That Nazi uniform has a real slimming effect on him.
26 LAWRENCE WOLFF former Sheriff's reserve officer
Wolff pleaded not guilty in 2002 to conspiracy, possessing illegal assault weapons and offering illegal weapons for sale to an undercover officer. While investigating Wolff, authorities snared dozens of Southern California cops on similar weapons charges, including Kresimir Kovac, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy from Fountain Valley who allegedly used fake documents to buy an illegal assault weapon. MITIGATING FACTOR: The cops were only going to use those assault weapons for hunting bunnies.
27 PAUL JAMES ROA former Sears security guard
Roa was sentenced to eight years in prison for sex crimes against a 27-year-old shopper held in the Brea Mall security room on suspicion of theft in 2002. After Roa was ordered to release the customer, he forced her into a private room where he raped and sodomized her. MITIGATING FACTOR: Attention, prison shoppers! Roa rump roast available in Cell Block D!
28 JEFF "PACMAN" BLAIR
If you're a gangbanger in Tustin, you know local cop Blair as "Pacman." The nickname refers to the Sean Penn character who was relentless in his pursuit of gangs in the film Colors. Pacman is credited with breaking up an entire gang, the Westside Tustin Deuce Tray Crips. Respected for his knowledge of hoodlums, Blair is known by fellow officers as "The Gang Guru." MITIGATING FACTOR: Mrs. Pacman has her own nickname for him.
29 DONALD PHILLIP SCHWEITZER law man
As a former policeman and deputy district attorney, you'd think Schweitzer would understand the law. You'd think he'd know he's not supposed to sneak into his estranged wife's Orange condominium in the middle of the night and beat the living hell out of her sleeping boyfriend. But that's exactly what Schweitzer did in 2001, and he pleaded guilty to a felony count that would have cost him his attorney's license for a year. That's "would have" because Judge Francisco Briseño, who has a reputation for showing no mercy for civilians caught up in similar circumstances, knocked the felony down to a misdemeanor, saving Schweitzer's license to litigate. Briseño, who has listened sympathetically to victims of crimes perpetrated by civilians, also ignored the pleas of Schweitzer's wife and the deputy district attorney to lock Schweitzer up. MITIGATING FACTOR: His record unblemished, Schweitzer now practices—no kidding—family law.
30 JAVIER FERREIRA jailer
The Seal Beach jailer in 2002 became the first Orange County peace officer ever successfully convicted for violating a person's civil rights. In addition to that honor, the jailer became a jailee when he was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. Ferreira was working for less than $10 an hour for Correctional Systems Inc., a publicly traded company that operates jails in Seal Beach, Garden Grove and elsewhere, when he got tired of the noise being made by a drunken inmate who was never charged with a crime. So Ferreira arranged to have the inmate beaten by another prisoner. The now ex-jailer first tried to hide the crime from his superiors, and then lied about it in court. Had he not fibbed, he might have avoided jail time from a judge who was sympathetic to the lack of training Ferreira received. The attack prompted the city to reconsider privatizing its jail operations. After debating whether to cancel the contract, the council instead voted 5-0 to give Correctional Systems a three-year extension, explaining that the deal generated tens of thousands of dollars for the city and let Seal Beach off the hook from civil lawsuits that plague jail operations—including two that Correctional Systems settled in connection with prisoners who died while in custody. MITIGATING FACTOR: Having been a guard means Ferreira is already well-versed in the ins and outs of prison life.