Erik Michael Krause, Huntington Beach Cop, Gets a Familiar Sentence for Ticket Fixing
The other department-issued shoe has dropped as veteran Huntington Beach Police Officer Erik Michael Krause was sentenced today to a year of probation and 30 days in jail that can be set aside if he completes 100 hours of community service. That's the same sentence veteran Garden Grove Police Officer Michael John Zannitto received after he and Krause pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to conspiring to illegally dismiss a traffic citation given to a woman who promised the cops booze.
Krause, 44 and a 22-year veteran of the Surf City force, issued a woman a traffic citation for speeding near a stopped school bus on Nov. 9, 2011. Later that same month, Zannitto, 47, an 11-year veteran in Garden Grove, met the same woman at Knott's Berry Farm while off-duty and in street clothes.
She brought up her traffic ticket, which Zannitto said he could get "fixed." He then contacted Krause, whom he did not know, and set in motion the chain of events that would raise the suspicion of a Huntington Beach police lieutenant, who helped unravel the conspiracy. During the investigation, it was learned the woman was in the text loop of the officers and sent them messages and photos related to booze she could get them through her job.
Following the jury finding both cops guilty of misdemeanor conspiracy to obstruct justice, Zannitto was the first to be sentenced on Jan. 25--a year to the day after evidence showed the two officers contacted on another to discuss the lady's citation.
This past Feb. 3 was the one-year anniversary of Krause informing Zannitto that he would take care of dismissing the ticket, Zannitto informing the woman via text that the matter had been taken care of and her texting him back that the three should get together for "a bunch of alcohol" she would supply.
"Sounds good to me," Zannitto responded.
Her citation was ultimately dismissed.
A Huntington Beach Police Officer "E. Krause" was named in a 1991 federal lawsuit alleging brutality by that department, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. The suit was dismissed but that was overturned on appeal in 1996. I cannot find anything on the case online after that, other than the appellate ruling being cited in other complaints and rulings.
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