The Thin Boo Line!
Illustration by Ward Sutton It's Halloween, a season of rapid transformations, when your neighbors reveal who they really are by dimming their lights and pretending they're not home. When alcoholics who haven't been drunk since United Nations Day (Oct. 24) take advantage of the last holiday before All Saints Day (Nov. 1) to get completely faced. When Jesus comes out of his hole to see if, by clever examination of his lengthy shadow, he can predict the exact start of winter.
And on this occasion, the Weekly typically celebrates the holiday by identifying the 31 Orange Countians who don't need costumes to make us scream like people on a ride at Disneyland who think they're going to crash and die and then crash and die.
But this year, something different. In a bid to purge the ranks of cops who've ridden the national passion for all men in all uniforms, we're looking at cops. Cops who rape girls. Cops who drive drunk at high speed and then lie about it. Cops who prosecute guys with guns and then celebrate by listening to REO Speedwagon and firing their pistols in the air like they just don't care because, hell, they've got a badge.
Among all scary people, bad cops can be the scariest because they're supposed to be heroes. These 31 are anti-heroes. We're not saying watch your back around these guys or obey the law because these guys might get you. We're saying none of that matters. You might as well do whatever because, hell, they've got you surrounded.
Orange County Soccer Club v Real Monarchs SLC
TicketsSat., Jun. 3, 5:00pm
Premium Seating: Los Angeles Angels v. New York Yankees
TicketsMon., Jun. 12, 7:07pm
Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees
TicketsMon., Jun. 12, 7:07pm
Premium Seating: Los Angeles Angels v. Kansas City Royals
TicketsThu., Jun. 15, 7:07pm
1 DERRICK WATKINS Santa Ana cop
On May 20, Watkins, who was attached to the department's gang unit, attended a triple-header classic-rock marathon at LA's Staples Center featuring REO Speedwagon, Journey and Styx. After the show, Watkins carpooled back home to Orange County with several pals—most of them gang-unit prosecutors with the Orange County district attorney's office. As their SUV raced down the 91 freeway through Compton, Watkins decided it was time to celebrate an almost-perfect evening: he took out his police-issue handgun, aimed it out the window and started firing. Also in the SUV was the wife of a high-ranking DA's office official as well as Larry Yellin, an OC DA homicide prosecutor, and Alison Gyves and Mark Geller, both of whom are gang-unit prosecutors working alongside Watkins in an office at the Santa Ana Police Department and recently teamed up in an effort to send a Latino suspected of gang membership to prison for life. That man's crime? Shooting a gun in the air. Talk about your wheels in the sky! MITIGATING FACTOR: Rock & roll will never die, but Styx—God willing—eventually will.
2 MARK TRACHMAN Huntington Beach cop
Trachman was fired, arrested and convicted earlier this year for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was interviewing at her home about a statutory-rape complaint. He was also popped on a misdemeanor count for coercing a 26-year-old woman to expose her breasts during a 1999 traffic stop. Trachman, who joined the Surf City force in 1999 after three years with the LAPD, used the old let-me-check-you-for-scars-and-bruises trick when he touched the girl's breasts, had her expose other parts of her body and asked her about her underwear of choice. The girl complied because her parents told her to do whatever the good officer told her to do. If that's not fucked-up enough, consider this: the three-year prison sentence Trachman got was less than the maximum five years prosecutors sought because Judge James A. Stotler feared for Trachman's safety in prison. MITIGATING FACTOR: Trachman's safe. Fourteen-year-old girls? Not so much.
3 MARK WERSCHING Huntington Beach cop
Wersching is probably the most expensive cop in Huntington Beach history. On May 5, 2001, he fatally shot Antonio Saldivar, an unarmed 18-year-old Costa Mesa resident, in the back, after mistaking him for a gangbanger he'd been chasing moments earlier. His justification —that Saldivar had aimed a rifle at him—evaporated when the rifle was determined to be a toy gun. This summer, a jury awarded Saldivar's family $2.1 million.
During that trial, Wersching's disciplinary record became public. It suggested that Wersching should have been fired long before he had the chance to shoot an unarmed kid in the back. In October 1998, two women filed a complaint alleging they saw Wersching use excessive force in downtown Huntington Beach while arresting a guy who yelled at Wersching while he was arresting another guy. In May 1999, HBPD investigated Wersching again, this time for an off-duty "altercation" in which Wersching, who had been drinking, was hit in the head with a bottle.
On July 5, 1999, Wersching and a fellow officer stole a large quantity of confiscated fireworks from a locked container at the Huntington Beach Fire Department—and then celebrated by setting off the fireworks at the HBPD union headquarters. Because of the value of the stolen fireworks, the fire department filed a felony grand-theft report, which HBPD spent months investigating before determining that Wersching was one of the officers responsible for the theft. He was suspended for just 30 hours without pay.
But that didn't stop Huntington Beach's fun-loving cop from getting into more trouble. In January 1999, Wersching and several fellow off-duty HBPD officers and their wives and girlfriends were celebrating a victorious softball game by barhopping around the city. Late that night, Wersching offered to drive an officer and his wife home but took a detour—onto the city beach. Reaching speeds of 50 mph, he raced his car along the beach until crashing into a cement ditch and totaling the car. A civilian employee of the police department suffered a partially collapsed lung and broken ribs. (She later sued Wersching.) Rather than report the accident and request an ambulance, however, Wersching had another passenger drive her to the hospital and called the police dispatcher to send a tow truck to pull his car out of the sand.
If not for a passerby who saw the accident and called police, Wersching's supervisors might never have found out what happened. He received a 60-hour suspension for improper conduct, failing to report acts of misconduct and violating the law. More than a year later, on Jan. 20, 2001, HBPD investigated Wersching again, this time for having grabbed and choked someone by the throat, then punching the person in the chest. At press time, he had been promoted to investigator. MITIGATING FACTOR: Not a child rapist.
4 MIKE CARONA Orange County sheriff
Carona is often portrayed in the local mainstream media as Orange County's Andy Griffith, an egoless lawman who'd rather be eating apple pie than plotting self-serving career moves. This is very funny. Just one question: How does someone slide so deftly from being Democrat Governor Gray Davis' close buddy to the inner circle of Republican Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger? MITIGATING FACTOR: Shares Arnold's love of pumping, uh, iron.
5 SCOTT MCMANUS Anaheim cop
Orange County met McManus in 1997, when a Los Angeles Times reporter quoted him dismissing his threat to illegally enter an apartment and arrest a Latino teenager as "kind of like a bluff." McManus sure likes to bluff. In 1995, he arrested Fernando Ortiz for assault on a police officer, and then roughed him up with such force that the city paid Ortiz $90,000 in damages. Earlier this year, McManus shot Jeffrey Santelli in the Crystal Cathedral parking lot because he thought Santelli—who was talking to his mother—was a gang member. (Santelli is now suing Anaheim for $2 million.) MITIGATING FACTOR: Mother's Day comes but once a year.
6 BRYAN RAY KAZARIAN former OC deputy district attorney
Once the star prosecutor in the gang unit of the Orange County district attorney's office. But his superiors started suspecting something was amiss when it became apparent Kazarian was spending a lot of time with John David Ward, a high-rolling gambler and head of what was then Orange County's largest methamphetamine ring. Kazarian accepted free trips to Las Vegas in exchange for providing Ward with information about investigations involving the drug ring. To catch him in the act, the DA's office created fictitious information about a nonexistent informant in the Ward case to see if Kazarian would leak it. He did. Then they recorded him blabbing about it to Ward. Kazarian pleaded guilty to a single federal drug-trafficking conspiracy charge, testified against Ward (who was convicted on multiple counts of narcotics violations and money laundering and sentenced to life without parole) and was sequestered in an undisclosed prison cell for his own protection. Kazarian was freed from prison in 2002 after spending three years behind bars and, at last word, was trying to win back his license to practice law. MITIGATING FACTOR: Holds the distinction of being the first Orange County prosecutor convicted of a crime in 30 years. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! GO CUBS!
7 DON HAIDL assistant sheriff
What better way for a sheriff to understand crime than to hire as assistant sheriff a mysterious, multimillionaire businessman who never finished high school but has a wildly colorful courthouse history including accusations of Mexican gun running and money skimming from government car auctions? MITIGATING FACTOR: Apparently not as bad as his son, who allegedly taped himself and buddies having sex with an unconscious girl (see No. 12)
8 MIKE SCHLISKEY Westminster police commander
When Stacy Tang placed a 911 call on behalf of her 100-pound, drugged-up brother Tuan Thanh Tang in 1999, she assumed paramedics would assist the family. Instead, the paramedics called in the Westminster Police Department; they, in turn, entered the Tang home without permission, ignored their pleas to take Tuan to the hospital, held down the teenager, hog-tied his hands to his feet with nylon straps behind his back, and threw him into the back seat of a police cruiser. When the cruiser arrived at the department, Schliskey found Tuan facedown in the back of the car, still hog-tied and suffocating. Schliskey then strapped Tuan to a metal restraint chair. Less than two hours after the arrest, paramedics found the 19-year-old seizing and convulsing in the chair; he died six days later. Medical records show that Tuan suffered severe oxygen deprivation after the cops took him into custody. Not even a $10 million lawsuit filed by the family has convinced the department to change its deadly restraint policy. MITIGATING FACTOR: All of Westminster is worth just $22,500.
9 CHRISTOPHER NICELY Santa Ana cop
Anyone who has grown up watching cop shows knows about the unwritten code where a cop doesn't rat out his or her partner. So when that happens, you know the cop in question must've fucked up royally. Nicely faces a year in jail and the loss of his badge after his partner, a reserve officer, told superiors that in January Nicely removed the handcuffs from a domestic-violence suspect, punched him in the stomach and pushed him into a man-made lake. "I'm sorry you had to see that unpleasantness," Nicely allegedly told the other officer before informing the woman who was being abused that her boyfriend had an accident and fell in the lake. No arrests were made but in a rare burst of righteousness, the Orange County district attorney's office was, at last report, pressing its case against Nicely. MITIGATING FACTOR: Some guys deserve a punch and a push. Nicely done.
10 JOHN NELISSEN former Westminster cop
Nelissen was sued during the summer by Dorthea Cross, who claimed the then-Westminster police detective offered to reduce charges against her fianc if she had sex with Nelissen. Nelissen lost his job; you'll lose your lunch when you read the testimony.
Nelissen: I didn't purposefully enter her anally. I was lying on top of her. It wasn't doggie-style position. . . . She was laying on her stomach. I entered her and asked her if this feels good. She said, "It's not my favorite," so I immediately stopped. She gave me a new condom, and we went back to vaginal sex.
Cross' attorney: Sir, you indicated you only pumped her one time. Sorry, I withdraw that. You only had one male thrust before you broke the threshold anally—is that correct?
Nelissen: Yes, sir.
Yummy. Because Cross had illegally videotaped the pump—er, male thrusting or threshold crossing—a judge later threw out the lawsuit and ordered Cross and her fianc to pay Nelissen $15,000. MITIGATING FACTOR: Nelissen is now eligible to star in a remake of 21 Hump Street.
11 Unidentified Fullerton Cops
Four of Fullerton's finest were busted in April for "conduct unbecoming of an officer." Responding to a call that a woman was possibly attempting suicide, the officers arriving at her house found her in bed, apparently unconscious. According to an internal police memo obtained by the LA Times, the cops then began passing gas on her and crawling over her, mimicking a cat licking milk. Although this may sound like Standard Operating Procedure to you and me, the woman—who was actually awake the whole time—didn't see it that way. "Once we were made aware of it, we started an investigation immediately," Sergeant Ron Gillett told the Times. "I feel comfortable everything we did from an administrative standpoint was done correctly." Everything except notify animal control. MITIGATING FACTOR: In the officers' defense, they didn't shoot her.
12 GEORGE JARAMILLO, ASSISTANT SHERIFF
When the 17-year-old son of Orange County assistant Sheriff Don Haidl was arrested last year for the rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl in Newport Beach (see No. 7), Jaramillo—Sheriff Mike Carona's top aide —secretly rushed to the teenage boy and advised him not to cooperate with local police detectives. The move was almost as sleazy as Jaramillo's repeated, costly use of a county law-enforcement helicopter for personal business. MITIGATING FACTOR: Jaramillo has cast-iron huevos—he knows what we're talking about.
13 ALLAN MANSOOR, SHERIFF'S DEPUTY
Costa Mesa City Councilman and Orange County Sheriff's deputy Mansoor wants to clean up his city. For starters, he'd like to get rid of the job center that provides minimum-wage job opportunities to Latinos, 37 percent of whom Mansoor claims live in other cities. Then he'd like to get rid of city-funded social programs that attract the wrong element—i.e., Latinos. Mansoor is also a member of the city's human-relations commission, but he has been criticized for posting anti-homosexual messages by the Reverend Lou Sheldon and similar cranks on a now-defunct bulletin board run by the Concerned Costa Mesa Citizens. That group's most prolific vitriol-spewer is Martin Millard, who has written articles decrying racial mixing, saying inter-ethnic marriage will produce a "slimy mass of glop" and "the Tan Man." MITIGATING FACTOR: Mansoor is Lebanese for "slimy mass of glop."
14 AMAL HAMIDINIA, SHERIFF'S DEPUTY
Twenty-six years after a federal judge ordered the Orange County Sheriff's Department to fix its overcrowded and filthy Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana, inmates staged a hunger strike protesting random beatings. The hunger strike came after a federal jury awarded $600,000 to an African-American inmate who claimed racist deputies working at the jail—nicknamed the "Psycho Crew"—beat him and taunted him with racist slurs. But inmates interviewed after the hunger strike say they actually had but one goal: get rid of deputy Hamidinia, the only member of the Psycho Crew still working at the jail. MITIGATING FACTOR: At least inmates don't have to deal with Mark Wersching (No. 3) . . . yet.
15 STAFF PRO SECURITY GUARDS
The preferred security choice for Arrowhead Pond concerts. So fearsome, large and obnoxious even its female guards could moonlight as NFL centers. MITIGATING FACTOR: They had to endure six hours of Reventn Super Estrella during the summer.
16 JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. Attorney General
He's not living or working in Orange County, but this Big Brother is still watching you. Sept. 11 conveniently allowed him to take a black Sharpie to whole sections of the U.S. Constitution. After leading Christian Bible studies at Justice every morning, Ashcroft spends the rest of the day trampling over so many of your hard-won freedoms that it even spooks his brethren on the Right—in Guatemala! MITIGATING FACTOR: He's not living or working in Orange County.
17 RONALD LISTER, former Laguna Beach cop
Lister spent several years in prison for drug trafficking and claimed he helped the CIA smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into the United States during the 1980s to help fund the anti-communist Nicaraguan contras. After Lister's claims became public, the CIA—and then the mainstream media—labeled Lister a liar. But back in the 1980s, the FBI investigated Lister's Newport Beach-based security firm six times—for everything from selling classified technology to possible involvement in Oliver North's illegal arms sales. Government documents show the feds were following Lister when they learned his company held meetings with Salvadoran death-squad founder Roberto D'Aubuisson and also provided security guards, training and other services to El Salvador's Ministry of Defense in the early 1980s when that country's armed forces were routinely torturing and murdering its own citizens. MITIGATING FACTOR: His current whereabouts are unknown, though he may have been the inspiration for the creepy U.S. spook in a deleted scene on DVD of Oliver Stone's Salvador.
18 ROBERT FOWLER, Garden Grove cop
Thanks to the hysteria of Fowler, the once-thriving Garden Grove cybercaf scene is now over. The Associated Press asked the sergeant on March 3 whether the city's cybercafs were now safe a year after two murders occurred outside the popular gaming sites and months after the last disturbance near a cybercaf. "We're finding our . . . gangs are hanging out at Internet cafs," Fowler said. "They are playing against other Internet cafs. One group gets mad at the other, and they know where to find them." Emboldened by Fowler's analysis, the Garden Grove City Council filed an appeal to reenact draconian regulations —curfews, mandatory guards—against cybercaf owners. MITIGATING FACTOR: A judge found the regulations unconstitutional. As realistic as Counterstrike was in depicting gory violence, nothing beats the sights and sound of a real-life pistol, eh, Fowler?
19 CHUCK CONLOSH, Huntington Beach cop
The former five-year Fountain Valley city councilman and 13-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department first started raising eyebrows when he showed up to council meetings and set his fully loaded, 9 mm Glock handgun on the dais in front of him. Then things got weird. He reportedly began acting strangely on the job before forfeiting his council seat in 2001, telling his colleagues he was checking himself into a Costa Mesa psychiatric hospital. But in a lawsuit Conlosh later filed, he claimed it was Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach police officers who stuck him in the booby hatch and forced him to retire from the force. He further claimed that cops were "out to kill" him for uncovering unspecified "criminal misconduct" in the HB chief's office. In February 2002, Conlosh was escorted out of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in the middle of the night after security guards alleged that he tried to gain entrance to the plant by telling them he was on assignment for the FBI. While continuing to pursue his suit, he popped into The Orange County Register's Fountain Valley bureau in August 2002 to announce he would run to regain his council seat. He also told reporters he planned to start a newspaper in town and asked if he could take their pictures. MITIGATING FACTOR: He lost last November's council race and apparently is a lousy photographer.
20 THE MOTORCYCLE COP WHO JUST GAVE ME A SPEEDING TICKET
It was 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and I was heading through a residential neighborhood when suddenly, in my rearview mirror, your police motorcycle pulled out from behind a parked truck, lights blazing. I dutifully pulled aside to let you pass. Imagine my surprise when you pulled behind me! What happened? Did I fail to come to a full and complete stop at the stop sign a few blocks back? Were my plates expired? Who the hell gives tickets at 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon anyway? Visions of Super Troopers dancing in my head, a glance in the side mirror revealed your dramatic dismount. A purposeful stride to my door gave you plenty of time to remove your gloves with that stone-serious scowl affixed to your sunglassed mug. I was hoping for a bumbling, Guttenberg-ian doofus, but what I got was a douche bag with rolled-up uniform sleeves to expose a set of bulging pecs. Damn. No, officer, I don't know what the problem is, I said. No, officer, I don't know how fast I was going. Yes, officer, I know the speed limit for a residential neighborhood: 25 mph . . . uh, sir. No, I don't think I was going that fast, and no, I don't think I slowed down to that speed, and no, I don't think I sped back up again. Confronted with an obvious he-said/you-said situation, what more could I expect from you but leniency, a fair warning, no hard feelings? So let me just say thank you soooo much for letting me off easy this time—to the tune of $144.86. Asshole. MITIGATING FACTOR: At least you didn't rape me.
21 PAUL M. WALTERS Santa Ana police chief
Walters, chief since 1988, is a man of many honors—just ask him. According to his official website, www.chiefwalters.com, the "widely recognized and written-about national leader in policing" was one of OC Metro's "Hottest 25 People in Orange County" in 1998, appeared on 60 Minutes for his community-policing programs, and was nominated for an "Airman of the Year" award in 1967 during his four-year stint in Vietnam. The bleating of personal accomplishments is necessary considering Walters is always aspiring for more prestigious positions than being the chief of police for the most-Latino city in the nation. Walters unsuccessfully applied for LAPD chief and unsuccessfully ran for Orange County Sheriff against Mike Carona. Between failing to find new jobs, Walters surfs the Internet to criticize people who criticize his department: when Santa Ana activists protested that the SAPD wouldn't listen to their complaints regarding Elmer Bustos (a man shot and killed by Walters' officers), Walters accused them of distorting facts. "All the community members that wanted to speak were allowed to do so," Walters posted on la.indymedia.org. "You should be ashamed of yourself by misrepresenting what really occurred." Six months later, Bustos' killer remains on the job. MITIGATING FACTOR: Walters' website doesn't use Flash.
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 Briseo, 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. Briseo, 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.
31 GRADY MACHNICK Los Angeles County Sheriff's sergeant
Machnick, who resides in Yorba Linda with his former elementary-school-principal wife, was the subject of national attention late last year when the couple was charged with misdemeanor child abuse for forcing their teenage son to sleep on the back porch on a dog mat when he didn't do his math homework, smearing dog feces inside his school backpack and other so-called "tough love" child-rearing tactics. A jury acquitted them. MITIGATING FACTOR: Orange County Register letter writers wanted to name Machnick Father of the Year. Seriously.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.