December 2008: The Month of Stinking Badges

You might not have noticed, but just before Christmas, two Orange County cops confessed to bizarre crimes. On Dec. 16, Joshua Wendall Blackburn, a six-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), admitted that he broke into a CHP evidence locker in Santa Ana and stole 64 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $1 million on the street, according to prosecutors. Blackburn hid 62 kilograms in his father's shed in Riverside and the other 2 kilograms in the attic of his Murrieta home. He'll be hiding in a California prison for the next five years and eight months.

Three days later, on Dec. 19, another cop fell hard. Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Rodriguez confessed to molesting, photographing and threatening Santa Ana prostitutes while on duty. He'd originally claimed innocence, but he changed his plea in exchange for a 16-month prison sentence.

But it wasn't just those two events that tainted OC law enforcement. Consider five other headlines written not by journalists, but by the Orange County district attorney's office in recent press releases:

• “Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy to be arraigned for molesting 15-year-old daughter of terminally ill friend in hospital,” Dec. 9.

• “Off-duty police convicted of fracturing man's skull by throwing him down stairs at Anaheim baseball game,” Dec. 3.

• “Orange County Sheriff's Deputy convicted of filing eight false police reports in DNA property crimes project,” Dec. 3.

• “Cop to be arraigned for assaulting ex-girlfriend and two friends with firearm and shooting into the air after car chase,” Dec. 2.

• “Orange County Sheriff's Deputy to be arraigned for punching jail inmate in face with keys in hand,” Dec. 1.

-R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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