The big question upon the news that Officer Miguel Siliceo has been charged with filing a false police report due to footage from a body-worn camera is: How did the Fullerton Police Department NOT lose the footage?
After all, police departments all across the country somehow manage to misplace video that is damning of their officer’s actions. At the very least their police dogs eat the footage. Maybe FPD didn’t get the memo.
Anyway, the Orange County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that 51-year-old Anaheim resident Siliceo has been charged with one felony count of filing a false report by a peace officer.
But wait, there’s more: The OCDA also notified the court and the defense that evidence may also be introduced regarding Siliceo’s “conduct in filing a fraudulent insurance claim back in 1999,” according to an arraignment statement from prosecutors.
He was on patrol in downtown Fullerton with his partner on July 9, 2015, when they arrested a man for resisting arrest. Siliceo is accused of preparing a police report that claimed the man charged at his partner during the arrest of another suspect.
Based on that information, the OCDA filed a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest against the unidentified suspect. However, after the case was filed, body worn camera footage from the other officers present at the time of the arrest was obtained, and it “did not corroborate the arrest report Siliceo wrote,” prosecutors allege.
The charges against the defendant were dismissed, and the case was referred to the Special Prosecutions Unit for review for filing a criminal complaint against Siliceo. Simultaneously, a complaint was submitted by the Orange County Alternate Public Defender’s office to the OCDA.
If convicted, Siliceo could get up to three years in county jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on April 5.
In case Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Nichols of the Special Prosecutions Unit needs help prosecuting this case, might we suggest she dip into the OCDA files concerning the trial against Emmanuel Martinez?
The then-18-year-old was arrested June 1 outside a Fullerton apartment complex for assault and gang charges after a man pulled a knife on a woman. Police arrived, grabbed three nearby men, lined them up and had the look at them. Siliceo testified under oath during the trial that the victim fingered Martinez, and the cop’s partner swore the suspect was a banger.
Martinez spent five months in jail until, in the middle of the trial, his public defender produced an audio tape that showed her client was not the man the victim had identified in the lineup. He could have still be rotting in prison were it not for the dogged work of his attorney, who got Martinez off.