Tuesday, July 10, 2012

UPDATE | Police initially refuse to take criminal complaint against landlord

On Sunday, the Santa Clara Police Department initially refused to take a criminal complaint against my former landlord, Kirk Moye, who, on June 11th, told police that I was trespassing in my own apartment, that he had won an eviction order in court, and that the sheriff's office had served me with eviction papers.

As more fully recounted in Criminal charges against former landlord planned, I was then placed in handcuffs, while the police investigated my claim that it was a lie. I was eventually released without arrest once the landlord failed to produce eviction papers (and, after he admitted to making up the story), but was told by police that day to leave the apartment or "[they would] find a reason to arrest me." When they said this, I believed them, and fled my apartment soon thereafter. A police department that has alleged that I slashed 12 tires by stabbing them repeatedly with a hypodermic needle until they popped (I've never tried; but, I'm pretty sure this wouldn't work) is probably willing to carry out such a threat.

At the station, a desk officer stated that I should have reported it immediately; I countered that I asked whether it was a crime to lie to police in order to have someone falsely arrested, but no one seemed to know for sure. It was only after I researched the California Penal Code did I find out for myself that Section 148.5 considers this a misdemeanor, which can reported up to a year after being committed.

The analogy the officer used was an example involving a fight at the bar; he said that those types of incidences are best reported immediately. His explanation was untenable to me, so I offered that the most likely reasons are:

  1. Witnesses will still be all at one location, specifically, the scene;
  2. Any injuries will still be fresh, and more fully documentable; and,
  3. The suspect won't be too far away or have much time to hide.
I then explained that this crime was witnessed by police officers, is documented by them, and that they are the witnesses. So, to me, there are no real advantages to filing a report on the type of complaint I wanted to make right on the scene, even if the situation didn't involve a threat to be arrested for something yet to be done, and even if I did know that there was a specific penal code violation.

I will probably make another attempt in the future; but, the advantages gained by the attempt create more future possibilities than going for the now small-potato act of filing a complaint against Kirk Moye.

Rerun