Sep 3, 2009

1st post, Superior Court Trial of Freitas v Pleasant Hill Police Department, June-July 2009

"There's no point in interviewing you since we've already spoken to your parents." (The words of PHPD Officer Scott Senst to a credible, adult alibi witness prior to our son, Anthony Freitas, being transported, then booked into the County Jail--$30,000.00 bail-- for a crime (stabbing) committed by the son of a former Mayor of Pleasant Hill/retired Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy.)


Hello Family, Friends, and All,

We wish to share with you the Pleasant Hill Police Department's investigative process, then arrest of our son-Anthony Freitas-for a stabbing assault that occurred at College Park High School on January 4th, 2007. It is our belief the arrest and jailing of Anthony would not have occurred had the Pleasant Hill Police Department followed proper practices and procedures, exercised equal and timely enforcement of the law, and not provided what appears to be special treatment-leaving the true assailant, a known, dangerous offender (the son of a former mayor/ret. sheriff's deputy)-the opportunity to strike again.

Included here is what we've learned regarding the Jan./2007 assault as well as a previous stabbing committed by the same young man-Christopher Escover-five months earlier (August/2006). That particular attack included an attempted robbery/attempted car-jacking, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon-doing great bodily injury-having stabbed that victim twice. Escover had what was reported to be blood stains on his clothing. He had been positively identified by the victim-who was hospitalized, and was arrested for the attack by the PHPD. However, Christopher was released from the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall with no charges filed. The Pleasant Hill Police Department and the Contra Costa County D.A. (as well as the CCC Sheriff's Dept.?-his father's employer) must have been aware of Christopher Escover's past which makes it more astonishing that he was set free following this particular, violent act. Nothing in the police report we've obtained shows the Pleasant Hill Police Department having done an immediate in-house evidence test on what they believed was blood on Escover's clothing. (*This is in contrast to their immediate test for blood on Anthony's clothing and belongings for which the PHPD CLAIMED--through a photo--a presumptive-positive-for-blood test result.
NOTE: The Hemastix Brand test strip itself--shown in photo evidence--disappeared with no explanation by the PHPD, though they document its presumptive-positive test result in the sworn affidavit while attempting to justify the arrest and incarceration of Anthony. You will learn that an outside, independent lab's finding was "negative for blood" in a presumptive test they performed on the same evidence.
*Details of additional discrepancies on the PHPD's "Probable Cause" affidavit discussed further in this blog.)

Just months after Christopher Escover's release-with no charges filed-he stabbed again (January/2007), an attack for which our son-with an immediate, solid, stated alibi-was arrested. Following his alibi being verified by credible adults (including a sworn peace officer), yet rejected by PHPD investigators, Anthony was incarcerated. ($30,000 bail, $10,000 criminal defense attorneys--retainer, and that was only the beginning...)

Having countless questions in a formal complaint unanswered, we continued to question PHPD practices and procedures which led to Anthony's arrest, incarceration, and our tens of thousands of dollars in related costs. While meeting with City Manager June Catalano, council member John Hanecak, City attorneys Pete Edrington and Debra Margolis, Ms. Margolis made it very clear the City of Pleasant Hill would not offer compensation to Anthony as the PHPD felt they'd done nothing wrong. The truth is they didn't do much right.

In this writing we discuss the aftermath of Anthony's arrest, his/our claim filed against the PHPD/City of Pleasant Hill, and eventual lawsuit, a result of the various, disturbing reasons we state here. We explain areas of Anthony's case which were not allowed to be introduced to the jury following Judge Baskin's decisions made prior to, and during the trial.
Also, named here are a number of witnesses-including police officers directly involved in both of the Escover assault investigations-who were subpoenaed yet did not take the stand during the trial.

Note: Although we use "PHPD" in this writing we do not blame the entire Pleasant Hill Police Department for the actions/non-actions of a few. The same is true of our mention of the County D.A.'s office. Unidentified officers within the PHPD, and persons employed by the County D.A. and probation departments may have played a role in the investigation and/or decision-making related to one, or both attacks carried out by the son of the former Pleasant Hill mayor/ret. sheriff's deputy. According to the PHPD's incident report, following a discussion between Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral and PHPD Officer Matt Kristic, it appears to have been a joint decision to release Escover-with no charges filed following his arrest for the vicious, attempted car-jacking incident in Aug./2006.
Would our sons/daughters have been given the same freedom?

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