A San Diego police officer appeared to be caught in a lie when he testified that a homeless man was sleeping in his truck before getting a ticket for illegally inhabiting his vehicle.
The officer’s body-worn camera footage shows the homeless man emerging from a city park restroom, not sleeping. Their ensuing 20-minute debate also suggests, according to the man’s lawyer, that the city ordinance noted on the ticket is too vague to be enforceable.
The City Attorney’s office in June asked the court to vacate Tony Diaz’s 2016 conviction and dismiss the case based on the video discovered just months earlier. The footage, a prosecutor said, “is exculpatory evidence because it contradicts the officer’s testimony and corroborates (Diaz’s) testimony. The video undermines the officer’s credibility and removes a major pillar of the case …”
The San Diego Police Department is looking into the officer’s behavior, spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl said in an email. Diaz filed an internal affairs complaint against Officer Colin Governski, who now serves on the SWAT team.
“We take all matters regarding the performance of our employees very seriously and will investigate this situation fully,” Wahl said.
Voice of San Diego, an online news organization, broke the story last week about the officer’s apparent false testimony and obtained the body-worn camera footage.
Coleen Cusack said Governski should be prosecuted for felony perjury. Proof would have to be shown that the officer intentionally lied on the stand and was not simply confusing different contacts with Diaz on different dates.
Governski, who has been on the department…
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