OAKDALE — The city has rejected the conclusions of a Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury report that accused Police Chief Marty West of mishandling the arrest of two teenagers last year.
The June 30 report claimed West showed preferential treatment for the older teen, an 18-year-old football star, after receiving an e-mail from a neighboring police chief, but didn't show the same concern for the younger teen, a 15-year-old boy.
The teens were arrested in May 2009 after exploding a dry-ice bomb and then placing another dry-ice bomb under a bench in an empty city park.
In a letter dated Aug. 12 to Jack Jacobson, the presiding judge of Stanislaus County Superior Court, City Attorney Tom Hallinan said there was no evidence to support the finding that West showed favoritism to the older teen but ignored the plight of the 15-year-old.
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The letter disagrees with the report's finding that West has a standing order that officers do not arrest teenagers on charges such as the ones in this case without prior approval. The letter states West has no policy requiring officers to seek approval before making any arrests.
The letter also disagrees with the finding that West showed poor leadership because, the report claims, he was influenced by the other police chief.
Bee interviews with key participants suggest West did nothing wrong. The Bee spoke with the father of the younger teen, and he said there was no double standard. Charges were not filed against either teen.
The grand jury report also suggested the Police Department failed to provide enough evidence against the 18-year-old. But the district attorney's office told The Bee that was not the case and charges were not filed because prosecutors could not meet the burden of proof required for convictions.
West has been Oakdale's chief for three years and has had a rocky relationship with the city's police union. Union members cast a vote of no confidence against him last year.
The Oakdale Leader newspaper has reported accusations that West has given preferential treatment to some council members, which the police chief has denied.