A Santa Ana police officer who retired last year was charged Wednesday in a federal complaint alleging he violated the civil rights of a man during an arrest and then lying about the conflict in his reports, officials said.
Brian Patric Booker, 50, of Chino Hills was named in a federal indictment alleging a count of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of falsification of records, all felonies. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Aug. 12 in a Santa Ana federal courtroom.
Booker is accused of using unreasonable force on a suspect on June 19, 2014, who was not resisting arrest, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In his police reports, Booker falsely said the victim grabbed the officer by his right leg, according to prosecutors. He also falsely claimed he punched the suspect a few times in the back of his head because he feared the suspect would tackle him and might grab his forearm, prosecutors said.
Booker, who was a 19-year veteran, retired last year, prosecutors said.
Santa Ana police released the following statement:
“Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted a Santa Ana police officer for civil rights violations stemming from an arrest that occurred in June 2014. Santa Ana police officers responded to a call for service regarding a subject attempting to enter a community member’s residence. Officers attempted to take the suspect into custody and a use of force incident occurred. The suspect was arrested for attempted burglary.
“In July 2014, Santa Ana Police Department was made aware of allegations of excessive force and initiated an Internal Affairs administrative investigation. The officer was assigned to desk duty and had no contact with the public.
“In September 2014, the Santa Ana Police Department was notified the FBI was conducting an investigation into the matter to determine whether the use of force constituted a federal criminal violation. The Santa Ana Police Department tolled the Internal Affairs investigation, pending the outcome of the federal investigation.
“The officer in question is no longer an employee with the Santa Ana Police Department. The Santa Ana Police Department has cooperated with the federal investigation and will continue to do so.”
Booker could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of all counts at trial, prosecutors said.
The suspect, Edgar Vargas-Arzate, sued the city and Booker in April 2015. The case was settled in July 2016.
Booker was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence March 17, 2013, but alleged in a claim with the city and later in a federal lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated when blood was involuntarily drawn, according to court records. That claim was ultimately settled.
When a similar motion failed in his criminal case he pleaded no contest to the DUI charge on June 6, 2014, according to court records. He was on administrative leave after his arrest in March 2013.
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