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Menlo Park: Police officer in lawsuit identified

Editor's Note: On December 20, 2013, in a plea agreement, Mr. Amanuel pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hit and run. A misdemeanor charge for driving under the influence causing injury was dismissed. Amanuel was sentenced to 10 days in county jail, fined $1,650 and placed on three years probation, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

When a Menlo Park resident filed a lawsuit that alleged illegal stops, searches and harassment and named three police officers, his complaint included an officer who technically didn't exist: "Officer Jeffries."

No such officer works for the Menlo Park Police Department. But according to the city's response to the lawsuit, the mysterious officer is actually Officer Jeffrey Vasquez, who made headlines earlier this year for unrelated reasons when he was revealed as the veteran officer who was busted naked in a motel room with a prostitute.

In its response, the city denies the allegations, made by Hiruy Amanuel, that officers Ed Soares, James Luevano and "Officer Jeffries" violated his rights during two traffic stops, one on Jan. 13 and another on Oct. 31.

The second stop, according to Menlo Park, actually took place on Nov. 2, and did not include a search as alleged by the plaintiff. The city's response also denies that any civil rights violations or harassment occurred.

Mr. Amanuel is represented in the civil action by attorneys Greg Walston and Thomas O'Brien. Responding to inquiries from the Almanac, Mr. O'Brien said on Dec. 23 that he believes the complaint would be amended shortly to reflect the correct name.

According to the police department, the first stop was recorded by a digital audio recorder, and the second recorded with both video and audio.

Mr. Amanuel currently faces criminal charges in San Mateo County Superior Court in connection with misdemeanor driving under the influence causing injury and a hit-and-run. In 2010, he pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony count of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking. Two related charges, of conspiracy to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, were dismissed.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by A. Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Just a criminal drug dealer who brings havoc to our children who thinks he can divert attention from his perversity actions and accuse the police officers of doing their duty. This fellow brings and deals in addiction,violence and causing our children to kill each other. May he go to prison for a very long time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by reader between the lines
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

It is impossible for me to tell anymore if this is damage control for a bad arrest made by a cop that can;t afford to get into any more trouble, or just an officer with a troubled past finally earning his pay check by catching a bad guy.


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