Here’s one of the more appalling cases you’ll ever hear of a cop getting off, first literally and then figuratively. Cop pulls over stripper, ejaculates on her during the traffic stop and is acquitted of any wrongdoing. The basic facts:
No one disputes that an on-duty Irvine police officer got an erection and ejaculated on a motorist during an early-morning traffic stop in Laguna Beach. The female driver reported it, DNA testing confirmed it and officer David Alex Park finally admitted it.
When the case went to trial, however, defense attorney Al Stokke argued that Park wasn’t responsible for making sticky all over the woman’s sweater. He insisted that she made the married patrolman make the mess–after all, she was on her way home from work as a dancer at Captain Cream Cabaret.
“She got what she wanted,” said Stokke. “She’s an overtly sexual person.”
Yeah, she wanted it. She wouldn’t have gone outside if she didn’t want it. Now here are some of the background facts that suggest very strongly that the cop had been stalking the stripper, followed her and deliberately pulled her over on a secluded stretch of highway:
Meanwhile, Park was on patrol in the southwest portion of Irvine. Prosecutors believe he was craving a sexual rendezvous, and so he watched for Lucy’s white BMW to leave the strip club parking lot, then tailed her, waiting for an excuse for a stop. Park insisted he’d been cruising on the 405 north and coincidentally saw Lucy’s vehicle weave and speed.
Kamiabipour, the prosecutor, shook her head in disbelief. She knew the facts–that the officer had waited at least eight or nine minutes before stopping the stripper on a secluded section of a highway that was out of his jurisdiction.
“He was stalking her,” she said.
Four months earlier, Park had stopped Lucy under similar circumstances. That time, he’d ignored a plastic drug baggie he’d found in her car and her suspended license. But the stop wasn’t a waste of time. After friendly chit-chat, the officer had scored Lucy’s phone number. Telephone records show that Park called the stripper the next morning. She told him she was too busy to meet.
On the witness stand, Park explained that he’d called Lucy out of concern for a citizen’s safety. He also shrugged his shoulders when Kamiabipour slowly listed the first names of nine Captain Cream female employees–Annette, Denise, Rashele, Marlia, Brandi, Andrea, Deborah, Laura and Shannon–whose license plates he’d run through the DMV computer in the weeks prior to his sexual encounter with Lucy. (Another coincidence, according to Stokke.) Jurors also learned that Irvine Police Sgt. Michael Hallinan had previously warned Park as they left work to stay away from the strippers.
Park, who works in construction nowadays, conceded that he’d been given the warning but claimed that he had no clue it was Lucy in the vehicle or that she had an invalid driver’s license, even as he approached her car window.
Kamiabipour believed she’d caught the 6-foot-3 cop in a lie. Records show he ran the bosomy, 5-foot, 110-pound dancer’s license plate before the stop, did not call for backup despite the potential for an arrest and failed to tell his supervisor or dispatch that he was leaving Irvine. Several Irvine officers testified that Park’s behavior that night was odd.
“[Park’s] testimony was just incredible,” said Kamiabipour. Irvine city officials must have doubted his story, too. After an exhaustive police internal affairs investigation, they felt it was prudent to give Lucy $400,000 to make her civil lawsuit go away–for fear a jury might give her much more.
In a secretly-recorded phone call to Laguna Beach police shortly after the incident, Lucy recalled that she’d told Park she had no license. Park began “rubbing himself up against me,” she said. “Then, he said, ‘What are we going to do here, Lucy?'”
Park unzipped his pants, took his penis out and got an erection, she explained. “Basically, the officer made me give [him] a freaking hand job and he let me go. I’m so freaked out about it.”
(Lucy also told police, prosecutors and the jury that Park had also fingered her vagina and fondled her breasts before he ejaculated on her.)
“I was confused,” she told the Laguna Beach dispatcher. “He called me afterwards. I’m scared, you know . . . What’s an Irvine cop doing hanging out at a strip club in Lake Forest?”
Telephone records prove that Park made a 19-minute call to Lucy shortly after their encounter. The officer–who told the woman he was “Joe Stephens,” an Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy who had died months earlier–said it was a friendly call to make sure she’d arrived home safely. The stripper said he told her to keep her mouth shut.
And then Kamiabipour introduced the bombshell evidence from a high-ranking Irvine police officer: on the night Park tailed Lucy out of the city, the global positioning system in his patrol car had been disconnected without authorization.
“I checked and [the GPS] was not working,” said Lt. Henry Boggs.
An unexplainable coincidence, Park’s defense countered.
Ah yes, those unexplainable coincidences can be very convenient like that. A jury of one woman and 12 men acquitted the officer. After all, it was the Good and Virtuous Police Officer against the Slutty Stripper, right? Though, to be honest, after spending the last several years documenting hundreds of cases of cops lying on police reports, I’d be a lot more likely to believe the stripper.
Absolutely appalling. The good news is that a prosecutor finally was outraged enough to put a cop on trial; the bad news is that a jury didn’t care.