Statement from Police Chief about D.A. filing charges against former officer
Acting Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes said this morning (Tuesday) he is pleased the District Attorney's filing of misdemeanor charges against a former officer for destruction of a Police Department Digital Recorder.
"The Fullerton Police Department initiated this investigation almost one year ago, completed the investigation, and submitted our findings to the District Attorney’s office seeking charges," Hughes said.
The incident occurred April 14, 2011, when then Fullerton Cpl. Vince Mater arrested Dean Gochenour on drunken driving charges. Gouchenour later committed suicide by hanging himself in the city jail.
Hughes said Fullerton Police immediately began an investigation into the case and notified the District Attorney’s Office. During the investigation, Mater claimed he became upset when his department-issued digital audio recorder (DAR) allegedly would not download into the Police Department’s computer system. Mater told investigators that in frustration, he threw the DAR against a metal door in the jail and the device broke.
Hughes said Internal Affairs investigators did not believe the damage was caused in the manner Mater alleged and contacted expert witnesses in Orange and Los Angeles counties, as well as the manufacturer of the device, for their opinions. Based upon those findings, the Police Department submitted the case to the District Attorney’s Office and asked that a criminal filing be done against Mater for destruction of the DAR.
Hughes added that Mater was placed on administrative leave June 20, and he resigned from the department Aug. 2, 2011.