CALEXICO (AP) — The newly installed police chief of a California border city said Wednesday that members of the local City Council and police union have been interfering with a police investigation, and he said that police officers have spied on councilmembers in what he called “extortion.”
Calexico police Chief Michael Bostic made the allegations at a news conference at City Hall. He said the interference with the investigation was an attempt to make “political hay to get the city manager and I fired,” the Imperial Valley Press reported.
Both Bostic and Interim City Manager Richard Warne have said they hoped to transform the Police Department and root out corruption in a department that was recently raided by the FBI.
The issues Bostic outlined began with the alleged beating and kidnapping of a young man about a month ago.
Bostic said his predecessor as chief “botched” the investigation. He said three City Council members, Bill Hodge, Luis Castro and Joong Kim, began meeting with members of the young man’s family in an attempt to influence the investigation.
More details were not immediately available, and after-hours messages left seeking comment from the council members by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
Bostic said members of the Calexico Police Officers Association also interfered with the probe, but it wasn’t clear whether they were police officers themselves.
He did specify that officers from his department bought tens of thousands of dollars in high-tech surveillance equipment that they used to follow members of the City Council in what Bostic called “extortion at its best.”
The new allegations come about three weeks after the FBI seized computer hard drives and documents in what it said Friday was a criminal investigation involving several officers in the border city of 40,000 people about 120 miles east of San Diego.