Sept. 25, 2010 -- A California motorcycle cop crossed the line when he staged a fake arrest of his 14-year-old daughter's 15-year-old boyfriend after learning the two had sex, the boy's parents said.
The San Jose Police Department may agree. Its internal affairs division is investigating the incident, which the boy's parents captured on cell phone video, a police department spokesman said.
The incident occurred on Aug. 30, according to ABC San Francisco station KGO-TV, whose media partner The San Jose Mercury News obtained the video.
The officer had just found out that his daughter had sex with her boyfriend, who she had been dating since middle school, according to the newspaper.
The boy's parents said the officer showed up at their house in his uniform, riding his police department motorcycle, told the boy he was going to arrest him for sexual assault and put him in handcuffs.
"It does not bode well for you. Do you know what that means? No? Not a good thing that the person you had sex with is a cop's daughter. The district attorney will probably file charges," the cop is heard saying in the video.
The family's attorney said even if the officer was trying to use "scared straight" tactics, he went too far.
"He made comments like, 'You don't mess with a cop's daughter.' That's a show of authority, that's inappropriate," attorney Tony Boskovich told KGO. "Applying force, applying handcuffs, threatening the young man with things such as rape in prison.
"He acted like a cowboy. He lost it, he came in and he abused his authority," Boskovich said.
But the officer's attorney said the boy's family knew what the officer was doing and did not object.
"The officer was essentially invited to use 'scare straight' tactics, and there were no objections to the lecture or the handcuffing," lawyer Terry Bowman said. "Everything was done in the spirit of reaching a troubled young man who is heading down the wrong path."
She told KGO-TV that the video shows a concerned father who was given permission to do what he did.
"At no time did you hear the parents of the young man objecting, getting upset, crying. So the video is absolutely exculpatory from the cop's perspective," Bowman said.
She pointed out that early in the video the boy's stepfather advises his handcuffed son: "Use your head. Think about what he is talking to you about. Listen to his words. Replay them in your head."
None of the adults involved in the incident are being identified to protect the identities of the two minors.
The boy's parents eventually filed a complaint with the police, and after the investigation began, both the boy and the girl were cited for unlawful sexual intercourse. Sources said the misdemeanor, for minors who are close in age and have consensual sex, is rarely prosecuted.
As for the officer, he is on administrative leave while the department carries out an internal investigation, and KGO reported that the district attorney's office is investigating whether he should face criminal charges for false imprisonment.
San Jose independent police auditor Judge LaDoris Cordell told KGO-TV that couldn't comment directly because she is looking into all the allegations, but said there are two policies in the department's duty manual that could apply.
One is that "when an officer is on duty or is off duty, that officer will avoid becoming officially involved in quarrels or disputes occurring in their own neighborhoods," Cordell said.
The other is the article that deals with an officer's code of conduct involving personal feelings, she said.
Jose Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ronnie Lopez told KGO-TV the officer may have violated more than those two policies.