Fabian Cota, Mesa Police Officer, to Appeal Demotion That Followed San Diego Arrest for Alleged Public Drunkenness
Javier Fabian Cota, former president of the Mesa Police Association, was demoted last year after reports that he'd been detained while drunk in San Diego.
Two San Diego police officers are lying to cover up evidence of last summer's illegal "attitude arrest" of former Mesa Police Association president Fabian Cota.
At least, that's what Cota claims.
The officers, on the other hand, say they detained Cota because he was yelling at them drunkenly from a pedicab as they tried to interview another person.
Cota will get the chance to confront the officers during an upcoming appeal of his demotion from sergeant to patrol officer over the incident. The city of Mesa is flying the witnesses out for the hearings on March 14 and 15.
Last year, the city of San Diego rejected a $2.75 million claim Cota filed for false arrest and violation of rights. He says he's still contemplating filing a lawsuit, which he can do until April. He also says that he may yet sue Mesa.
The incident was costly for Cota, costing him $40,000 a year in pay. He also had to step aside from his job as a union official.
Cota says he's being railroaded by two corrupt police departments -- his own, and San Diego's.
Image: Ray Stern Fabian Cota, now a patrol officer for Mesa PD, met us recently at a local coffeeshop on his day off to give an update on his struggle to appeal a demotion.
He points out that the San Diego cop shop has busted numerous officers for unethical behavior in the last few years, including one recently sentenced for sexually assaulting DUI suspects.
Two of these allegedly amoral officers were patrolling the Gaslamp district in downtown San Diego at about 3 a.m. on June 4 when they encountered Cota, who admits he'd had "five drinks" that night.
Cota says he was out with his nephew following a wedding in the area they attended. His nephew had already signed up to be the designated driver for the pair, Cota says. But when they prepared to drive back to the hotel, they couldn't find their car. They bumped into a pair of friendly girls who were looking for their own car and all hopped into a pedicab to look for the vehicles.
One of the girls spotted her car and got out of the pedicab. Cota says he wasn't really paying attention, but noticed what he thought were two security guards hassling the girl. He remembers hearing one of the men say to the girl, "Oh, yeah, let's see if you're too drunk to drive."
Cota says he turned to the nearest "security guard," about 10 or 15 feet away, and yelled, "Why are you guys acting like dipshits toward these girls?"
That's when he noticed they weren't rent-a-cops, they were real-a-cops -- and he'd ticked them off with his smart-alecky quip. They asked him to step out of the pedicab, then handcuffed him, Cota says. On the way to a detox facility, they found his union card and laughed at him as they drove, keeping his handcuffs too tight, he says.
Cota was held for four hours at the detox facility and released without charges. He says the supervisor of the facility didn't think he was drunk.
The police report, however, contradicts much of Cota's story.
The two San Diego cops claim they were concerned that the obviously drunk girl from the pedicab intended to drive, and were interrupted as they questioned her by Cota's yelling.
As we reported in June:
"I told Cota to leave because he was intoxicated and would end up in jail if he stayed," Officer Justin Mattly wrote in his report. "Cota said, 'Well take me to jail you fucking dickweeds!"
Cota says that and other quotes from the police report are pure fiction.
After making a "classic attitude arrest," the officers had to cover their tracks and make the bust look proper, he says. Cota believes the officers conspired to create the bogus account of the events before writing it up.