Editor: Yesterday Doug Porter at San Diego Free Press raised questions – reposted below – about San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s use of a private investigator to follow around and find dirt on a recent victim of a sexual assault case involving a San Diego Police officer. At the conclusion he offered his own “rant” calling for Goldsmith’s resignation – citing a host of other possible abuses by the Office of City Attorney.
Porter also reminded us that there is already a “Recall Goldsmith” Facebook page generated in the aftermath of Chalkgate.
Since then, the woman’s attorney, Brown Greene, spoke to the media and claimed that police mishandled and withheld key notes involved in the sexual assault case in order to protect the officer involved – who is already in prison and serving 8 years. Plus he accused the City Attorney of misconduct for the hiring of the private eye who followed his client around for a month.
Brown Greene stated to CBS8:
“Their person that they had that they knew was a sexual predator, they chose not to surveil. But go ahead and surveil the victim so they can find something maybe to smear her.”
Yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 4, Jan Goldsmith came out and publicly defended the conduct of his office in the case, calling the surveillance a standard practice in preparing for a trial.
But importantly, on top of all this hubbub – other calls have been raised calling for Jan Goldsmith’s resignation. Through comments to articles about this at various news sites, voices are expressing outrage and are joining Porter’s call for Goldsmith to step down. (Porter also has more on Goldsmith here.)
By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press
“Jane Doe” is one of thirteen women who sued the City of San Diego following the arrest of SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos for sexually assaulting women while on duty by threatening them with arrest. It was her courage in filing a complaint that triggered an investigation leading to an arrest of the officer.
Yesterday reporters with 10News revealed that taxpayer dollars, authorized by the City Attorney’s office, were used to hire a private investigator to follow and videotape Jane Doe over a 23 day period. The investigator’s report, uncovered during the discovery process, clearly indicates the intention to portray her as ‘wanton woman.’
Twelve of the victims have settled their lawsuits, with payouts totalling $2.3 million. Jane Doe has stood fast, even as City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has portrayed her in the news media as a gold digger. The real issue at hand is the young woman’s demand that the city create an independent monitor at the San Diego Police Department to watch for corruption. She and her attorneys claim there were several reports and accusations Arevalos engaged in similar misconduct over a decade.
From the 10News report:
Private investigator reports to the City Attorney’s Office paint a vivid picture of a woman captured in seemingly normal situations, yet described as promiscuous and flirtatious.
One interaction documented in the reports said Doe was “kissing and hugging her boyfriend in public; attired in shorts and bending fully over … on several occasions.”
Watch the 10News video. She’s a young women engaging in normal day-to-day activities. Obviously the City Attorney’s office was hoping for something that would convince a jury that Jane Doe was some kind of despicable creature.
This fits right in with reprehensible practices used to discredit rape victims by defense attorneys. It’s called “slut shaming.” The intent is to make jurors (or judges, or the public) view the woman as an inferior being–less than human and undeserving of justice.
Several weeks ago public reaction forced the City Attorney’s office to back off from accusations made via legal documents that victim Jane Doe “bribed officer Arevalos with her panties” to avoid a drunk driving arrest. Those legal documents were filed specifically in response to the request for an independent monitor, according a report on CBS8.
Jan Goldsmith “expressed concern” to 10News about the video being leaked, saying it was “simply standard legal practice in a civil lawsuit” and (ta-da!) “his lawyers had not decided if they would use it in court.”
From 10 News:
“Some people think it’s insensitive,” Goldsmith said. “I can’t address that. That’s what practicing law is.
Send a Message, San Diego (My Rant)
Perhaps it’s time to have a broader conversation of what “practicing law” at the City Attorney level in San Diego means. This is the same office that brought us “chalkgate.” This is the City Attorney who chose to defend the blatant lies of corporate interests instead of the City Council in the lawsuit about the petition drive to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan.
This is a City Attorney who is elected to protect the interests of citizens, but is choosing to hide behind a claim of prudently protecting taxpayers to draw attention away from a demand of more oversight of the police department. This is the City Attorney who’s defending the poor decisions made allowing a Jack-in-the-Box to run roughshod over the community of North Park.
He should resign. But I don’t think that’s in the cards. After all, Goldsmith is a politician at heart, and he’s had a full court press on to charm (I hear he’s very charming) the news media and distract the public from the -at best- questionable activities of his office.
It may be possible for him to fly under the radar and avoid scrutiny for some of his past mistakes. “Slut shaming” shouldn’t be viewed as mistake. It should be viewed as a conscious decision to oppress the aspirations of 51% of humanity. I don’t care what kind of “standard practice” he thinks it is. It’s wrong. For this action, he should pay a political price.
There is an “Recall Goldsmith” Facebook page generated in the aftermath of Chalkgate. Perhaps it needs a few more likes. Maybe we can get a Change.org petition drive to get the City Council to censure this man. Let him run for re-election with that on his record.
This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s daily column.