A Los Angeles municipal judge has dismissed the case against a former Long Beach Airport employee who had been charged with tampering with a computer that monitored aircraft noise.
After a daylong preliminary hearing Wednesday, Judge Candace Cooper said she had no reason to believe G. Jeffery Pappas had committed a crime.
Police launched an investigation of Pappas, 36, less than a week after a newspaper article was published in which the one-time noise abatement officer accused city officials of mismanagement of the airport.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Pappas said he was pleased by the ruling and never had any doubts the charges would be dismissed.
"It was just a question of when," he said. "I never did what the city of Long Beach said I did."
Pappas said his arrest in May came because of a conspiracy among city officials who wanted to punish him for making public his complaints about airport management. He had charged that airport officials knowingly ignored violations of the city's noise ordinance by various airlines and private operators.
"I think I made a lot of people uncomfortable," Pappas said.
Pappas was hired last year as a temporary employee to monitor the noise levels produced by jets at the airport. He left the job Feb. 8 after city officials decided not to hire him full time.
On Feb. 22, the airport's computer malfunctioned. Three weeks later police began investigating the matter, focusing on Pappas as the suspect. He was charged with the felony of malicious access and disruption of a computer system and the misdemeanor of unauthorized access of a computer system.