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2 Huntington Park Officers Suspended as D.A. Probes Prisoner's Death

September 24, 1987|RICHARD HOLGUIN | Times Staff Writer

HUNTINGTON PARK — Two police officers have been suspended and the district attorney's office is investigating the death last week of a local man who was arrested and jailed after a domestic dispute.

The two officers were placed on paid leave Monday pending the outcome of the investigation into the death of Jose Robles, 32, less than two hours after his Sept. 15 arrest, Capt. Martin Simonoff said.

Officers Roy Segura, Mike Craven and Peter McGuire all participated in the arrest, Lt. Frank Sullivan said. But Simonoff declined to name the two who were relieved of duty. They were suspended based on their "degree of involvement and contact with the subject," he said.

The Police Department requested that the district attorney's office participate in the investigation, Simonoff said.

"We've interviewed quite a few people already, (but) not everybody has been spoken to that may have been a witness in the case," Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven A. Sowders said Tuesday.

Autopsy Inconclusive

Investigators still don't know what caused Robles' death, said Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Bill Gold. An autopsy last Thursday was inconclusive and the results of toxicological tests are pending, Gold said.

Police went to the Seville Avenue duplex where Robles lived after his wife, Judith Quan, 31, went to the police station at about 7:30 p.m. and reported Robles had physically abused her, Sullivan said. She asked for police assistance so she could remove her belongings and those of her children from the residence, he said.

"While (the three officers) were inside of the house, (Robles) was very angry and he reached out to attack this lady, his wife, and he was restrained by the officers," Sullivan said.

The officers fought with Robles before they handcuffed him and took him to the police station, where he was placed in a booking cell, Sullivan said.

Watch commander Lt. Stan Ramsey called paramedics after he noticed Robles' breathing was "very shallow." Robles was taken by ambulance to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he was pronounced dead at 9:01 p.m.

"At the time he was in the booking cell, initially he was not unconscious, but it appears by the time the paramedics got there he was unconscious," Sullivan said.

Officer Bruised

Craven was bruised in the struggle and the other two officers were not injured, Sullivan said. The officers did not use a stun gun in the arrest, he said.

Robles was to have been booked for investigation of wife battery and resisting arrest, Sullivan said.

In a unrelated case, a former Huntington Park police lieutenant pleaded no contest as part of a plea bargain last week to three misdemeanor charges that stemmed from a disagreement with a man who once employed his wife. He was sentenced to three years' probation, Sowders said.

David Hood, who resigned from the department Aug. 17, was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, pay for damages related to vandalism charges, undergo counseling and refrain from drinking alcohol, Sowders said. Hood, 45, also is required to stay away from the South Gate businessman, the target of the vandalism.

Hood pleaded no contest in Municipal Court to two counts of vandalism and one count of disturbing the peace, Sowders said.

As part of a plea bargain, the district attorney's office dropped charges of intimidating a witness, brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner and filing a false police report.

Says Bargain Good

Sowders said the plea bargain was a good one "considering the factual weaknesses in the case." Hood spent five days in jail after his arrest in July.

"He's been punished. He's been deterred and we'll get restitution for the victim," Sowders said.

Hood was first charged in connection with an argument on Aug. 25, 1986, when he was accused of slashing the tires of businessman Ronald Mobley's motor home. Hood also was accused of threatening Mobley with a knife and a gun and falsely reporting to police that he had been attacked at his Downey home by Mobley.

Hood was free on his own recognizance when he was arrested July 27 after he allegedly fired a shotgun at Mobley's unoccupied pickup truck while it was parked in the driveway of Mobley's home.

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