Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have been criminally charged with lying about a drug arrest after a videotape of the incident appeared to contradict their account, authorities said.
Deputies Robert G. Lindsey, 31, and Charles G. Rodriguez, 38, were each charged with one count of filing a false report and one count of conspiracy in connection with the June 3, 2011, drug arrest. The deputies, who were arrested and released on their own recognizance, are expected to be arraigned May 13. If convicted, they face a maximum of three years in prison.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Lindsey and Rodriguez have been relieved of duty without pay.
"We take this very seriously," he said.
Rodriguez and his attorney could not be reached for comment. Lindsey's attorney, Richard Shinee, declined to comment.
The charges against the deputies stem from their arrest of Abraham Rueda. According to the arrest report written by Lindsey, an informant had told them a man called Abraham was selling cocaine in the parking lot of a Huntington Park bar. When they arrived, the report said, they spotted Rueda standing next to the driver's side door of a Lexus SUV.
Lindsey wrote that he approached Rueda, "looked inside the driver's window" and saw "a plastic baggie containing white powder cocaine in the air vent under the car stereo." Lindsey stated he then took Rueda into custody on suspicion of narcotics possession and searched the car.