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Paper owes new officer an apology

January 26, 2006|By By Kreg Muller

Leave it to the Huntington Beach Independent to make our new employee feel so welcome ("Police hire officer linked to beating"). Let me begin by stating something that the Independent seemed to gloss over. Bijan Darvish was never accused of any excessive force or beating. Darvish and his family went through a living hell as the Inglewood Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office investigated the videotaped incident.

Did the paper do the slightest bit of an investigation before publishing this sensationalized article? In fact, Darvish is clearly seen on the videotape with his back to the entire videotaped incident. Darvish wrote a report that documented his involvement and what he witnessed. The L.A. County District Attorney's Office expected Darvish to have eyes in the back of his head. Darvish clearly could not have seen the videotaped interaction between Officer Jeremy Morse and the teenager.

Darvish was indicted by a grand jury and went through a complete jury trial, and he was acquitted. Darvish also went through internal department discipline, which is what the story attempted to point out. Darvish went through the entire process and was exonerated by the hearing officer. The Inglewood Police Department did not accept the hearing officer's finding; Darvish had to go to Superior Court, and the city of Inglewood under court order had to accept the hearing officer's findings.

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Throughout this whole process, Darvish had to cover all of his own legal expenses, which were in the tens of thousands of dollars. You might think that this process would have made Darvish bitter toward being a police officer in Inglewood. Not this officer. He continued to work at Inglewood and gave them 110% every day until the day he left and came to work here at the Huntington Beach Police Department.

I have complete confidence that Chief Kenneth Small conducted a thorough background check on Darvish, and I agree with the chief, who told the Independent: "Officer Darvish did nothing wrong. He is an outstanding officer."

I think the Independent owes Officer Bijan Darvish an apology. You completely missed the boat. Huntington Beach is fortunate to have a dedicated employee like Bijan Darvish.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Are you concerned about Huntington Beach's hiring a police officer who was at the scene of a high-profile beating in Inglewood? Call our Readers Hotline at (714) 966-4691 or send e-mail to hbindependent@latimes.com. Please spell your name and include your hometown and phone number for verification purposes.

* KREG MULLER is the president of the Huntington Beach Police Officers' Assn. To contribute to "Sounding Off," e-mail us at hbindependent@latimes.com or fax us at (714) 966-4667.

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