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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

The Favor

Fireworks and Independence Day go hand-in-hand in the United States. When it’s legal and safe to shoot off fireworks from your backyard, it’s fun and a festive way to end the celebratory event. The new police chief took his oath of office in June that year. The next month, two of his officers, one a sergeant, the other a subordinate officer, responded to a call regarding illegal fireworks that changed the lives of all three. The fateful call involved a husband and wife. One officer’s camera captured the call, the supervising officer’s camera was off. When it’s not legal or safe, setting off fireworks may cause you legal complications and possibly cost you your job. In this true crime, the offender worked as a correctional officer and there'd be employment repercussions if the officers had given him a citation for setting off illegal fireworks. After the officers learned the husband worked as a correctional officer, the sergeant directed the subordinate officer to site the wife who had not been involved in setting off the fireworks rather than the correctional officer. When the false report and citation became known to the police chief, he gave orders to arrest the officers for violating Penal Code Section 181.1 and placed them on administrative leave. Penal Code Section 181.1:

Every peace officer who files any report with the agency which employs him or her regarding the commission of any crime or any investigation of any crime, if he or she knowingly and intentionally makes any statement regarding any material matter in the report which the officer knows to be false, whether or not the statement is certified or otherwise expressly reported as true, is guilty of filing a false report punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or in the state prison for one, two, or three years. This section shall not apply to the contents of any statement which the peace officer attributes in the report to any other person.

The police chief at the time said,

"In keeping transparency, public trust and continued relationships with the community, the Livingston Police Department does not and never will tolerate criminal behavior from our officers."

Since then, the court ruled to dismiss the case against the sergeant. The case against the subordinate officer is pending. Both officers and the police chief no longer work for that police department. For obvious reasons, you can’t find out the current employment status for correctional officers, so the husband’s current employment is unknown.

Source: Merced County District Attorney, California Superior Court, ABC News,

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