Protecting and serving is the new racketeering.
Costa Mesa, California – This week, two former police officers were arrested and charged with felonies after a plot to frame a local politician failed miserably.
Private investigators and former police officers Chris Lanzillo and Scott Impola now face felony charges of illegal use of a tracking device, false imprisonment by deceit, conspiracy to commit a crime and falsely reporting a crime.
The two were not acting independently but were actually hired by Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir of Upland, a law-firm, which at the time represented over 120 police unions across California.
According to prosecutors, local Councilmen Jim Righeimer, Stephen Mensinger and Gary Monahan were targeted by police unions because they had a number of political disagreements, specifically in regards to police budgets.
A lawsuit that was later filed by Righeimer and Mensinger, claimed that the private detectives, working on behalf of the local police unions and their partner law firm, planted a GPS device on Righeimer’s car and attempted to have him wrongfully arrested for driving under the influence.
The incident occurred on August 22 of 2012, when Righeimer left a council meeting and met with Monahan at a nearby bar. The two talked about business and drank a few non-alcoholic beverages and then returned home. However, as soon as Righeimer got home, police knocked on the door and told him that a caller tipped them off that he had driven home drunk. He was then detained by police until they determined that he was not under the influence of alcohol.
Righeimer says that the two men tracked his car with the GPS and followed him, then called 911 to report that he had been drinking when they saw him leaving a bar.
The Costa Mesa Police Officers Association and many police unions throughout the country are known to stalk political opponents in a program known as “candidate research.” In this program, police unions hire private detectives to dig up dirt on politicians so that information can later be used as blackmail. This tactic is employed on political enemies, as well as political allies.
“What kind of world do we live in when the people we give guns and badges to hire private investigators to surveil public officials?” Righeimer said in a statement.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.