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Commander criticized Vallejo cops who skipped ‘any type’ of investigation into domestic violence call

  •   4 min reads
Commander criticized Vallejo cops who skipped ‘any type’ of investigation into domestic violence call
Vallejo Police Department.

VALLEJO – Two Vallejo police officers violated department policy when they didn’t do “any type” of investigation into a domestic violence call in 2018, only to be alerted by San Francisco police hours later that the woman was revictimized by the same man, according to an internal memo obtained by the Vallejo Sun.

Vallejo police officers Bryan Glick and Joseph Coelho were criticized by their commanding officer for not adequately investigating an alleged case of domestic violence on Feb. 4, 2018. In a memo dated the same day, Lt. Steve Cheatham wrote to now-retired Capt. Lee Horton, “Neither officer completed any type of Domestic Violence investigation into this incident.”

The memo states that Glick didn’t even turn on his body camera during the incident.

Brittany K. Jackson, Vallejo police’s public information officer, said she could not comment on any personnel issues related to the incident. She said that under Chief Shawny Williams, the department is taking steps to make “multidisciplinary, trauma-informed care services a priority.”

“Overall, our goal is to provide compassionate care to individuals suffering a crisis by working with our community partners to prioritize accessible wraparound social services and violence intervention and prevention strategies,” Jackson said via email.  

The incident came to Cheatam’s attention around 5 p.m., on Feb. 4, 2018, when San Francisco Police Lt. Ric Schiff contacted him about a domestic violence call they received in San Francisco that afternoon. San Francisco police had arrested a man on suspicion of domestic battery after they contacted the man’s girlfriend, who had a visible bite mark on her hand. She told police she was a victim of domestic violence by the same man earlier that day, but Vallejo police didn’t investigate it.

San Francisco police apparently reached out to Vallejo police to see if they wanted to take custody of the man for the incident earlier that day in Vallejo.

Cheatham wrote in his report that he then checked the call notes, which said there was a report of a “verbal disturbance” just before 6 a.m. that day at an address on Virginia Street in downtown Vallejo. The woman reported she was arguing with her live-in boyfriend because he had her car keys.

“She did not want him to take the car but, [sic] she wanted him to leave,” Cheatham’s report states.

Cheatham wrote that body camera footage shows Glick and Coelho met the boyfriend at the door of the residence, and he led police into the apartment. Coelho did most of the talking, but both officers had a conversation with the man and the woman, but only feet apart from one another in the small apartment.

The woman said her boyfriend “put his hands on her and she looked down at her arm.” She “claimed to have a scratch,” but “the dog may have caused that,” Cheatham wrote.

The woman wasn’t asked about the extent of the alleged abuse or if she was injured.

The boyfriend packed his clothes and left, per Coelho’s instructions before he turned off his body camera. Twenty-three minutes after arriving, Coelho and Glick cleared the call.

San Francisco police determined they would hold the boyfriend for alleged domestic battery. (An online court records search found no criminal charges for the man named in Cheatham’s memo in either San Francisco or Solano County, so the Sun is choosing to withhold his name.)

Cheatham instructed Coelho to reach out to San Francisco police and reconnect with the victim to further investigate her allegations. He tried with no luck because “the victim’s phone is not working,” Cheatham’s report states.

Cheatham wrote the memo to Horton because he believed Coelho and Glick violated department policy regarding how even threats of domestic violence should be investigated, including obtaining documents and statements from the victim, photographing injuries, seizing any weapons from the home, and more.

Cheatham’s report says Glick and Coelho violated that policy by not conducting “any type of domestic violence investigation during this incident.”

It is unclear whether Horton acted on Cheatham’s memo. He retired in November.

Coelho is the son of former Vallejo police officer Kevin Coelho, who works as an investigator for the Solano County District Attorney’s Office. The elder Coelho previously worked as an investigator for the Contra Costa County DA’s office, but resigned shortly after this reporter revealed he was in a fist fight with two other former Vallejo police officers in Oregon in 2014. A victim in that fight would later testify in Solano County that Coelho put him in a chokehold while then-Sgt. Kent Tribble pointed a gun in his face.

The younger Coehlo was named in a lawsuit for an incident in June 2015, when he, Vallejo Police Cpl. Robert Herndon and Officer James Melville pulled over Jason Anderson, who was working as a delivery driver. After he got out of the car, Herdon tased Anderson several times while Melville and Coelho punched and kicked him while on the ground, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged that on the way to the hospital the officers made references to recent shootings and that officers “keep finding dead bodies all over the place” and they were recorded “concocting a story to conceal their violations.” The lawsuit further states “no officers were disciplined or retrained as a result of this incident.” The city settled that lawsuit for $75,000 in November 2019.

Joseph Coelho was also one of five Vallejo police officers named in a lawsuit by Derrick Shields, which alleged that Coelho struck Shields with his flashlight all over his body in April 2016.

The suit alleged that the officers then kicked and punched Shields while he was face down on the ground. Shields was knocked unconscious and “suffered a broken jaw and broken teeth as a result of this incident,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit was thrown out the following year because the court couldn’t locate Shields.

Glick is one of six Vallejo police officers who fired a total of 55 times at Willie McCoy, killing him, as he stirred behind the wheel of his car in a Taco Bell drive through on Feb. 9, 2019. One of those officers, Ryan McMahon, was fired for endangering Glick’s life because he fired as Glick was moving into his line of fire. It was the first time an officer is known to have been fired for their actions during a police killing in Vallejo.

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