A California border town, with a population of 39,000, has been under scrutiny by federal agents for some time, and now there’s a new development in the corruption case of seven officers there.
Last year, the newly appointed interim Police Chief of Calexico, tearfully told the press he’d asked the FBI to help investigate what he called a mafia-style “extortion racket.” Chief Mike Bostic had said leaders of the Calexico police union were “acting like the mob,” intimidating good cops and threatening residents who presented complaints about officers.
Chief Bostic told local press at the time that he’s “ticked off” that there are some members of his department who are extorting elected officials
But a lawsuit filed in San Diego court on July 20th alleges that when Chief Bostic took over the department, he fired seven officers for common mistakes that most other officers had made, not for corruption.
Other city leaders, like Council member Maritza Hurtado, were also named in the lawsuit and are accused of going to “great lengths” while violating federal law to extract revenge. Hurtado allegedly wanted to eliminate those trying to cross her during her election, according to NBC San Diego.
Many locals said they were surprised when the FBI first paid a visit to the Police Department in October of 2014, taking with them files and computers.
Bostic claims some of the elected officials and POA members were using thousands of dollars in surveillance equipment purchased with department funds to follow other members of the city government. “Whatever they were doing with that equipment… it wasn’t legal,” Bostic said.
According to the report, they also bought “James Bond-like” surveillance equipment, including hidden eyeglass cameras.
“I literally cannot think of any legitimate reason why a department the size of Calexico would have that kind of equipment. And then when the FBI’s going through that equipment, and starts looking in the recording, they’re recording City Council members. And they were using it for extortion,” Bostic told KPBS back in January.
Chief Bostic, a 34-year veteran of law enforcement, was brought to tears when describing to members of the press how he had to call in the FBI after just two weeks on the job.
“It’s a double edged sword, there’s nothing more embarrassing than to have your department under that kind of scrutiny. I’m grateful to the FBI for helping me weed out the people I need to weed out and for supporting good officers who’ve been put under a cloud by a few. It was the most disappointing day, this is my city, my community, my officers. How can you be anything but depressed?”