New complaints lodged in 'feud in the force' - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

New complaints lodged in 'feud in the force'

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - In the last month, the Guam Police Department has been the subject of headlines - with a half-dozen complaints being filed by police officers against their fellow officers in uniform. This weekend's arrest of Captain Mark Charfauros prompted additional complaints, forcing the department to exhaust even more resources to investigate claims against their own.  

Captain Charfauros' arrest over the weekend has sparked several new complaints that have been lodged with GPD - the latest feuding in the force has led some to question just exactly what is going on in the police department? Captain Charfauros spent the weekend in jail after he was arrested for solicitation to commit assault as a felony.  That charge was dropped down to a misdemeanor and an official misconduct charge was tacked on, when Charfauros was magistrated and appeared before a judge this afternoon. 

The police captain was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. His attorney, Curtis Van De Veld, contends the arrest of his client, the second in a week, is solely a result of the ongoing political infighting in GPD, saying, "These officers acted in violation of law. They simply because of the internal political squabbles in the department are using the police power that we have entrusted them with, in an improper manner."

Not only does Van De Veld believe his client shouldn't have been arrested, but the defense attorney contends he was shoved by the arresting officer, Troy Anciano, out of the hallway at the precinct after asking whether the arrest of his client had been cleared by the police chief or the Attorney General's Office. "He didn't ask me to return to the public area. He simply put his hands on me and started moving me, he detailed. "He put his hands on me and I didn't do anything that warranted him touching me, so I did as instructed the entire time and then afterwards I filed a complaint."

Charfauros' arrest stems from an alleged conversation he had back in November with Officer Burt Carbullido. Charfauros was trying to rent out a home in Yona, but in order to get there he had to have access Frank Balajadia's property. Balajadia later informed the police captain that because of a rift in the family over the property he wanted to rent, Charfauros was no longer allowed to trespass. Balajadia filed a complaint after he found Charfauros with Department of Public Works staffers looking for a public easement resulting in Charfauros' arrest last week. Officer Carbullido claims that because Charfauros was having trouble accessing the property, the police captain asked him to "go with him to deck a guy" in Yona.

Van De Veld contends Carbullido is hardly a credible witness, noting, "I'm informed he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and that was part of the reason why he was relieved of possessing a firearm for some time. And if these events didn't occur and he's asserting they did, then he's delusional. Because as far as I understand from Officer Charfauros, he never made any such statements to Officer Carbullido."

The attorney cites Guam Code 77133, which deals with reporting police officer violations saying if there was actual credible information, alleging Charfauros had committed a crime, a report should have been made within 48 hours to the chief of police and that didn't happen in this case. "He informed me that he was completely unaware of the arrest and that he was upset because patrol officers are not supposed to be doing follow-up investigations it's not part of their function or activity," he said.

Van De Veld added, "It's internal political squabbling and it has to stop...they ought to act more dignified; this kind of internal cannibalism is only going to continue."

Van De Veld believes based on comments posted on KUAM.com in relation to his client's arrest that there is a faction within the department who have a bigger motive of trying to remove Fred Bordallo as the top brass. "This is just completely irresponsible behavior and there needs to be a full investigation of who's been involved in it and the chief needs to take serious disciplinary action or the police department will continue to run amuck with individual officers making their own independent decision about the arrest of other officers," he stated.

Now, just a day after Captain Charfauros was arrested, Officer Mercy Grino and Lieutenant James Santos filed harassment complaints against Captain Paul Suba, alleging they have been embarrassed and humiliated by being named in Suba's Whistleblower complaint.

Meanwhile Police Chief Fred Bordallo declined to provide any comments on this latest arrest and string of complaints filed by his rank-and-file. GPD Spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia says the top brass is reviewing the reports and speaking with the Attorney General's Office in reference to both criminal and internal investigations.

While the court imposed a stay away order for Charfauros to have no contact with Sergeant M.Q. Aguon (Carbullido's former supervisor, who allegedly received the information about the alleged solicitation), arresting officers Troy Anciano and Joseph Borja, and Officer Carbullido. While police are not confirming whether any individuals have been placed on administrative leave with pay, Captain Suba tells KUAM News he was informed he would be placed on leave, along with Officers Carbullido and Anciano.

Captain Suba meanwhile says he is in the process of getting a restraining order from those individuals he named in the Whistleblower complaint - Officer Grino, Captain Charfauros, Officer Gino Charfauros and Lieutenant Santos. Suba feels he's the one who is being harassed and believes being placed on administrative leave is an attempt by the current GPD management to "essentially gagging officers from reporting crimes".

GPD has confirmed a Police Captain, a Police Officer II and a Police Officer III were placed on administrative leave with pay for 20 days. The agency would not release the names.

It was later confirmed that Captain Charfauros has been placed on administrative leave with pay for 20 days following his arrest over the weekend for solicitation to commit assault and official misconduct.

 


TIMELINE OF EVENTS

Now, all of the individuals behind the recent complaints in the police department have had their own run-ins with the law and made headlines in the past. Captain Charfauros, who is currently the division chief of administration for GPD, got his job in the agency after he was terminated from the Guam International Airport Authority where he served a short stint as chief of police. The former senator then was able to enter into a settlement where he was transferred to the Guam Police Department as a captain. The entire transfer was coordinated and approved by then-police chief Paul Suba.

Suba was forced to resign by the former administration following the raid on the KUAM Studios. A search warrant was executed on the Harmon studios after we aired a story about Suba allegedly bypassing the hiring rules by allowing an individual on the force who did not pass his polygraph examination.  Suba was forced to resign and returned to his post as a police captain.  He recently filed a Whistleblower complaint with the Civil Service Commission alleging unbecoming conduct of Charfauros and other officers.  He also indicated that Charfauros was the prime suspect in the alleged leaked document to KUAM .

Then there's Officer Burt Carbullido. He was arrested for assault in 2008 after he was caught on a cell phone video involved in a bar fight.  The case was dismissed after a civil compromise with the victim, despite prosecutor's saying dismissal would not result in justice being served. Carbullido also filed a Whistleblower complaint with the CSC, alleging misconduct within the police department.

Lieutenant James Santos meanwhile filed his own Whistleblower Protection Act complaint alleging all sorts of misconduct when Suba was the chief.  Santos was demoted to the rank of police sergeant after a government corruption investigation revealed that he allegedly spent time at an outside job during GPD hours.  He was never charged in court.

Officer Troy Anciano is the same officer who is named in a civil complaint by local businessman James Adkins.  Anciano and another officer allegedly arrested Adkins for taking photos of a car crash with his cell phone.  Adkins has alleged police violated his civil rights.

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