Police lieutenant demoted over sexually explicit images - Tucson News Now

Police lieutenant demoted over sexually explicit images

The document released today is the result of an internal investigation that began in August last year. The document released today is the result of an internal investigation that began in August last year.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Tucson Police Department has released a nearly 200-page document detailing allegations of misconduct by an officer who has since been demoted.

This document is the result of an internal investigation that began in August last year after several anonymous letters were sent to the police chief and the city attorney's office.

The investigation has revealed that Sgt. Diana Lopez, who was a lieutenant at the time, allegedly sent sexually provocative photos of herself – at least one of them in what appears to be a TPD police shirt – and sexually explicit videos to a subordinate officer with whom she had a relationship from May 2011 to August 2011.

Lopez was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in July 2011.

The report states Lopez's boyfriend shared the images with several colleagues. The documents indicate that at least one of these pictures might have been taken on city property at the end of a work shift.

According to investigators, Lopez was in violation of several general orders and directives placed on officers by the city.

In a recommendation for discipline, Assistant Chief Kathleen Robinson states that although Lopez did not know the pictures and videos she sent out would be disseminated, she used "extremely poor judgment in sending these images, undermining her credibility as a commander."

Lopez's attorney Michael Piccarreta said they plan to appeal his client's demotion and are looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the city.

"I think this whole case is an invasion of privacy," said Piccarreta, pointing out that there the whole investigation relied on officer's memories to build a case.

"None of these items exist, no tapes no videos, nothing," said Piccarreta. 

Internal affairs documents state several officers who were interviewed said they did not have copies of the items they had seen. 

"It was all off duty behavior meant to be private," said Piccarreta.

He also pointed out that the subordinate Lopez was dating was not in her direct chain of command, so it was not a violation of policy for her to be dating another officer.

The documents did reveal that some of the photos were taken on company property on company time.

In a statement in the internal affairs document, Lopez acknowledged that "a video of her and the unnamed officer had been videoed in a police department locker room."

In regards to the provocative photo showing Lopez in a police shirt, documents indicated that photo was not taken on city property or taxpayer dime, also that no badge was visible on the shirt.

In the documents, an internal affairs investigator writes, "while Lopez's actions were legally permissible, they were in extreme poor taste and inappropriate."

Lopez was demoted from Lieutenant to Sergeant after officials stated she violated policy, including the general standards of expected conduct by police officers.

"The code of ethics for police officers states they shall live an 'unsullied' private life.  I have never seen a law enforcement officer, lawyer, a judge or even a saint that lives an unsullied life," said Piccarreta.

Piccarreta also pointed out that: "Traditionally women are judged differently for off duty behavior it's an old school mentality, and hopefully as time goes on that will change."

Tucson police administrators declined to comment on the investigation.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

 

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