Seven Calexico Officers Say They Were Fired in Revenge Plot, Lawsuit Says

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NBC 7

Seven California police officers say they were wrongfully terminated in an alleged revenge plot by the department’s interim police chief in a lawsuit they filed this week against the chief and other city leaders.

It's the latest turn in the corruption saga in the small border city of Calexico, since newly appointed interim Police Chief Mike Bostic tearfully told the press he'd asked the FBI to help investigate what he called a mafia-style "extortion racket."

An independent program is looking at the department’s policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement.

The lawsuit alleges that Bostic, interim City Manager Richard Warne, Police Lieutenant Gonzalo Gerardo and City Councilmember Maritza Hurtado all went to “great lengths” while violating federal law to extract revenge. Two individuals are also named as having been retaliated against. The suit was filed by law firm Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone in San Diego court on Monday.

Hurtado allegedly wanted to eliminate those trying to cross her during her election, while Bostic and Warne are accused of wanting to secure large employment contracts from the city in exchange for helping Hurtado.

When Bostic took over the department, he fired seven officers, the lawsuit alleges, for common mistakes that most other officers had made, not for corruption. Six of those officers also held union leadership positions, the lawsuit said.

In November 2014, Bostic publicly accused his predecessor, some members of his own department and city officials of illegally trying to undermine a criminal investigation, comparing their actions to those of the New York mafia.

“The councilmembers in conjunction with the police officers association and members of that association have used city funds and city resources to run what I would call an extortion racket,” Bostic said at the time.

“I’ve literally had it,” Bostic said. He was brought in last October to replace former chief Pompeyo Tabarez who was fired Oct. 13 “in the interests of the citizens.”

He claims some of the elected officials and POA members were using thousands of dollars in surveillance equipment recently purchased with department funds to follow other members of the city government.

NBC7 has reached out to the City of Calexico, its City Manager and the Police Chief for comment. They did not immediately reply. 

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