San Diego Deputy Richard Fischer- faces 5 additional charges mostly involving on-duty sexual misconduct & abuse of power under the color of authority
San Diego Deputy Richard Fischer’s legal situation worsens. Fischer, already facing allegations from 13 women, who accuse Fischer of inappropriately touching, fondling, hugging and kissing them while on-the-job, was re-arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of 5 additional felony counts, including suspicion of sexual assault. Facing numerous allegations, Fischer is accused of abusing his position of power to inappropriately interact with women who were being detained or incarcerated, or during traffic stops. Aside from the criminal cases, 20 women have sued Fischer and the county in civil court. As of early May, 2018, San Diego County already reached settlements with four alleged victims in civil court totaling upwards of $900,000. Remaining claims are on hold until at least December in order to first address the pending criminal charges.
Even before Thursday’s arrest, Fischer’s legal situation had already begun a downward spiral. While out on bail and pending an investigation following his original February 22nd arrest, Fischer once again came under fire. In June, a former Mesa college student filed additional charges accusing Deputy Fischer of abusing his position of power during an early morning traffic stop. The former Mesa College student states that in September 2012, while driving home, Deputy Richard Fischer pulled her over at 4 a.m. near San Diego State University. The alleged victim states that Fischer offered to follow her home in lieu of arresting her for allegedly driving under the influence. The claim states that upon arriving at her home, Fischer told her that he was doing her a favor by not arresting her for DUI and asked for her phone number and a hug. Then, he allegedly groped her and sent subsequent inappropriate and unwanted text messages.
On August 3rd, just weeks before his latest arrest, the former Mesa college student filed an additional claim stating that two Internal Affairs officers pressured her not to file a formal complaint against Fischer, which suggests the sheriff’s department was well-aware of Fischer’s inappropriate behavior towards women while on duty and did nothing to put a stop to his actions.
According to the DA’s office, if convicted on the most recent charges, Fischer faces more than 10 years. Fischer is already looking at up to 14 years and 8 months if convicted on the numerous charges already filed- which include sexual battery and false imprisonment..
Prosecutors state that of the 19 different women with serious allegations against Fischer, approximately half called the sheriff’s department after their alleged assault. These women claim there was no evidence of any sort of follow up investigation or inquiry. If true, this is completely unacceptable and a gross injustice that should have severe consequences for those involved who chose to either ignore or cover up Fischer’s behavior.
Several alleged victims state that following a 911 call, Fischer (alone) would return to victims’ homes, much later in the evening, after the call was cleared from dispatch records. Fischer is accused of abusing his power and authority to coerce & scare his victims into silence and complacency. If the allegations are true, this definitely suggests planning and forethought.
Despite the awful claims made by numerous different women, Fischer’s wife continues to stand by his side. Fischer states that every night they both pray for his good name to be cleared. Calling it a case of “he said said she said… [that has] no corroborating evidence,” Manny Medrano, Fischer’s defense attorney, states that his client “vigorously denies” all allegations and they plan to “zealously challenge them” in court.
Disgusted by these allegations, San Diego’s most feared DUI attorney, Rick Mueller, intelligently comments stating, “[if true], this horrible behavior by a person sworn to serve and protect San Diego residents reinforces the need for law enforcement officials to videotape every civilian encounter while on duty. A time stamped, continuous record is necessary to prevent law enforcement officials from having the ability to abuse their position of power to victimize others under the guise of police authority. It also protects upstanding law enforcement officers who genuinely work to protect San Diegans from false accusations and unnecessary, costly internal investigations.”
With various controversies involving police violence, unlawful stops, harassment, abuse of power and sexual misconduct, it seems like a no brainer to invest in the technology that records every officers’ actions while on duty. Undoubtedly, an initial investment, in the long run, it would prevent lengthy and expensive investigations and unnecessary legal proceedings. Most importantly, it would hopefully create a sense of accountability from both law enforcement officials and civilians alike. If both parties know that the entire encounter is being recorded, officers are likely to show restraint and civilians are less likely to make false allegations.