RICHMOND -- In the latest case involving alleged misconduct by a member of the Richmond Police Department, an officer acquitted by a jury last year of beating up a suspect while on the job has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into an altercation he had while off-duty near his Fairfield home.
Dedrick Riley, a nine-year Richmond police officer, has been on leave since Jan. 16, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said. This marks the third time a Richmond officer has been placed on leave in recent months, including one accused of taking bribes from drug dealers.
Riley was twice fired from the department for allegedly punching people he encountered on the job and lying about it. Both times, he won back his job through arbitration after appealing the city's decision.
His attorney, Michael Rains of Pleasant Hill-based Rains Lucia Stern PC, said Friday that Riley did nothing to warrant being placed on leave for the most recent incident in January.
"(Riley) was driving, and he was followed home by an individual and he got into an argument with the individual," Rains said. "It was the subject of an investigation by Fairfield police, and no arrests were made and no charges filed."
Rains called the altercation "primarily verbal."
But Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus elected to put Riley on leave and conduct an Internal Affairs probe into the incident.
"It's common for incidents to be
Fairfield police confirmed Friday that Riley was not arrested.
Riley, 43, has faced multiple allegations of misconduct since his hiring in 2004.
Reached at his Fairfield home Friday, Riley declined to discuss the merits of the investigation but said he is looking forward to returning to work in Richmond.
"I have no plans to do anything else," he said. "I love the city, and I love working there."
Two other officers are on leave resulting from allegations of misconduct.
Sgt. Michael Wang, who is accused by a prosecution witness in a drug-conspiracy trial of taking $140,000 in bribes from drug dealers, among other misconduct, is also represented by attorneys from Rains Lucia Stern. Local and federal investigators are also looking into allegations that he burned informants and tipped off a drug dealer that federal drug agencies were on his tail.
Officer Thomas Hauschild, a six-year veteran, has been on leave since he was arrested in September on suspicion of domestic violence in Alameda County.
Riley's most recent battle was over accusations that he used excessive force in March 2009. A fellow officer and an alleged drug addict said that Riley repeatedly punched a man whom he had observed smoking crack.
A jury in January 2012 found Riley not guilty of unnecessary assault by an officer, filing a false police report and battery.
Riley had been working desk duty since the acquittal, Gagan said.
The Richmond Police Department has a long history of excessive force, civil rights violations and misconduct, most memorably in the early 1980s when the city was slapped with what was then the largest judgment for civil rights violations in U.S. history. Magnus has said restoring public trust in the department is a top priority and is key to his community policing strategy.
Rains said the department went too far in sending Riley home this time, and noted that his client has still not been interviewed by Internal Affairs investigators.
"The facts to me don't warrant the leave," Rains said.
Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/roberthrogers.