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New allegations against college police chief
Friday, December 5th, 2008
Issue 49, Volume 12.
Tomorrow Horton, a former employee of the college, has accused the chief of wrongful arrest, unlawful detainment and coercing her into resigning from her job, CSEA documents show.
Hers is the fourth similar accusation to surface so far this year against the MSJC Police Department’s chief, Kevin Segawa.
Last week, three former police officers accused the chief of using similar tactics to convince them to resign their posts, according to the officers’ attorney.
According Horton, the chief of police called Horton and asked her to meet him at a restaurant in San Jacinto on Aug. 11.
Though the chief objected, she insisted a representative from CSEA be present.
At the meeting, the chief said someone had filed a complaint against her alleging she had given away $50 gas cards which were the school’s property and made a threat against a coworker, Horton recalled.
After she denied the accusations, the chief directed one of his officers, Scott Jensen, to arrest her, Horton said. He charged her with felony embezzlement and making "terrorist threats," she recalled.
Michael Lee Breyette, the chapter president of the CSEA, urged her to let the officers take her to jail, Horton said.
But the officers did not take her to a jail. With her hands cuffed in front of her body, the two officers brought her to the police station on the college’s Menifee campus, she said.
The station lacks a detention facility, so the chief set her in a chair in his office for more than three hours, Horton stated. The chief offered to release her if she signed a resignation letter.
"He knew I needed to get my son out of school and he wouldn’t let me go until I signed the [resignation] paper," said Horton. "He wouldn’t even let me call anybody to get my son out of school."
As the time to pick up her son neared, Horton conceded. Segawa typed up the resignation himself, she said, and gave it to her to sign.
MSJC declined to comment, according to the college’s spokesperson, Karin Marriott. "We’re unable to comment on personnel issues," she said.
The letter of resignation included confessing to handing out gas cards and making threats.
After Horton signed the letter, Segawa released her.
"I feel like if he should have arrested me he should have taken me to the [Southwest Justice Center] and he shouldn’t have held me at the police station for almost four hours," Horton said. "Whether you like me or not, it shouldn’t have gone that far."
On Aug. 14, Breyette addressed the school’s board of trustees about what the CSEA considered an abuse of power and miscarriage of justice.
In addition, Horton sent a letter rescinding her resignation but the district refused to reinstate her.
According to a letter, Irma Ramos, the school’s head of human resources, sent to CSEA representative Gary Snyder, the school could not accept her rescission. "Once accepted, the resignation is irrevocable as a matter of law," the letter read.
According to Horton, she sent her letter rescinding her resignation via e-mail only hours after she signed the original resignation.
While employed at the college, Horton was working on her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She had to go on leave last August when she was diagnosed with a brain cyst.
She lost her medical coverage after she resigned and is now on Medi-Cal.
The CSEA is currently considering combining their case with that of three officers alleging the chief and the district wrongfully terminated them under similar circumstances.
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