Mt. San Jacinto College Police Chief Kevin Harold Segawa illegally received gifts and other benefits from the owner of a company that was used to tow vehicles that were impounded by officers, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Among the allegations, Segawa arrested a suspected undocumented immigrant who was selling ice cream from a cart in Menifee, but took the ice cream home and gave some to a neighbor because his freezer was full — and never filed a case against the man, prosecutors said.
The allegations were part of a news release by prosecutors outlining the filing of 10 criminal counts — including bribery, perjury and misappropriation of public funds — against Segawa following a 13-month investigation.
“We take public integrity seriously, especially for those who have been entrusted with the authority to enforce the law,” District Attorney Rodric Anthony Pacheco said in a written statement. “The public must be able to trust that those who have the authority to enforce the law in our community are not misusing that authority to benefit themselves.”
Segawa, who has been on paid administrative leave since July, surrendered to investigators from the district attorney office at 2 p.m. today, said John Hall, spokesman for the district attorney.
Segawa has been charged with one felony count each of bribery, destruction or secreting of a police report; two felony counts each of perjury, misappropriation of public funds; filing a false public document; and one misdemeanor count each of destroying or concealing evidence and failure to file an arrest citation with the court, Hall said.
Hall said Morgan Allen McComas, 40, owner of Pirot’s Towing in San Jacinto has also been charged in connection with the case. McComas, who also surrendered to investigators this afternoon, is charged with one count of offering a bribe to a public officer and two counts of being an aider and abettor in the misappropriation of public funds.
Hall said the evidence shows that Segawa received various gifts, loans and benefits while the police chief of the college. The gifts, loans and benefits were given to Segawa as part of a business relationship he had with McComas, Hall said. During the four-year period from 2005 to 2008, while Segawa was the police chief, college police officers towed about 1,200 vehicles. Although an informal tow rotation existed involving three other companies, 85 percent of the tows were directed by officers to Pirots while the remainder of the tows were split between the other companies.
Traditionally, police agencies rotate the companies that are called on to tow vehicles that are impounded by officers so one does not have a financial advantage over others.
Hall said that it is estimated that Pirots Towing may have received $200,000 to $500,000 in potential profit from those tows. Several officers told investigators that Segawa directed or influenced them to tow vehicles and use Pirots Towing.
Some of the gifts and benefits Segawa received at no cost from McComas include a used 50cc motorcycle, used rims and tires for his personal pickup, about $75 in food and drinks for Segawa and his wife at a 2006 Christmas party, tickets for a box seat at a Del Mar Racetrack event and approximately $120 in free lunches at a Riverside restaurant in 2007.
A fee for a dispatch radio license for the college police department and repairs to the interior of a damaged police vehicle with a combined value estimated at $1,100 were paid for by McComas with money the college should have received from the tow company. College officials said they were unaware of that financial agreement between Segawa and the owner of Pirots and that funds to pay for the license and vehicle repair were available had Segawa followed policy.
Karin Marriott, spokeswoman for the college, said in a news release that Segawa has been MSJC’s police chief since 2005. The chief was placed on leave several months ago while the investigation was being conducted. Mt. San Jacinto College has cooperated with the District Attorney’s investigation and hired an interim chief, Marriott said.
“We take this matter seriously and will take the appropriate action based on the law and District policy,” said Irma Ramos, vice president of human resources, in a written statement. “We want to assure our students, staff and the community that we will continue to provide a safe environment at Mt. San Jacinto College.”
Segawa failed to disclose any of the gifts on California Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700 in either 2006 or 2007, as he was required to do by law, Hall said. Failing to do so lead to the perjury and filing a false public document counts.
Hall said the two counts of destruction or secreting a police report and destroying or concealing evidence involved Segawa’s actions in 2008 after he arrested a woman who worked at the college on suspicion of embezzlement. Segawa had a college police officer write a supplemental report about the arrest. The officer told investigators that he e-mailed his report to Segawa, but was reluctant to do so because it negatively portrayed Segawa and his actions during the arrest. When Segawa ultimately resubmitted his arrest report to the DA’s Office in January 2009 – the first report was returned to him for further follow up — the officer’s supplemental report was not included.
The supplemental report also was never filed in college police department records. DA’s investigators found that the supplemental report was received in Segawa’s e-mail and later deleted. No criminal charges have been filed against the woman Segawa arrested.
Segawa arrested an illegal immigrant in 2008 who was selling ice cream from a cart in Menifee, not on the college campus. Segawa wrote the man a ticket, seized the cart and all the ice cream, then turned the man over to immigration officers who deported him. Segawa took the ice cream to his home and gave what would not fit in his own refrigerator to a neighbor.
Segawa never filed an arrest report with his department’s records division and no citation or report was ever sent to the DA’s Office for review. By law, Segawa is required to file a signed and served arrest citation with the court or formally request it be dismissed. Neither was done by Segawa.
Filed under: Civil Liberties, Education Industrial Complex, Immigration, Prison Industrial Complex, Riverside County, Riverside DA Tagged: | California Fair Political Practices Commission, John Hall, Kevin Harold Segawa, Morgan Allen McComas, Mount San Jacinto College, Pirot’s Towing, Riverside County District Attorney, Rodric Anthony Pacheco