OAKLAND — Four Oakland police officers were placed on paid administrative leave after an incident involving an assault in December, authorities said Wednesday.
In a brief statement, Oakland police said the incident occurred the evening of Dec. 7, when Officer Cullen William Faeth was arrested on suspicion of assault and public intoxication. A criminal investigation was completed, and the case is being reviewed by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Faeth is accused of attacking Olga Cortez, an Alameda County probation officer for 18 years, in the December incident. She described the reported assault Wednesday during a news conference with her attorney, John Burris. Burris filed a claim against the city of Oakland on Wednesday.
Cortez said she was taking a shower on Dec. 7 around 9:30 p.m. at her home when she heard loud banging on the door. She and her husband went to check and saw a man in his 20s pounding on the door, demanding to speak to the owner of the house. Her husband opened the door slightly and told him to leave.
“He was trying to force himself into our residence,” Cortez said.
The man appeared to be intoxicated, she said.
A second man also appeared, coming from her backyard toward the front of her home. Cortez has named him in her claim as Oakland police Sgt. Joe Turner. He had what appeared to be a gun and pointed it in her direction, she said.
“I was terrified,” Cortez said. “(My kids) were scared. I didn’t know if this person was going to shoot.”
The second man ran off down the street, she said.
It was then that the first man — reportedly Faeth — allegedly jumped Cortez and grabbed onto her tightly, and the two fell to the ground. She said she sustained bruises to her arms and right leg.
The man hit the side of his head when he fell down.
Besides asking for the owner of the home, Faeth did not give any explanation as to why he was there, Cortez said. He only mumbled and appeared “5150,” police code used to describe people detained for psychiatric evaluation. She said they did not know the two men were police officers until the next day, when Oakland police told her.
Cortez said she had never seen the two men before that night.
She said a police captain came to her home at midnight, asking her to retell the story. Another five officers, including detectives, showed up at 3 a.m. and asked Cortez and her husband to recount the story and re-enact the incident. Cortez said she felt as if they were trying to get her to change her story.
“The whole time I felt revictimized,” she said.
An Oakland police internal affairs investigation is ongoing, according to the department’s statement. The investigation began immediately following the incident, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.
“The Oakland Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct involving our employees seriously. Ensuring internal investigations are swift, fair and objective is our priority,” the department’s statement said.
Watson said Wednesday that media reports describing the incident as a home invasion were inaccurate. Watson said Faeth did not enter the victim’s home, was off-duty and not in uniform, and did not have a gun.
She said the person who called in the incident described it as a home invasion and that information was in dispatch notes that were later included in the responding officers’ report.
“The caller may have said it but, when the officers arrived, that was not what occurred,” Watson said. “That’s why we do investigations, to accurately determine what factually happened.”
Besides Faeth and Turner, it is unclear which officers are being investigated. Burris said he believes they may be the two responding officers who first arrived on the scene.
Turner, a seven-year department veteran, was among four Oakland police officers who shot and killed a 39-year-old man in November when the man pointed a pellet gun at them after a sideshow event.