Nearly a year after the first lawsuit was filed, five officers involved in four of the lawsuits against the UC Police Department entered into internal mediation with the university last week — and were unable to come to “meaningful settlement,” according to Antonio Castillo, whose firm represents five of the plaintiffs.
“Both sides shared respective confidential information, however we determined that presently we are too far apart,” Castillo said in an email to the Nexus.
The plaintiffs plan to have a second mediation session in December; Castillo emphasized that before the second session, “both sides have agreed to lay all their cards on the table, as far as evidence of claims or counters, to give the next date the best chance of resolution.”
The first of the lawsuits, Mark Signa v. UC Regents, was filed in November 2018; the second, Michael Little v. UC Regents, on March 19, 2019; the third, Doe v. UCPD, on March 27, 2019; the fourth, Jonathan Lee Reyes v. UC Regents, on May 17, 2019; and the fifth, Stern v. UC Regents, in August, the Nexus previously reported.
All cases outline patterns of misconduct and harassment within the UC Police Department, going back several years. The lawsuits’ effects, however, have extended beyond the department; on Wednesday, Santa Barbara Judge James E. Herman heard a motion from Patrick Galoustian’s lawyer, who argued that UCPD officers may have tampered with evidence related to Galoustian’s case.
Galoustian, who was arrested in December 2017 on sexual assault charges, has spent the last two years in jail.
According to the Doe v. UCPD lawsuit, UCPD Officer Ryan Hashimoto allegedly circulated an edited video of Galoustian sexually assaulting a woman. Documents state Hashimoto “mock[ed] an evidence video” by mimicking Galoustian’s accent and made sexual references to the victim. An Internal Affairs investigation has since been opened into Hashimoto’s actions, as stated in court on Wednesday.
All of the cases will remain stalled in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court while the plaintiffs attempt internal mediation with the university.