Case against SDPD officer accused of domestic violence under review

EL CAJON (CNS) – The case against a veteran San Diego police officer accused of domestic violence against his wife remains under review, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Gilbert Anthony Lorenzo, 31, who is assigned to the SDPD Northern Division, was booked April 22 into county jail on suspicion of felony domestic battery. He posted $50,000 bail and was ordered to return to court Wednesday for a possible arraignment, but that is on hold while the investigation continues, according to Steve Walker of the District Attorney’s Office.

Lorenzo was arrested in La Mesa, where he lives. Following his arrest, he was quickly placed on leave without pay, according to SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

La Mesa police Lt. Matt Nicholass said his department was alerted to Lorenzo’s alleged violence by an SDPD representative around 1:45 p.m. April 22.

The officer’s spouse did not require hospital treatment, the lieutenant said. Nicholass declined to disclose other details about the alleged abuse, including where it occurred.

Zimmerman said that someone alerted the San Diego police communications center about the alleged domestic abuse but the chief would not say who made the call.

Lorenzo’s arrest opened another in a series of cases involving alleged misconduct on the part of San Diego police officers. Among the accusations are sexual abuse of female detainees and drunken driving.

The chief described the allegations against Lorenzo as a blow to the morale of her entire agency.

“I was very disappointed — very disappointed — to hear this news, and I can tell you our officers were very disappointed to hear this news,” Zimmerman said.

She said SDPD officials would not tolerate the choices of “a very few” officers to “discredit our badge” and “dishonor our noble profession.”

Two months ago, SDPD patrolman Christopher Hays, 30, was charged with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery in connection with his detention of several women. He resigned from the department the next day.

Just last week, following a two-day preliminary hearing, a judge ordered Hays to stand trial in the case. The ex-officer faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Also in February, SDPD officials announced that another one of their officers had been placed on leave amid similar accusations. A woman alleged that patrolman Donald Moncrief, 39, groped her and exposed himself after arresting her last year.

On Feb. 22, SDPD Detective Karen Almos, 47, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after being found passed out in a parked car in Balboa Park. She pleaded guilty this month to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay a fine of about $2,100.

In 2011, then-SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos was accused of sexually assaulting five women during traffic stops for suspected drunken driving in the Gaslamp Quarter. He ultimately was convicted and sentenced to almost nine years in prison.

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