Stockton - Today, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that the grand jury has indicted Michael Stiles and Omar Villapudua, two former Stockton Police Department Officers, with felony counts of assault by a public officer (149 PC) and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury (245(a)(4) PC), as well as great bodily injury enhancements.
"Those who violate their oath to protect and serve discredit the good work law enforcement strives to do every day," said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar. "This grand jury indictment reminds us all that when police use unlawful force, they undermine community trust. As your District Attorney, I have a responsibility to ensure equal accountability and justice for all. As the daughter of a police officer, I know how important that responsibility is to restore community trust, safety, and honor to the profession."
The allegations against the former officers stem from a use of force incident involving a minor on December 30, 2020. According to the Stockton Police Department, the victim was driving on Eight Mile Road in North Stockton when officers attempted to pull him over for reckless driving. The teen led officers on a brief chase before a pit maneuver was executed which brought the vehicle to a stop.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office determined empaneling a grand jury was the best way to ensure timely justice for all those involved. In addition to the regularly appointed civil grand jury, a criminal grand jury may be empaneled at the request of a District Attorney or the Attorney General. A criminal grand jury is comprised of 19 jurors and alternates as needed.
A criminal grand jury requires inculpatory (evidence used to establish a defendant's guilt) and exculpatory (evidence used to establish innocence on behalf of the defendant) evidence. This results in the prosecuting agency requesting any information from the defense counsel they feel relevant to be submitted and presented to the grand jury.
Upon delivery of the indictment transcripts from the San Joaquin County Superior Court to the defense counsel and prosecutor, defense counsel has ten days to file a motion to keep the records sealed. The District Attorney has requested the transcripts be released. After the ten days, the unsealed records, if any, will be made available to the public.
The defendants return before the Honorable Judge Ronald Northrup on November 5, 2021.