Police Transparency Law Details Sexual Misconduct Investigation of Former Emeryville Police Officer
The Emeryville Police Department recently released detailed records of police misconduct required by the new State Bill 1421 ‘Police Transparency’ Law. The EPD provided a summary response to the Public Record Act (PRA) request by media outlets back on January 30th.
Records released by other jurisdictions have provided sexual misconduct reports of dismissed officers within the Burlingame PD, Watsonville PD and Fairfield PD. Northwestern University has created an interactive map charting the release of these records across the state.
The heavily redacted EPD records provide detailed accounts of an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation into former police officer Joshua Patterson. Patterson resigned in 2014 after an IA investigation revealed he was dishonest with investigators about his behavior including relationships with Sex Workers and alleged to have violated eleven department policies.
The following is a summary of the 170 pages of documents from the investigation conducted by Fraser Investigations & Consulting,
January, 2012 – A ‘Top Candidate’
Patterson was recruited from the Draper, Utah Police Department in 2011 by then EPD Chief Ken James. Patterson was considered a ‘top candidate’ despite a federal suit in 2010 for injuries to a suspect including a separated shoulder and bleeding in his brain. One description of Patterson estimated he was 6’5″ and weighed 220 lbs.
A background investigation was performed on Patterson that included a review of his personnel file and interviews with his neighbors, co-workers and family.
Patterson was hired and sworn in with the Emeryville Police Department in September, 2012. This City Progress report noted the ceremony was attended by his wife, parents and relatives that had traveled from the midwest.
February, 2014 – Citizen Complaint Invites Suspicion Against Patterson
Suspicion of Patterson’s conduct first arose after an Oakland resident reported observing Patterson’s behavior to EPD dispatch in February, 2014. The resident described the officer as “a big white male with a bald head” and expressed concern regarding his actions with two known prostitutes near 30th and Myrtle. The neighbor overheard the officer asking, “What are you doing later tonight?” “I’ll see you later.” A second prostitute hugged the Officer.
March, 2014 – Patterson’s Patrol Car Monitored
In March, 2014, fellow officers began monitoring Paterson’s vehicle’s whereabouts through a tracking device. For approximately three weeks, they logged discrepancies between the tracked location of his vehicle and where he communicated he was through radio dispatch.
Patterson was determined to be spending large portions of his shift along San Pablo Avenue (SPA) in West Oakland between 23rd and 32nd. The locations are well-known by the Oakland PD for prostitution and referred to as “The Track” or “The Triangle.”
The vehicle tracker showed Patterson’s police SUV stopping in these areas for durations as long as forty-five minutes. Patterson was determined to be outside the City limits on average nearly 9% of each shift or nearly one hour for every 10 hours scheduled to work.
Patterson was determined to be outside the City limits on average nearly 9% of each shift or nearly one hour for every 10 hours scheduled to work.
Emeryville officers then consulted a CRI (Confidential Reliable Informant) who was friendly with a group of SPA Sex-Workers. The CRI claimed she overheard from a group of known prostitutes that Patterson was having sex in motel rooms with at least one black female prostitute. They referred to the encounters with Patterson as “stay away nights.”
April, 2014 – Sting Operation Implemented
In April 2014, Emeryville Officers received a court order to track Patterson’s personal vehicles. They also set up a sting operation with the help of an acquaintance of their CRI who posed as a prostitute and was outfitted with a wire. The informant was approached by Patterson during his shift and he took the bait by offering her a ride to BART. During this ride, Patterson engaged in lewd conversation with her and asked to see her breasts. He communicated with her that he got off at 6 p.m. and exchanged personal phone numbers with her.
On a second encounter with her, Patterson inquired about the cost of sex with her. She noted that it was normally $60 but she’d provide this for $50 to him and $40 for oral sex. Patterson stated he did not want to “do it on the job” nor take his uniform off just in case he got a call. Patterson wrote down her phone number and “MyRedbook” address (MyRedBook was a website often used by sex-workers that was shut down by the DOJ in 2014). Another testimony from April 4th at a Motel 6 noted Paterson requested a ‘younger girl’ to join in and the sex-worker attempted to contact a 14-year-old.
May, 2014 – Patterson placed on Paid Administrative Leave
Investigative officers documented these testimonials and recordings and presented their findings to department leadership. On May 2nd 2014, then Emeryville Police Chief Ken James placed Patterson on paid Administrative Leave.
Officers searched Patterson’s locker and recovered several index cards with contact information of suspected prostitutes. Patterson also annotated the cards with a form of shorthand that investigators believed helped identify these women by their physical features including “BB, PF, NT, and H ASS.”
Patterson also annotated the cards with a form of shorthand that investigators believed helped identify physical features of the different women including “BB, PF, NT, and H ASS.”
Officers arranged meetings with some of the women on the cards and questioned them about their relationship with Patterson. Several of the women contacted spoke of “hugging” him on various occasions. One admitted sex-worker claimed she performed oral sex on Patterson for $50. Another sex-worker noted he had a reputation for being flirtatious and for paying well for a ‘date’ ($200).
July, 2014 – Patterson Interviewed by Superiors
In July, 2016, Patterson was interviewed by consultant Michael Fraser and EPD Commander Jeannie Quan. Patterson was represented by an attorney with the law firm Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, PC.
During an extensive audio interview, Patterson was questioned about his behavior including time spent outside city limits and his interaction with Prostitutes. Patterson claimed ignorance of the policies that restricted officers’ leaving city limits and denied knowing many of the sex-workers that he was shown photos of. He also denied knowing what the shorthand codes in his notes stood for.
…it is apparent that he was less than forthcoming with information and purposefully non-responsive to many of the questions asked by investigators.
Fraser provided his conclusion of the interview with Paterson noting Patterson’s answers were inconsistent with the evidence. “Officer Patterson failed to be truthful at all times whether under oath or not. During the interview of Officer Patterson on July 8, 2014, it is apparent that he was less than forthcoming with information and purposefully non-responsive to many of the questions asked by investigators.”
In the end, Patterson was found to be in violation of nine of The Emeryville Police Department’s Manual of Rules including:
- Failure to document a use of force and/or detaining of a suspect
- Conducting a search without justification
- Rude and profane language and ‘discourteous’ treatment of members of the public
The report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to determine if Patterson engaged in sexual misconduct while on duty or transporting a citizen in a department vehicle without notification. He was exonerated from violating the Use of Force policy.
September, 2014 – Patterson Resigns
A second follow-up interview with Patterson was scheduled, but on September 4, 2014, Officer Patterson tendered his resignation and resigned effective September 12. The intended follow-up interview was not conducted and the investigation was suspended.
Subsequent interviews with officers close to Patterson did not reveal anything egregious and he appeared to be the lone ‘bad actor’ on an otherwise well-respected squad.
Patterson’s current whereabouts or profession are unknown.