San Jose officer accused of masturbating inside family's home in latest case of alleged misconduct

Another recent case was confirmed Thursday in which an SJPD officer allegedly traded a meth pipe in exchange for information.

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Friday, May 13, 2022
SJPD officer accused of masturbating inside family's home
San Jose's mayor is calling for action against alleged police misconduct, including an officer accused of masturbating inside family's home on duty.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Jose Police officer was arrested Thursday and charged with Indecent Exposure, according to the Santa Clara County DA's Office.

This is the latest development following two weeks of serious allegations involving individual officers within the department.

Now SJPD, which is described as the most thinly staffed police department of any major U.S. city has fewer active on the force. Separately, several officers are under investigation and on leave.

SJPD shared video on Thursday, showing Chief Anthony Mata personally escorting Officer Matthew Dominguez out of Internal Affairs.

RELATED: Mayor Liccardo cracks down on misconduct of SJPD officers, calls for random drug, alcohol testing

Dominguez is now on leave, accused of masturbating inside a family's home while he responded to a mental health call in late April which was all captured on his bodycam. The DA's office describing the incident as a "call that a mentally ill family member was being violent." Officers there to investigate a violation of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

In a release, the DA's Office announced Dominguez will be arraigned on a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge in June. If convicted, he could face a year in jail and be placed on the sexual offender list for 10 years.

"What we see today is perhaps a step in the right direction," San Jose State University Justice Studies professor Greg Woods told ABC7 News. "But we must remind ourselves that with every step in the right direction, we appear to be taking six steps back."

Woods weighed in after a string of allegations were made against individual officers within SJPD.

Over the last two weeks, the department has also confirmed it's looking into allegations an officer showed up drunk to the baby Brandon Cuellar kidnapping investigation last month.

PD said another officer was arrested by CHP on suspicion of DUI while off-duty. A two-car crash in Hayward is believed to be connected.

Then Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo addressed accusations another officer is being investigated for trading a meth pipe with a woman for information.

RELATED: SJPD officer accused of sexual misconduct while responding to call, report says

"This is just the latest in what has become a drumbeat of serious transgressions by young officers in the San Jose Police Department," the mayor told reporters.

The alleged bad behavior could be related to hiring standards, according to California State University, East Bay Criminal Justice Professor Michelle Rippy.

She said across the board, there's difficulty recruiting into the law enforcement industry and difficulty retaining seasoned officers.

"There's a lot of historical knowledge and certainly very strong skill sets that are leaving law enforcement," Rippy described.

In Officer Dominguez's case, the DA's office said he had been on the force for four years. The 32-year-old was responding with two other officers to a home, on a call a mentally ill family member was being violent.

VIDEO: Family responds to rookie SJ officer's fentanyl overdose death: 'Shocked and heartbroken'

DeJon Packer, a rookie San Jose police officer who died at his Milpitas home in March passed from "fentanyl toxicity," the medical examiner said.

The DA's office said during the visit, Dominguez touched himself in front of two female family members and also exposed himself to the mother.

"They are betraying their police officer's oath and they're ultimately betraying the trust of the people that they have taken that very oath to protect and serve," Woods added.

On Thursday, Mayor Liccardo said he wants to hear specific steps on improving applicant screening. The mayor said he expects to hear a recommendation from Chief Mata in a matter of days.

A week ago, Liccardo and Mata announced a push for universal drug and alcohol testing for all officers and a focus on mental health.

Chief Mata has also mentioned an effort to establish better transparency for the public.

The mayor says he's confident that officers committing crimes like this will be identified and taken off the force.

"I'm very concerned about the number of incidents that we've seen, particularly given that these tend to be young officers that tells me that maybe something very seriously wrong with whatever we're doing about screening and backgrounding and we need to figure that out," Mayor Liccardo said.

"I am very hopeful that the officers- if everything is founded- are held accountable," Rippy told ABC7 News. "And it will shine a brighter light on the rest of the 99.9% of law enforcement officers that are coming to work every day, working very hard through not only a global pandemic, but also a very difficult time in law enforcement."

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