The prosecution rested its case against former HPD Captain Mark Aguirre yesterday, going with a witness who said he felt "duped" by his former mentor instead of with Chief C.O. "BAMF" Bradford as I thought they might.
"He was a mentor of mine," Sgt. John Zitzmann said during questioning by the defense. "This whole event completely turned me against him."
After the raid sparked a public furor and led to a police internal investigation, Zitzmann said, Aguirre tried to make him talk about the in-house probe, a violation of department policy.
Zitzmann said Aguirre wanted to know what questions Zitzmann was being asked, then offered to write the answers for the probe. Zitzmann said he did not comply with Aguirre's request. Instead, he called a union lawyer and reported the incident.
"It's my opinion that, because he wasn't getting the support he was expecting, he was very concerned with his career," Zitzmann said.
Zitzmann testified Tuesday that he felt "duped" by Aguirre. The raid was supposed to target illegal street racing, but the focus shifted to trespassers just a few days before the arrests. Zitzmann said some of the officers questioned the change but were assured by Aguirre and [Sgt. Ken] Wenzel that they had researched the law.
Defense attorney Terry Yates began his case Wednesday with a captain who testified that Aguirre suggested the raid after a meeting with Police Chief C.O. Bradford last spring.
"Aguirre made a recommendation that we make a mass arrest, tow vehicles and take it out of their pockets," Capt. J.P. Mokwa said. "The chief praised it."
Bradford is expected to be called as a hostile witness by the defense before the case wraps up.