Is it Always Safe to Call Irvine Police Department for Help?

Who you gonna call?

A Southern California man is suing the City of Irvine and its police department in the wake of a bizarre July 26, 2018 incident worthy of a Twilight Zone episode. 

Earlier that day, court records show Labarian Willis obtained a court-issued protective order requiring Aryanna Ferris to stay at least 100 yards away from him.

But Ferris nonetheless showed up and “began acting hysterical and violent,” according to the lawsuit filed this month inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

Willis called the Irvine Police Department, informed them of the situation and waited for assistance.

Officer Kristi Valentine arrived and “immediately began treating Willis as if he was the suspect,” according to Gregory Peacock, a Newport Beach-based plaintiff’s attorney. “Willis explained to Valentine and [other officers] that he is the one who called the police; he is the one who is the protected party in the court order; and that Ferris was in violation of the order.”

Peacock also noted that Ferris didn’t accuse his client of committing any crime.

But the officer said it “was the Irvine Police Department practice to arrest one of the parties when they respond to a call for service involving domestic violence,” the lawsuit asserts. 

Valentine decided the best person to arrest was Willis. She threw him in jail, where he stayed for 24 hours. He won his release only after paying a $200,000 bail.

The Orange County district attorney’s office (OCDA) didn’t contribute to the mess; they refused to file charges.

Peacock’s 17-page lawsuit alleges that Willis’ constitutional rights were violated, including unlawful seizure, negligence and false imprisonment. 

The attorney advised U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, “None of the defendants to this action had a warrant for Willis’ arrest, nor probable cause to believe that he had committed a crime, nor reasonable suspicion that he was a danger to anyone or anything, nor even a reasonable suspicion of crime afoot by him.”

Lawyers for the city have not yet filed a formal response in court. 

CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.

9 Replies to “Is it Always Safe to Call Irvine Police Department for Help?”

  1. I hear all this chatter from “the police can do no wrong” crowd about how folks should always listen to the cops. How about the COPS listen to the CITIZENS, too?

    1. Do you know what is written in this article to be fact? There are two sides to every story and you only have one. Ever since OJ Simpson it has really tied law enforcements hands with regard to domestic disputes. When they make an arrest in this type of incident, they arrest the primary aggressor and sometimes both parties. They also take into account all the circumstances, injuries and witness statements. The DA always has the option to file or not file on these cases for various reasons. Please be informed on how the process works before criticizing or judging.

      1. JB, you’re just a little excuse factory, aren’t you?
        Another sanctimonious “the cops can do no wrong” type.

  2. If you study the history of Irvine PD this is a typical overreaction. They’ve paid out MILLIONS in lawsuits over the years for false arrest, abuse and misconduct. And yet, it CONTINUES to happen.

  3. As police officers become less competent they become more expensive for the cities that employ them. This case is a perfect example but the problem with incompetent officers is far more pervasive in the poorer cities like Santa Ana.

  4. The Irvine PD are shit. I called them when I had an altercation with a neighbor who told me he was going to kill me by slitting my throat. They didn’t talk to him at all instead 2 officers told me he was probably joking and didn’t mean it. They obviously didn’t want to have to file a report. America’s safest city my ass.

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