The reporting police officer in a case against a Grover Beach woman arrested after she claims she suffered seizures and called 911 for an ambulance last fall has left the Pismo Beach Police Department.
Police Chief Jake Miller said California law prevents him from saying whether Officer Leslie Stout, who was hired in March 2013 and left on Dec. 23, departed because he resigned, transferred or was terminated. California law protects personnel information about sworn peace officers from public disclosure.
Stout was the officer who responded on Oct. 11, when Andrea Hansen, 32, called 911 to report that she suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and was having seizures. Stout arrived at the intersection of Park Avenue and Cypress Road at about 11:30 p.m. to find Hansen sitting on the sidewalk, according to Stout’s police report.
What happened next is in dispute, but Stout wrote that he activated his body camera after Hansen asked why he was bothering her and began recording the officer with her own cellphone.
Stout wrote that he and his partner suspected Hansen was intoxicated because of her slurred speech and the smell of alcohol. As they waited for an ambulance, Stout decided that Hansen was unable to care for her own safety and arrested her for public intoxication.
Stout reported that Hansen continued to be combative, scraped her own knees and kicked him before continuing the behavior at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and being booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail.
Hansen, however, told her side of the story on the fundraising website GoFundMe.com, claiming that officers flashed lights in her eyes that disoriented her and used excessive force, resulting in a sprained ankle and wrist and multiple cuts and bruises over her body.
Though she was medically cleared at the hospital, records show, Hansen alleges her condition worsened and that she was denied care while in custody at the County Jail.
She now faces three misdemeanor charges of public intoxication, battery against a police officer and resisting an officer. She pleaded not guilty to all counts Nov. 7.
Hansen is taking her case to a jury trial, which is tentatively scheduled for April 13. Hansen briefly spoke to The Tribune about the case and declined to provide a statement.
Stout could not be reached for comment.
Miller said Thursday that he has reviewed footage of the incident recorded by Stout and Stout’s partner and stands by his former officer’s performance in that case.
“We have already stated that the officers’ two videos clearly show what happened there,” Miller said. “(The officers) did an outstanding job in that (incident).”
Hansen’s attorney, David Vogel, declined to comment on the case Thursday other than to say he is currently in negotiations with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
However, Vogel added that he is representing a defendant in a separate criminal case involving Stout and plans to file a motion to access Stout’s personnel file to determine if his record affects that case.
Anything learned through that motion could have an impact on the Hansen case, Vogel said.
In California, police officers’ complaints and disciplinary records are confidential unless released through the courts.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran said Thursday that prosecutors can call a former officer to testify in a case they were once involved in, unless the officer’s personnel records would call the officer’s credibility into question.
In the Hansen case, Gran — who said he has not seen the video and was unaware of the circumstances surrounding Stout’s departure — said that Stout’s video may be enough to proceed without calling the former officer to testify.
“If credibility is an issue, at least in this case we have video, and video usually doesn’t lie,” Gran said.
Vogel, prosecutors and the Pismo Beach Police Department have all declined to release videos of the Oct. 1 incident before they could be played in court during trial.
Vogel said he plans to file his request for Stout’s personnel record Feb. 25 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.