Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony charges that they filed false reports and committed perjury relating to traffic stops made in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2016, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Michael Berk, 58, was charged with four counts each of filing a false report and perjury. Justin Fisk, 40, was charged with two counts each of filing a false report and perjury.
Both defendants, who were working at the SCV Sheriff’s Station at the time of the alleged offenses, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were scheduled to return to court on Feb. 7, 2020, to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Howick of the Justice System Integrity Division is prosecuting the case, L.A. County District Attorney spokesman Greg Risling said in a news release Thursday.
Between September and November 2016, Berk and Fisk stopped motorists for speeding violations, Risling said. The drivers happened to be other law enforcement officers.
Instead of issuing speeding tickets to the drivers, both defendants allegedly issued citations for not having proof of insurance, even though the drivers had valid insurance at the time.
The alleged misconduct came to light after a Los Angeles deputy police chief told a sheriff’s captain that the two defendants possibly had issued falsified traffic tickets, according to the complaint.
Bail was set at $25,000 for each defendant. If convicted as charged, Berk faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in state prison, while Fisk faces up to three years and eight months in prison.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau.
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