Internal investigation finds no police wrongdoing in party breakup
After receiving complaints from two citizens, police said they have reviewed two arrests made during the July 4 festivities, and found no wrongdoing.
Lake Valley Fire Chief John Ceko claims his son, Nick, was unnecessarily roughed up, without cause, during the breakup of a large house party.
Detective Sgt. Less Scott said he interviewed more than 20 people about the incident and found no evidence of excessive force by the officers.
The three residents of the house, located on the 1100 block of Bowers Avenue, told Scott that although they didn’t call for help that evening, they were grateful when police arrived. The residents said a small barbecue and party turned out-of-control shortly after the fireworks ended, when around 200 to 250 people showed up at the house. One of the residents described the police as “business-like.”
“(The police) wanted to get in, get the job done, and get out,” he said.
The residents told Scott that they didn’t witness any officers push, shove or strike any individuals as they were asking them to leave.
None of the residents actually saw Nick Ceko being arrested, Scott said, but all three reported seeing Ceko brace himself in the sliding glass door after officers had repeatedly told him to leave.
“All agreed that if Mr. Ceko had cooperated he probably wouldn’t of even been arrested,” Scott said. “At the point that he braced himself in the door he was under arrest.”
In the arresting officers’ reports, they document striking Ceko several times when Ceko allegedly continued to refuse to put his hands behind his back. One officer reported striking Ceko three times in the hip with his flashlight, another reported punching him three times in the arm when he allegedly grabbed one of the handcuffs. The officers said Ceko continued to resist until he was handcuffed. Ceko was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital and treated for cuts and scratches on his face before being transported to the jail.
A neighbor told Scott that she feared for her life and thought the party had turned into a riot at one point. She said she heard people screaming “kill the pigs” and “death to the cops” after the officers’ arrival.
“She told me that she placed her children on the floor and put a mattress up against the door because she was worried the people would come into her house,” Scott said.
Patrol Cmdr. Bart Owens said that of the numerous calls the police responded to July 4 there were only two complaints.
“There were more than 200 people at that party, and most left when asked. It was only a few that forced us to take it any further,” Owens said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Nearly two-dozen Douglas County residents are vying for a seat on the newly reformed vacation home rental advisory committee, including six from East Fork Township.