WATCH: Coachella Valley Cop Wanted His Ex-Girlfriend Arrested Then Drugs Appeared in Her Car

Four years ago, a Coachella Valley sheriff’s deputy was fired after internal investigators discovered he had encouraged at least five other police officers to pull over his ex girlfriend and search her vehicle for drugs.

Brandon Klecker, a seven-year deputy, told one of those cops his ex would be a “good arrest.”

“This would really help me out,” Klecker allegedly told that officer, according to newly released internal documents from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Seven days later, on Christmas Day 2012, the ex-girlfriend dropped her wallet beneath the passenger seat of her car and reached under the seat to pick it up.

Her hand felt something else. She pulled it into view.

It was a baggie of cocaine.

It turned out there were drugs in her car, just like Klecker had told the other cops. None of those other officers had actually investigated Klecker’s tips, but his excessive urging had raised enough suspicion that the sheriff’s department began investigating him instead. Before long, an internal probe discovered claims of simmering violence. In one instance, Klecker allegedly followed his ex’s new boyfriend, then challenged him to a fight in the middle of a city street. In another, Klecker allegedly scoured his ex’s condo for the boyfriend, calling his name – with a gun drawn.

And then there were the mysterious drugs. Investigators couldn’t prove they were planted, but in Klecker’s termination letter, the sheriff’s department made those suspicions clear.

“Although this investigation did not find clear evidence that you planted drugs in her vehicle, it did determine you were egregious in your attempts to have her pulled over and arrested,” the letter to Klecker said. “You made several attempts to have other deputies conduct traffic enforcement stops of (your ex) and even told them there should be drugs in the vehicle.”

Klecker’s attorney, Michael Morguess, did not respond to multiple requests to comment for this story. After this article published online, Klecker briefly spoke with The Desert Sun on the phone.

“I can assure you one thing, your article could not be further from what happened,” Klecker said, before hanging up.

The Desert Sun is not identifying Klecker’s ex-girlfriend or the boyfriend she dated after Klecker because they have not been accused of any wrongdoing in this case.

Klecker was fired in 2013, but the details of his termination only became public this month because the former deputy sued Riverside County to get his job back. If not for the lawsuit, the misconduct in Klecker’s personnel files would have been hidden forever.

The lawsuit argues that the sheriff’s department did not have enough evidence to fire Klecker, and that he should be reinstated with back pay, which would likely amount to at least $200,000.

Three other Riverside County deputies have filed similar lawsuits in the past year, revealing their own misdeeds while attempting to get their jobs back. So far, none of them have actually been rehired.

Palm Desert Deputy Mark Franks was fired in 2015 after he did not call an ambulance for a sickly man who spent at least 45 minutes trying to crawl into his apartment. Franks revealed his case in a lawsuit last year.
Cabazon Deputy Raul Lopez, a troubled cop with history of discipline issues, was fired in 2015 because he was seen angrily holding his gun after a shouting match with a supervisor. Lopez’s firing was revealed in a February lawsuit.

Finally, Correctional Deputy Florin Blas was fired in 2015 after he was caught sleeping the job while earning $60 per hour during an overtime shift. Prior to being caught, Blas led the county corrections department in overtime pay. A lawsuit unveiled Blas’ case in March.

All of these incidents were initially kept secret because of restrictive California laws that grant peace officers a level of confidentiality that no other government employee enjoys. Investigations into peace officer misconduct are confidential even if allegations are confirmed by evidence, but the same information would most likely be public in the case of a teacher, a firefighter or a city bureaucrat.

Some form of police misconduct records are also public in at least 38 states, but California keeps all these records confidential. Most often, police misconduct is only revealed in the rare cases where officers are charge with a crime.

In Klecker’s case, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office at least considered criminal charges, but ultimately declined to prosecute.

John Hall, a DA’s spokesman, said the case had a “lack of sufficient evidence.” He would not say what charges were considered.

“Although this investigation did not find clear evidence that you planted drugs in her vehicle, it did determine you were egregious in your attempts to have her pulled over and arrested.”

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