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Kern County DA decides not to file charges against BPD Asst. Chief Demestihas

Posted at 3:10 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 00:13:42-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County District Attorney’s Office announced it is not filing criminal charges against Bakersfield Police Department Assistant Chief Evan Demestihas over alleged domestic violence incident.

The decision came following an investigation by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the California Attorney General’s Office, and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office.

The DA's Office said Demestihas was involved in a dispute with a woman on Sept. 4, 2019 while inside a vehicle in the parking lot of the VIP Lounge on California Avenue in Bakersfield. Surveillance video showed Demestihas and the woman leaving the bar and entering a car together.

The interaction ultimately resulted in screams from the woman, drawing the attention of nearby witnesses. The woman exited the vehicle and walked back toward the bar, where witnesses called law enforcement.
The DA's Office said its investigation was unable to clearly show what took place inside the vehicle.

Both Demestihas and the woman had some visible injury after the interaction, but it's unknown who initiated the interaction that led to those injuries.

The DA's Office said the woman involved has repeatedly declined to pursue criminal charges against Demestihas. It also said that woman claims she is not a victim of domestic violence and refuses to be treated as one.

“This investigation presents a situation where the alleged victim has repeatedly denied that she is a victim of any crime," Kern County Assistant District Attorney Andrea Kohler said.
Initially, the investigation was directed to the Kings County DA’s Office for review of potential charges and potential independent prosecution. It was then sent to Kern County, which reviewed the investigation under the supervision of the California Attorney General’s Office.

The decision by the Kern County DA’s Office to not issue criminal charges in this investigation was made under the supervision and with the concurrence of the Attorney General’s Office.

Demestihas' attorney H.A. Sala said he's pleased to hear that no charges have been filed against his client.

In a statement, Sala said although the surveillance video suggests some sort of intersection that resulted in the woman screaming, the facts, including the woman's own statements "clearly establish the Chief did not assault her."

Sala said Demestihas is looking forward to reinstatement to the BPD.