Javier Fabian Cota, Former Mesa Police Union Prez, Sues San Diego Cops Over June 4 Arrest for Alleged Drunkeness

The former head of the Mesa Police Association, Javier Fabian Cota, accuses San Diego police in a federal lawsuit of violating his rights during a June 4 arrest for alleged public drunkenness.

Cota's story of getting thrown in a drunk tank that night, which resulted in a demotion and pay cut for the Mesa officer, differs markedly from that described in a police report. But Cota's made the discrepancies part of his point: The lawsuit mentions other problems within the San Diego Police Department and paints what happened to Cota as part of a trend of bad behavior and corruption by officers.


Cota says he was trying to defend the honor of two women from the "sexual advances" of San Diego officers Ariel Savage and Justin Mattly when he asked the cops why they were acting like "dipshits." The officers responded by cuffing him tightly, threatening to make up criminal charges if he refused to voluntarily check in to a detox facility, and later "falsifying" their reports about the incident, Cota's lawsuit (below) states.

Savage and Mattly's report claims Cota interfered with their investigation of a drunk woman bent on driving and that the Mesa officer yelled at them repeatedly from the pedi-cab he'd been riding in.

In an interview with New Times in February, Cota admitted he'd been drinking while partying with his nephew in the Gaslamp district but says he wasn't drunk and didn't yell at the officers.

He's suing for false arrest, unlawful practices by the police department, and assault, among other alleged violations.

According to the NBC News affiliate in San Diego, Officer Savage is being sued by someone else, too — for alleged police brutality.

Click here to read Cota's lawsuit.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.

Latest Stories