Calif. officer and household endure ‘cyber marketing campaign of hate and revenge’ over jaywalking ticket

May 27, 2024by Naomi Cramer

By Robert Rodriguez
The Fresno Bee

FRESNO, Calif. — For practically a month, a Fresno police officer and his family have been the targets of a relentless marketing campaign of harassment and revenge by a person livid over being given a ticket for jaywalking, in line with a civil lawsuit.

The officer, who’s recognized within the lawsuit as John Doe, was on responsibility Oct. 25, 2019, about 2 p.m. when he noticed a person, later recognized as John Christopher Spatafore, illegally crossing the road in downtown Fresno close to Fresno Metropolis Corridor and the railroad tracks.

The 55-year-old Spatafore labored in data know-how for Neighborhood Regional Medical Heart and was a couple of block away from his office. A police report described Spatafore as “extraordinarily confrontational” throughout questioning, however he took the ticket and each males went on their manner.

The encounter ought to have been over at that time, however what adopted was a collection of weird occasions that the officer’s lawyer, Brian Whelan, referred to as a “cyber marketing campaign of hate and revenge” in opposition to the officer, his spouse, and daughter.

The officer is suing Spatafore and the hospital for, amongst different issues, invasion of privateness, negligent infliction of emotional misery, intentional infliction of emotional misery and negligent supervision of an worker.

The officer is in search of a minimum of $5.5 million every for himself, his spouse and daughter. Punitive damages are to be decided by a jury at trial.

A pre-trial discovery convention is scheduled for June 6 and a trial probably later this yr.

Harassment in opposition to Fresno police officer and household

Court information and police stories element the lengths Spatafore took to hold out his plan of revenge. Just a few days after writing the jaywalking ticket, the officer started receiving password reset codes, indicating somebody was attempting to hack his e-mail account.

The makes an attempt continued at the least 10 extra occasions over the following a number of days. Then the cellphone calls, emails and textual content messages started.

Spatafore had unleashed 1000’s of data requests to automobile sellers, photo voltaic corporations and retailers, in line with the lawsuit.

In at some point the officer acquired 100 texts to his private cellphone.

“Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and Maserati dealerships began to deluge John (the officer’s pseudonym) with calls ‘responding to your request’ regarding on-line orders and on-line inquiries that John by no means made,“ in line with the lawsuit. “Additional, there have been additionally indications of tried intrusion into Plaintiffs’ wi-fi web which urged that Spatafore lurked outdoors Plaintiffs’ dwelling in any respect hours of the day and evening to hack into Plaintiffs’ wireIess web and was inside the quick radius of the wi-fi web’s attain.”

In a deposition, Spatafore denied hacking into the officer’s e-mail account. Nonetheless, the harassment escalated.

He filed a false police report accusing the officer of being concerned in a hit-and-run on Oct. 1, 2019. Within the narrative portion of the police report, Spatafore wrote: “Police bike using on sidewalk with out lights or sirens. Appeared intoxicated on drugs all whereas laughing aloud.”

An investigation by Fresno police discovered that the incident didn’t occur, and a search warrant later revealed the web report was tied to Spatafore’s IP tackle on the hospital.

Spatafore filed a second false report, this time alleging the officer’s spouse was the sufferer of home violence. He additionally informed police the officer’s sister-in-law had photographic proof of the abuse. Though a police investigation discovered the report back to be false, it took a toll on the couple.

“The humiliating false stories of false home violence unfold locally and within the Fresno Police Division and John and Jane have been humiliated and compelled and compelled to refute defamatory claims,” in line with the lawsuit.

Fresno hospital fires IT employee

Regardless of the concern of getting caught, Spatafore was relentless in his “vindictive assaults.”

The officer and his spouse acquired a message indicating their private pc’s digital camera had been hacked and the hacker had compromising movies of them that he threatened to launch until his calls for have been met.

“I require your 100% consideration for the up coming 24hours, or will definitely be sure you dwell out of guilt for the remainder of your life span…I do know practically the whole lot about you … ” Spatafore is alleged to have written, in line with the lawsuit.

Whereas among the harassment was threatening, different incidences have been infuriating. Spatafore allegedly tried to get the officer’s water and trash providers turned off on Thanksgiving Day. The officer was compelled to intervene with metropolis employees to cease it from taking place.

Almost a month after he started his on-line harassment, Spatafore was arrested by Fresno police on Nov. 21, 2019 . He was driving inside a mile of the officer’s dwelling when police pulled him over. Inside his automobile was a loaded .38 caliber revolver that was not registered. Spatafore additionally didn’t have a license to hold the handgun and denied being the proprietor.

The hospital fired Spatafore on Nov. 21, 2019 after discovering he used the group’s tools, together with laptop computer pc, to hold out his revenge plan.

Throughout an interview with police, Spatafore admitted to the web harassment, including that he used public data web sites and Fb profiles to achieve data, not hospital information.

Hospital officers declined to touch upon the civil lawsuit.

“As a result of this case is pending, we’re unable to remark,” stated Michelle Von Tersch , senior vice chairman, communications and legislative affairs.

Criminal case suspended

Spatafore was charged with two counts of unauthorized use of non-public figuring out Data, one rely of getting a hid firearm in a car, one misdemeanor rely of receiving stolen property and one misdemeanor rely of creating a false report.

There was additionally a restraining order issued in opposition to him by the court, forbidding him from contacting the officer or his household.

However the prison case in opposition to Spatafore was suspended after his lawyer, Corina Burchfield, was profitable in getting him right into a psychological well being diversion program.

This system is designed to offer remedy for defendants with psychological well being points as a substitute of sending them straight to jail. Therapy can last as long as two years.

Burchfield, a senior affiliate lawyer with the Sawl Regulation Group in Fresno, defended the choice to have Spatafore handled for psychological sickness, saying “he was not in the proper psychological state on the time.”

She stated Spatafore is a modified man who’s lively in his church and can also be a grandfather.

“When all of this occurred, when he was arrested, he apologized and has been remorseful and apologetic,” she stated. “He misplaced his job of 17 years over this. It was very out of character for him. It ruined his life.”

Burchfield, nonetheless, additionally understands the incident was traumatic for the officer and his household.

“He was extremely upset as a result of this crossed over into his household life and he’s utilizing each doable outlet to punish my client and get some form of compensation,” she stated. “However he (Spatafore) received the assistance he wanted and he’s no hazard to anyone.”

©2024 The Fresno Bee.
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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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