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Published: Friday, 8/30/2013

Officer relieved of duty over allegations of domestic violence and being AWOL

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo police officer has been stripped of his gun and badge after he allegedly drove a city vehicle into Michigan, while he was working, and got into a domestic dispute.

Officer Brian Vasquez, a 31-year department veteran whose assignment was in the traffic bureau, was relieved of duty with pay Wednesday pending an investigation, police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.

The day-shift officer is accused of driving into Erie Township in a department vehicle while he should have been working, Sergeant Heffernan said.

While he was in Erie Township, a “domestic situation” occurred, which eventually led to local police being called after the officer was back in Toledo.

Erie Township police did not return a message seeking comment and a copy of the police report.

Sergeant Heffernan said he did not know what the domestic allegations against the officer entailed.

Toledo police learned of the incident after being contacted by Erie Township officials, who also came to Toledo to speak with Officer Vasquez.

“We kept him at work until we confirmed that he was absent without leave and that there was an investigation by Michigan authorities into his domestic situation,” Sergeant Heffernan said. “We were able to confirm that happened, then we relieved him of duty.”

In addition to any criminal investigation in Michigan, Toledo police are conducting an internal affairs investigation, Sergeant Heffernan said.

Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, said he would not be able to comment until the internal affairs investigation is complete.

Officer Vasquez has a history of departmental trouble.

In 1997, he received a 10-day suspension after his girlfriend accused him of pulling her hair and punching her in the face on New Year’s Day, according to The Blade archives.

He was found guilty, in a department hearing, of violating state law and the city code and conduct unbecoming an officer and suspended for 10 days.

According to another story in The Blade in 1990, Officer Vasquez had been accused of “beating or menacing no fewer than six girlfriends, two of them fellow officers.”

In one incident, he put an unloaded gun between his girlfriend’s legs and pulled the trigger twice — not telling the woman it wasn’t loaded until after the fact.

For that, he was suspended for five days.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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