DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver police officer pleaded guilty to stealing money from a suspect. His body camera apparently caught him taking the cash from a crime scene.
Officer Julian Archuleta, 48, pleaded guilty to first-degree official misconduct and theft on Feb. 10. He was sentenced to 18 months probation. He immediately resigned from the Denver Police Department after his plea and sentencing.
The case stems from an arrest Archuleta was involved in on Oct. 7, 2016. Officers, including Archuleta, were called to the area of West 50th Avenue and North Washington Street to cover additional officers on a shots fired call.
Officers were involved in a short pursuit that ended with a single car rollover accident at West 50th Avenue and North Washington Street. The driver took off running and the passenger was unconscious in the vehicle.
Archuleta assisted with taking photographs of the scene, which included the passenger, vehicle and a handgun inside the vehicle.
Archuleta was wearing a body camera during the time he searched the suspect’s clothing after it was removed by paramedics on the scene. An unknown amount of cash was discovered and placed on the front passenger seat of the suspect vehicle.
According to a police report, one stack of bills was observed and contained a $100 bill on the outside of the stack. Archuleta was seen separating the $100 bill along with some other bills folded inside the $100 bill, from a stack with a $1 bill on top.
Police said the body camera moves to the passenger seat while Archuleta transferred the large bills to the other hand. When the body camera pans back to the seat, the stack with the $1 bill is observed but no large bills are on the seat.
The report then details how Archuleta rearranged some paperwork on the seat by placing it on top of the remaining bills in an attempt to conceal the cash. Archuleta shines his flashlight on the seat and rearranges the paperwork a second time to completely cover the remaining small bills.
A search warrant was obtained for the suspect vehicle and investigators recovered $118 in cash from the front passenger seat, including one $50 bill, two $20 bills, one $5 bill, six $2 bills and 11 $1 bills. There were no $100 bills recovered from the crime lab. The cash, suspected narcotics, firearm and other items were placed into evidence.
While an officer reviewed the body camera video from Archuleta, he observed the $100 bill and realizes it was not collected at the scene by the crime lab and it was not checked in as evidence.
According to police, Archuleta also made no mention of the cash in his written statement. The officer notified internal affairs.
When questioned about the missing cash, Archuleta said he was going to “check his war bag” to make sure the money hadn’t slipped into a crevice. About an hour later, Archuleta said he found 12 $100 bills in his war bag and that the money “must have fallen in his bag.”
Archuleta turned over the money.
Archuleta, with the police department since 2004, was arrested on Friday and booked into the Denver City Jail. He has also been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Archuleta has been released from custody on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 2 to be formally advised of the charges.