London police Const. Sergio Mendez Vargas is the city’s ninth officer to be criminally charged in less than a year.
Const. Sergio Mendez Vargas 9th London cop to be charged in 9 months
Mendez Vargas, 33, was arrested by Waterloo Regional police Thursday and charged with breach of trust, police said - writes lfpress.com.
Investigators launched a probe in July after being contacted by London police, Waterloo Regional police Insp. Mike Haffner said.
“It was a request by London police to conduct an investigation into not only on-duty conduct, but off-duty conduct by one of their members,” Haffner said.
The charge stems from incidents alleged to have taken place between February 2016 and March 2017, Haffner said.
“With the charges before the courts, I can’t comment on the details of the investigation, but I can say the allegations, if proven, are contrary to what is expected of all of our employees,” London police Chief John Pare said in a written statement.
Mendez Vargas, who was released from custody, is to appear in court Feb.21.
He’s a founding member of the Canadian Association of Latino Peace Officers, an organization created to build connections between law enforcement professionals and local Latino communities.
A five-year service member, Mendez Vargas was suspended with pay on March27, police said.
Under Ontario’s Police Services Act, police chiefs can’t withhold wages from suspended officers, though new legislation proposed by Ontario’s Liberal government would give them the power to do so.
A London police spokesperson couldn’t immediately say whether Mendez Vargas faces possible discipline under the Police Services Act, the law governing policing in Ontario under which forces hold hearings into professional misconduct.
Since April, nine London officers have been charged — three of them by Waterloo Regional police — with a combined 22 criminal offences.
The charges against three officers were later withdrawn, while a fourth officer pleaded guilty and received a conditional discharge. Charges against six officers, including one charged in 2016, remain before the courts.
Following aFree Pressinvestigation that revealed London police didn’t alert the media after Const. Wesley Reeves, 32, was charged with a half-dozen offences in April, Pare held a news conference last month to announce a revised policy under which news releases would be issued every time one of his officers is charged.
Read more news of London on our site.