From: Merced Sun-Star
By: ABBIE LAUTEN-SCRIVNER
Two Livingston police officers arrested for allegedly filing a false report to protect another law enforcement officer had their first hearing Tuesday in Merced County Superior Court.
Sgt. Wapinder Kang, 34, and Officer Harjinder Singh Heer, 24, were arrested in July after Merced County District Attorney’s Office investigators received information about a false arrest/citation of a Livingston resident earlier that month.
Represented by attorney Roger Wilson, Kang and Heer’s arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday, but was ordered by Judge Steven Slocum to be continued until Oct. 14, due to necessary documents needing to be filed.
But before officials realized that the arraignment must be continued to a later date, Wilson informed the court of his clients’ intended plea. “The plea is not guilty for both defendants,” he said.
Only Kang physically appeared in court. Heer’s presence was waived with Wilson appearing on his behalf.
Slocum granted Kang the same waiver for the next court date, meaning neither Livingston police officer need be present in the courtroom.
Wilson specializes in representing peace officers in administrative, disciplinary, and criminal defense matters with Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, PC, the law firm’s website says.
According to DA investigators, the two Livingston police officers allegedly wrote a false report in order to protect a correctional officer’s job after he set off illegal fireworks. The correctional officer’s wife was cited instead of him, the incident report says.
Kang is also accused of being involved with an alleged voter fraud scheme in Livingston during the November election.
The District Attorney’s Office and California Secretary of State’s Office are investigating the incident and officials have said that there is reason to believe voting misconduct took place, but have not named any suspects.
According to court documents, Heer was also previously convicted of a misdemeanor for driving under the influence with a 0.08% or more blood alcohol concentration in June of 2019.