As of Thursday, February 25, 2016
GRANGER A Lower Valley police chief is scheduled to appear in Yakima County Superior Court Monday for an arraignment hearing.
Police Chief Robert Perales is on paid administrative leave after being charged for felony stalking-domestic violence with a weapons enhancement and first degree perjury.
The affidavit of probable cause was filed with the court on Feb. 5 and Mayor Charles Wheaton, upon learning of the charges, placed Perales on leave the following Monday.
Perales’ charges stem from accusations last May by his former girlfriend, Imelda Mancinas, that Perales was possessive and controlling. According to court documents she believed Perales was a danger to her and her children.
Court records from last year show Perales repeatedly contacted her over a 10-day period in May.
A judge initially ordered Perales to surrender his firearms. That order was lifted about a month later when a no-contact order agreement was reached.
The perjury charge stems from testimony Perales provided the district court handling the case. According to that court record, Perales swore under oath he only went to Mancinas’ residence one time on the weekend of May 2-3. He also denied using his Granger police vehicle during that time.
However, court documents issued after Perales’ testimony in June claim his patrol vehicle was at Mancinas’ residence four times in a span of 10 hours that weekend. That allegation is based on GPS data the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office obtained from Perales’ car.
Perales’ attorney, William Pickett, said the charges are part of Mancinas’ continued efforts to get his client fired.
“She tried the civil harassment issue last June,” Pickett said after Perales was placed on leave. “This (criminal charges) is apparently the follow-up attempt.”
History of issues with Mabton, Granger
This is not the first time Perales’ badge and status with the city have been on the line.
In 2006, he was fired by former Mayor Ramona Fonseca.
He was then hired as police chief in Mabton, but sued the city of Granger for unlawful termination and won the case.
While working for the city of Mabton, Perales was the center of attention because the City Council there
eliminated his position in its 2009 budget. Former Mayor Velva Herrera, against council wishes, kept him on the job, according to Daily Sun News records.
She maintained it was important to keep the police department functioning.
Perales, in the meantime, was reinstated as police chief in Granger. An arbitrator ruled Fonseca’s decision to fire Perales was unjustified.
The following year, Perales faced additional scrutiny for placing former Granger police officer Casimiro Cedillo on a “Brady List” maintained by the county prosecutor.
The list contains the names of law enforcement officers who have sustained allegations of being dishonest in their official duties. The information may be shared with defense attorneys if an officer on the list is testifying at trial.
Perales placed Cedillo, now Mabton’s police chief, on the list in 2011 in connection with his dismissal from the Granger Police Department, as well as allegations of dishonesty related to a fraud incident Cedillo was asked to investigate.
In 2011, Mabton officials sought to have Cedillo’s name removed from that list when he was a police officer for the city.
“We tried to get this resolved quickly. We’ve done our part and are left with no alternative than to pursue legal action,” former Mabton Mayor Angel Reyna said at that time. “In our estimation it’s pretty clear there’s no basis for the officer to be on there (the Brady List).”
Perales insisted the placement was justified.
“The facts are the facts and that’s just the way it is,” Perales said in a November 2011 interview.