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News / Clark County News

Domestic-violence charges against Vancouver police officer dropped

Prosecution says there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Local News Editor
Published: May 17, 2017, 8:56pm

Domestic-violence charges against a Vancouver police officer were dropped Monday after the prosecution said there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Gerardo Gutierrez, 45, of Vancouver was facing two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault in Clark County District Court following an investigation by the Camas Police Department. He previously entered not-guilty pleas to the charges and was scheduled for trial May 31. Court records list his wife and two adopted sons, ages 9 and 10, as the victims.

However, the charges were instead dismissed without prejudice, which means they could be brought again at a later time.

“Officer Gutierrez is completely innocent of these charges. The prosecuting attorney dismissed the charges before it ended up in front of a jury because that was the right thing to do,” his defense attorney Jon McMullen said in a phone interview Wednesday. “There was no chance of us accepting a plea deal.”

Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes, who was handling the case, said that after evaluating the case, the prosecution determined it could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Gutierrez has been on administrative reassignment while the case was pending. He previously served as a school resource officer at Mountain View High School but was moved to the evidence division, Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

An internal-affairs investigation has not yet been completed, she said, and it’s unclear if and when he will move back to his prior assignment.

Gutierrez is a nine-year veteran of the department and had previously been employed with the Los Angeles Police Department.

He was accused in two separate incidents alleged to have occurred Jan. 1 and 2, 2016, at the family’s home. His wife told police she was growing concerned about his violent outbursts, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in District Court.

She said Gutierrez would lose his temper and take it out on their adopted sons. She described several violent outbursts and said that afterward Gutierrez would shower the boys with attention, outings and gifts, the affidavit states.

One of the boys told police that Gutierrez had threatened to beat the boys “to a pulp,” according to court documents.

Gutierrez allegedly slapped one of the boys across the face while the family was playing a card game Jan. 1, 2016. His wife said the assault was unprovoked. The following morning, he allegedly threw the same boy to the ground. The other boy reportedly witnessed the incident and told his mother, court records said.

The affidavit says that Gutierrez reportedly threatened to “shut” that boy up and said he would go through his wife if he had to.

After the allegations were reported to Vancouver police, the department asked Camas police to investigate. Gutierrez was subsequently arrested but was later released on his own recognizance.