Tulare's police chief cleared of domestic violence charges

A South Valley police chief has been cleared of domestic violence charges.
March 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A South Valley police chief has been cleared of domestic violence charges.

Jerry Breckinridge was arrested earlier this month after he got into a dispute with his girlfriend.

The case is essentially closed, now the Kern County District Attorney's office has decided Chief Breckinridge will face no charges.

We've learned that if the victim would have cooperated, he would have likely faced a misdemeanor.

Melissa Allen with the Kern County District Attorney's office said, "We decided not to file charges because both parties had mutual injuries and without further corroboration, that the victim was recanting. We did not feel we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury."

The prosecutor would not elaborate on the severity of both Chief Breckinridge and his girlfriend's injuries.

Kern County began investigating the case more than a week ago, after the Tulare County District Attorney's office cited a conflict of interest.

The morning after Chief Breckinridge was arrested, a managing attorney at the Tulare County District Attorney's office received a cell phone message from the victim -- claiming she was not going to cooperate with the investigation and didn't want charges filed after all. The Kern County District Attorney's office confirmed the victim was unwilling to let the case go forward.

Allen added, "If we could have proved it would have likely been a misdemeanor case."

Jerry Breckinridge, 47, was arrested Sunday, March 16th, after he got into a dispute with his girlfriend the night before. Chief Breckinridge was back at work three days later.

He's been the chief of police in Tulare since 2009, after spending more than 20 years with the department. At the time of his arrest, the city manager said he stood by the chief. Now, with no charges pending, the chief is expected to resume his duties as normal.

"As far as we are concerned the case is closed because we rejected it," added Allen. "If at some point there's further information for evidence, the Tulare County District Attorney's office could theoretically submit it back to us for further review."

If the victim changes her mind and decides she does want to cooperate with investigators, the domestic violence case could still be filed within the next year.


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