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John Doe – California Police Officer Sues Jaywalker After ‘Cyber Campaign of Hate and Revenge’

A California police officer is suing a man over a month-long campaign of harassment against him and his family after he wrote the man a ticket for jaywalking. The officer, identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, says that Doe wrote the ticket to John Christopher Spatafore on October 25, 2019, the Fresno Bee reports. Spatafore crossed the street illegally, Doe wrote, near his workplace — Community Regional Medical Center, where he worked in information technology — and was “extremely confrontational” during the encounter.

A few days later, Doe began receiving multiple notifications indicating someone was trying to reset his email password. Next came thousands of texts, phone calls, and emails from car dealers, solar companies, and other retailers — all sent to the officer by Spatafore, the lawsuit says.

“Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and Maserati dealerships started to deluge John (the officer’s pseudonym) with calls ‘responding to your request’ concerning online orders and online inquiries that John never made,“ the lawsuit says. “Further, there were also indications of attempted intrusion into Plaintiffs’ wireless internet which suggested that Spatafore lurked outside Plaintiffs’ home at all hours of the day and night to hack into Plaintiffs’ wireIess internet and was within the short radius of the wireless internet’s reach.”

Spatafore denied trying to hack into Doe’s email account in a deposition, but the harassment escalated into false police reports.  One accused Doe of a hit-and-run, saying he was “motorcycle riding on sidewalk without lights or sirens. Appeared intoxicated on drugs all while laughing aloud.”

Fresno police investigated and found that the incident never took place. A search warrant later determined the report was filed from Spatafore’s IP address at the hospital where he worked.

Then he filed another false report, alleging the officer was abusing his wife and that his sister-in-law had photographic evidence. Again, an investigation determined the report was not true.

“The humiliating false reports of false domestic violence spread in the community and in the Fresno Police Department and John and Jane (Doe, the officer’s wife) have been humiliated and forced and compelled to refute defamatory claims,” according to the lawsuit.

Next came a message to the officer and his wife telling them their personal computer’s camera had been hacked that that the hacker had compromising videos. In another incident, he tried to have the officer’s water and trash service canceled on Thanksgiving day.

About a month after the harassment began, Fresno police arrested Spatafore driving within a mile of the officer’s home and carrying a loaded, unregistered .38 caliber revolver. Additionally, Spatafore did not have a license to carry a weapon. He denied owning the gun.

On that same day, the hospital fired him after their internal investigation determined he used hospital equipment to carry out what the lawsuit calls his “cyber campaign of hate and revenge.” In an interview with police, Spatafore admitted his harassment campaign. He was charged with unauthorized use of personal information, having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, receiving stolen property, and making a false report. A restraining order barred him from contacing the officer or his family.

That case was suspended after his attorney got him into a mental health diversion program aimed at getting defendants help without sending them to prison. The attorney, Corina Burchfield, said that Spatafore “was not in the right mental state at the time” of his crimes and is now a church-going grandfather.

“When all of this happened, when he was arrested, he apologized and has been remorseful and apologetic,” Burchfield said. “He lost his job of 17 years over this. It was very out of character for him. It ruined his life.”

A pr-trial hearing is scheduled for June 6 for the lawsuit, which seeks no less than $5.5 million each for the officer, his wife, and his daughter. A trial could begin later this year.