A Pasadena police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation after agents with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched his home last Thursday. Property records obtained by the Pasadena Weekly list Lt. Vasken Gourdikian as the owner of the Sierra Madre home that was searched. A source close to the investigation who asked for anonymity confirmed Gourdikian is the officer in question.
According to CBS Channel 2 News, the officer’s Sierra Madre home was raided as part of a criminal investigation. Reporters said they saw numerous gun cases in the garage which was opened when ATF agents arrived. The door was closed almost instantly and dozens of the cases were loaded into an SUV and a van. “There were so many it took two vehicles to haul them away,” stated CBS reporter Jeff Nguyen.
Now if you or I were the subject of such a colorful investigation we'd probably find ourselves uneasily resting in jail today, and the subject of a lot of uncomfortable media attention. However, this story almost immediately disappeared from all local news sources. And even then nearly all of what coverage did emerge initially dared not even mention The Vaskenator's name.
Why is that? Because under California state law police officers enjoy extraordinary legal privileges and protections, even when they are busted by Federal agents for allegedly stashing an arsenal of illegal weaponry in their garage.
That "thin blue line" hype you've heard so much about recently apparently exists behind a legal shield so daunting it turns even the most intrepid news reporters into something quite timid and runny.
After nearly two months of no coverage, this story has now come roaring back to life. In an article that appeared yesterday on the news powerhouse Pasadena Now website, intrepid crime reporter Eddie Rivera cracked open the following information (link):
There is a lot more to Eddie's excellent story, and you can check it all out by hitting the link I supplied above. However, and outside of fact that this story also only identified the city of residence and not the name of our alleged gun happy flatfoot, here is the part I found the most annoying:
Like I said, if it was you or I that was busted for such a thing we'd likely be sweating it out in sunny Guantanamo by now dressed up in an orange jumpsuit. But a police officer? The silence becomes deafening. This gent is still even collecting his quite handsome Pasadena paycheck (link).
The Modesto Bee printed an article a while back that describes the extraordinary protections police officers enjoy in this state. Check this out if you're up to it (link):
More news on this story will appear on The Tattler if and when it ever becomes available.