Two police officers, one from Garden Grove, are facing criminal charges in connection with an alleged agreement to dismiss a traffic citation in exchange for free alcohol.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Erik Michael Krause, 43, a 22-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department, and Michael John Zannitto, 46, a 11-year-veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department, are each charged with one misdemeanor county of conspiracy to obstruct justice and face a sentence of up to one year if convicted.
They are scheduled to be arraigned on June 26.
It’s alleged that on Nov. 9 Krause stopped a 32-year-old woman for speeding, and issued a citation. The woman was contacted later that month by Zannitto, according to the district attorney, and allegedly told the woman her traffic citation could be dismissed. He was off-duty and not in uniform during that meeting, it’s claimed.
Allegedly Zannitto on Dec. 6 send a text message to the woman asking for a copy of her citation. She works in the alcohol industry and included in her reply pictures of
alcohol and an offer of free liquor in exchange for a dismissal of the citation.
She was instructed to request a trial by written declaration and paid the $234 fee. Allegedly Krause requested that her citation be dismissed “in the interests of justice,” which would entitle her to a refund of the fee. Since no response to the woman’s declaration was ever filed, the citation was dismissed.
A lieutenant in the Huntington Beach Police Department because suspicious of the declaration for dismissal and started an investigation. The HBPD and GGPD cooperated in the investigation and submitted the case to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.