BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County District Attorney’s Office said it will not file criminal charges against Bakersfield police Assistant Chief Joe Mullins related to an incident at police headquarters last year that has now been described as “horseplay” or “joking” at work.
The District Attorney’s Office said, after a review of evidence in the case, it concluded charges were not warranted and would not be filed against Mullins.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel said the review of the case ensured transparency and fair treatment to those involved, even for allegations that appear to be minor.
“A full investigation of the incident was conducted that revealed that the alleged conduct, while perhaps best avoided in the workplace, does not rise to a level meriting criminal prosecution,” Kinzel said in a statement Friday.
The inquiry into Mullins started following a complaint that was filed in June of 2020. The complaint alleged Mullins was involved in a workplace violence incident following a briefing with Bakersfield police officers. The briefing was attended by an estimated 30 to 40 officers, the DA said.
According to the DA, following the briefing, Mullins made contact with an unnamed officer motioning toward the officer’s chest. The officer was reportedly wearing soft body armor under his shirt at the time.
In a statement Friday, the incident was described by various witnesses as a “flick,” “jab,” “tap,” “push,” or “punch” by Mullins toward the officer’s chest, apparently in a “misguided attempt to determine if the officer was actually wearing body armor.”
According to the District Attorney’s Office, interviewed witnesses described the incident as “horseplay.”
A review by the District Attorney’s Office concluded Mullins actions did not meet the “harmful or offensive manner” requirement for a battery charge.
Mullins has been on leave from the Bakersfield Police Department since June 30, 2020.
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