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California Man Faces Harassment Campaign After Jaywalking Ticket from Cop


According to a civil lawsuit, a man outraged over a jaywalking citation harassed and retaliated against a Fresno police officer and his family for nearly a month.

The lawsuit states that John Doe, the officer, saw John Christopher Spatafore illegally crossing the street in downtown Fresno near City Hall and the railroad tracks around 2 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2019.

Information technology worker Spatafore, 55, was a block from his Community Regional Medical Center job. Spatafore took the ticket and left after being “extremely confrontational” during questioning, according to police.

The interaction should have ended, but the officer’s lawyer, Brian Whelan, described what happened a “cyber campaign of hate and revenge” against the officer, his wife, and kid.

The officer is suing Spatafore and the hospital for invasion of privacy, negligent and intentional emotional distress, and negligent staff supervision.

The officer wants $5.5 million for himself, his wife, and their daughter. Trial juries determine punitive damages.

June 6 is the pre-trial discovery conference, and a trial may happen later this year.

Spatafore went to great measures to deliver his revenge, according to court and police records. A few days after writing the jaywalking ticket, the officer received password reset tokens, indicating an email hack.

At least 10 more efforts were made over several days. Then came calls, emails, and texts.

According to the lawsuit, Spatafore sent thousands of information requests to car dealers, solar firms, and shops.

One day, the officer received 100 SMS on his phone.

According to the lawsuit, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and Maserati dealerships began calling John (the officer’s pseudonym) ‘responding to your request’ about online orders and questions he never made. There were also indications of attempted intrusion into Plaintiffs’ wireless internet, suggesting that Spatafore lurked outside Plaintiffs’ home at all hours of the day and night to hack into Plaintiffs’ wireless internet and was within the wireless internet’s reach.”

Spatafore denied hacking the officer’s email in deposition. Still, harassment increased.

On October 1, 2019, he falsely reported the officer as a hit-and-run driver. “Police motorcycle riding on sidewalk without lights or sirens,” Spatafore stated in the police report narrative. Appeared drugged and laughing.”

Fresno police uncovered no event, and a search warrant linked the internet report to Spatafore’s hospital IP address.

Spatafore falsely reported domestic violence against the officer’s wife again. He also told authorities the officer’s sister-in-law possessed abuse photos. Although a police inquiry deemed the report untrue, it hurt the marriage.

“The humiliating false reports of false domestic violence spread in the community and in the Fresno Police Department and John and Jane have been humiliated and forced to refute defamatory claims,” the lawsuit states.

Fresno hospital fires IT staffer
Despite the risk of being discovered, Spatafore continued his “vindictive attacks.”

The cop and his wife received a warning claiming their personal computer’s camera had been hacked and the hacker threatened to disclose compromising videos of them unless his demands were met.

“I need your full attention for the next 24 hours or I’ll keep you in guilt for life…I know almost everything about you… The lawsuit claims Spatafore wrote.

Some harassment was dangerous, but others simply aggravating. On Thanksgiving Day, Spatafore allegedly tried to switch off the officer’s water and trash. Stopping it required the cop to intervene with city staff.

Spatafore was arrested by Fresno police on Nov. 21, 2019, over a month after his online abuse began. Driving within a mile of the officer’s home, cops stopped him. A loaded, unregistered.38 revolver was in his automobile. Spatafore denied owning the firearm and lacked a license.

After Spatafore used the hospital’s laptop to carry out his revenge plan, the hospital fired him on Nov. 21, 2019.

Spatafore told police he harassed people online and used public information websites and Facebook profiles, not hospital data.

Hospital officials will not discuss the civil action.

“Because this case is pending, we are unable to comment,” said Michelle Von Tersch, communications and legislative affairs senior VP.

Crime suspended
The charges against Spatafore included two counts of illegal use of personal identification information, one count of having a hidden firearm in a vehicle, one misdemeanor of receiving stolen property, and one of creating a false report.

He was also barred from contacting the officer or his family by a court restraining order.

Spatafore’s criminal case was suspended after his lawyer, Corina Burchfield, got him into a mental health diversion program.

The program treats mentally ill defendants instead of sending them to prison. Treatment can last two years.

The Fresno Sawl Law Group’s senior associate attorney Burchfield defended Spatafore’s mental illness treatment, claiming “he was not in the right mental state at the time.”

She said Spatafore is a transformed man, a grandfather, and churchgoer.

“When all of this happened, when he was arrested, he apologized and has been sorrowful,” she stated. “This cost him his 17-year job. He acted out of character. It ruined his life.”

Burchfield knows the officer and his family were traumatized.

“He was incredibly upset because this crossed over into his family life and he is using every possible outlet to punish my client and get some compensation,” she said. But Spapafore got support and is no threat.”

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