25-year-old Alberto Aldaco is a candidate for Fort Bragg City Council. On the evening of September 23, 2022, Aldaco stood beside a man known to Fort Bragg Police to be on probation on the corner of Oak and Franklin Street while Officer Jarod Frank conducted a probation search of the subject.
Body camera footage of the interaction showed an amicable conversation between the beat cop and the probationer who allegedly had a few beers that evening, reportedly breaking the terms of his probation. By the end of the interaction, Officer Frank would essentially give the man a pass.
Aldaco would tell Officer Frank that it would be “beneficial to all of us” to move on–pointedly stating (erroneously) that the City Council influences hiring and firing within the Fort Bragg Police Department.
Later on in the video, the officer’s body camera captured Aldaco urinating on the asphalt of a public street later telling the police officer he could not prove that he had in fact urinated.
We sought comment from Aldaco regarding his actions that night and he told us he would be dropping out of the city council race. “I’m young and I make small mistakes from time to time.” He added, “I believe it is my duty to my community to be the best person I can be to run for city council, and I currently believe I am not that person.”
Fort Bragg City Clerk June Lemos confirmed that Aldcao had requested to drop out of the race for city council, but told us that his name would still be on the ballot come November 8, 2022, because the window to withdraw from the race has passed.
The Quid Pro Quo
When Officer Frank initially stopped to speak with the probationer, Officer Frank recognized Aldaco saying, “You’re running for city council.”
Aldaco smiles and says, “Of course! Frank knows.”
Five minutes into the interaction Officer Frank worked to determine who had been drinking a Scrimshaw beer that was at the location when he pulled up. The probationer flatly denied it, telling Officer Frank he had been drinking Corona that evening. Aldaco, standing aside as the probationer spoke with the officer, offered that it was his beer. Aldaco, thinking he could handle Officer Frank for the probationer, tells him, “This is for the politicians. Let me talk.”
Aldaco clearly said to Officer Frank. “I think it would be beneficial to all of us if we just let this one go.”
The officer asks Aldaco to explain what he meant by that, the tone in his voice suggesting he knew what would come next.
The city council candidate went on to say, “The City of Fort Bragg’s police is controlled by City Council. City Council controls the chief’s job and etcetera, etcetera.”
Officer Frank, inviting more of the inappropriate quid pro quo, asked Aldaco, “What do you mean? What are you asking me to do?”
The probationer tries to cut off the interaction between Officer Frank and Aldaco, sensing the growing tension, but Aldaco steamrolls and tells the cop that his friend is an “everyday working man” who deserves to be cut some slack.
Officer Frank sensed his attempts to change the subject and asked Aldaco, “What does your running for city council have to do with my job?”
Aldaco pivoted to denial telling Officer Frank, “I’m not going to be doing that here. I’ve been politicking enough to know that we’re not going to construe each other’s words [Aldaco’s malapropism]. You’re smart enough to know that.”
Once again attempting a quick subject shift, Aldaco redirected the conversation back to the probationer telling Officer Frank to let him leave and go home.
Officer Frank asks Aldaco, “If I arrest him [the probationer], are you saying I’m going to lose my job?”
Aldaco responded, “I never said that and you can’t prove that.”
Aldaco and Officer Frank go back and forth, all the while the probationer attempted to cut off the conversation sensing Aldaco’s presence was complicating his interaction with the cop.
When the issue of the probationer’s consumption of alcohol was addressed, Aldaco asked Officer Frank, “Are you not a human being? Do you not have a beer occasionally, every blue moon on your day off?”
Officer Frank said, “No.”
Aldaco responded, “Me either. I rarely drink, you and me are in the same boat”
“I just don’t understand what politics has to do with this”, Office Frank replied.
Aldaco simply stated, “You cannot prove I said that, so It doesn’t matter.”
Once again, the probationer jumps in, attempting to gain control of the conversation once again. Officer Frank told the probationer, “Your boy bringing up politics makes me wanna arrest you even more.”
Aldaco proved stubborn and continued to interject while the probationer and Officer Frank discussed the terms of his probation. Officer Frank told Aldaco, “You’re in no way part of my investigation.”
Aldaco replied, “I know that. I never break the law and never will break the law. You’ll never catch me at a stop, that’s for sure.”
In response, Officer Frank asked, “Weren’t you on probation not too long ago as well?
Dismissing Officer Frank, Aldaco said, “Four years ago I had a DUI, okay, but I served my community service.”
Finally, the probationer grew tired of Aldaco’s attempts to advocate on his behalf and turned to his friend and said, “Alberto, will you just shut the fuck up.”
Fifty minutes into the body cam footage, Officer Frank and the probationer are wrapping up their interaction when off-camera right there is an audible sound of liquid pouring onto the nearby pavement.
Officer Frank turned his body and, clearly in view of his body camera, Aldaco had unzipped his pants and proceeded to urinate on the pavement just behind the rear bumper of a nearby vehicle. While urinating, Aldaco is holding his cell phone with the camera pointed over his shoulder recording the police officer. He can be heard narrating the footage, telling his hypothetical audience “look at them [the police] watch.”
In disbelief, Office Frank says, “Really dude, are you publicly urinating?”
Aldaco’s response was defiant and nonsensical, saying, “I was waiting for the crime. This is where it all starts.”
The probationer turned to Aldaco after he zipped up his pants and told him, “You put yourself in a dumbass position.”
Officer Frank proceeded to cite Aldaco for the public urination when he was met with Aldaco challenging him saying, “Do you really want to do this, Frank?
Officer Frank met his challenge with silence, researching the exact penal code to apply in this situation. While looking down at the cell phone, Aldaco fled the scene, entering the apartment building behind them, and quickly ascended a set of stairs.
Patiently, Officer Frank goes to the door of the apartment building and says “Alberto, come on back here, brother.” The probationer joins them at the doorway and talks Aldaco down from further fleeing the scene.
Aldaco rejoins Officer Frank on the sidewalk and the probationer bids a good night to the police officer. Before leaving, the probationer got into an argument with Aldaco, telling him that he “doesn’t listen” and he is “fucking dumb, bro.”
Aldaco’s response to the probationer could provide insight into his underlying motives in his interactions with Officer Frank that evening: “You’re dumb, you don’t know how politics works. I represent the entire Spanish community, This will work in our benefit. When the white man presses us down. This is going to work in our benefit. This will work in negative for them. “
In a last-minute ploy to convince Officer Frank to go easy on him, Aldaco said, “Frank, is that what you want to go through?”
Stoically, Officer Frank asked for Aldaco’s ID.
“Frank, cut it out, you’re a little young,” Aldaco responded “You don’t know how this works,”.
“I’d like to see your ID,” Officer Frank returned.
From this point, Sergeant Joseph Shaw, the shift commander that evening, arrived on the scene and the two officers discussed the most appropriate penal code to reference when citing Aldaco, eventually citing him with an infraction for 370PC, a public nuisance charge for urinating in public on the roadway.
Officer Frank’s body cam captured him writing the citation for Aldaco and the city council candidate watching the officer. Aldaco says to a person nearby, in reference to the police, “They’ll get familiar with my name.”
Gathering evidence of the citation, Officer Frank hands the citation to Aldaco and proceeds to photograph the urine puddle. Aldaco said to Officer Frank multiple times. “If you have a minute, I’d like to talk.”
The officer slowed his pace and Aldaco told the cop, “We’re friends, as you know, and I know your reputation around town as a police officer.”
Perhaps sensing the conversation heading in a problematic direction, Sergeant Shaw said loudly, “We’re going to end this contact right now.”
In a statement to us, Aldaco said, “I want to start by saying I in NO WAY, shape, or form did I issue any threats or promises of any kind to anyone. I could have spoken better, but I’m young and make small mistakes from time to time.”
He added, “I have good intentions and always move forward with goodwill.”
Lindy Peters, a current member of Fort Bragg City Council who faced Aldaco as a challenger, said, “I feel no glee in watching someone struggle under the effects of alcohol and felt Officer Frank was exemplary in his handling of a tricky situation.”
With Aldaco’s plans to stop campaigning and withdraw from the election, Peters said, “I think this works out to everyone’s benefit. Alberto can focus on his future plans, I can focus my attention and work for the community rather than the campaign, and finally, the City of Fort Bragg certainly gets the most qualified candidate in this two-person race.”