Former Fort Bragg Police Sergeant Christopher Awad was fired in 2020 after a DUI stop led to flirtatious texting and eventually consensual sexual activity. The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office would contend Awad’s unprofessional demeanor during the DUI suspect’s criminal trial was the result of his relationship with her, which Awad failed to disclose to his superiors and prosecutors.
When investigators questioned how and why he had befriended the woman, he asserted during multiple interviews that the relationship grew from his kind-hearted, nice-guy gesture of offering the woman a ride if she was ever considering drinking and driving again. He went so far as to assert he offered rides to Fort Bragg residents on multiple occasions, men and women alike.
Another woman has come forward revealing she too was offered rides by Awad after he arrested her for a DUI in July 2014. This woman asserts Awad’s offer was not born out of kindness, but manipulation. After feeling pressured to give the officer her phone number, Awad contacted the young woman on multiple occasions attempting to flirt, asking her on dates, and at one point offering to drive her over five hundred miles to Portland, Oregon despite her clearly saying there she would be visiting her boyfriend.
This woman, who will remain unidentified and we will refer to as Jane Doe, read our reporting on the misconduct that led to Awad’s termination and told us she was moved to tears realizing that the officer from nearly a decade ago had found a way to use his badge and authority to interact with vulnerable women and “serve his own intentions.”
Jane Doe has deep ties to Fort Bragg where she attended elementary, middle, and high school. Multiple members of her family have found themselves on the wrong end of the law and are well-acquainted with the criminal justice system.
In July 2014, Doe was 21 years old living on the East Coast for work. That month, she flew back to Fort Bragg for a friend’s wedding.
On the day of the wedding, she drank beer and wine and got behind the wheel to drive home. Realizing she was not fit to drive, she pulled to the side of the road to get some rest, leaving the engine running to keep her warm on the cool coastal night.
She awoke to police officers knocking on her window. She recounted to us that Officer Christopher Awad took lead that evening in conducting her field sobriety tests. She was drunk, arrested, and booked to go home the following morning.
The next evening, Jane Doe said she went to a Fort Bragg restaurant for dinner with friends. To her surprise, Officer Awad from the night before entered the restaurant and approached her table.
In front of all of her friends, Awad tells Doe, “I didn’t realize you were [her name], had I known that I wouldn’t have given you the DUI.”
With her friends looking on and the officer who arrested her talking openly about her DUI, Doe became “stressed out and nervous”.
While telling the table about Doe’s arrest the night before, Awad offered that she could always contact him if she was ever considering driving drunk again.
Doe was young and embarrassed that the officer was speaking so openly about her arrest. When he asked for her number, she gave it to him, hoping the interaction would be over as soon as possible and Awad would excuse himself.
After the wedding weekend, she flew back to the East Coast and she found it odd that the officer who arrested her was texting her more than expected. In his texts, Awad attempted to further his relationship with the young woman. He asked her when she would be returning to Fort Bragg suggesting the two hang out when she was in town.
Jane Doe said Awad’s attempts to converse with her were confusing. She heard through the grapevine the officer was in a relationship and his text messages did not seem like those of a man committed to his partner.
In December 2014, Jane Doe returned to Fort Bragg for Christmas to spend the holidays with her family. She bought a bus ticket to visit her boyfriend in Portland during the break. Somehow, Awad found out she was in town. He texted her to hang out. When she declined to hang out citing plans to visit her boyfriend, Awad insisted that she skip the bus ride and let him drive her to Portland instead.
Jane Doe declined his offer for a ride. When she returned to Fort Bragg from Oregon, he repeatedly invited her on a date, even though Jane Doe had told Awad she had a boyfriend and he was in a relationship at that time.
To Jane Doe, Awad’s amorous intentions were obvious. She decided to block him and never spoke to him again.
Since then, her interactions with Awad was known to few. Besides a few family members, Jane Doe’s bizarre experience was logged away as a weird memory of young adulthood.
When a Fort Bragg family member forwarded our article about Awad’s firing and the circumstances that led to it, Jane Doe was struck that Awad promised to be a sober driver for another woman he popped for DUI.
Eight years after Awad’s “awkward and uncomfortable” attempts to charm Jane Doe, a family member sent her our recent article about Awad’s termination from the Fort Bragg Police.
Upon reading that Awad had used the promise of rides to another woman he arrested, she said she realized that the officer had “used his power and authority to wiggle his way” into relationships with vulnerable women.
“I had known for a long time that the situation I was put in was not okay and not appropriate,’ she said. “I knew it had felt wrong and gross.”
The fact Awad had used his nice guy routine on multiple women demonstrated to Jane Doe that, “he was very much aware of what he was doing. He had power and authority and he was going to use it to pick up women.”
Both women, Jane Doe pointed out, were intoxicated and at the whim of a man wearing a badge.” He took our place of vulnerability and used it to serve his own intentions,” she said.
Awad’s attempts to woo Jane Doe were unsuccessful. But, if she had been living in Fort Bragg, she could see how a woman would feel forced to give Awad whatever he wanted. “If I lived in town at that time and he was pressuring me to spend time with him or go on a date, I would be afraid to say no.”