The third most senior member of the Bakersfield Police Department was arrested Wednesday, and placed on paid administrative leave, after a woman was found with visible injuries in the parking lot of the VIP Lounge around midnight earlier that same day, according to the department.
Assistant Police Chief Evan Demestihas, who is also a part-time lecturer of criminal justice at Cal State Bakersfield, surrendered himself to authorities at the Taft City jail after being ordered to do so by the BPD.
He was booked on suspicion of felony domestic assault and bonded out of jail before the end of the day.
The BPD says officers were dispatched to VIP Lounge at 5460 California Ave. to conduct a welfare check of a woman in the parking lot at 12:06 a.m. Wednesday. Investigators determined the woman had been the victim of domestic violence and identified the suspect as Demestihas, the law enforcement agency said in a news release.
BPD Sgt. Nathan McCauley said the woman was not immediately admitted to a hospital, and had been subjected to a physical attack that did not involve weapons.
The BPD did not reveal the identity of the woman, citing a policy of not identifying victims of domestic abuse.
Demestihas faces two investigations by the BPD, one criminal and the other internal.
“This is obviously something that is going to effect our department in a variety of ways,” McCauley said on Wednesday. “This is one of the highest leadership positions that we have, so it’s absolutely going to effect things.”
Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin was out of town on Wednesday, but McCauley said the chief was shocked by the incident.
“The main message (the chief) wanted to stress, was that with any of these investigations, we take them absolutely seriously,” McCauley said. “Regardless of the person involved, these are going to be investigated thoroughly.”
It is not known why Demestihas surrendered himself to the Taft Jail. McCauley said BPD had planned to book Demestihas into the Kern County Jail.
A person at Demestihas’ home did not answer questions from The Californian.
On Wednesday evening, CSUB spokeswoman Jennifer Self said school officials had not yet had the chance to look into the incident. She said the college would begin to gather facts Thursday before possibly taking action.
“We take all domestic violence cases very seriously,” Martin said in a BPD news release. “The Bakersfield Police Department will conduct a thorough and complete investigation into this matter. No one is above the law.”
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call Detective Peter Beagley at 326-3514 or the BPD at 327-7111.