Charges have been dismissed against a Bakersfield Police Department officer who was accused of embezzlement after a Kern County Superior Court judge ruled a search of his property was unlawful and that a witness was biased against the officer. 

The case against Kevin Schindler was dismissed during a brief hearing Friday morning after which a prosecutor said the District Attorney's Office could not proceed following a Dec. 31 ruling that granted a motion to suppress evidence seized from Schindler's home. 

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Felicia Nagle said the prosecution had no evidence following Judge Ralph Wyatt's ruling so there was no choice but to dismiss the case in its entirety.

Schindler's attorney, H.A. Sala, said his client and family have been through a difficult time and are looking forward to moving on with their lives.

"I'm pleased the court made the ruling, and it's the correct ruling, finding the search to be unlawful," Sala said. 

Wyatt determined in his Dec. 31 ruling that Schindler's wife never consented to a search of their residence or its yards, and a BPD search of a locker found in their yard was unlawful. 

Police alleged the locker contained items Schindler, who was a police officer at the time, possessed illegally. They included a BPD shotgun locking rack — used to secure firearms inside patrol vehicles — as well as a department-issued shotgun that was not assigned to him. Police said they also found anabolic steroids. 

Prosecutors charged Schindler with four misdemeanors: receiving stolen property; embezzlement of property by a public officer; and two charges related to drug possession.

The events leading to the charges began Oct. 6, 2017.

Kevin Schindler and his wife, Hollie, were going through a separation, and Kevin had gone to their home to pick up some belongings, according to a description of the events provided by Sala and court documents. 

While there, the two argued whether he could take a couple of cabinets in the garage. Kevin Schindler eventually left without taking the cabinets.

Hollie Schindler then called her brother-in-law, Erik Forbus, for advice on whether her husband had any right to the cabinets. 

Forbus, a Kern High School District officer and former BPD officer, called police and reported a domestic disturbance at the Schindler residence.

Officers arrived and questioned Hollie Schindler, who said there was no domestic disturbance, just a dispute over a couple of cabinets. Police determined no crime had occurred. 

"There was not a scintilla of evidence of domestic violence," Sala said. 

Police began to clear the scene, Sala said, when Forbus told a sergeant Hollie Schindler had given him permission to search the backyard. Forbus and the sergeant went in the yard and found the locker. 

But Hollie Schindler later testified she never gave permission to search the backyard, or any part of their property. 

The sergeant's testimony also differed from Forbus' account. The sergeant testified he heard Forbus ask Hollie Schindler to put her dog away so he could go in the backyard, and Hollie Schindler said "OK," according to Sala.

The sergeant testified he believed her response constituted implied consent to search the yard.

Wyatt found differently.

The judge wrote Hollie Schindler's testimony "was credible and she did not expressly or impliedly consent to a search of the residence, the backyard, the side yard or the locker."

In contrast, Wyatt found Forbus' testimony "not credible or plausible," according to the ruling.

The judge wrote the testimony of Forbus was inconsistent with testimony from Hollie Schindler and the sergeant, and that Forbus had an evasive demeanor and had long held a bias against Kevin Schindler.

It could not immediately be determined if Kevin Schindler remained employed with the BPD. 

Jason Kotowski can be reached at 661-395-7491. Follow him on Twitter: @tbcbreakingnews.

(10) comments

Tguillen91

Kern high school district is paying officer erik forbus, who is supposed to lead by example and who is supposed uphold the law, not break them, approximately $111,000.00 a year, to lie under oath and make false reports... A regular civilian would be prosecuted so why isn't mr. forbus? KHSD should do the right thing and terminate him and he should be forced to pay back his salary as a fine for wasting tax payers money. Same applies for the the officer who has to steal because $165,000 a year is just not cutting it. They bring shame to our community and to those who genuinely wear the badge to protect and to serve...

Is the arresting officer Forbus’ brother in-law who resigned from BpD in lieu of being fired for brandishing a firearm and his father in law? They seem to always get into trouble and someone get away with it.

RICHARDFITZWELL

You are way off on those salary numbers. You are incorrectly reading the transparent California website. You do not include the benefits number, only the regular pay and overtime pay. Almost all slick sleeved officers/deputies in the county top out under 80,000, and are among the lowest paid in the state of California.

Nevermind

Who to take sides with, the thieving cop or the cop who doesnt know or doesnt care about search laws 101. Both are unacceptable.

Vavoom

erick forbus "Kern High School District officer"... so how do we believe FORBUS as an officer?... as a person? you lied... kern high and their police dept should really reconsider this employee. you have a deceitful person on your payroll!!!!

Fram Smith

Domestic disputes are one of the most challenging calls law enforcement must answer. One requirement that many law enforcement agencies impose on such situations is the proximity of the person making the call for law enforcement. Are they physically there, like a next door neighbor who is hearing or directly witnessing said conflict. I don't know about you, but I know of no professional law enforcement organization that would answer said call of a domestic disturbance being reported by a third party not present at the said disturbance, without the third party clearly stating that the threat of violence was probable. Right now, I'm calling law enforcement to go to your home because I perceive you are threat to someone there. While they are there, they need to search your house and yard for possible other crimes. Fruit from the poison tree-the judge made the constitutionaly correct call. That is. if you still value that stale old document.

Patricia Edna

Straight to the Brady List for Erik Forbus. If you know anything about him, this is not at all surprising. He’s not very smart and apparently not honest, either

ganczakr42

The officers are suppose to know the rules & the law. He could have ask to go to the back yard to double check the premises for safety etc.... Why would this officer make that kind of a mistake except to confuse or trick the wife???? BAAAAD police work, you'll never make the show Law & Order that way!

Ed

Sounds like Forbus needs to be a “former”. KHSD police officer. Who would want to trust him again?

ReefRanger

I was once told at a CHP candidate orientation never to lie during any part of the application process to become a CHP officer. The officer told us all that the CHP "didn't always hire angels, but they NEVER hired liars."
Mr. Forbus obviously never heard that speech from either BPD or KHSD.

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