Rookie who turned in 'Rider' cops testifies

The Associated Press
Thursday September 19, 2002

OAKLAND — A rookie cop who turned in three fired police colleagues now on trial for beating suspects and falsifying reports, testified Wednesday about how he was taught to “hit corners” and fabricate reports to cover his tracks. 

Keith Batt, 25, now a Pleasanton police officer, told jurors his supervisor and trainer, Clarence “Chuck” Mabanag taught him how to leave a few lines blank at the end of a suspect’s statement so they could be filled in later, after the suspect signed it. 

Being tried along with Mabanag, 37, are Jude Siapno, 34, and Matthew Hornung, 30. The fired officers, who called themselves “The Riders,” face a total 26 felony charges. 

Batt testified he watched Mabanag and his fellow officers on the night shift in West Oakland punch, kick and slap suspects. He also testified about how they “hit corners” or randomly accosted, handcuffed and searched people without probable cause. Later, police reports were concocted to match the cops’ version of events, Batt said. 

Prosecutor David Hollister questioned Batt about June 2000 events in which officers were called to Kenneth Soriano’s house to investigate the theft of his cousin’s car. 

Mabanag allegedly threatened to shoot Soriano’s dog and said he didn’t like Soriano’s attitude. It quickly escalated to several “Riders” kicking and beating Soriano, who ended up with a cut face, Batt said.