You know things can't be that awesome in the Vallejo Police Department when an officer who was responsible for the most high-profile screwup the department has seen in years gets a special commendation. But that's what's happened, as ABC 7 reports, as Detective Matthew Mustard recently was awarded Officer of the Year for 2015.
Huskins's family and her attorney, who have already filed a civil rights complaint against the department that they seem pretty likely to win, are of course furious. Says attorney Doug Rappaport, "It's an insult... He may do a very fine job in other cases and this may be the one time he didn't, but boy when the one time he didn't, it was a big one."
ABC 7's Melanie Woodrow caught wind of the VPD's newsletter, where she saw the description of their annual awards luncheon that took place on April 28. Mustard is described as having lead the investigations of 18 homicides in the last year, but there is no mention of the case of Denise Huskins, who was bound and abducted in March of 2015, and allegedly subjected to a sexual assault by accused kidnapper Matthew Muller.
VPD Chief: Det. Mustard "defines outstanding qualities" #GoneGirl fam outraged at Officer of Year @abc7newsBayArea pic.twitter.com/MBuWnByfnf— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) May 13, 2016
As we learned last month, the civil complaint against the VPD alleges that Mustard, in the hours following Huskins's return to her family, told Huskins's mother that her daughter's claims of being raped twice while in captivity were likely false, and upon hearing that Huskins had been sexually abused as a child, he said, "That's what sometimes people do who are victims of sexual assault, that they make it up later and try to re-experience the situation and enjoy the excitement."
The department and its Lt. Kenny Park went on to make a public statement shortly after the kidnapping declaring the entire thing a hoax, a story that went on to make national headlines and something that they had to apologize for a few months later when Muller was arrested for a similar crime in Dublin, and later basically confessed to a reporter in a jailhouse interview.
Because the Vallejo PD dismissed the case so quickly as a bizarre hoax, it appears they failed to collect evidence that would have suggested otherwise.
Muller has admitted to suffering from severe delusions and bipolar disorder. He has yet to stand trial in the Huskins case, and in September pleaded no contest to a home invasion in Dublin, for which he was ultimately nabbed.