Former LBPD officers Dedier Reyes (left) and David Salcedo seen during the opening of their trial at Clara Shortridge Foltz Courthouse on charges of falsifying a police report. Photos by Maison Tran.

Jurors on Wednesday acquitted two former Long Beach police officers accused of filing a false police report about a gun arrest in 2018.

Dedier Reyes, 40, and David Salcedo, 30, were each found not guilty of one count of filing a false police report. Reyes was also found not guilty of an additional perjury charge for signing a separate document attesting to the facts of the arrest.

The case stems from the evening of Feb. 15, 2018, when prosecutors allege Reyes and Salcedo lied in their police reports, resulting in the wrong man being arrested for possession of a weapon.

According to authorities, the officers were on patrol when they spotted Max Medina and Orlando Fonseca, two documented gang members, standing outside the El Bukanas taqueria in the 300 block of West Anaheim Street.

Medina, according to prosecutors, was carrying a brown Louis Vuitton bag across his shoulder. Fonseca had just bought drugs from Medina at the taqueria, according to authorities.

Because Medina and Fonseca were both on parole at the time, they were subject to being detained and searched by the officers at any point and without reason. Reyes and Salcedo knew this, according to authorities, made a U-turn at the end of the block and parked in front of the taqueria to search them.

At one point during the interaction, Reyes found the Louis Vuitton bag inside the taqueria. The officers located a gun inside the bag and took both men into custody, with Fonseca spending several days in jail on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Reyes claimed to have recognized the men and inaccurately said Fonseca was carrying the Louis Vuitton satchel over his shoulder, prosecutors said. In their reports, Reyes and Salcedo also said they saw Fonseca walk inside El Bukanas with the bag over his shoulder and ditch it while Medina remained outside, something that was contradicted by security camera video and would have been impossible for them to observe from the street even if it were true, according to prosecutors.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office originally investigated these discrepancies in 2018, but found no wrongdoing on the officers’ part, according to authorities.

After a change in administration, however, the DA’s Office in 2021 reversed that decision and filed charges against Reyes and Salcedo. The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges and lost their jobs with the LBPD.

When the trial began last week, prosecutors attempted to cast Reyes and Salcedo as police officers who purposefully misrepresented the facts to justify a wrongful arrest.

Prosecutors argued that the officers lied about the manner in which they recovered the gun. They also relied on video evidence from the taqueria to refute the former officers’ account of the incident. The video shows Medina in possession of the bag, not Fonseca, as the officers alleged.

Ultimately, though, jurors decided the officers were not guilty after the defense attorneys argued that Reyes and Salcedo made an “honest, reasonable” mistake in their efforts to keep themselves and the community safe.

It’s unclear how the verdict will affect other cases involving Reyes and Salcedo while they were still employed with the LBPD.

After the DA’s office formally presented charges against them, some cases they’d been involved with unraveled, including that of a man who was serving a 39-year sentence for assaulting a Long Beach police officer. In that case, the man had his conviction vacated because it was based on Reyes’ testimony.