Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento police officer resigns after facing termination for drug, weapon charges

Sacramento police officer facing drug and weapons charges likely has 'addiction issue,' attorney says

Sacramento police officer Isaac Richard Knutila, 45, faces felony charges of having a “loaded, operable firearm” while also being in possession of drugs, and possession of an assault weapon.
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Sacramento police officer Isaac Richard Knutila, 45, faces felony charges of having a “loaded, operable firearm” while also being in possession of drugs, and possession of an assault weapon.

Sacramento Police Department Officer Isaac Richard Knutila has resigned while facing termination for his November arrest for having several illegal drugs and a semiautomatic weapon, the department said Monday.

Knutila, 45, was arrested Nov. 4 at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West Hotel in possession of “usable” amounts of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin, as well as his .40-caliber duty pistol, according to the department and information obtained by The Sacramento Bee through a Public Records Act request.

Knutila was later found to have possession of an illegal .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle, police said.

The department also confirmed it is reviewing past arrests made by Knutila, and is investigating both on- and off-duty conduct by the patrolman. He worked in the Lemon Hill, Fruitridge and Power Inn neighborhoods.

Knutila’s defense lawyer, Michael Wise, said Friday that he had not been informed of the broader scope of the police investigation but that “it would be standard protocol for any officer given the alleged conduct.”

Knutila, a 16-year veteran of the force, was arrested after an internal affairs investigation that started in October after another local law enforcement agency tipped the Sacramento Police Department that Knutila had been seen in an area noted for prostitution, the department said after his arrest.

The department declined to name the outside agency.

Undercover officers arrested Knutila in the lobby of the Arden-area Hilton, where manager Sami Qureshi confirmed the officer was a registered guest. Qureshi said Knutila was not in uniform when officers approached him as he sat alone in the lobby, and officers “quietly arrested him and walked him out.”

Knutila was initially charged with four drug-related misdemeanor counts and a single felony charge of having a loaded firearm while in possession of drugs. The misdemeanor drug charges were later dropped, but a second felony charge for the illegal rifle was added. No prostitution or solicitation charges have been filed.

Wise said the semiautomatic rifle was located during a later search and suggested during an interview after Knutila’s first court appearance in November that Knutila may have been holding the weapon for a friend. Wise also said Knutila likely has “an addiction issue.”

The Bee on Nov. 28 requested the names and number of people arrested by Knutila on drug or drug-related charges, but that request has not been fulfilled.

Under open government laws, the city has 10 days to respond.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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