California Democratic lawmaker arrested on suspicion of child cruelty: report

Democratic California state lawmaker Joaquin Arambula was arrested Monday on suspicion of misdemeanor child cruelty, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

The arrest came after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School discovered an injury on a child who came into an office Monday afternoon, Dyer said. He did not describe the injury or Arambula's relationship to the child. He was cited for willful cruelty to a child,

The Fresno Bee reported that police spoke to the alleged victim prior to the arrest.

Fred Vanderhoof, the Fresno County Republican Party chairman, in a press release called on the California Democrat Party to ask for Arambula's resignation due to "the egregious nature of these charges," according to Fresno's KFSN-TV.

Arambula, a Democratic state assemblyman, is married with three young daughters.

"Joaquin is a committed father who wants what is best for his children," his spokeswoman Felicia Matlosz said in a Tuesday statement. "He is fully supportive of the process, which will show he is a loving and nurturing father."

Arambula won a 2016 special election to represent part of Fresno and the surrounding rural areas. His father Juan Arambula was a state assemblyman in the early 2000s.

The child described how the injury occurred and said Arambula inflicted it, Dyer said. The police determined the injury happened Sunday evening. Arambula was cooperative and cordial, but he did not provide a statement to officers based on advice from his attorney, Dyer said.

Officers were "confident that a crime had occurred" and arrested Arambula on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, Dyer said. He was taken in a patrol car to police headquarter, finger-printed, photographed and then released because his crime is a misdemeanor. The injury did not rise to the level of a felony.

"The child we interviewed gave a very good statement, a very detailed statement, and we've been able to determine that what the child did tell us is factual," Dyer said.

Officials at the elementary school reported the child's injury to child protective services, which called Fresno police, Dyer said. Officers called Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth, who both arrived at the scene.

Dyer said the injured child, having been placed with a relative, is no longer in an environment where there is any contact with Arambula, KFSN-TV reported. Arambula also does not pose a risk to any other children, Dyer said.

Arambula could face up to one year in jail if convicted for this type of child abuse charge, according to the station.

Officials at the elementary school and Fresno Unified School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The injury is what determines that this was a misdemeanor crime," Dyer said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.