By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento police officer arrested on a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report appeared before a judge for the first time Monday.

The criminal case against Officer Alexa Palubicki centers on an enforcement stop she made that allegedly caught her in a web of lies.

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“Good afternoon, your honor,” Palubicki said to the judge in her Zoom court appearance.

The courtroom appearance stands in stark contrast to the rest of her law enforcement career.

She sat quietly as a defendant in a felony criminal case alleging she filed a false police report, leading to an African American man’s arrest.

Law Enforcement Accountability Directive founder Mark T. Harris is watching the case closely.

“It’s hard to find as hard a set of facts as we have in this case,” Harris said. “This is a very solid investigation that took place.”

CBS13 obtained Sacramento police internal investigation documents from the enforcement stop Palubicki made showing she told investigators she and her partner decided to do some “proactivity,” and saw a car “registered to a female but a male was driving. Which we felt was odd.”

The stop led to the discovery of a firearm and an arrest of an African American man, in which Palubicki’s police reports showed the probable cause for the enforcement stop was suspicion of DUI, a claim the Sacramento County District attorney alleges she knowingly lied about.

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“They went to the end of the story, and then rationalized their way backward. That’s not the way the constitution works,” Harris said.

An internal investigation shows Palubicki never filed mandatory reporting documents per the Racial and Identity Profiling Act.

“Unfortunately, many in law enforcement treat black skin as though it is the basis for probable cause, for stop and or arrest, and that’s wrong and I think that’s what happened here,” Harris said.

Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness says any officer caught lying about probable cause is always putting their career in jeopardy.

“If you lie, the next word is die,” McGinness said. “Professionally you die, you’re finished with your career.”

A criminal case over probable cause is putting this officer in the legal fight of her life.

It was Palubicki’s fellow officers who brought this case to the Sacramento Police Department’s attention.

She did not enter a plea Monday.

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Her next court date is in June.