Catch us live on BlogTalkRadio every

Tuesday & Thursday at 6pm P.S.T.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Arizona - No charges yet in Iron Brotherhood criminal case

BY: Lisa Irish

Arizona - Almost three months after the Arizona Department of Public Safety released its report into a bar fight in which Iron Brotherhood members punched a man and broke his nose, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not decided whether to file charges in the incident. The Iron Brotherhood is a motorcycle club comprising active and retired law enforcement officers and other public safety employees.
The case remains under review, Maricopa County Attorney's Office Spokesman Jerry Cobb said Thursday.
The DPS investigation recommended felony charges of felony obstruction of criminal investigations and misdemeanor false reporting to law enforcement be filed against Iron Brotherhood members former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler and former Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Sgt. Bill Suttle and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct against Justin Stafford, whose nose was broken in the Dec. 22 fight at Moctezuma's in Prescott.
Phoenix Police Officer Eric Amato and Ajo Ambulance paramedic Gregory Kaufmann, who threw punches according to the DPS report, could face possible misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct. Gregory Kaufmann could also face a charge of felony disorderly conduct with a weapon.
Despite the lack of criminal charges, several law enforcement agencies have completed administrative reviews and taken disciplinary action.
The Coconino County Sheriff's Office completed an administrative review into Prescott Valley Police Cpl. Jason Kaufman being a member of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.
"He violated town and police department policy, regarding conduct that tended to reflect unfavorably on the town and the department," Prescott Valley Police Chief James Edelstein said. "For that he was disciplined, received a week off without pay, six months disciplinary probation, and received a written reprimand."
Edelstein said he requested the Coconino County Sheriff's Office do the administrative review, since "they had already done three other investigations for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and as a result were very familiar with some of the details of the investigation from DPS."
"We don't tolerate any actions that would bring discredit to this department or the town as a whole," Prescott Valley Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney said. "We hold ourselves to very high standards."
Kaufman "has been completely open, forthcoming and honest, cooperated fully and participated in everything that was asked of him by our agency and DPS," Bonney said.
"Cpl. Kaufman has served us and the town for 12 years and during that time he has received numerous accolades for his service," Edelstein said. "He's been an asset to the department and has made a contribution to keep this community safe."
The review into Cpl. Tyran Payne's conduct continues, Edelstein said.
Yavapai County Deputy Mark Boan's appeal before a five-person panel is scheduled to begin today, Yavapai County Assistant Human Resources Director Wendy Ross said. Boan was fired Friday, May 17 in connection with his conduct during the DPS investigation.
DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said the administrative review into DPS Officer Bryce Bigelow's actions during the incident and investigation had concluded.
"It is our intention to terminate Officer Bigelow," Graves said. "It was a violation of the DPS code of conduct regarding dishonesty."
Phoenix Police Officer Eric Amato is currently on an administrative assignment, Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Tommy Thompson said on July 10.
"There is an internal investigation into the matter, but as I am sure you are aware, we are prohibited by law from discussing the details of an internal investigation pending the completion of the entire process, including the appellate process," Thompson said. "That restriction includes releasing the names of those involved and allegation of misconduct."
Since the incident, Moctezuma's has changed its name to The Whiskey Row Pub and has a sign posted above it's door that reads, "There is absolutely no tolerance for any and all motorcycle club colors in our establishment. Thank you for understanding and your cooperation. No firearms or weapons are allowed."