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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 1, 2014

2/27/2013 9:48:00 AM
Prescott city officials decry officer emulation of 'outlaw images'

In a Tuesday statement, the City of Prescott expressed concern about senior law enforcement officers' decisions to be members of a club that emulates outlaw gangs.

"The City of Prescott does not condone outlaw images or behavior by its employees as being healthy or consistent with core organizational values, expected to extend into their private lives," Mel Preston, Prescott's public affairs manager, wrote. She indicated the behavior undermines "the welcome sign our community puts out both to its own citizens who want to enjoy all Prescott has to offer, and to guests who wish to peacefully enjoy 'Everybody's Hometown.'"

The news release was in response to a Dec. 22, 2012, incident in which members of the Iron Brotherhood motorcycle club - made up of law enforcement officers - became involved in a downtown bar fight that is still under investigation by the Arizona Department of Safety.

In the incident, a bar patron who grabbed Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler's Iron Brotherhood vest was pulled away by one Iron Brotherhood member, then punched in the face by another member during a fight at Moctezuma's, according to Prescott Police reports.

In the video released by DPS, bar employees are seen trying to break up the fight, but two more Iron Brotherhood members swing at them, while a woman tries to pull an Iron Brotherhood member away from the fight.

"The city is hopeful that the (DPS) report... will provide clear and convincing information as to what actually occurred during the December incident, and who was and should be held accountable for any apparent violations of law," Preston wrote.

Preston noted that after initial review of the case, a DPS spokesman said "Chief Reinhardt (Deputy Chief of Police, City of Prescott) was not in the bar at the time of the incident. Pending completion of the full investigation, the City of Prescott is, and has been, acting in reliance upon this determination," Preston wrote.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bill Suttle told investigating Pres-cott Police officers that Reinhardt was there, "but I want him left out of this," according to the police report.

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher placed Suttle, who commanded the Partners Against Narcotics Task Force, on paid administrative leave indefinitely on Thursday.

On the night of the incident, an Iron Brotherhood member had reserved several parking spaces on Whiskey Row for members' use through a parking permit issued by the Prescott Police Department.

"While it can be argued that it resulted in fewer spaces being occupied by the vehicles of the club members on a busy holiday night, the judgment of issuing a permit to any motorcycle club, well-intentioned or not, whose members intend to "party" in alcohol-serving establishments which have the difficult job of maintaining order in their businesses, is questionable," Preston wrote, adding that the fee of $10 each for the several spaces the club used was not collected.

That oversight, as well as similar failures to collect the fees, has been addressed through a review and reiteration of policy, Preston wrote.

Related Stories:
• Town of Prescott Valley might use outside firm to select new police chief
• Two top Yavapai County Sheriff's Deputies resign
• Raiss replaces Suttle as Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking commander
• YCSO's Suttle put on paid administrative leave
• Video shows off-duty police officers brawling with bar customers, employees
• Un-redacted reports shed light on Whiskey Row bar fight

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: BETTY LOU BARNES


Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Article comment by: Love P V

After studying the video of the incident at Moctezuma's it is the 23 year old that lunged across the bar with his fists raised and threw himself at one of the off duty officers. He was then pushed aside and punched. A brawl followed.

Maybe the behavior of our officers was less than professional, but they were attacked prior to defending themselves.

I support our local police and am very disappointed in the Prescott Daily Courier's coverage of the incident. The Courier has taken great efforts to avoid any mention of the aggressive behavior which led to the incident by the 23 year old who readily admits he was drunk.

Authorities will determine whether the punches, etc. were warranted and the video tape is the best evidence available.

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
Article comment by: just thinking

How do you think we feel in Prescott Valley?
Our cops are 1%ers. Our town manager is a 1.5%er and our mayor is a 0%er.
This cop/gang problem brings out the best in the people that manage/rule our town.

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Article comment by: Miss Kitty

It's bad enough that we have loads of criminals and wannabe criminals engaged in this type of activity in our area. For local LEOs to emulate some of the sickest and most disgraceful aspects of outlaw biker gangs is deplorable and shameful. Anyone found responsible for participating in this fracas should be terminated immediately, with prejudice, regardless of their position in the force. How much worse it would be to learn that this rot has penetrated local LE from top to bottom! Are these the kind of men we want to rely on to keep our children, our elders, our out-of-town guests, and our own selves safe from harm? Are these the kind of men we want to entrust with drug investigations, child molestation cases, sexual assault cases, etc.? I know from experience that there are good LEOs. I also know from experience that there are corrupt, power-hungry, dangerous LEOs. I hope this event serves as a wake-up call to local authorities to do some serious house-cleaning, at the very least.

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