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home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014


5/1/2013 8:16:00 AM
IRON BROTHERHOOD:
Former Prescott Valley Police chief could face charges in bar fight
Bill Fessler
TribFile/Cheryl Hartz
Bill Fessler
TribFile/Cheryl Hartz
Footage from Moctezuma's security cameras shows Iron Brotherhood members fighting customers and employees. The video contains select sequences from different cameras mounted in the bar and was obtained by The Daily Courier from the Arizona Department of Public Safety through an Arizona Public Records Law request.
Courtesy image
Footage from Moctezuma's security cameras shows Iron Brotherhood members fighting customers and employees. The video contains select sequences from different cameras mounted in the bar and was obtained by The Daily Courier from the Arizona Department of Public Safety through an Arizona Public Records Law request.
Courtesy image
Download DPS investigation reports
Click to download part 1 of the Iron Brotherhood DPS investigation (22.4 MB)

Click to download part 2 of the Iron Brotherhood DPS investigation (29 MB)

Click to download part 3 of the Iron Brotherhood DPS investigation (19.7 MB)

Click to download part 4 of the Iron Brotherhood DPS investigation (19.5 MB)

Lisa Irish
Special to the Tribune

Former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler could face charges after a December bar fight in Prescott.

Two Iron Brotherhood members, Phoenix Police Officer Eric Amato and Ajo Ambulance Paramedic Greg Kaufmann, threw punches during a Dec. 22, 2012, fight at Moctezuma's Bar, breaking patron Justin Stafford's nose, according to a DPS report released late Thursday.

The DPS report indicates former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler and former Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Sergeant and Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Commander Sgt. Bill Suttle could have provided Prescott Police investigators more information about the fight and who was involved, but chose not to.

Allegations against Fessler, the Iron Brotherhood's Whiskey Row Chapter president at the time, who went by the club name of "Tarzan," and Suttle, the group's then-vice president, who was known as "Mongo," include obstructing criminal investigation/prosecution and false reporting to law enforcement agencies.

Allegations against Amato, an Iron Brotherhood Sergeant at Arms who goes by "Guido," and Kaufmann, an Iron Brotherhood member called "Top Gun," include assault and disorderly conduct.

In addition, DPS investigators recommended a charge of disorderly conduct against Stafford.

Stafford, 23, had past contact with at least one of the Iron Brotherhood members. According to a Prescott Valley Police report, Fessler was on the scene of a Nov. 20, 2009, incident in which Stafford was cited for underage drinking after he was found with Andrew Goodall, who was arrested for having an IED (improvised explosive device) in the back of his car.

According to the DPS report, Iron Brotherhood members Fessler, Suttle, former YCSO Lt. Marc Schmidt, YCSO Deputy Mark Boan, Prescott Valley Police Cpl. Jason Kaufman, Central Yavapai Fire District Capt. Al Camacho, Bullhead City Police Officer Troy Teske, Arizona Department of Economic Security Investigator Frank Mendoza, and a club prospect, El Mirage Police Officer Michael Borrello were at Moctezuma's during the fight, but not all of them witnessed the fight.

The report states that Moctezuma's security guards saw Suttle flash his badge as he entered the bar, and later, during the fight, they confiscated a knife from Kaufmann.

Iron Brotherhood member DPS Officer Bryce Bigelow, an Iron Brotherhood Sergeant at Arms known as "Deuce," told DPS investigators he overheard Stafford make fun of how Fessler danced at Moctezuma's and Fessler walked away.

Then Bigelow said Stafford approached Fessler two more times, put his fingers on Fessler's vest, and asked "What's this?"

Fessler told investigators that Stafford flicked his vest, and Fessler's wife stepped between them, at which point someone whisked Stafford away.

Bigelow told DPS investigators that Amato asked Stafford to leave, Stafford swung at Amato, and Amato hit Stafford in the nose.

The Moctezuma's video shows Amato grab Stafford by the neck and push him backward into the bar as Kaufmann pushed another man to the right of Amato. Amato then punched the man Kaufmann pushed.

Kaufmann told DPS investigators he pulled out a knife because he saw men around Stafford coming at them.

Suttle told DPS investigators Kaufmann chest-bumped a man, they started charging at each other, and Suttle got between them and told Kaufmann to leave the bar.

Central Yavapai Fire District Capt. Al Camacho intervened between Kaufmann and the other man whose face was injured during the fight.

On Feb. 26, an Iron Brotherhood member who would only give his name as Chris called The Daily Courier to say Kaufmann is a highly decorated veteran who "served his country well."

"The guy was just acting on behalf of other guys. He knows the true meaning of being a brother," Chris said. "He was basically just stepping up to a perceived threat."

Prescott Police Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt told DPS investigators he was at the Iron Brotherhood party earlier at Hooligan's, but he was not at Moctezuma's. Reinhardt said he didn't hear about the fight until the next morning when others talked about it during breakfast at the hotel in which the group was staying.

"All conclusions relative to this criminal investigation will be formulated by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office upon review of the criminal case," DPS investigators wrote in the report's findings section.

Related Stories:
• Panel selects 3 finalists for Prescott Valley police chief post
• Internal investigations continue into Iron Brotherhood incident
• YCSO deputy fired after review of conduct in Iron Brotherhood bar fight investigation
• Two YCSO employees hindered prosecution in Iron Brotherhood incident
• Town of Prescott Valley might use outside firm to select new police chief
• Prescott Valley Police Chief Fessler retires


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: Tony Gunny

danger to the community over a fist fight? First you people say you believe in laws, OK, whats a law on the books? You can not touch a law enforcement officer or assault him. Next you say officers are on duty 24/7 right? So when a fellow officer sees a drunk come up to his fellow officer placing his hands on him, On duty or off duty its a problem. Only reason it's getting this my attention is because the media loves drawing cops out and making things public! It should of been done and over with and a written warning! Blow small minor things up to make it seem like a murder trial here.

LEMC's are for cops to get together and donate their time and money back into the community. Sorry but at the end of the day when we want to relax, we don't want to be around civilians who fight with their wife, run their mouth and talk about things they know nothing about. stress free environment around other cops. We don't stop you from gathering, so why stop them? They are human just like YOU! and if you don't feel safe Joe Justice then you need to grow up or grow a pair!


Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Article comment by: Gun Daddy

I find it interesting that the "thin blue line" keeps getting in the way of doing what's right. Eventually, we have to help the police break this destructive norm of cover-up and breaking the law just because they share the same job.

Once this norm is broken, we will truly be able to trust the police.


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Kim Jady

The mayor appointed this guy and allowed him to run a renegade PD. The people of this town then voted him back into office. PV citizens are getting what they asked for.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: peter white

to BILL JOHNSON: i have met Fessler as i know his ex-wife. he made the deliberate decision to protect his biker buddies by obstructing justice and hindering an official investigation. He also is accused by the DPS of filing false reports. The DPS has determined that he did not meet the minimum standards that all Arizona LEO's swear to meet. He is a rogue biker and NOT a upstanding member of LEO and now will face the music for his actions. I wish him justice.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Billy Jack

It's strange nobody has made the connection yet. This guy's Barney Fife.....

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Barnaby Wild

Bill, the thing is...the law. If we believe in laws, then we also must believe in our police officers. The whole thing is based on trust. Trust is earned over time. But trust can be damaged quickly, as we have seen here.

Our officers' greatest asset is the trust that law abiding citizens hold in them. If particular officers act irresponsibly and average citizens lose trust in them, they are no longer officer material. Time to start a new career. I hear they need pipe welders in Nebraska.


Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013
Article comment by: russ ahrens

Just another incident in a degenerating community!

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: BILL JOHNSON

None of you know Mr. Fessler. it is pathetic and rude to draw this out. people seriously need to get a life and stop trying to ruin somebody elses. i know his family and it is affecting them. he was standing up for his friends as i am sure we all would. Leave him alone.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Justice

Charge Fessler now then arrest him and set bond for him, a VERY HIGH BOND. I deem him a danger to the community and I demand protection from him.



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