LB - Yavapai Gaming - 0204

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home : latest news : local February 26, 2015

4/26/2013 8:28:00 AM
Two YCSO employees hindered prosecution in Iron Brotherhood incident
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Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bill Suttle and Capt. Marc Schmidt hindered prosecution during a bar fight Dec. 22, 2012 at Moctezuma's in which patron Justin Stafford was injured by Iron Brotherhood law enforcement motorcycle club member Eric Amato, according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Office administrative investigation report released Thursday.

Schmidt and Suttle refused to be interviewed by the Coconino County Sheriff's Office for the administrative investigation, CCSO Commander Rex Gilliland wrote in his report.

"After a critical examination of Sgt. Suttle's behavior the night of the incident, as well as his interview with SIU (the DPS Special Investigations Unit), I have serious concerns about Suttle's ethics to his law enforcement profession," Gilliland wrote. "I believe he has been deceitful and his integrity (is) in question. He intentionally obstructed two law enforcement agencies' investigations and jeopardized his position as an Arizona peace officer."

Gilliland wrote that Suttle tried to influence Prescott Police officers by mentioning their Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt was present during the incident, but "there is sufficient information that Reinhardt was not present."

Gilliland also addressed the fact that Suttle flashed his police badge to gain entrance to a bar that had a "no colors" (gang-identifying clothing) policy.

"Suttle's use or display of his badge the night of December 22, 2012, is an abuse of his authority or power as a police officer," Gilliland wrote.

Of Schmidt, Gilliland wrote that he was "reluctant or refused to identify club members, showing his allegiance or loyalties first to the club and not with helping police investigate a crime and/or identify the suspect in that crime.

Furthermore, Gilliland notes, "There is video evidence that, about 20 to 25 minutes after the fight, the assault suspect, Eric Amato (aka) "Guido" told Schmidt he struck the victim twice. Schmidt is seen congratulating Amato."

The investigator wrote that while there was no evidence that YCSO Deputy Mark Boan had been involved in the fight or had violated Arizona law, Boan had information directly from two Iron Brotherhood members involved in the altercation and did not provide that information to DPS investigators when asked.

"In fact, Boan was made a witness when (former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill) Fessler and Amato told him what occurred that night," Gilliland wrote. "Fessler said that Amato punched the other party. Amato did not admit to the punch, but said the other party swung at him and he pushed this person and took him across the bar."

YCSO Sheriff Scott Mascher received the administrative investigation reports Wednesday, YCSO Spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

"I have thoroughly reviewed the reports submitted by Coconino County Sheriff's officials regarding the Whiskey Row incident that occurred in Prescott on December 22, 2012," Mascher said in a news release. "I want to assure the public we serve that the dedicated men and women of this office hold themselves to a higher standard."

"As your sheriff, I want to apologize to our community for any trust we may have lost as a result of this event," Mascher said. "I know the badge has been tarnished and we will work relentlessly to regain the community's full trust and confidence."

Schmidt and Suttle "submitted applications for voluntary resignations with intent to apply for retirement" on Monday, March 11, while Boan remains an employee, D'Evelyn said.

Related Stories:
• No charges yet in Iron Brotherhood criminal case
• Internal investigations continue into Iron Brotherhood incident
• YCSO deputy fired after review of conduct in Iron Brotherhood bar fight investigation
• Former Prescott Valley Police chief could face charges in bar fight
• 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

Rollo Tomasi THANK YOU! one of the smarts people in that county! Must of been born with that common sense. Media loves to hang a cop, it sells newspapers. And from what other said in community "cop 24/7" well if that is true then that (person) who doesn't even remember who hit him shouldn't of came up to a cop and tried to pick a fight, putting his hand on a officer!!!!! called assault on officer! Felony!

This goof ball know what he was doing! Schools teach us to keep your hands to yourself, parents teach us to fight back if someone hits you. Laws tell us "we have the right to defend ourself from a threat" why wasn't the person who wanted to fight a cop so badly arrested? Why is this even news?

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

@ Rollo Tomasi - So according to you police and gangs are OK even if the police break the law. In that case I am in favor of having the Hells Angles do our police work. They have much more experience than the Iron Brotherhood and are probably much more fair. Also they have no badge to hide behind.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: BETTY BARNES


Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: dan the m.c. man

mr. rollo' you have missed the law for all.the fack is me are any body elese would have be charged, with something and most anybody-elese would have spent the night in jail.and the odds.go up if your on a motorcycle...

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: JUST SAYING

Just saying, the police officer's in Prescott and Prescott Valley think they are above the law. Detention officers are in the same category. They too think they are above the law.

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: Another Opinion

Stafford was looking for a fight. Stafford sounds like a real gem to me.

A drunken Stafford was mocking the officer and when that didn't get the desired response he crossed the bar to physically put his hands on the officer. The officer's wife stood between them as she recognized that Stafford was working hard to instigate a fight. It's hard to understand why Moctezuma's was serving someone so drunk and why their bouncers didn't throw Stafford out when he began to instigate a fight.

Too many drunks downtown. Let the police do their job, patrol heavily and get the regulars who get overserved a DUI. THAT would put peace back on our streets. I will report any drunk I see heading to a vehicle by physical description, license number and location. Also, bars that overserve should be held accountable. Whether they serve deranged young men or officers dressed like OMGs.

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: Rollo Tomasi

There should be no issue with officers riding bikes and belonging to a club. Wheres the harm? There are many clubs or associations among all sports or cultural interest whose members are officers, so why single out motorcycles.

They are not "emulating" anything. They are exactly what they say they are- officers who ride motorcycles.
Their attire is an industry tradition that goes back a hundred years, long before any so called "outlaw motorcycle gangs" existed.

If anyone is emulating anything, perhaps it is the OMG's. They say they are just good ole boys who ride motorcycles and occasionally sponsor charity events. The fedral governemnt says otherwise and labels them criminal enterprises. Who knows. Who cares.

The error the officers made was using their police status to gain privelege where others were not allowed- wearing their club attire in a bar that prohibits it.

Stafford is a low rent criminal twink who can't hold his liquor. He was a fool to start a fight with men who would surely defend themselves.

Had the officers not worn their colors, had the bar not deviated from their policy or if Stafford had any common sense, this matter never would have occurred.

I say Kings X. 

No one died. All involved have paid for their mistakes. Just let it end here. The government has allready paid way too much of taxpayer dollars to investigate this nothing event-lets not waste any more trying to prosecute stupidity.

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