Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Town investigation does NOT clear police chief
In a lengthy report prepared for Town Manager Alex Taft (as per the actual documents). The cover sheet reads:
"As Town Manager for the Town of Quartzsite I am waiving Attorney - Client Privilege to release this report on the Internal Investigation of Police Chief Gilbert by Sonja K. Boun. Attorney at Law of Jackson Lewis LLP." It was signed "Alex Taft, Town Manager.
The firm hired to investigate our police dept. specializes in workplace law, primarily, protecting the interests of management. "When complaints arise, we work with clients to take incisive action to effect solutions that minimize costs and maximize results." It's no surprise that the report depicts complaining officers in a less than sympathetic light, and goes so far as to accuse them of lying without any evidence to back up that assertion! The report also recommends that Officer Herlen Yeomans (a long suffering target of the chief) should himself be investigated. "Indeed it appears that some of the witnesses were untruthful in interviews and fabricated information in an effort to bolster claims alleged in the Anonymous letter." (What anonymous letter? Last time I checked, the officers signed their letter.) And "Witness A (Yeomans) apparently lied several times throughout the course of this investigation. To the extent that the Town wishes to separately investigate Witness A's possible dishonesty during the investigation, the Town should make sure that any such investigation is handled by a neutral party or agency if feasible, so as to avoid an appearance that Chief Gilbert is retaliating against Witness A for participating in this investigation and making allegations against him." Boy, this woman takes "risk management" to a whole new level. How does she look at herself in the mirror? Good thing our boys in blue are lawyer-ed up!
Does attorney client privilege exist with a town employee if the attorney is working for "the people"? I don't think so. Did Alex make a special arrangement, so that the officers testimony would remain confidential? Their statements were not in the report. Neither was a copy of their written complaints, which detail things like alleged evidence destruction and Sgt Frausto botching a major drug bust, which endangered the lives of undercover officers.
What was in the report, was Gilbert admitting to calling Sgt. Ponce's crew "the gay squad", giving the Hispanic officers African American bobble head dolls while giving Caucasian officers white bobble heads, using profanity, and publicly humiliating Officer Yeomans in a department wide meeting with a snide comment about "wiping his ass hairs off the toilet."
Posted by ARfighter at 7:07 AM