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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local December 17, 2014

2/19/2013 5:06:00 PM
Iron Brotherhood bar fight: Official says he can't remember real name of key figure known as 'Top Gun'
Courtesy photo
This photo from the website of the Iron Brotherhood's Whiskey Row chapter shows the group's jacket insignia.
Courtesy photo
This photo from the website of the Iron Brotherhood's Whiskey Row chapter shows the group's jacket insignia.
Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Nearly two months after a fight allegedly involving off-duty and retired police officers at Moctezuma's Bar in Prescott, the Arizona Department of Public Safety released to The Daily Courier unredacted Prescott Police Department reports that indicated three high-ranking law enforcement officers were on the scene at the time.

On Dec. 22, 2012, about 20 Iron Brotherhood members wearing black vests with the club's name held a Christmas party in a back room at Hooligan's Pub. The Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club is a group of active and retired law enforcement officers. The Arizona chapter includes some officers with the Prescott and Prescott Valley police departments, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, DPS and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

After leaving Hooligan's, some members flashed badges, "tried to bully their way inside Matt's Saloon," which has a no-colors (gang regalia) policy, but doormen would not let them in. Those members then went to Moctezuma's, where they showed their badges and were let in, despite that bar's no-colors policy.

Before long, a fight broke out. Prescott police became aware of the situation after learning that a man had gone to Yavapai Regional Medical Center for treatment of facial injuries. That man, Justin Stafford, told officers he was "assaulted by some bikers" at Moctezumas.

Information from the Prescott police reports The Daily Courier obtained Tuesday sheds some light on the involvement of Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Commander Sgt. Bill Suttle of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, and Prescott Police Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt.

Suttle told investigating officers a "kid" - Stafford - went up to Fessler, grabbed Fessler's vest, and "talked trash," so Iron Brotherhood members grabbed Stafford, pulled him away and got into a fight.

Suttle said he broke up the fight, and immediately sent "Top Gun," the member who allegedly hit Stafford, to the hotel at which they all were staying. He told officers he couldn't remember "Top Gun's" name.

Suttle told officers that Prescott Police Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt was there during the fight, "but I want him left out of this," the report states.

"We knew you guys were going to show up," Suttle told the officer. "They told me you were coming, so I told Andy to go home."

Reinhardt told The Daily Courier on Tuesday that "DPS has not finished that investigation and I do not think it's right to comment on your questions. I don't even know some of those answers to your questions, because I wasn't there."

Fessler told an investigating officer Stafford came up to him, grabbed his vest, "talked trash" and asked him about his patches. He said he replied, "Why are you asking?" then someone grabbed Stafford and took him away. At that point Fessler said he left the bar.

Like Reinhardt, Fessler and Suttle told The Daily Courier Tuesday they could not comment until DPS releases its investigation.

"Once it's all done," Suttle said, "the truth will come out."

Fessler issued a statement in late December that said he was in the bar when a confrontation occurred, but that he and another Prescott Valley officer were not involved in a physical altercation, and that he was resigning from the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.

Stafford, who has said he was drunk at the time, told police he was punched by a man with crew-cut hair and a black goatee who wore a black biker vest with patches reading "Iron something" on the back.

Stafford said he thought he was punched only once, but it was all a blur after that, according to the report.

DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said Tuesday morning their investigation into the incident should be complete by the end of February, and reports and video will be released then. The Daily Courier is continuing efforts to obtain the video and DPS reports.

Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said no one in the Prescott Valley Police Department has been disciplined in the case yet.

"We're waiting for the outcome of the DPS investigation," Tarkowski said. "Any administrative action we may convene if appropriate after the release of the DPS report we would do with our Human Resources Department."

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher said in a press release Tuesday that he is waiting to get a copy of the unredacted Prescott Police report. He had received an initial briefing by DPS that no YCSO employee was involved in the assault, and has asked the Coconino County Sheriff's Office to conduct an administrative investigation on his behalf regarding any employee involvement in the incident.

Similar questions were posed Prescott City Manager Craig McConnell, but he did not immediately respond to The Daily Courier.

"The way our process works is we wait until the DPS criminal investigation is complete," said Lyle Mann, director of Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training. "The agencies will look at it administratively to see if any policy violations have occurred. We're the last step in the process."

No charges have been filed.

Click here to download the un-redacted police report from the Whiskey Row bar fight (3 MB file)

Related Stories:
• No charges yet in Iron Brotherhood criminal case
• Raiss replaces Suttle as Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking commander
• YCSO's Suttle put on paid administrative leave
• Iron Brotherhood fight footage: Video shows off-duty police officers brawling with bar customers, employees
• Video: Whiskey Row bar fight involving police officers
• Iron Brotherhood bar fight: 'Everybody was swinging at everybody,' witness says of brawl allegedly involving off-duty police officers

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: Truth Be Told

Where are the other divisions of govt related to these LE departments? Where is the Yavapai County Human Resources director Vigneron, or the County Administrator Bourdon on this?

The Sheriff's men involved are County Employees. The County has strict guidelines that state an employees behavior, even on personal time, cannot cast a bad light on the County.

Where are the City managers for Prescott and Prescott Valley as well?

They are all a quid pro quo bunch.

Maybe the new expanded County Supervisors that aren't yet jaded can get something moving. Unless they are already in on it.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Hanig

I'd like to know what the people running for office think of this situation. And how they think it should be handled. It would truly have an effect on who I'd vote for

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Retired LEO

The code of silence does indeed exist and nobody wants to be labeled as a "rat."

Poor judgement was displayed by the members of the club and the officers present need to cooperate wih the investigation. Being a sworn peace officer obligates them to "do what is right, even when it's not popular."

Even though the news isn't reporting it, I'm sure some of the officers involved are indeed cooperating.

This perceived cover up is a blemish to the reputation of your department and all those on the job.

The conspiracy to cover this up is worse than the actual act..

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: demand resignation

i read the report.. I did not see where any of these cops took a breath test. Was a blood sample taken? Was their drugs in their system?

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: rosemary riddle


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: jim ritchie

I thought that it was illegal to possess weapons, guns and knives, while consuming alcohol at public establishments, also these establishments have a "No colors' policy. All of this was ignored and allowed because they were police officers!!!! What if the victim had died, would we still be seeing the leniency displayed by cop on cop?
Jus' sayin'

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Re: Local Leo

So many questionable acts have gone on with the local PD's that the average citizen has good reason to not trust ANY police officer. Complacency and cowardice are the same thing in this situation so get over it the truth hurts.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Ima Retired

As a former LEO of 30 years, I can't help but find this entire incident disgusting and a "black eye" on our local LEO's. We DO have many good men and women in our police/sheriff's organizations serving us. This activity of having staff/adm officers imitating the 1% goes against their grain also. Several have commented that not a lot can be done due to the positions held by those involved, WRONG! A start is not on this blog. A vote of No Confidence by the local POA's is a beginning. Letters by members of this community to the City Manager, City Council emphasizing corrective and punitive action take place are also important.
In Law Enforcement, understandable survival relationships are developed over the years. However, there comes a point where a line has to be drawn. The behavior and judgment of those involved crossed that line and instead of raising the level of work to one of professionalism, they have made your job that much more difficult. Their choice has become your burden. Absent the positions of those involved, this was a simple bar dispute and clearly investigated as such, so don't condemn the investigators. The difference being now are the participants involved are immediate supervisors which makes it much more difficult. The uniformed officer is the first line of government representation and likely to take the heat from the community for any ill feelings the public may have regarding our government. Trust in those guardians by the community is up-most important for a civilized community to function properly. Use the power of the pen as some of those involved are "At Will Employees" and not as protected as one would have you believe. Prescott Valley/Prescott does not need the IB as part of their Police Department. They need their LEOs to be protecting us from the 1% and not part of the 1%.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Sons of Anachronisms

AKA cover up. ....Top gun ?? LOL , I think more like Sherwin Williams .

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Local LEO

Thanks RR. And @Mr. Beam. I'm not talking about cops who were there. Maybe I wasn't clear on that. You are right saying that the other cops there that night should all be cominng forward and stepping up to cooperate. I'm talking about the one's who were out working the streets or home with their families when this happened. They are stuck waiting this out. How can you call them cowards? What do we do?

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

@ Local Leo

It's a shame that these guys made your job harder than it should be. I was being facetious about good cops, I apologize bad timing on my part. Good luck

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Beam

I saw the video. ... the investigators need more time?
As for those cops saying they're 'afraid' to say anything ... if you won't do what's right when the law is being broken right in front of your faces, it means you choose to harrass citizens only since they can't get you fired. That, is disgraceful and cowardly. You are *NOT* honest when you don't do what you say you're supposed to be protecting us from.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: @ CAN'T REMEMBER REAL NAME

I have the same questions as CAN'T REMEMBER REAL NAME. Why didn't the initial investigating team go to the Hotel St. Micheals and interview "TOP GUN" that night? All the physical evidence that would have been immediately available was missed because of the delay. Why didn"t they interview Kaufman and the other officers with cuts on in the area and their wives and girlfriends ? A witnesses' memory is best at the time of the incident. Suttle should have been detained until TOP GUN was detained and Andy Rheinhardt was interviewed. Because the perpetrator grabbed the victim by the throat and held him while he hit him elevates the act to a much more serious crime and is a felony. Also the fact that they were acting as a group when the attack took place it creates a more serious crime. Hopefully DPS took the time to track down everyone that was there so they could do a more thorough investigation. Maybe they even interviewed their own officers that are members of the Iron Brotherhood.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Local LEO

As I explained, there is NOTHING that we, the good rank and file LEO's can do in this situation. Any LEO stepping up and being vocal about how we all feel would surely be met with discipline by these unethical leaders. They don't attend briefings or hang out with us so how do we ostricize a command level officer or Chief who spends their day hiding out in their office. We fear for our jobs and our futures with our respective agencies if we were to stand up to this. We have families that rely on us having a job. We too are waiting for action to be taken and hoping that those in charge will do what is right. IIf that does not happen, I am certain you will see good LEO's leaving our local agencies to go anywhere else where the Code of Conduuct is respected.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Grow a clue...

To all of the people saying that the LEO's that are upset about this incident should speak up, need to grow a clue. There is NO WAY an officer can stand up and say to his CHIEF that his behavior was completely horrible. It's called insubordination and the officer would be, at the least, written up...or at the worst, fired. They have to not only work with other LEO's but their LIVES are in the hands of other officers. Running your mouth and speaking your mind can not only cost you a job, it can cost you your life. It's not as simple as outside people seem to believe it is. This is not a 9-5, sit at a desk all day and go home to your family job. This is a count on your fellow officer to have your back in a dangerous sitation kind of job. I don't see anyone that is demanding that officers step forward and say something identifying who they are by name. Before you start demanding and officer put his job and life on the line why don't you lead by example and put your name out in the public.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Cant Remember Real Name

Suttle informed both the investigating officers that he sent "Top Gun (the assailant) back to Hotel St Michaels were they were all staying" My question is...Why didnt the investigating officers go to Hotel St. Michaels to find Top Gun? Why didnt Suttle take the officer to his room so they could arrest him? Why did they lie and state they were given no contact information of his whereabouts when it clearly states he was sent back to Hotel St Michael?

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Ride The Wind

If these "officers" were working in a big city, they would have been shot at. Lucky they live and work in a small community. Not very professional of them to look and act like this.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Josey Wales

Every single one of the police officers that were present at this altercation should be disciplined & the higher ups that look the other way at this type of conduct should be held accountable & lose their jobs! Police officers in a "motorcycle club" drinking & partying while wearing "club colors" in the town they they have sworn to serve & protect is totally unacceptable in my view! They should be ashamed! Looks like this is still the wild, wild West after all!

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: John Citizen 11

@John Citizen-stop using other's comment names.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Nothing New People Just well covered up

This kind of mentality was showing up at city picnics, and city breakfast functions -- long ago . Then city manager Norwood thought this kind of inappropriate behavor was just plain cool . It now seems our new city manager is still following the same trail of thought . Doing nothing over the years -- but go along with such unacceptable stupidity . It just made me wonder where were their brains then, and where are they now .. This kind of mentality destroyed a once beautiful golf course, now it seems it is trying it's best to destroy Prescott . T.S.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: @ Deputy Sheriff

If you want us to respect you and your honest fellow LEOs, do the right thing and not just stand by doing nothing. At the very least these guys should be ostricized and made to feel very unwelcome in your squad rooms and in your stations. Has any of this happened? I doubt it. ... If they are truly the "minority" who are disdained for what they did, peer pressure should cause resignations. And we don't see it.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: To Local LEO

You are being judged because you are doing NOTHING.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: TO: Vince Broud

You need to brush up on your gun and liquor laws. There were some inaccuracies in your comments.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Susan Greenwald

if I would have seen there jackets I would have thought "bad guys"!

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Iron Brotherhood

Grown men basically playing dress up.

Don't they already do that while in uniform?

Grown men doing the wannabe bike gang thing? Even without the dust-up on Whiskey Row, the Iron Brotherhood is patently ridiculous and shows the mental makeup of these geniuses.

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