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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news November 25, 2015

7/16/2013 6:02:00 AM
No charges yet in Iron Brotherhood criminal case
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
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.
Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Almost three months after the Arizona Department of Public Safety released its report into a bar fight in which Iron Brotherhood members punched a man and broke his nose, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not decided whether to file charges in the incident.

The Iron Brotherhood is a motorcycle club comprising active and retired law enforcement officers and other public safety employees.

The case remains under review, Maricopa County Attorney's Office Spokesman Jerry Cobb said Thursday.

The DPS investigation recommended felony charges of felony obstruction of criminal investigations and misdemeanor false reporting to law enforcement be filed against Iron Brotherhood members former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler and former Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Sgt. Bill Suttle and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct against Justin Stafford, whose nose was broken in the Dec. 22 fight at Moctezuma's in Prescott.

Phoenix Police Officer Eric Amato and Ajo Ambulance paramedic Gregory Kaufmann, who threw punches according to the DPS report, could face possible misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct. Gregory Kaufmann could also face a charge of felony disorderly conduct with a weapon.

Despite the lack of criminal charges, several law enforcement agencies have completed administrative reviews and taken disciplinary action.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office completed an administrative review into Prescott Valley Police Cpl. Jason Kaufman being a member of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.

"He violated town and police department policy, regarding conduct that tended to reflect unfavorably on the town and the department," Prescott Valley Police Chief James Edelstein said. "For that he was disciplined, received a week off without pay, six months disciplinary probation, and received a written reprimand."

Edelstein said he requested the Coconino County Sheriff's Office do the administrative review, since "they had already done three other investigations for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and as a result were very familiar with some of the details of the investigation from DPS."

"We don't tolerate any actions that would bring discredit to this department or the town as a whole," Prescott Valley Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney said. "We hold ourselves to very high standards."

Kaufman "has been completely open, forthcoming and honest, cooperated fully and participated in everything that was asked of him by our agency and DPS," Bonney said.

"Cpl. Kaufman has served us and the town for 12 years and during that time he has received numerous accolades for his service," Edelstein said. "He's been an asset to the department and has made a contribution to keep this community safe."

The review into Cpl. Tyran Payne's conduct continues, Edelstein said.

Yavapai County Deputy Mark Boan's appeal before a five-person panel is scheduled to begin today, Yavapai County Assistant Human Resources Director Wendy Ross said. Boan was fired Friday, May 17 in connection with his conduct during the DPS investigation.

DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said the administrative review into DPS Officer Bryce Bigelow's actions during the incident and investigation had concluded.

"It is our intention to terminate Officer Bigelow," Graves said. "It was a violation of the DPS code of conduct regarding dishonesty."

Phoenix Police Officer Eric Amato is currently on an administrative assignment, Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Tommy Thompson said on July 10.

"There is an internal investigation into the matter, but as I am sure you are aware, we are prohibited by law from discussing the details of an internal investigation pending the completion of the entire process, including the appellate process," Thompson said. "That restriction includes releasing the names of those involved and allegation of misconduct."

Since the incident, Moctezuma's has changed its name to The Whiskey Row Pub and has a sign posted above it's door that reads, "There is absolutely no tolerance for any and all motorcycle club colors in our establishment. Thank you for understanding and your cooperation. No firearms or weapons are allowed."

Related Stories:
• Iron Brotherhood fight footage: Video shows off-duty police officers brawling with bar customers, employees
• Iron Brotherhood bar fight: Official says he can't remember real name of key figure known as 'Top Gun'
• Officials disregard public record requests on brawl allegedly involving police
• Officials decline to ID officers allegedly involved in bar fight

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013
Article comment by: @ 19 men are dead .......

.... Fire men are outstanding members of society. If the brotherhood had been a firemen or me a veteran we would already be convicted & sitting in jail.

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013
Article comment by: 19 Men Are Dead

Dear Ms. Repugnant,

Your world apparently stops spinning because of a scuffle in a bar (you do know the main player was a paramedic, not a cop, right?) and yet 19 firefighters lose their lives when they get marched into an area of known erratic fire behavior and youíre ready to accept that at face value.

I would think you anti-government and conspiracy types would be clamoring for an investigation and indictment of whomever made that decision. The corruption you speak of takes on many forms.

Personally, Iím much less concerned with a minor skirmish in a bar (and no, your histrionics notwithstanding, there was no high level cover-up) than the tragic loss of 19 lives.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: @ RODNEY KING

I agree...WOW. There are two sides to a coin. Everyone is thankful for the services that are provided by our first responders. We celebrate them when we can and we mourn for them when they pay the ultimate price in our name. We also have the responsibility to hold them accountable for their indiscretions. If they create a situation that violates the trust that the public has placed in them we have a duty to call them on it and demand that they stand in judgment. It's part of the oath they take and they all know the rules. As for the comment about "people walking free for killing kids" you need to educate yourself on the FACTS of that case. In that case a man lawfully used deadly force to protect himself from a much larger and younger attacker who was holding him down and striking him repeatedly in the face. It was self defense and the jury found him not guilty. The age of the attacker is of little consequence. He was an attacker none the less. The Iron Brotherhood is a virus in the law enforcement community and it has reaped havoc on the departments that have members. They need to be fired and let the good police officers work to re-build public trust. As long as one member or former member of the Iron Brotherhood are working for a police department the community as a whole has little motivation to trust them.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: @ 19 MEN ARE DEAD

Again. There may be several brawls on Whiskey Row but only one was instigated and perpetrated and covered up by high ranking police officials. If that is small potatoes to you I seriously question your definition of corruption. As for a fire service manager sending those 19 young men to their deaths I find your statement repugnant. You are grossly uninformed and worse yet you harm those brave men's families and loved ones by spewing such bunk. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Red head

The police have changed, the oath they take as no meaning, its us against them mentality! police lie on reports, probable cause is a joke, we all consent to being searched, evidence is manufacture to fit the crime and if they want you they will get you. Disarm the public we have not seen anything yet! Yes they are thugs and the law enforcement agency are gang's.So do we allow this to continue or what?

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: old biker

bull crapes,story is so common its not even funny.if it were any outher group of bikers.swat,rico,home land,about 20 cops would have been called out.all kinds of trumped up charges and bikes gone by- by.i've been pulled over and hand cuffed just for wearing my leathers,said i looked like a known out law..anyway did thies want-a-be bikers ride off ,drunk no d.u.i's

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Rodney King

all i can say is WOW...
everyone of you were clapping and cheering and maybe shook the hand of a FIRST RESPONDER in the last week. and now after a tragedy you all have the nerve to still bash LE.. oh ya write letters, email cause maybe you don't know how to use a pen... You should of told them all in PERSON last week.. They were all here, your governor your senator and the other official form Washington dc. did you question them then? i think not.. just another media frenzy to make you Forget whats happening in this country....People Walking Free for Killing kids, another for Killing her husband, the government giving guns to other country's... Wake up America there's more then all about Motorcycle Clubs.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: 19 men are dead

Folks, untangle your bunched panties. This situation was blown way out of proportion to begin with.

Numerous investigations have been conducted. The most serious charge the investigators could even recommend is obstruction of an investigation. Clearly, this is not the bastion of corruption that so many of you wish it to be.

Several people have lost their careers and been dragged through the mud over this scuffle in a bar (the same activity that goes on virtually every weekend in the bars.)

Time to move on and focus your energies on determining why a fire service manager perilously placed 19 men in the path of an advancing fire costing them their lives to save some scrub brush.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: P. G.

I think these cops should receive the same treatment from the system that the public receives.

They should be handcuffed and booked into the county jail with multiple felony charges. Their mugshots should appear in the Courier. The prosecutor's office should send them a plea agreement through the mail reducing the charges to one or two felony counts if they agree to plead guilty.

If they make use of the public defender office their lawyers should then advise them to take the plea so that it won't ruin the public defender's relationship with the prosecutors and judges.

The judge should then railroad them through the court and prison system like cattle through a meat processing plant. They should receive about ten years in state prison.

The treatment I describe above is no harsher than what citizens receive in this county. The fact that they still have their jobs is a disgrace.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jack Jones

While I understand the desire to "link" the memories of the heroic Yarnell 19 to this story ~ perhaps we are having an opposite of the intended effect, by associating the lives of these brave young men ~ and their families, with the actions of thugs, who just also happen to be LEO's. Just a thought.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jon Ado

4:1 that is the cowardly odds most police need.
The largest street gang in the USA according to a recent poll.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Juror Number Six

When it comes down to it, the police office is the one telling the jury what happened. Their testimony gets a lot of extra weight and that is part of why we hold them to a higher standard.

We cannot afford to let this kind of behavior go unpunished.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Little Old Lady

@Tammy Hicks...start organizing...I'll be one of the first to follow you! First clean the closet at the PD...and dig in and get tough on the other criminals!

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Its Called Lying!!! and its not Ok!

TO: Tom Von Deck
Its more than 'just a lie' its a whole lot more than that.
And if you or me were to 'hinder prosecution' \/ \ give false statements what do you think would happen to us?
These officers broke the law they swore to uphold. They cannot be trusted and just because many other officers from here or from other parts of the country have done the same doesn't excuse the fact they are not the right men for the job!
I agree with Jayme Lynne these officers have created an unsafe environment for themselves and the town.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ Kieth T: You raise some very good points. One thing makes this situation a little different wrt the motorcycle club and the dress: they are police officers first, motorcycle club members second. To wear the garb in a bar and get drunk (they were cut off of alcohol in the first bar and used their police badge to get into the second bar and continue drinking where the fight took place) was unbecoming of their profession AND NOBODY GOT IN ANY TROUBLE for that. I realize the persons who threw punches weren't the PV or Prescott cops, but they were all cops getting smashed in biker garb and it was more or less 'OK" with their departments because there were no repercussions. That's wrong and it makes it look like cops protect cops who do bad things.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: L S

Let justice prevail with the Motherhood.
Don't let them near Yarnell!

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ WORDS WITHOUT POWER

I am in complete agreement with you. The young men that sacrificed their lives protecting others are a tribute to those people who still have an engrained sense of community, selflessness, honor, integrity and dedication. They were truly heroes in every sense of the word. In contrast, all the members of the Iron Brotherhood have forfeited their rights to claim the same attributes. They brought only shame and distrust to their profession, their fellow officers, their departments and their towns. Shame on them for their actions. Shame on the administrators who continue to make excuses and defend them and shame on the silent politicians who refuse to speak up and condemn the cowardly acts perpetrated by these officers. If these supervisors that were members of the Iron Brotherhood had any sense of decency they would do the honorable thing and resign so that their brothers and sisters that are struggling to regain the public trust can do so without the cloud of controversy that they bring to the profession.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ Kieth T

The officers did nothing wrong? If the victim didn't act the way he did? If the bar had adhered to their policy? Instead of wasting a lot of ink to explain I will point out that it is an honor and integrity issue. I'm not sure you would understand. But, thanks for playing.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Keith T.

@ Jayme lynn

Are you that naÔve that if you email all the people you listed, that they will do something about it. They are corrupt Presidents, pastors, priests, congressmen, boy scout leaders, nurses, doctors...etc that have done worse. They don't care. Protect yourself and family. I guarantee that there is a worse element at the local PD's than what the courier is reporting on.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

Let's remember that the two who threw punches are from out of town. A few locals are guilty of lying to cover for their friends and nothing more.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: J G

Look at the dozens of videos on Youtube where police misconduct is filmed.
Check out then take it from there.
These are NOT isolated actions. They are routine.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Spenser

Its just a waste of time to go all out and say what I want to say... this will never "change" cops are out of control and seem to always make problems worse, then the "system" backs them up and places them on "paid "paid administrated leave"... its beyond out of control I wish americans could all come together and get rid of these weapon equiped ....

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Keith T.

There should be no issue with officers riding bikes and belonging to a club. Where is 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 federal government says otherwise and labels them criminal enterprises. Who knows. Who cares.

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

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.

All of these men have had honorable careers. All involved have paid for their mistakes. Just let it end here. The government has already paid way too much of taxpayer dollars to investigate this nothing event-lets not waste any more trying to prosecute stupidity.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Tammy Hicks

Change will come when citizens demand it. Citizens should hold peaceful demonstrations in front of the PVPD and Prescott PD. Demand that these Police Officers be removed from their positions and charges filed. Who can trust a police department that does nothing when officers engage in illegal activity! It looks as like the citizens of this area will remain passive so as not to be retaliated against by these police departments. They are a disgrace to all honest and ethical officers that do obey the oath that they swore to uphold.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Jayme lynn

Its not safe when there are so many who have this amount of animosity towards Police Officers. I am scared someone (s) going to get hurt.
I'm e-mailing these comments to the Attorney Generals Office, Governors Office, FBI, Senators McCain & Flake, the Vice-President. Keeping a file for myself.
I don't think these cops like us enough to do their jobs the way they should be done.
Honestly I am scared.

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