The madness continues
The latest news out of the embattled Arizona town of Quartzsite is that assistant town manager Al Johnson announced yesterday that he had suspended nine members of the 14-member police department.
A letter sent to the officers instructs: “You are required to remain at your place of residence between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon and between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Failure to be present at your residence during those hours without express written approval from the investigator, Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson, shall be considered dereliction of duty and may result in additional disciplinary action, including dismissal.”
The letter also says it constitutes a direct order not to discuss the matter with anyone outside the investigation.
Johnson charges the officers continued to make allegations against Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert “even though the officers who made them knew the allegations were false when they were made in May.”
At that time, a vote of “no confidence” was made against the chief by 10 of the town’s 14 sworn officers. Among the numerous allegations, the officers stated that Gilbert engaged in “bully tactics” to intimidate members of the community “if they disagree with his methodology and political affiliation.” He is also accused of harassment and favoritism, improperly using a national crime data base as well as misusing personal and vacation time.
This is the explicit letter written to Mayor Ed Foster, members of the town council and the town’s citizens by members of the Quartzsite Police Officers Association in which they urge an immediate investigation of Police Chief Jeff Gilbert. We urge you to read it.
As a response, Johnson said he would continue to investigate whether officers were making false allegations against Gilbert, “and it’s possible more people will be suspended.” Johnson declared the Phoenix law firm Jackson Lewis he hired found no evidence of wrong doing by chief Gilbert.
This is the press release put out by Jeff Gilbert yesterday:
“The Town of Quartzsite has placed select police officers on paid administrative leave while an internal investigation is being conducted into policy and rule violations. We can assure the community that the police department has adequate officers to provide the services necessary for public safety, and response to calls for service.”
Chief of Police
Seeing Red AZ has been attempting to shine some light on the ongoing saga, which first caught national and international attention when a citizen who was formally recognized to speak by Mayor Ed Foster, was handcuffed and arrested by the town police.