More than three months after the fact the Arizona Department of Public Safety has still not released its long awaited report on a cop motorcycle club riot in Prescott last December 22. When the DPS began its investigation last year, it promised to issue a report in March.
What happened last December is straightforward. An unknown number, but greater than a score, of members of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club were drunk, disorderly and belligerent in the historic Whiskey Row section of Prescott. The club members flaunted their police powers and displayed both patches and badges simultaneously. Three of the revelers were high ranking local policemen. They were Prescott Deputy Police Chief Andy Reinhardt, Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler and Prescott Area Narcotics Taskforce Commander William “Mongo” Suttle.
About 10:40 p.m. in Moctezuma’s Bar an inebriated young man named Justin Stafford asked Chief Fessler about his patch and was immediately attacked by several members of the Iron Brotherhood. One patch holder, a Homeland Security Officer whose name on the road is “Top Gun” broke Stafford’s nose. Top Gun, who works at the Homeland Security office at 410 North Malacate Street in Ajo, Arizona, then fled to his hotel, which has already been established to have been the Hotel St. Michael’s. Since then he has successfully eluded the short reach of the DPS. According to a statement made by Mongo Suttle to Prescott police shortly after the assault Reinhardt was there and Suttle told him to go home before the cops showed up. During its long investigation, the Arizona DPS has issued a statement that, “Chief Reinhardt was not in the bar at the time of the incident.”
All of this is already public information and most of it has been reported by the Prescott Daily Courier.
Suttle was placed on paid administrative leave on February 21 and he and a previously unnamed member of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Captain Marc Schmidt, resigned from their jobs on March 17. A Sheriff’s Office spokesman named Dwight D’Evelyn announced the resignations and said he “did not know” why either man resigned. Last Friday, D’Evelyn said Suttle was still being paid. The Associated Press reported that Suttle intended to retire.
Fessler finally quit his job on March 18. The day he resigned he issued a statement that read: “It has been an honor and privilege to have served the citizens of Prescott Valley and been involved in building a police department over the last 23 years. Because of the controversy associated with the events of December 22, I feel compelled for the good of the agency and of the Town to take this time to examine my career and choose to retire from the Town of Prescott Valley. I am proud of my service record as a professional police officer with the Town.”
Reinhardt is still on the job. The Arizona DPS is still investigating.