Chandler police officer accused of domestic violence

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by Christina O'Haver

Video report by Jaime Cerreta

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 25 at 10:05 AM

PHOENIX -- A Chandler police officer was arrested Thursday on several domestic violence charges.

Scott Allen Pennell, 42, surrendered to the police department after he was contacted about allegations that he had assaulted his live-in girlfriend.

According to court documents, the woman told officers she and Pennell got into a fight at their Chandler home Wednesday evening after she found him opening her mail.

She said they got into a verbal argument in the kitchen and when she walked into the living room, Pennell shoved her and she fell on the couch.

He then allegedly got on top of her and put his hands around her neck. He reportedly released his grip but attempted to strangle her again after she sat up.

The woman told officers her breathing was restricted during both incidents.

Pennell reportedly released his girlfriend after she bit his hand.

She said he then threatened to damage her vehicle and tried to pull off the grill.

According to court documents, Pennell left the house for the night but called the woman's mother, who lives in Vermont. He reportedly told the woman she needed to get her daughter out of the house because he was going to shoot and kill her.

Pennell returned to the home the next morning and yelled at his girlfriend, who locked herself in a room, according to court documents.

Chandler police were notified but Pennell was not home when officers arrived.

A forensic nurse examined the woman and determined the injuries were consistent with strangulation.

The woman later told detectives that in either October or November, Pennell called her on her cellphone while she was out and wanted to know her where she was. He reportedly pressed her about visiting a coffee shop where she had stopped to use the restroom.

She told police she believed Pennell was tracking her with some type of device.

Pennell faces several felony charges including two counts of aggravated assault by impeding breathing, one count of kidnapping by apprehension of injury, and one count of stalking. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Pennell has been with the police department for 16 years and works as a motor officer. He is currently on paid leave.

"It is incumbent upon us to make sure that the public still has that trust in the Chandler Police Department," Det. Seth Tyler said. "We're a very professional organization. We have the highest quality of officers."

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