High ranking officers at center of assault investigationPosted: Updated:
CBS 5 News has learned the names of some law officers connected to an assault investigation from a fight on Prescott's Whiskey Row over the weekend.
On Saturday, Prescott police responded to the Yavapai County Regional Medical Center to talk with a man who said he was assaulted. The victim, a 23-year-old man from Glendale, told police he was visiting Prescott and was in a downtown bar when he was punched several times by members of a motorcycle club.
CBS 5 News has learned the Whiskey Row Chapter of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club was having a Christmas party that night at Moctezuma's Bar on the popular Prescott strip.
The IBMC is a biker club for police officers. That particular chapter has members from several northern Arizona police agencies including Prescott Valley Police Department, Prescott Police Department, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Public Safety.
Sources close to the investigation said Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler is a member of the IBMC. He reportedly was at the bar when the assault reportedly took place.
Messages to the chief went unanswered. Prescott Valley police spokesman Sgt. Brandon Bonney would only say that some Prescott Valley police officers are involved in the investigation. We were also unable to reach anyone with the town of Prescott Valley to comment on the chief's presence at the fight or involvement, if any.
Sources also named Sgt. Bill Suttle, of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office as another IBMC member who was at Moctezuma's Bar during the fight. Suttle is the head of the Partner's Against Narcotics Trafficking, a multi-agency drug task force. A spokesman for YCSO said Sheriff Scott Mascher is waiting for a briefing from the Department of Public Safety investigators handling the criminal investigation before reaching any conclusion about Suttle's involvement or status on the department.
The name of another high ranking police officer in northern Arizona continued to surface as we asked questions about this incident. DPS has confirmed Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt with the Prescott Police Department is also a member of IBMC. DPS spokesman Bart Graves said Reinhardt was at the gathering but was never inside the bar and investigators have concluded he had no involvement whatsoever in the incident.
Reinhardt is set to take over the department as interim chief on Jan. 1, when current Chief Mike Kabbel retires.
Prescott police took the initial information on the call but at Kabbel's request the criminal investigation was turned over to DPS to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
It is possible that internal investigation could result if any wrongdoing on the part of officers is determined.
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