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Fri, Oct. 18

Un-redacted reports shed light on Whiskey Row bar fight

Nearly two months after a fight allegedly involving off-duty and retired police officers at Moctezuma's Bar in Prescott, the Arizona Department of Public Safety released to The Daily Courier un-redacted Prescott Police Department reports that indicated three high-ranking law enforcement officers were on the scene at the time.

Click here to download the un-redacted police report from the Whiskey Row bar fight (PDF - 3MB file)

On Dec. 22, about 20 Iron Brotherhood members wearing black vests with the club's name held a Christmas party in a back room at Hooligan's Pub.

The Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club is a group of active and retired law enforcement officers, including some with the Prescott and Prescott Valley police departments, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, DPS and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

After leaving Hooligan's, some members flashed badges, "tried to bully their way inside Matt's Saloon," which has a no colors policy, but doormen would not let them in. So those members went to Moctezuma's, where they showed their badges and were let in, despite that bar's no colors policy.

Before long, a fight broke out. Prescott police became aware of the situation after learning that a man had gone to Yavapai Regional Medical Center for treatment of facial injuries. That man, Justin Stafford, told officers he was "assaulted by some bikers" at Moctezumas.

Information from the Prescott police reports The Daily Courier obtained Tuesday sheds some light on the involvement of Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Commander Sgt. Bill Suttle of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and Prescott Police Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt.

Suttle told investigating officers a kid went up to Fessler, grabbed Fessler's vest, and talked trash so Iron Brotherhood members grabbed the kid, pulled him away and got into a fight.

Suttle said he broke up the fight, and immediately sent "Top Gun," the member who allegedly hit Stauffer, to the hotel they all were staying. He told officers he couldn't remember Top Gun's name.

Suttle told officers that Prescott Police Deputy Chief Andy Reinhardt was there during the fight, "but I want him left out of this," the report states.

"We knew you guys were going to show up," Suttle told the officer. "They told me you were coming, so I told Andy to go home."

Reinhardt told The Daily Courier on Tuesday that, "DPS has not finished that investigation and I do not think its right to comment on your questions. I don't even know some of those answers to your questions, because I wasn't there."

Fessler told an investigating officer a kid came up to him, grabbed his vest, talked trash and asked him about his patches. He said he told the kid, "Why are you asking?" then someone grabbed the kid and took him away. At that point Fessler said he left the bar.

Like Reinhardt, Fessler and Suttle told The Daily Courier Tuesday they could not comment until DPS releases its investigation.

"Once it's all done," Suttle said, "the truth will come out."

Fessler issued a statement in late December that said he was in the bar when a confrontation occurred, but said he and another Prescott Valley officer were not involved in a physical altercation and that he was resigning from the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.

Stafford, who has said he was drunk at the time, told police he was punched by a man with crew cut hair and a black goatee who wore a black biker vest with patches reading "Iron something" on the back.

Stafford said he thought he was punched only once, because it was all a blur after that, according to the report.

DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said Tuesday morning their investigation into the incident should be complete by the end of February and reports and video will be released then. The Daily Courier is continuing efforts to obtain the video and DPS reports.

Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said no one in the Prescott Valley Police Department has been disciplined in the case yet.

"We're waiting for the outcome of the DPS investigation," Tarkowski said. "Any administrative action we may convene if appropriate after the release of the DPS report we would do with our Human Resources Department."

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher said in a press release Tuesday that he is waiting to get a copy of the un-redacted Prescott Police report. He had received an initial briefing by DPS that no YCSO employee was involved in the assault, and has asked the Coconino County Sheriff's Office to conduct an administrative investigation on his behalf regarding any employee involvement in the incident.

Similar questions were posed Prescott City Manager Craig McConnell, but he did not immediately respond to The Daily Courier.

"The way our process works is we wait until the DPS criminal investigation is complete," said Lyle Mann, director of Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training. "The agencies will look at it administratively to see if any policy violations have occurred. We're the last step, if you will, in the process."

No charges have been filed.

Click here to download the un-redacted police report from the Whiskey Row bar fight (PDF - 3MB file)

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