GJPD Exposed

Cops Attack Camps; Chief Camper Cleans House

Photobucket*from Vol. 8 No. 6 of The Red Pill*

One Grand Junction Police officer resigned, and another is on paid administrative leave, after an earlier investigation turned up evidence that GJPD officers pepper sprayed property, like sleeping bags, that belonged to local houseless folks. Six more officers were questioned on this matter. The pepper spray was supposedly meant to act as a deterrent, as a signal from the PD to the victimized houseless to “move along.” The incident is still under investigation.

The earlier investigation, conducted as a result of a Monday, May 3rd incident in which police slashed tents and bicycle tires at a local houseless encampment, resulted in the firing of three GJPD officers; Justin Roberts, Joseph Mulcahy and Phillip Van Why. The officers were accused of slashing tents, trashing camps (including smashing Oreos and bananas with a baton at one camp), and slashing bike tires. There was also an unidentified liquid found on sleeping bags at at least one camp. The officers were allegedly looking for a person for questioning.

On Wednesday May 5th, long time Red Pill editor and contributor and Housing First! No More Deaths! activist, Jacob Richards, filed a complaint regarding police being in the area known as “the Point” at the time the damage occurred. This launched a GJPD internal investigation and a criminal investigation conducted by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave by Friday May 7th, and were fired four weeks later.

The District attorney decided not to charge the three officers involved in the May 3rd incident, even though the internal investigation revealed they did admit to the slashing.  The three former officers then appealed their firings, claiming their actions were consistent with training and practices of the GJPD. The appeal brought to light other earlier incidences involving GJPD officers and Grand Junction’s houseless folks, like the pepper spray incident currently under investigation. The chief of police and the city disagree with the accused, and have investigated and sanction officers involved in earlier incidents. The former officers’ appeal was denied by Deputy City Manager, Rich Englehart.

The GJPD and Chief Camper have been besieged with scandal this past year, but he seems to be doing some housecleaning.  Last summer, Officer Crooks resigned after being arrested with Domestic Abuse, for which he was later acquitted. Followed a month later by the arrest and termination of Officer Coyne for Sexual Assault. Coyne later committed suicide. Four officers who clearly violate the rights of houseless members of our community are no longer on the force.  With continued pressure on police and continue citizen oversight of the police, maybe we can force the department to reign in their mavericks and become accountable to the people. A little pressure goes a long way.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: