By Amy Silverman
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By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
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By Weston Phippen
On September 6, Jack Ogilvie with C.I.S.-A.P.I., a licensed and bonded polygraph firm, examined Leon Woodward.
According to the confidential report:
Question: Did you report to Officer Wenrick that you suspected DPS officers of making threatening phone calls to you?
Question: Did you tell Officer Wenrick that you suspected Don Barcello of DPS of making threatening phone calls?
Question: On April 25, 1989, did you report to Officer Wenrick that you suspected DPS officer friends of Don Barcello of making the threatening phone calls?
The report concluded, "It is the opinion of this examination that the subject has answered all questions truthfully to the best of his memory at this time."
On September 19, Woodward submitted to basically the same questions from Fidelfacts, another polygraph outfit.
The examiner's report states: "No reactions indicative of deception were noted in response to relevant questions leading the examiner to the conclusion that Mr. Woodward was truthful in his answers to the relevant questions."
The report was signed by Carl Mohr, who after 25 years had retired from the Phoenix police, where he had administered lie detector tests for the department. This new information presented Lieutenant McDonald with a problem. If Woodward had been right all along, then one of his officers had almost torpedoed an investigation.
Was it incompetence? Did Wenrick simply forget to put in his report that the Woodwards had told him of their suspicions regarding DPS?
Was it loyalty to a fellow officer?
Did Wenrick omit mention of DPS in his report because his rendezvous with Van Jackson convinced him that Woodward was the real culprit, the subject of a DPS investigation?
Was it sabotage? Did Wenrick conspire with his old acquaintance, Van Jackson, to protect fellow law enforcement officers at DPS?
Or, was it possible that Leon Woodward was making all of this up and, somehow, had fooled not one, but two polygraph examiners?
Lieutenant McDonald approached Officer Wenrick with the new information from Woodward's polygraphers.
Officer Wenrick requested to take a lie detector test of his own.
But before the examination could be conducted, Lieutenant McDonald closed down the investigation and labeled Woodward's charges "unfounded."
Lieutenant McDonald told Woodward he'd been ordered by the police chief's office to end the probe.
An irate Woodward called the chief's office looking for an explanation, but neither Ortega nor Click would come to the phone. Instead, Sergeant Hatounian was delegated to field the call.
The following taped excerpts are from that conversation, which was recorded by Woodward:
Sergeant Hatounian: What can I do for you?
Woodward: How come when I want to talk to Bennie or Ruben [I get you]? They're not afraid of me, I don't bite.
Sergeant Hatounian: I know that, Leon, but, you know, if there's something I can do for you before we have to go to them, I'd sure like to try.
Woodward: Why in the world did they order this investigation of Wenrick stopped?
Sergeant Hatounian: They didn't. . . . The case is concluded. It was unfounded.
Woodward: How can it be unfounded when McDonald was doing the investigation and he hadn't closed the investigation? It was closed from above.
Sergeant Hatounian: No! McDonald was given the authority to close it whenever he was finished with it.
Woodward: Bill, the order came from Ruben.
Sergeant Hatounian: No, sir! We don't arbitrarily close cases prior to their completion.
Woodward: You're lying.
Sergeant Hatounian: Whaaaaaat?
Woodward: Ruben, through Bennie Click, that's why I don't want to talk to you, Bill. Don't you understand? Can't you get that through your thick skull? I don't want to talk to you. I want to talk to Bennie or Ruben.
Sergeant Hatounian: They're not available, sir, I'm sorry.
Woodward: Are you wearing a skirt for them to hide behind, Bill?
Sergeant Hatounian: No, of course not.
When I called the chief's office, again, neither Ortega nor Click would come to the phone. Later, Major David Brewster returned my call.
"To my knowledge, there was no guidance from the top [Ortega or Click]. This was a ho-hum affair. The precinct commander said McDonald closed it," claimed Major Brewster, who works in the chief's office.
In fact, there was very little that was ho-hum about this case; there never is once Internal Affairs is called in. Furthermore, Leon Woodward is not your ordinary citizen. He is a high-profile gadfly whose political protests would cost one DPS officer his career. And almost two years ago Woodward's allegations of misconduct involving another PPD officer had triggered an embarrassing Internal Affairs investigation that resulted in a suspension for the cop.
Or, as Major Brewster put it when I called, "Everyone knows who Leon is."
So Major Brewster is not entirely accurate when he suggests that the Internal Affairs investigation of Wenrick was "ho-hum," and when he claims that McDonald closed the file voluntarily, he is contradicted by McDonald himself.
After his frustrating phone call with Sergeant Hatounian from the chief's office, Woodward phoned McDonald. The following taped excerpts are from that conversation:
McDonald: Let me explain what's going on here. Maybe you'll understand it better. I don't know, maybe you won't. . . . Afterwards, Chief Click and I took it out to the parking lot there and that's when he told me, you know, he says, "I talked to Ruben about this and he says we don't want to give Wenrick a polygraph. We don't want to start a precedent." The bottom line is, you know, he said, he asked me, he said, "Wenrick took an initial investigation, correct?"