Ex-Salt River Cop: 'All I Did Was Give That Bitch $100 to Feel on Her Titties'

Former Salt River police officer Jay Wu (click here to see uncropped version)
Former Salt River police officer Jay Wu (click here to see uncropped version)
MCSO mugshot

A Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community police officer has resigned following accusations that he sexually abused a woman in his squad car.

On May 26, Scottsdale police arrested 45-year-old Jay Wu, a decorated Salt River officer who'd been with the department for 10 years. He was released on his own recognizance.

He reportedly made admissions regarding the March incident to a friend and fellow officer who visited his home on June 1, the day he resigned.

"Damn, Sarge," he confided to the officer, according to an investigative report New Times obtained on June 3. "All I did was give that bitch a hundred dollars to feel on her titties and she blew it all out of proportion."

The officer told investigators he'd reminded Wu that he was a friend but also a cop, then advised him to consult his attorney and speak to his wife.

The same day, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Wu with kidnapping, assault, and unlawful sexual conduct.

Wu's arrest followed a two-month investigation that arose under bizarre circumstances.

According to the report, Salt River officers were called to the Talking Stick Casino on April 25, after the staff detained a 43-year-old woman they'd previously banned from the premises. Police found Wu's business card in the woman's purse and asked about it. She was at first reluctant to elaborate, but she eventually told the officers that Wu had sexually assaulted her.

Salt River asked the Scottsdale Police Department to step in. 

The Scottsdale investigation revealed that Wu had picked up the woman at the Target at the Pavilions Shopping Center just east of Scottsdale, where security personnel had apprehended her on suspicion of shoplifting a pair of flip-flops, some jewelry, a container of barbecue sauce, and other food items.

She said she needed some things for her children and had been going through a divorce. Wu decided to write her a citation for shoplifting and release her, and she requested a ride home. He agreed.

They arrived at her McCormick Ranch-area neighborhood in Scottsdale, but when she pointed out her home, Wu didn't pull over.

The woman told investigators that at first she figured he wanted to spare her the embarrassment of having her neighbors see her getting out of a police car. Sitting uncuffed in the back of the vehicle, she told him he could stop anywhere. He drove on, stopping at a spot where a wall partially blocked the view into the car.

Wu would later tell a Scottsdale detective that the woman had begun complaining that the shoplifting charge would ruin her life, which prompted him to turn on the patrol car's video and audio recorder. But evidence showed that he didn't turn on the device — a failure to follow his department's policy.

The woman said he kept telling her there was something she could do about her lack of money. He got out and walked to her side of vehicle, where the view from the neighboring houses was obscured by the wall. The woman said that when she leaned forward to get out, he told her to "stay right there" and that he needed to give her a pat-down. According to the report, she alleged that he slid a hand down the back of her jeans and also down the front of her tank top and inside of her bra, touching her nipple and cupping her breast.

"Oooh, that's nice," he allegedly said, then felt her other breast under her clothing, grabbed her nipple, and "pulled it up." He didn't search the woman anywhere else, she said.

The woman told investigators she was "scared" and "amazed," aware that "something was really wrong here."

She said Wu "shoved" a $100 bill into her purse, along with his business card. (And he gave her the shoplifting citation, as he'd planned.)

When she got home, the woman told investigators, she felt angry and hurt and complained to her boyfriend that she had been abused by a "corrupt" cop. To make matters worse, she'd left her sister's cell phone in his car and now would have to call him to get it back. According to the report, her boyfriend phoned Wu, then angrily confronted him the next day at the Salt River police station. Wu allegedly told the boyfriend the touching was consensual. The woman was adamant that it was not.

When questioned by investigators, Wu staunchly denied touching the woman and said he couldn't recall giving her any money. But a Scottsdale detective noted in her report that when questioned, Wu said something about $100, despite the fact that the detective hadn't mentioned an amount.

When they arrested her for trespassing at the Talking Stick Casino, police found a $100 bill in the alleged victim's purse along with Wu's card.

Investigators found that in addition to his alleged June 1 confession at his home, Wu had reportedly reached out to a former Salt River officer about what happened.

"While he was driving her home she was upset and crying because she had no money, had been arrested for DUI, shoplifting, and other things," the report says the former officer told investigators. "[Wu] 'felt bad for her' and told the female he would give her twenty or fifty bucks. She told him 'no no, I can't take it; I can't take your money.' Jay told her to just take it and the female told him if he gave her $100.00 she would let him touch her."

One of the charges Wu faces stems from a law that took effect last summer that makes it a felony for a police officer to have sexual contact with someone in custody or who might be the subject of an investigation.

In contrast to his current trouble, Wu was once cited for heroism on the job. In 2008, he was awarded the Indian Country Police Officer of the Year Award by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Parade magazine. According to a write-up on the website PoliceChiefMagazine.org, "On May 31, 2008, Officer Wu entered a burning home in the Salt River Indian Community without regard for his personal safety and is credited with saving the lives of three female residents of the house, one of whom uses a wheelchair."

Wu's scandal is the most recent to hit the urban Indian police force. Former Salt River Police Chief Patrick Melvin was placed on administrative leave in April for unknown reasons and subsequently resigned last month. Police officials refused to discuss the matter, referring inquiries to Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community spokeswoman Janet Johnson, who had no comment. Until recently, Melvin was one of 10 candidates for the job of Phoenix police chief.


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