Pinal County Released Mountain of Un-Redacted Public Records to PCSO Detective Suing the County, and Now Pinal Officials Want it All Back
It appears that Pinal County released a mountain of public records to Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Goode -- about a years' worth of e-mails between Paul Babeu and several members of his command staff on a CD -- without typical redaction.
And now, an attorney representing the county wants to know what Goode has done with the CD.
The attorney, Jim Jellison -- who hasn't returned New Times' calls -- is demanding that Goode give it back.
It apparently contains about five gigabytes of data -- more than a years' worth of e-mails from several members of Babeu's administration, including Babeu, Lieutenant Blake King, Chief Deputy Steve Henry, Deputy Chief Harry Grizzle, and Human Resources Director Brandi Clark.
In a April 12 letter to Goode's attorney, Jellison says he wants to know how many gigabytes of information are on the disk, the location of disk, whether copies have been made, and whom they've been shared with.
Jellison, who has a copy of the same information Goode received, wrote in his letter that it contains Social Security numbers, attorney-client privileged communication, and employees' personal information.
But Goode maintains that he received the information after making a legitimate request for public records -- and doesn't plan to give it back.
Instead, Goode has given a copy of the CD to the FBI as part of a public-corruption complaint he filed against the PCSO, the Pinal County Attorney's Office, and the Tucson Police Department.
Goode is one of the two cops injured at Country Thunder in April 2011 while arresting two individuals at "Camp Titties and Beer," a campground occupied primarily by off-duty Tucson police officers.
Camp Titties and Beer, a Country Thunder campground occupied by off-duty cops from the Tucson Police Department.
The other cop involved was Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Hugh Grant, who was allegedly attacked by Ronald Keys, the husband of the young woman Grant had arrested. Keys' wife, Julie, reportedly had stood on a scaffolding and flashed her breasts to passersby at the music festival, according to police reports and other legal documents.
Grant suffered injuries to his head and neck after Keys -- the son of retired Tucson cops -- jumped him from behind and started to choke him. Grant, at that time, was hauling Keys' wife out of the campground in handcuffs. During Grant's scuffle with Keys, Grant pulled out his gun, and Keys ran. When Goode went after him and tried to arrest him, he severely injured his leg in the struggle -- fracturing a bone and damaging ligaments.
The investigation of the case was poorly executed. For example, some reports weren't filed until months after the incident. And PCSO Lieutenant King -- within hours of the Keys' getting arrested and booked into the local jail -- decided that Goode had made a "bad arrest."
Not only did the Sheriff's Office arrange for a deputy to pick up a judge at home, on a Saturday evening, to release Keys from jail, but Keys also was driven back to County Thunder by someone from the Sheriff's Office.
The same night of the incident, King also wrote an e-mail to Deputy County Attorney Paul Ahler stating that "unfortunately the subject booked for agg assault had been finger printed before I could have a change to get him released."
Then, he asked Ahler to "please attempt to have [Keys'] DPS record of this cleared."
The events of that day at Country Thunder have prompted both Goode and Grant to file lawsuits against Pinal County.
In preparation for his lawsuit, Goode has requested e-mails and other public records from the PCSO.
He got the first batch without any problem (aside from Jellison's saying the file is un-redacted, and he wants it back) but has been waiting more than two months for other public records requests he has filed.
Goode has asked for all e-mails from other employees in the PCSO, most of them dating back to April 9, 2011 -- the day of the Country Thunder incident.
Jellison, who works for an insurance company that represents most of Arizona's counties, is handling all aspects of the Country Thunder incident, including public-records requests.
In at least one e-mail, Jellison told Goode that his requests for e-mails was too broad and asked him to narrow it down. But Goode doesn't want to go that route, concerned that narrowing the scope of his request would give the Sheriff's Office time to conceal relevant information.
In Goode's Notice of Claim, a prelude to his lawsuit, he notes that about a month after the incident, one of the PCSO deputies told him he was concerned "that the investigation was being interfered with and reports from anyone involved were not completed."
Goode also wrote that he learned that reports by "Deputy Chief Henry, Lieutenant Blake King, Sergeant Brian Messing and Deputy Ryan Pass" allegedly had not been completed -- again, about a month after the incident.
Goode pointed out in his claim that he learned from a fellow deputy on May 3, 2011 that the campsite belonged to "Tucson, Chandler, and Border Patrol Officers" who were "allegedly friends with PCSO deputies, supervisors, and [the] administration that run Country Thunder." The deputy told Goode that "allegations were made that a wrongful arrest occurred and the administration was trying to get the charges dismissed."
Later, on May 5, 2011, Goode wrote that he had a conversation with Ahler and expressed concern about the "rumors of a possible cover-up of the investigation and rumors that the administration was working overtime to sweep this under the rug."
New Times has obtained some PCSO e-mails, including one in which Chief Deputy Henry referred to Goode as a "leach" in an exchange with other Sheriff's Office employees.
Human Resources Director, who was copied on that e-mail, wrote "agree" in her response to Henry's defaming assessment of Goode.
In another e-mail, PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney called Grant, the other officer injured at Country Thunder, a "tool."
In his claim, Goode makes reference to other e-mails related to the Country Thunder incident between a couple of PCSO lieutenants, one instructing the other to "clean the case up."
Perhaps those and similar e-mails are waiting to be dug out of the five gigs of data that the county released to Goode.