This is a breaking story and may be updated.
A Phoenix police sergeant under criminal investigation has been fired, Phoenix police announced today.
"An internal investigation has been completed and [Sergeant Daniel Beau Jones'] employment with the Phoenix Police Department has been terminated," said Sergeant Maggie Cox. "A criminal investigation is still ongoing and to avoid jeopardizing that investigation, no additional information will be provided at this time."
Phoenix police have not responded to questions asking whether anyone besides Jones is under criminal or internal investigation, and they have not yet produced the internal affairs files of Jones and his partners, which Phoenix New Times requested nearly two months ago.
In September, a New Times review of Jones' background found he has been accused of beating civilians, threatening witnesses, wrongfully seizing money in a drug bust, and abusing a female co-worker whom he allegedly called a "cum dumpster" and said he wanted to rape, according to four lawsuits filed against Jones in federal court. All four lawsuits were settled.
"Phoenix Police Sergeant Daniel B. Jones is the subject of a criminal and internal investigation. No arrest has been made," Phoenix police spokesperson Sergeant Vince Lewis said on August 24.
Lewis said the department did not have anything further to add regarding the allegations that have been made against Jones in federal court.
It's unclear whether any of Jones' actions detailed in the four lawsuits are related to the current criminal and internal investigations, but a review of hundreds of pages of court records in the cases brought against Jones paint a picture of an officer who seldom played by the rules and frequently abused his power. Court records depict Jones as an antagonistic braggadocio who once dragged a witness to a cemetery and threatened to put a bullet in a fellow officer's head, according to two separate lawsuits.
As New Times previously reported:
First came the lawsuit against Jones, the city of Phoenix, and Jones' partner Mark Kincannon, brought by Manuel Vasquez in 2004. On November 9, 2002, Jones, then an officer with less than two years under his belt, was driving by a woman named Trudy Guevara's apartment when he spotted Manuel Vasquez. Jones and Kincannon say they were surveilling Guevara's place because they had arrested people after buying drugs there before.
But on that particular evening, Jones approached Vasquez because there was a "No Trespassing" sign posted outside the property, Jones said in a sworn affidavit submitted as part of the lawsuit brought by Vasquez. Jones told Vasquez to leave. When Vasquez refused, Jones and Kincannon forcibly arrested him. According to the lawsuit, Kincannon sprayed Vasquez in the face with pepper spray, then "viciously and maliciously beat" Vasquez in front of four civilian witnesses.
"At least one of these witnesses pled with officers to stop beating the now-unconscious" Vasquez. Instead of stopping, Kincannon "drew his weapon, pointed it at the civilian witnesses and said, 'Trudy, get the fuck in the house,'" the lawsuit states. Then, police arrested one of the witnesses and took him to a nearby cemetery, where they "told him he better keep his mouth shut or he would end up buried in the cemetery," according to the lawsuit.
Vasquez says the beating left him with severe brain injuries, and that police later told medical personnel that he "had been beaten inside a crackhouse."
As the case made its way through federal court, attorneys for the city tried on several occasions to prevent certain evidence from making it to trial. In 2006, the city filed a motion "to exclude all evidence of prior investigations of the City of Phoenix Police Department of allegations of excessive force by Officer Jones." The motion failed.
On March 21, 2007, just days before the trial was set to begin, the city settled with Vasquez for an undisclosed amount. Vasquez's lawyers did not respond when asked how much the case settled for, and a spokesperson for the city said records of the settlement amount had been purged per the city's record-keeping policies.
Some of the details of Vasquez's beating are corroborated in a lawsuit brought by one of Jones' fellow officers that same year. Less than a week before the city settled with Vasquez, a Phoenix police officer filed a lawsuit against the city, Jones, and several other Phoenix police employees (New Times is withholding the officer's name because she is an alleged victim of sexual harassment and abuse).
According to the officer, her time with the 41G squad in South Mountain Precinct was marked by rampant sexual harassment, bullying, and hostile behavior. "Daniel Jones often specifically referred to [the officer] as a dumb cunt, dumb bitch, useless 101 [police code used to refer to females], carpet muncher, and cum dumpster," the lawsuit states.
When the officer told Jones not to call her those names, she alleges that Jones intimidated her "by telling her that any snitch should or could get a bullet to the head" and that "snitches should be taken care of just like they are on the street."
At one point, the officer says, "Jones bragged about beating a person so badly that the person remained in a permanent vegetative state ... [the officer] was informed that there was an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter, and Officer Jones bragged that he and the other officers were being sued by the victim's family."
That lawsuit appears to be the same one brought by Vasquez, since that's what Jones was being sued for at the time, and he said "the key witness, Trudy Guevara, had told investigators the male subject had not resisted arrest," according to his fellow officer's lawsuit.
Vasquez also had alleged that Jones threatened witnesses after beating him. According to the officer, that's something Jones bragged about as well. "Jones made statements to the effect that he had hinted to the witness in the case that there would be repercussions for her if she didn't speak positively about the officers involved in the case," the lawsuit states, adding that, "Jones and Officer Mark Kincannon made statements referencing the incident, suggesting that they had used more force than necessary."
In her 41-page federal lawsuit, the officer details escalating instances of harassment and abuse from Jones.
Besides the name-calling, she said Jones would also purposefully and forcefully run into her with his shoulder when they passed each other in the hallway. He interfered with her work, making noise and kicking her chair while she was on the phone. He called her a "dumb bitch" in front of her supervisors. Sometimes, he called her "it" or said she was a man. Occasionally, Jones looked at the officer "in a threatening manner, and shook his head and unsnapped his gun holster," the lawsuit states.
Then one day, Jones sent her a message asking her to meet him in South Mountain Precinct's back parking lot. According to the lawsuit, which was settled, Jones told her, "he had fantasized about raping her and choking her around the neck and stated, 'I want to fuck you so hard your librarian glasses fall off.'"
After that, the officer started going to counseling. She suffered from insomnia and TMJ. While she reported Jones' numerous instances of alleged misconduct to her supervisors, none, she said, did anything. Except David Lake.
Lake, whom Jones allegedly referred to as a "fag" and "a fucking fat disgrace," also sued the city and Jones. The attorney who represented Lake and the officer harassed by Jones did not respond to emails and phone calls from New Times seeking to discuss the cases and the amount each settled for. A spokesperson for the city said records of the settlement amount had been purged per the city's record-keeping policies.
Lake says that when he learned "Jones had been sexually harassing, abusing, and physically assaulting a female police officer" for "approximately three years," he stood up for her and reported Jones' alleged misconduct to the department's professional standards bureau, according to the lawsuit. Lake says he was then retaliated against. Jones "wrote an accusatory memorandum," the lawsuit states, "rife with false allegations" against Lake, leading to Lake's subsequent demotion.
Both Lake and the other officer's lawsuits were settled in 2008.
Jones made it roughly six years before being sued again, this time for an alleged unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. In August 2014, Aliesther Jacobo-Esquivel filed a lawsuit against the city, Jones, and his partner Dustin Hooker.
Jones and Hooker were surveilling Jacobo-Esquivel's house because they believed it might be being used as a stash house, since they had previously searched that same residence. They watched as Jacobo-Esquivel and his friend, Jhvoanny Vidal-Ramirez, got into the 2002 Jeep Liberty outside the home near 67th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road. At that point, Jacobo-Esquivel alleges, Jones and Hooker parked their patrol car behind the Jeep, blocking them from leaving.
Jones and Hooker demanded ID, then told the men to step out of the vehicle. Hooker patted down Vidal-Ramirez and noticed a bulge near the waist of his sweatpants. When Hooker asked what it was, Vidal-Ramirez admitted it was heroin. Jones and Hooker say they then got Jacobo-Esquivel's permission to search the house, but Jacobo-Esquivel says he only gave it after police threatened to have his daughter taken away by Child Protective Services.
Vidal-Ramirez and Jacobo-Esquivel were arrested, but the criminal charges were ultimately dismissed after a judge determined that Hooker and Jones had "impermissibly seized and searched Plaintiff's in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments" and entered an order suppressing all evidence seized by Jones and Hooker that day, the lawsuit states.
When Jones and other officers searched his residence, they seized his Jeep, a 2008 Nissan Ultima, and $3,000 in cash. But Jacobo-Esquivel alleges that Jones did so without probable cause, and then Jones and other officers "converted, forfeited, utilized, or otherwise disposed of the cars and currency ... for their own purposes or for the benefit of the State of Arizona and/or the City of Phoenix." Attorneys for the city said in a motion filed during the case that the money from the sale of the vehicles and the cash "went to Maricopa County," not Jones.
The latest lawsuit against Jones also cost taxpayers. It was settled for $50,000 in 2016, a spokesperson for the city said.
Jones did not return an email request for comment.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.