Police

Phoenix Police Officer Allegedly Handcuffed His Own Daughter, Then Covered It Up

A Phoenix Police Department vehicle.
A Phoenix Police Department vehicle. Ash Ponders
A Phoenix cop is under investigation for an incident in which he handcuffed his teenage daughter during an argument and then seemingly deleted video evidence after the fact.

The case came to light Wednesday at a monthly meeting of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which reviews misconduct cases from around the state. It involves current Phoenix police officer Steven Behie, who has been on the force for at least six years, according to salary data.

At the meeting, an AZPOST compliance officer laid out a summary of the case and board members voted unanimously to open an investigation. But the incident had already come to the attention of Maricopa County authorities nearly two years ago.

Here’s what we know about the incident, according to AZPOST's version of events: In December 2019, Behie’s 15-year-old daughter told staff at her school that Behie had handcuffed her during an argument between the two at their home. Behie says that his daughter had “assaulted” him and that he used the handcuffs to restrain her for a time. (The handcuffs apparently were “personally owned,” and not his police handcuffs.)


The school reported this incident to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which began investigating Behie. Detectives obtained a search warrant for a Ring surveillance camera in Behie’s living room, which they expected to have captured some of what transpired.

But when they looked at the camera, three videos from that day were deleted.

When Phoenix police later opened their own internal investigation, Behie told investigators that he had deleted the videos in order to “streamline the process” for MCSO. But investigators believe that two of those videos likely captured the incident, according to the timeline that Behie’s daughter laid out.

When MCSO concluded their investigation, they recommended that Behie be charged with two counts of child abuse and three counts of tampering with evidence.


Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, however, declined to prosecute Behie, apparently on the grounds that there was no likelihood of conviction. No criminal charges were ever filed.

In a statement to New Times, Jim Dettmer, an MCAO spokesperson, wrote that an “extensively staffed” team of “serious prosecutors” had reviewed the evidence again Behie in late 2020.

“The decision to decline criminal charges was not taken lightly,” he wrote. “It was ultimately determined that there was insufficient corroboration of the allegations to file criminal charges.”

Phoenix police gave Behie a three-week suspension for the incident, after an internal investigation. Behie then returned to work and remains a sworn police officer on the force.

Behie did not reply to an inquiry from New Times. Representatives from Phoenix’s police union also did not respond to a request for comment on the case.
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Katya Schwenk is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. She previously reported for VTDigger and the Indypendent.
Contact: Katya Schwenk