Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler released a statement over the weekend to quell rumors that he was involved in a December 22 Prescott bar fight in which a Glendale man was injured.
The incident came to light after the 23-year-old victim showed up at a hospital with facial injuries, saying he'd been attacked by members of a motorcycle club.
When Prescott police started to investigate, they quickly learned it was a law-enforcement club, and that the alleged attackers were off-duty police officers. The probe was turned over to the state Department of Public Safety to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest; Prescott Valley is a small town just east of Prescott.
Fessler admits to being at the bar at the time, and also to being a former motorcycle club member, but says that rumors that high-ranking Prescott Valley officers were involved in the "altercation" will be proven to the contrary. He says he has resigned his membership in the club, reportedly the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.
Fessler released a two-page letter to the media in which he whines repeatedly about his name and that of other officers being tarnished in the press. Yet Fessler's complaints are tardy -- this is the first statement he's made about the incident. New Times, for instance, called him last week for comment, but received no reply.
The chief writes that his "biggest disappointment" is that the hard work of the Prescott Valley PD employees is being "disregarded and shadowed" by media reports.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He also implies that the off-duty cops in the motorcycle club had hotel rooms and designated drivers as a safety precaution for the bikers' boozing on Whiskey Row. Click here for the letter, in MS Word 2010 format.
The Glendale was treated and release without any serious injuries after the fight, but Fessler's right for thinking this incident -- as reported so far -- sheds a bad light on his department, and has raised awareness of law-enforcement biker clubs, but not in a good way. The Arizona members accused of being in the bar fight are part of the Whiskey Row chapter, says the Prescott Daily Courier.
Iron Brotherhood's national Web site revs up computer users with a crunchy Slipknot song to get them in a bad-boy mood. On the site, you'll learn that members of the club, made up of cops, "respect all clubs and the colors they wear." But the web author denies the club members associate with "1%er" clubs, a.k.a., "outlaw" clubs.
The Glendale victim, while being punched in the face by people who were dressed as bikers, apparently didn't know about the Iron Brotherhood's code of ethics.