Feathered Bastard

Scott Bundgaard's Police Report: Bundgaard Invoked Immunity

The Phoenix Police Department has released the report on the recent domestic violence incident involving Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard and his ex-paramour Aubry Ballard.

Perhaps the most contentious issue it addresses is Bungaard's insistence to the media that he did not ask for the legislative immunity granted by the Arizona Constitution, even though the PPD cut him loose while arresting Ballard and hauling her off to the Fourth Avenue Jail.

In the PPD's press release on the matter, Sergeant Tommy Thompson stated the following:

"After being taken into custody, Mr. Bundgaard informed the officers that he is an Arizona State Senator and as such, is immune from arrest, while the legislature is in session, which it currently is.  Based upon Article IV, Part 2, Section 6 of the Arizona State Constitution, Mr. Bundgaard was correct and not arrested at that time however, the case will be submitted to the prosecutor's office for review."

The police report itself backs this statement up. Randall Patterson, one of the arresting officers, writes:

"Since Scott stated that he was a state Senator and that he was in session, my supervisor Sergeant Rodarme #6999 contacted the legal department to verify that information."

Further down, the same officer states:

"Sgt. Rodarme was advised by our on duty legal attorney that under Article 4 of the [Arizona] Constitution that if the Senate was in session and unless Scott committed treason or breach of the peace then he was immune to arrest. It was verified that [the Legislature] was in session."

I called the PPD for clarification. Sgt. Thompson informed me that the PPD is standing behind its initial statement on Bundgaard wanting immunity.

"He asserted [his immunity] several times to the supervisor," Thompson said of Bundgaard.

Indeed, why else would Bundgaard identify himself as a state Senator and tell the cops he was "in session"? Apparently, he knew he had a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The report clearly says that, "Based on Senator Bundgaard's position, he was released."

Bundgaard knew what was going on as they took his girlfriend away. After the fact, Bundgaard said he was willing to waive his immunity. But at the time, he was quite content to take advantage of the privileges of membership in the state Senate.

There's also some other interesting info in the report, which you can read, here.

The struggle between Bundgaard and Ballard was obviously quite physical. According to the report, Bundgaard claims Ballard threatened to jump out of his gold Mercedes and threw his suit out of the car. When he stopped, Ballard jumped out, and he tried to put her back in. Or so he claims.

Bundgaard says Ballard began hitting him in the car. But Ballard states that while driving, Bundgaard "used his right arm in a swinging motion and hit Ms. Ballard over her chest. The strike caused bruising on the left upper chest area of Ms. Ballard. Ms. Ballard stated that he struck her twice."

Ballard admits that she struck him after she had been hit two times by Bundgaard. She also says Bundgaard pushed her out of the car. She told police he pushed her down at least twice, and she sustained scrapes to her right knee and hand.

Regarding Bundgaard, Officer Patterson concludes by stating, "I am requesting that the domestic violence assault charge be submitted on Senator Bundgaard when the [Legislature] is not in session."

Many will be looking to see that exactly that happens.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons