Basalt cops investigate complaint about officers
August 19, 2009
BASALT – The Basalt Police Department is investigating the conduct of three of its officers after receiving a formal complaint from a town resident alleging rough physical treatment, according to Police Chief Keith Ikeda.
Ikeda said Basalt Sgt. Roderick O’Connor is looking into resident Ian Gray’s claim that he was inappropriately treated by the officers while they performed a sweep of the Basalt Bistro last weekend. In a letter to the editor, Gray said he was “aggressively dragged off my barstool, pummeled to the floor, punched repeatedly in the arms and snapped far too tightly into cuffs.”
Ikeda said the “contact” between the officers and Gray and a friend of his happened late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Gray filed a formal complaint with Ikeda on Monday.
Ikeda said Gray was indeed placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the bar and restaurant. Once outside, the officers released him. Gray wasn’t arrested.
Ikeda said he doesn’t know what triggered the incident. Gray doesn’t believe the officers had the right to treat him the way they did, Ikeda said.
Gray couldn’t be reached Tuesday for comment. His letter said the incident happened: “All because they objected to an innocuous, threat-free and expletive-free comment as they left the bar.”
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Ikeda said O’Connor will interview the bartender on duty at the time as well as the Bistro owner. Ikeda said Gray told him there was a video of the incident, so O’Connor will try to obtain that as well.
Ikeda wouldn’t name the three officers involved in the incident. He said no one was suspended.
Handling the investigation internally is consistent with the department’s procedure on formal complaints, Ikeda said. The investigating officer will draft the findings, then meet with the complainant. That process, in this case, will likely take about a week, Ikeda said.