Basalt teen claims he was threatened by cop |

Basalt teen claims he was threatened by cop

Tim Mutrie

The mother of a Basalt High School senior filed a written complaint against a Basalt police officer yesterday, alleging that Sgt. Chris Maniscalchi verbally threatened her 18-year-old son last week.

Cheryl Kisow, and her son, Robert Peters, claim Maniscalchi verbally threatened, harassed and incited Peters to fight after stopping Peters on March 1 for a vehicle violation near the new Basalt post office.

Basalt Police Chief Jim Stryker said yesterday he had received a copy of the complaint, but he refrained from commenting on specific allegations.

“It wouldn’t be fair for me to comment without having all the facts,” Stryker said.

This morning, Stryker said he planned to meet with Basalt City Manager Tom Baker, Maniscalchi and other officers, as well as Cheryl Kisow, either in person or over the phone, to discuss the incident.

“There’s always two sides to every story,” Stryker said.

Sgt. Maniscalchi was not on duty yesterday, and could not be reached for comment.

Baker said yesterday he had received the three-page written complaint – a letter which Kisow said she also plans to send to both of Colorado’s senators, Basalt Mayor Rick Stevens, the Pitkin County commissioners and Ken Salazar, the state’s attorney general.

“We take these complaints very seriously,” Baker said. “I don’t really know what’s happening now, but it’s my job to find out … and talking to the Kisows is one of the first steps, along with talking to the police department. We will look into this thoroughly.”

In an interview yesterday, Peters said Maniscalchi pulled over for having a neon green light in the rear window of his car. Once at the side of the road, however, Maniscalchi proceeded to question Peters about personal matters, before threatening him along the lines of: “If you ever talk to or threaten [a certain BHS student], I’m going to kick your ass,” Peters said.

Peters admitted he cursed at Maniscalchi during the exchange.

Jack Law, a Basalt freshman who was a passenger in Peters’ vehicle at the time of the car stop, said he didn’t hear Maniscalchi threaten Peters.

“I didn’t hear the cop threaten [Peters] at all,” Law said, “because they were behind the car. All I could hear was mumbled shouting and cursing. [Maniscalchi] wasn’t ready to throw a punch or anything rash like that … he was making sure he got his point across because he was yelling right along with Robert [Peters].”

Baker said he wasn’t aware of any similar complaints being filed against Maniscalchi. He declined to comment about what disciplinary measures, if any, could be taken against the officer.

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