Rookie APD officer in the hot seat

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The actions of an Aspen police officer in training have become central to an ongoing hearing to suppress evidence in the drug case against Moses Greengrass. Aspen police officer Jeff Fain arrested Greengrass on March 23. Greengrass, 26, is charged with felony possession of more than 25 grams of cocaine and possession with intent to sell.Defense attorney Garth McCarty questioned the constitutionality of Fain’s actions during the arrest in court Monday. He also cross-examined Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Renee Rayton, who said she did not approve when Fain said to Greengrass, “sucks to be you,” during the arrest. Fain was still in training at the time of Greengrass’ arrest; his training was extended because he failed some tests, such as knowing every Aspen street name.On Monday, McCarty requested Fain’s entire personnel file be made available. McCarty said a recent car wreck, in which Fain was found to be at fault while on the job, points to problems with him as an officer. Prosecutor Gail Nichols countered that the car wreck merely implies Fain is a bad driver; she encouraged District Judge James Boyd to keep Fain’s personnel file private. During an earlier preliminary hearing, Fain testified as to what happened on the night of March 22 and early morning of March 23. But McCarty said a training document may offer a more detailed look at what happened that night.In his testimony, Fain said he saw Greengrass make a hand-off with an unidentified woman. Fain suspected a drug transaction and stopped Greengrass.When Fain questioned Greengrass further, Greengrass fled on foot, shedding his puffy black jacket as he ran, according to Fain.Fain caught Greengrass in the breezeway behind the Caribou Club on East Hopkins Avenue and watched as Greengrass stuffed the jacket behind a wooden pallet.Rayton, then an Aspen police officer, retrieved the jacket and found a velvet bag containing plastic baggies and small folded envelopes, also known as bindles. Police Sgt. John Rushing testified that he searched the jacket with Rayton and tested one of the baggies for cocaine; he said it tested positive. Nichols has already established probable cause in the case, and Greengrass remains in the Pitkin County Jail for violating his parole. Greengrass was released from prison in January after serving seven years for his role in the Aspen robbery spree of 1999; he would not be released from jail on the current charges even if he could pay the $25,000 bond.The suppression hearing is scheduled to be continued Aug. 4. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is