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Phoenix's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Phoenix, Arizona | 12NEWS.com

MCSO deputy still on the job despite many internal investigations into his conduct

Both men were arrested by Phoenix police on suspicion of sexual assault, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s office declined to prosecute.

PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy is under internal investigation after pulling his weapon on a trespassing bicyclist while the deputy worked off-duty security in north Scottsdale on May 2, 2020. 

The deputy, Collin Seagraves, told Scottsdale police that the cyclist lunged at him and that Seagraves feared for his life, so he felt he had to pull his gun.

The cyclist, Roger Bracken, was convicted of misdemeanor assault and trespassing in a case he’s appealing – and said he felt Seagraves acted wrongfully in pulling his gun.

"What's scary to me is I was that close to [Seagraves] just pulling that trigger,” Bracken said. “When I see a Maricopa County Sheriff’s [vehicle] I don’t go ‘Hey there’s my friend.’ I think ‘Uh-oh. That might be Seagraves.’”

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department confirms Seagraves’s conduct while working off duty is under internal investigation, and the 12 News I-Team obtained Seagraves’s personnel file showing this investigation is at least the seventh time Seagraves has been investigated by his own department since he became a deputy in 2014.

The most serious internal affairs investigation involves Seagraves and a former MCSO detention officer. Both were accused of raping a woman on June 22, 2015. Both men were arrested by Phoenix police on suspicion of sexual assault, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s office declined to prosecute and the MCSO internal affairs investigation found that violations of the sheriff’s office code of conduct were not sustained.

The police report and internal affairs investigative report show that the detention officer brought a woman that he knew over to Seagraves’s Phoenix apartment that day. The reports show the three spent the day by the pool eating and drinking.

The woman told police that she was heavily intoxicated and that the two men had sex with her when she was too drunk to consent and said she doesn’t remember most of the incident.

In transcripts of interviews with Seagraves and the detention officer, both men told police that the sex was consensual.

“There’s still things that I have to deal with from being in a situation that’s not meant for my body,” the woman said through tears. “Sometimes things still hurt. Sometimes things are messed up. Why would somebody do that to someone?”

12 News contacted the woman after learning about the incident from Seagraves’s personnel file. 

She agreed to the interview on the condition of anonymity, saying that five years later she still suffers mentally and physically from the incident, which she reported to police the day after it happened.

“There’s a line that was crossed, and it was crossed bad,” the woman told 12 News. “The minimum, they shouldn’t be working and protecting people who could potentially be in the same situation as me one day.”

When Seagraves was questioned about the incident during the internal affairs investigation he told the investigating detective, “At no point in time did I believe she was unconscious or not willing to engage in sex with me…consensual.”

12 News made repeated attempts to contact Seagraves and the former detention officer. Neither returned requests for comment.

Former police chief Stan Kephart, a law enforcement consultant with 40 years of experience across multiple states, told 12 News this incident and other issues raised in Seagraves’s personnel file are concerning.

“One of the parts of the law enforcement code of ethics speaks to the issue in the code of ethics. ‘I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all.’” Kephart said. “That points specifically to this sexual escapade.”

The personnel file contains commendations, as well. In January 2017, a supervisor commended Seagraves for identifying and stopping a “seriously impaired driver.” 

In January 2019, Seagraves was able to de-escalate a situation with a possibly suicidal subject by using his taser rather than his gun. A supervisor complimented Seagraves for being “able to implement a solution in a dangerous and uncertain situation.”

The personnel file also documents incidents regarding Seagraves’s use of force.

“As of 10/31/2016, 4 Use of force incidents are linked to Deputy Collin Seagraves that have occurred since 10/31/2015,” one entry stated in the personnel file.

“2 or more Use of force incidents during a 12-month period indicates that the officer's performance may need to be reviewed,” the documents showed. “The alert was investigated by Sgt. R. Ranck and closed with no further action.”

In August 2016 a supervisor documented an incident in which fellow employees reported that Seagraves had told them he wanted to get into a ‘gun fight’ while on duty.

According to the supervisors’ notes, Seagraves also mentioned pulling his weapon while working an off-duty security job. He then told his supervisor that he was “showing off,” and that he neither wanted to get into a gun fight nor had pulled his weapon while off-duty, but that “he was just full of bravado when talking to [the supervisor] the other night.”

“We don’t joke about things like that. That’s not funny,” Kephart said when discussing this incident. “When you’re talking about wanting to get into a gun fight, that is a propensity for violence. You’ve just articulated it, and Sheriff, you can’t ignore it.”

Sheriff Paul Penzone declined an interview request from 12 News, and instead released a statement saying, in part, “As has been my practice, circumstances occurring prior to taking the office are given appropriate consideration should an employee face discipline for a current violation.”

Penzone took over the position after winning the 2016 election against Joe Arpaio.

“Allegations are not findings,” Penzone continued in the statement. “Upon conclusion of sustained allegations I have been and will continue to hold employees to a high standard. I am neither tentative nor partial on delivering discipline once the facts are presented.”

The woman who accused Seagraves and the former detention officer of rape told 12 News she has lost faith in the system and that the sight of MCSO vehicles gives her anxiety.

“It’s every single SUV that I see, I just can’t -- I’ll walk the other way. I’ll cross the street. I’ll drive around an extra block because I just don’t -- I don’t want them to see me, and I don’t want to see them.”