PHOENIX — After the Arizona governor said he'd like the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to reopen an investigation into a 2017 Glendale police incident, the office said it is now asking the FBI to get involved.
Ducey said Wednesday that what he saw on the Glendale Police Department body camera showing an officer use a stun gun on a man 11 times was unacceptable.
“What I saw on that videotape did not represent the law enforcement that I know in the state of Arizona," Ducey said.
The governor also implied the initial investigation was not effective and said he'd like to see MCAO look into it once more.
"It seems to me the investigation was whitewashed," he said.
Hours after Ducey's comment was reported, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that another investigation is warranted, despite his office's statement Tuesday saying that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction.
Glendale police said in a statement Wednesday that the city had forwarded the case to Montgomery's office within days of the 2017 incident. The statement went on to say that the attorney's office notified the city that "after their extensive examination, they were declining to pursue criminal prosecution against any of the officers involved."
On Wednesday, Montgomery released a statement saying, "After having personally reviewed all available video evidence, I have determined further investigation is warranted."
The MCAO said it sent materials to the Phoenix Office of the FBI for a review by an uninvolved agency.
The video Ducey and Montgomery are speaking about is the officer-worn body camera footage from a 2017 incident involving the Glendale Police Department. The footage has sparked controversy and a lawsuit.
In the video, two Glendale police officers approach Johnny Wheatcroft's car in a Motel 6 parking lot. His wife and his two children were also in the car.
The video shows Wheatcroft stunned 11 times including hits to his groin. But Glendale police denied that allegation, instead saying the officer zapped Wheatcroft in the thigh.
Glendale police said in their statement that prior to the footage surfacing, the family behind the lawsuit offered to settle with the city for $15 million:
"In December 2018, prior to the plaintiff shopping their story to the media, they offered to settle with the City for the absurd amount of $15 million. Glendale’s fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers of Glendale has limited our ability to engage on the specifics of this incident and we are unwilling to litigate it in the media.
This case will ultimately be decided on all the facts including a comprehensive analysis of all the evidence. For example, not all of the videos show that one of our police officers was assaulted and knocked unconscious by one of the plaintiffs that pled guilty to aggravated assault.
The citizens of Glendale know that the City of Glendale holds our Police Department and its officers to the highest standards, and we are proud to have some of the most well trained and dedicated men and women in the law enforcement serving our community. We will fully cooperate with any additional investigations into this incident."
12 News reached out to Wheatcroft's attorney Mark Victor for a response to Glendale police's statement.
Victor said, “We do not believe this case should be litigated through the media. There is currently no settlement offer on the table, but we do not deny what the city of Glendale says.”
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers released a statement Tuesday saying there have already been multiple reviews into the situation and the officer was disciplined. But it's not clear exactly how the officer was disciplined.
The FBI released a statement Wednesday saying it is unable to discuss ongoing investigations in which criminal charges have not been filed:
"The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating allegations regarding violations of federal civil rights statutes. As such, any time civil rights violations are brought to the attention of the FBI, the FBI collects all available facts and evidence and will ensure that they are reviewed in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner.
Our policy prohibits confirming investigations but as a general matter we examine the facts with consideration of federal criminal statutes. When appropriate, the facts of an incident will be forwarded for judicial consideration. Prosecutors decide whether or not to pursue criminal charges.
As in any case, if criminal charges are filed, they will become a matter of public record. Conversely, our policy prohibits discussing the outcome of our investigations on any matter in which criminal charges are not filed."