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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/29/2012 10:00:00 PM
Prescott Valley police chief goes on record about bar fight allegations
Courtesy photoAn undated photo shows Iron Brotherhood Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Whiskey Row Chapter members.
Courtesy photo
An undated photo shows Iron Brotherhood Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Whiskey Row Chapter members.
By HEIDI DAHMS FOSTER and LISA IRISH
The Daily Courier



Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler issued a statement Saturday acknowledging that he was in a Prescott bar when a confrontation allegedly occurred on Dec. 22, but adamantly denied that he and another Prescott Valley officer were involved in a physical altercation.

At 11 p.m. on Dec. 22, Prescott police officers spoke with an alleged assault victim, a 23-year-old Glendale man, at Yavapai Regional Medical Center's west campus, according to a news release from the Prescott Police Department.

The man told officers he was in a downtown bar, and said he was punched several times by members of what he believed to be a motorcycle club. He was treated for a facial injury and then released from the hospital, according to the news release.

Prescott police officers initially responded to the complaint and found that the motorcycle riders in question were members of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club, made up of current and former police officers from around the state, including several local officers. Prescott Police Chief Mike Kabbel said he then requested that the incident be investigated by the Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Unit to avoid any potential perceived conflict of interest.

Prescott Police Lt. Ken Morley said Saturday that videotape of the incident has been obtained and is in the hands of DPS. "I haven't looked at it, and I don't think even (Chief Kabbel) has. It was turned over to DPS," he said.

Local officials largely declined to talk about the incident - including listing names of those involved - until the DPS investigation is complete. However, Fessler decided to issue his statement after a Phoenix TV station named three high-ranking local officers, including Fessler, as having been involved in a fight, which allegedly took place while some of the club members were in the bar after a Christmas party.

"One would never expect that you would be plastered on the headlines over something you didn't do, several days later," Fessler said. "I have been told that I have been implicated in a bar fight, had actually thrown blows, and did so for no apparent reason. The accusations, I assure you, when the truth is revealed, will be (proven false)."

Fessler said he has been involved in law enforcement motorcycle clubs for 14 years, and knows that some people don't agree with the culture of such clubs.

"I can tell you that I have been surrounded by hard-working, family-minded, ethical, police officers and members of public safety (positions) who just like to ride Harley Davidsons, and if they were not, they wouldn't be riding with me," he said.

Fessler said the group, before the event, obtained a parking permit to prevent problems downtown, secured hotel rooms and designated drivers, and reserved a private area to celebrate the holiday. At 10 p.m., when the reserved area was opened to the public, Fessler said, it became too crowded, and club members dispersed to other establishments on Whiskey Row.

He declined to further discuss specifics of the incident because he did not want to hinder the DPS investigation, he said.

"DPS will provide a thorough, detailed investigation and at that time the truth will be told," he said. The disappointing thing, he added, is that "those damages are already done, and really good people and their families get hurt."

Fessler said that although he did not engage in unlawful activity by riding in the motorcycle club, he has withdrawn from the organization to prevent future accusations that might shed a negative light on the Prescott Valley Police Department.

"This incident will not deter the professionalism of this agency, nor will it change the goals of the service provided to the community," he said. "I can only pray that time is given to allow the truth to be told and the accused can be cleared of these damning accusations about truly good people."

Morley said DPS is working to complete the investigation as quickly as possible.

"They came up Christmas Eve," he said. "They are putting a rush on it to make sure that it's cleared up as soon as they can."

Morley said local police agencies pride themselves on keeping a good reputation.

"We live here, and raise families here. And because (officers) were there at the event doesn't mean they did something wrong," he said.

Related Stories:
• Iron Brotherhood bar fight: 'Everybody was swinging at everybody,' witness says of brawl allegedly involving off-duty police officers
• Officials decline to ID officers allegedly involved in bar fight
• DPS investigates incident at Prescott bar



Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 03, 2013
Article comment by: 92 92

What makes it wrong for OFF DUTY Officers to hang out with other brothers officers and have a good time? These guys are all top notch cops and believe in there jobs and ride bikes to blow off steam. The people that are making negative comment 1) have no idea of what really happened and 2) probably had run ins with the police for being stupid or committing crimes. Ride on Iron Brotherhood. You are stand up guys!

Posted: Thursday, January 03, 2013
Article comment by: DOUBLE STANDARD

I agree with Rachael, what goes around comes around. Maybe the real MC's should get uniforms and badges and have a play day. Just sayin'
How does it feel to be guilty until proven innocent?


Posted: Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Article comment by: To: Is this professional

There is nothing wrong about a Chief being a biker or being part of a club, that does NOT make him a bad person or a childish person, it means that he has a hobby and he loves to ride. ...

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Stuart cook

A good friend, a prosecutor, told me go avoid policemen drinking together.

Always been glad I did.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: to: its a start

you stated "Unfortunately, this compound sentence doesn't allow the reader to discern whether each of the three allegations are being summarily denied or whether only one or two of the three parts is being denied. Clarification would be productive."

I didn't read anywhere in the story that the allegations were denied, only that they would be proven false. Those are not the same things.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Another Biker

Just curious, in the photo which one is the Chief of the PVPD, also have to agree with Poor Example, very poor judgment being in that high of a position and associated with what many see as nothing but another gang. Notice on their web site they follow the same membership requirements as the 1% clubs, HA, Mongals, Vagos etc: That doesn't bode well for their image.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: dustin oliver

this is directed towards "John Adams" and "Really People" 1st:@ "Really People", I personally think you need to reread the article a little closer... He was at the Yavapai WEST campus, not EAST, as in PV... And 2: @ "John Adams", bud, ya need to reevaluate what you are saying about who they need to or not fire.. just because an officer of the law is in a MC, does not make him a bad person... Thats all I wanted to say...

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Tedís Perspective

Motorcycle riding and celebrating the holidays is not disreputably. Open dialogue allows for better understanding, verses misconceptions of the event. Concerns stared brewing in my thoughts even, but were mostly dispelled already after reading the article.

Enjoying riding is a unique experience. The excitement of riding down Interstate 5 in parade with Bob Doyle when he ran for President, to Parading with the Shiners Motorcycle unit on holidays, or just the blissful feeling of spending time riding around Yavapai county on ABATE Spring ride is blissful. Riding is not scandalously nor should we disparage individuals for this activity.



Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Deb Pewtyfife

See, those traffic cameras aren't so bad after all.



Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: LAW ENFORCEMENT ETHICS

Law Enforcement ethics require that police officers conduct themselves in such a manner so as to not only avoid acts of impropriety but to also avoid the appearance of impropriety. Any conduct that appears improper is conduct unbecoming a police officer. Criminal activity aside, it is apparent that when a group of command and supervisory personnel create a club using the model of an outlaw motorcycle club, go to a public bar to consume alcohol and have a party (Christmas time or not), wear clothing that is interpreted by observers (the citizens they serve) as that clothing associated with outlaw motorcycle clubs and then become involved in an incident that makes headlines questioning their actions and associations it would be fair to make a determination that their conduct was unbecoming that of a police officer. Citizens expect their police officers to be of the highest moral integrity. Command staff and supervisory personnel should be held to an even higher standard. It is public displays of poor judgment, irresponsible behavior and faulty decision making like this that degrades the role of law enforcement in the community. It is shameful that the good, honest, ethical patrol officers must suffer the shame of the inappropriate activities of their supervisors. Each of these supervisors should be identified and held responsible for their indiscretions.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: The Names Please Courier

Now why would the courier not publish the names and pictures, for that matter, of these men involved in this alleged bar fight? Were arrests made? My son, when he was a teenager, had his name and picutre put in the paper right next to the drug dealers and rapists, for allegedly crossing a road illegally and "holding" up traffic!! I loathe hiprocrisy. But, what I am finding in this town, it's not whether you are a good citizen or make a mistake, it's who you are, or who you're related to, or what your job is that dictates whether you are 'reported' by the courier, or convicted for of the crime. All kinds of cover ups for some people. Double standard all over this quaint little community. In the school districts, the courts and the PD! This is what should be feared.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Irving Rheingold

"You meet the nicest people on a Honda"...............................LOL

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Sassy Lynn

The Daily Courier has removed this comment and others because they violate the Terms of Use agreement for dCourier.com. The "Use of Service" portion states, "If you use the Service ... you agree to abide by and be bound by the following:
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Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Even Flow

@ Kali Simpson, Thank you for pointing out todays story about the fireman hero. Like you, I felt a little better after reading it to balance out the two articles in the paper.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Higher Standard

LEO are held to a higher standard. They use discretion and judgment in enforcing the law, hopefully fairly. Appearances do matter. There was an appearance here of misconduct. An all-male (specifically excludes women) organization with this kind of appearance on the web and in their dress ... it doesn't say "trust me." Whether or not a law was broken, a trust was broken. That the Chief of a local LE and the soon-to-be acting-chief of another felt this organization was something to be associated makes me wonder about their judgment. Are these folks I can trust to lead other men and women in the best work possible? I have my doubts.



Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Local LE

I work for a local law enforcement agency here in the Quad Cities area (I won't say which one for obvious reasons) and we have all been told countless times to stay away from the bars in downtown Prescott, so that being said, why on Gods green Earth would these high ranking police afficers go against what they preach to their own and do the very thing they ask their own officers not to do?

If you want honesty, integrity and professionalism to shine in your department, then stop the hypocritical preaching and start leading by example.

I've never understood why law enforcement current or past would be associated with a motorcycle club such as this... whether you are a 1 percenter or not, you attract what you percieve to others as being. The appearance of evil is almost as wrong as being evil itself... fix your club motto so it doesn't contradict the oath of office you all chose to be sworn into when you started wearing your badge and start finding new places to hang out and get the heck out of the bars.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Marine Motorcyclist

Story will fade, and there will be no charges brought against the agressors. LEO organization at work, as usual.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Just Saying

Why are the photos of the scum-sucking filthy members of our community photographed and plastered all over this Courier (the most trusted source in propaganda) and the elite of our community like the police and the Fain's not photographed and smeared like the rest of the filthy scum- suckers?

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Poor Example

To the un-trained eye, the IBMC appears and organizes like an outlaw motorcycle gang. To the trained eye, they appear and organize like an outlaw motorcycle gang. To see these high level law enforcement leaders dress up like bikers is an absolutely embarassment to the profession. Mayor, is that what you want out of your chief of police? As a PV citizen, I certainly don't. To further show the arrogance, "they would not be riding with me?" Really, its an honor and privledge to ride with Tarzan? When you leather up and liquor down at a local establishment, you don't care about your image, you have no respect for the position you hold or the people you serve or lead. This is a poor example of a law enforcemnet leader.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Really People

Really People..that is what this is all about ACCUSATIONS. Never Ass-U-Me everyone is good to blame a cop when something goes wrong.what about this alleged victim how much did he drink,remember he Was in a bar,did he provoke these guys,why go to a hospital 10 miles away why not call 911 or go to the nearest hospital? Now everyone who wears a "MC" vest a Gang? Wow I guess the veterans and the shriners are "Gangs" cause I see them with vest on matter fact the Shriners were on TV in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Everyone is good to look up iron brotherhood Why don't you just google MC clubs they are more then you think like firefighters, Veterans,Women, just because it happened he at a local bar on whiskey row (by the way some people are partitioning to change that part of the road to Whiskey Row) Who cares.... they were off duty or retired and shouldn't matter the names of these people.Really get a life

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: It's a start

PV Chief Fessler is quoted as denying factuality of the statement, "I have been told that I have been implicated in a bar fight, had actually thrown blows, and did so for no apparent reason." Unfortunately, this compound sentence doesn't allow the reader to discern whether each of the three allegations are being summarily denied or whether only one or two of the three parts is being denied. Clarification would be productive.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

I like to ride my "American made" motorcycle too and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is when you spend most of your time in the bar drinking and not out riding. When you name your club the "Whiskey Row Chapter" and spend your time on Whiskey Row, then you are going to have trouble one way or another because the biker bar culture is an attitude that invites it. The fact that the Prescott Valley Police Chief participates in it justifies it and encourages it. Leadership comes from the top and he is a poor example for his department.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Rachael Lorgan

I hate to say this but I'm SO SO SO very glad that the PVPD gets to feel what they do to good families like my sisters! They were also put through the ringer in the newspaper before the story was throughly investigated and have been forever tarnished in this small community. Maybe this is exactly what these over ego maniac police officers needed...to see exactly what they do to good families in this community with the policies! What goes around comes around ...

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: john adams

if im in a m/c club its a gang. if a police officer is it called what tell me these officer were not drinking ha ha. tell me they do not cope a attuide, tell me they get pulled over by other officer [like ther normal ] citizens. we do not want our children in gangs, but its alright for police? give me a break fire all police in that club. ...

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Irving Rheingold

this is beginning to smell very "FISHY".........................LOL


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