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11/28/2012 12:07:00 PM
Williams Police Department officers resign after internal investigations
A third officer placed on 80-hour suspension after officer puts handcuffed detainee in choke hold
Two Williams Police Department officers recently resigned after investigations into police conduct. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Two Williams Police Department officers recently resigned after investigations into police conduct. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Marissa Freireich
Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Two Williams Police Department (WPD) officers have resigned as a result of two separate internal affairs investigations.

Will Starcevich resigned from WPD after violating department policy in August. Police Chief Herman Nixon said Starcevich was dealing with "a combative intoxicated male" in the booking room when the incident occurred. The arrestee's hands and ankles were restrained after threatening and attempting to kick the officers involved. When the arrestee spit in Starcevich's face, Starcevich put the arrestee in a chokehold.

The police department discovered the incident in October after reviewing videotape footage. Nixon said placing the arrestee in a chokehold while restrained violates WPD policies. Officials suspended Starcevich during the investigation, but he resigned the next day to avoid termination.

"The officer made a bad decision and now he's paying the price for that," Nixon said.

The Williams Police Department sent the case to the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, the governing body for police officer certifications.

"The arrestee, the suspect, never came to us has and never complained to us," Nixon said, adding that the man is a transient from California.

Brandon Hernandez, also present during the booking incident, resigned after a separate internal affairs investigation in which he was a witness. After the police department found discrepancies in information he provided during the October investigation, the department asked Hernandez to take a polygraph test.

"A couple of statements he made during the interviews didn't coincide with what the other witnesses said," said Nixon.

Hernandez took a polygraph test of his own and then resigned on the day he was assigned to take the police department's test.

The WPD cleared the officer under investigation of any wrongdoing.

The department handed a third officer present at the booking an 80-hour suspension for not reporting the incident.

"We now have a policy in place where we check every booking that comes into our station," Nixon said. "We check the videos now to make sure (the officers are) working correctly, everything's caught on tape and there's no violations of policy. And 99.9 percent of the time there is nothing."

Nixon emphasized that it was the police department that discovered the policy violations.

"We hold our officers to a high standard, we don't hide anything," Nixon said. "If we mess up, we admit to it. We fix things that we mess up on."






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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: Craig Simpson

When a no load spits in the face a police officer I believe the officer has a right to put the jerk in a choke hold. What gives the idiot a right to spit into someone who is hired to protect the public?



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