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Park County Officers Martin and Brown Reprimanded plus Internal Affairs Investigation

Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 3:22 pm
Mike Potter, Staff Writer | 1 comment
An internal affairs investigation conducted by the Park County Sheriff's Office found that, among other things, a Summit County Sheriff's deputy living near Como was given special treatment during an investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident that occurred on Nov. 21.
Written reprimands were issued to Kolby Martin, a deputy with the Park County Sheriff's Office, and to Michael Brown, who was demoted from the rank of master sergeant to deputy with the Park County Sheriff's Office following the outcome of the investigation.
The 20-page internal affairs investigation, released by the Park County Sheriff's Office after a criminal justice records request from The Flume, details the accounts of an incident that began around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 21 involving Summit County Deputy Sylvia Simms and her husband, Dallas Simms. (See the internal affairs report at theflume.com.)
During that incident, Sylvia Simms allegedly drew her gun and pointed it or waved it at Como resident Doug Bothwell, who had given Dallas Simms a ride home early that morning after his car had broken down. During that alleged incident, Bothwell said that Sylvia Simms struck Dallas Simms with a flashlight.
The conclusion of the internal affairs investigation includes a list of concerns that were raised during interviews with the deputies conducted by Park County Detective Lieutenant Sven Bonnelycke.
"During this investigation, it became clear that appropriate protocols, particularly matters pertaining to safety, have not been followed while investigating a Domestic Violence case," said the report.
Those concerns included protocols that call for alleged victims to be separated following the reporting of an incident, not locating a firearm that was alleged to be involved in the incident, not recognizing the need for the collection of certain evidence, not speaking to all the witnesses, and trying to discredit a witness.
In an e-mailed statement to The Flume, Park County Undersheriff Monte Gore, who called for the internal affairs investigation, said he was disappointed by the actions of the responding officers.
"After a comprehensive review of the Internal Affairs Investigation, we feel that the Summit County deputy should have been arrested," he said. "A 20-page affidavit has been filed with the [District Attorney's Office] for the arrest of the Summit County deputy."
The affidavit filed with the District Attorney's Office wasn't available by press time.
The investigation
The internal affairs investigation goes into detail about the alleged incident that occurred on Nov. 21.
The incident was first reported by Bothwell.
The internal affairs investigation redacted Bothwell's name, but Bothwell had previously contacted The Flume and was quoted in a Nov. 25 article about the incident.
According to the internal affairs investigation report, Martin and Brown responded to the incident.
During his interview with Bonnelycke, Brown reported that Sylvia Simms said there was no gun involved and Sylvia Simms never struck her husband, despite what Bothwell reported.
"Brown advised that he did not see any indication of an assault on [Sylvia Simms]," said the investigation report. "Brown advised when he looked over Dallas, [he] observed no sign of Dallas being struck in the face with a flashlight. He did not observe bruising, contusion or blood indicating a struggle had occurred."
Brown told Bonnelycke that he had not spoken to Bothwell at the incident, that Martin had taken a report from Bothwell.
When Bonnelycke confronted Brown with Bothwell's statement, Brown said after reading it he would have given the case "a little more consideration."
Bonnelycke wrote in his report that it was troubling to him that the two deputies worked to discredit Bothwell.
According to the investigation report, Brown told Bonnelycke that he didn't trust Bothwell's statement.
When questioned about Bothwell's allegation that Sylvia Simms left the couple's two children home alone, Brown said he was told by Sylvia Simms that she was home with the kids the entire night.
When Bonnelycke questioned Brown about a later admittance by Sylvia Simms that she had, in fact, had a gun during the incident, Brown said that he thought she felt she was in trouble, and lied to protect herself.
"Brown was not happy with what she did and that he gave her the benefit of doubt as a law enforcement officer to a point," said the investigation report.
During the interview with Martin, Bonnelycke was told that the deputy complied with his supervisor's orders during the case, even though he felt that an arrest should have been made during the incident.
According to the investigation report, Martin said that during a conversation with Bothwell, Martin explained that no arrest was made because Brown felt that there was not enough evidence to support the arrest.
"Deputy Martin advised me [Bonnelycke] that he believed that they should have arrested Sylvia for Felony Menacing, Domestic Violence and Third Degree Assault," said the investigation report.
Following a Nov. 21 meeting with Gore in which the two deputies were ordered to get an arrest warrant, Brown decided to instead give the information to the District Attorney's Office.
According to the internal affairs investigation report, neither did that.
"Martin and ... Brown admitted they were directed by Undersheriff Gore to obtain a warrant, which simply did not occur," it said.


Walter L. Newton - Editor, The Flume
Office 303-838-4423 Ext. 10
Home 303-838-2058
editor@theflume.com; www.theflume.com
P.O. Box 460, 5138 Park County Road 64, Bailey, CO 80421
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Read the paper online www.theflume.com



Monte Gore for Sheriff
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