California released documents pertaining to its ongoing investigation into the operations of the city's police department last week.
The items shared range from a statement filed by Moniteau County Sheriff's deputy Benton Fogleman, who was approached by former officers Jared Allen and Nick Stobbart regarding their issues with the police department's operations, to communication between fellow former officer Christopher Tew and others with the California Police Department regarding mishandled evidence and personal property.
The CPD statement from Fogleman, dated Jan. 1, establishes he was first contacted by Allen on Dec. 25, 2020, when Allen approached him with concerns about evidence handling in the department. Fogleman claims he came to the CPD office and was shown various examples of improperly stored evidence throughout the department — in offices, the department's interview room and in the sally port.
Fogleman's statement claims Allen and Stobbart were again at the sheriff's office on Dec. 27, 2020 to inform deputy Aaron Bishop of the issues. Fogleman states the pair asked Allen and Stobbart if they had reported it to CPD Capt. Ralph Parris. They said they had and were told the issues weren't to be worried about.
Fogleman's statement alleges Allen and Stobbart told Bishop they wanted him to be informed to provide "leverage," as he was planning to run for mayor of California in the upcoming April municipal election. The statement also alleges Stobbart stated he would like to take over as chief and appoint Allen as captain were Bishop to be elected, with the CPD's operations then turned over to the sheriff's office until they were able to remove officers and rebuild in those positions with personnel fit for the job.
Fogleman's statement alleges the fired officers' main goal was to get CPD chief Daniel Hurt, Parris and CPD officer and evidence custodian Casey Shelton fired. Fogleman's statement alleges that while Allen and Stobbart claimed Shelton consistently violates the public's Fourth Amendment rights and obtains illegal search warrants, Fogleman had never noticed anything of the sort while assisting Shelton with search warrants and vehicle and personal searches.
Fogleman's statement also details he was informed about an issue involving a marijuana joint that was left in the cup holder of Shelton's patrol vehicle, which Tew was using on the night of Dec. 28, 2020. Fogleman states Allen and Stobbart informed him they told Tew to take photos and email Shelton and Parris, to establish a paper trail of him informing his supervisors; Allen then encouraged Tew to escalate his concerns to mayor Norris Gerhart, which he eventually did.
Communications between Tew and Parris included with the city's investigative documents detail that Tew emailed Shelton, Parris and Hurt on Dec. 29, 2020 at 2:03 a.m. informing them what he'd found in the vehicle, which he picked up at 10 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2020, and he was securing the patrol car at the police department. Parris, in his response later that morning, asked why Tew hadn't notified Shelton or a supervisor at the time of his findings. Parris and Shelton's responses claimed it was evidence that had fallen out of an evidence bag during a traffic stop the weekend before.
Fogleman's statement goes on to allege Allen and Stobbart's end goal was to take over the CPD and "take time to clean up the department and corruption going on within (it)."
"I believe by Jared and Nick bringing this to Deputy Bishop and myself, since Deputy Bishop is running for California mayor, Jared and Nick want him to do something about it to get Chief Hurt, Capt. Parris and Officer Shelton fired," Fogleman alleged in his statement.
Fogleman said in his statement, in his opinion, it seemed what the pair was trying to bring to light was never brought to the captain or chief's attention. The statement claims the pair said they hadn't yet contacted Hurt because he was out on sick leave. Fogleman claims in his statement he believes Allen and Stobbart came directly to he and Bishop first, hoping the sheriff's department would do something about it, just to "keep clean and be able to take over."
The group of former officers did walk Hurt through the CPD shortly after their interactions with county sheriff's deputies. The group has alleged the walkthrough took place the evening of Dec. 31, 2020.
When contacted earlier this week for comment, Allen said the allegations in Fogleman's statement were "absurd."
"It's absurd to suggest that we were interested in any kind of takeover," Allen said. "And the two points I'd like to make is because not only would I not want to have made myself responsible for all the problems that existed in the (department), but I'd also have no interest in working directly for people who are obviously corruptible and don't have the best interests of the police department in mind."
Allen said Fogleman "twists" he and Stobbart's words in his statement, taking what were originally jokes out of context.
"Aside from the ridiculous allegation that we were trying to conspire a takeover, deputy Fogleman's statement really does nothing but corroborate the problems that we expressed and the police supervision of the city's unwillingness to do anything about it," Allen said.