Ex-Grand Junction cops appeal firings

Joseph Mulcahy

Justin Roberts

Phillip Van Why

Formal appeals have been filed by the three former Grand Junction police officers who were fired last week for damaging a local transient camp, according to the city.

Justin Roberts, 31, Phillip Van Why, 35, and Joseph Mulcahy, 28, filed written requests Monday and Tuesday for a “post-disciplinary” or appeal meeting, and each has been scheduled for individual, hour-long hearings on June 22, city spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said. The meetings are not a forum to rehash the Grand Junction Police Department’s internal investigation, Rainguet said.

“This is an opportunity for them to state their case why this discipline shouldn’t be handed down,” she said.

The officers, who may have lawyers present, will make their pitch to Deputy City Manager Rich Englehart, who will act in the absence of City Manager Laurie Kadrich, Rainguet said.

Englehart will have 10 days after the meetings to issue written rulings. He can sustain Police Chief John Camper’s decision, modify it or overturn it.

Figures showing the number of successful appeals over recent years, which also led to the reversal of a department head’s issued discipline, weren’t immediately available Wednesday from the city.

On paid leave since May 7, Roberts, Van Why and Mulcahy were fired June 3 after an internal investigation found the officers took pocket knives to property owned by transients at a local camp as the officers were searching for a suspect in a theft investigation.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger declined to prosecute the trio, citing a lack of evidence.


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