New councilor admits assault, affidavit alleges
In his interview with police early Saturday, Grand Junction City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard initially denied an altercation with his girlfriend turned physical before later admitting to pushing her, grabbing her hair, and slapping her, according to an unfettered arrest affidavit in the case.
“Rick stated that he slapped (girlfriend) because she needed to ‘shut her mouth,’ ” reads a non-redacted version of the affidavit obtained Monday by The Daily Sentinel. “Rick stated that (girlfriend) had said something so offensive that he had to slap her.”
The document continues, “When asked what offensive thing was said, Rick stated he did not remember, although later he stated she had been saying for over one hour that he was sleeping with other women.”
Brainard’s interview with a Grand Junction police officer was deleted from the version of the arrest affidavit released on Saturday by the Grand Junction Police Department. Per department policy, defendant statements are routinely removed from arrest documents — which are public record — released to media because of concern over a defendant’s right to a fair trial, police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.
Brainard went to the Grand Junction Police Department after being called by an officer early Saturday, the affidavit said.
“During the course of the interview Rick stated that they had been arguing in the bedroom after he got home (Friday night),” the affidavit said. “Rick stated (girlfriend) physically took the phone from him, but later changed and stated that he gave up and let her have it. Rick stated that when (girlfriend) tried to send a text he physically took the phone from her.
Brainard originally told the officer the altercation was minor and that “he may have been accidentally scratched on his forearm but that there were no intentional injuries,” the affidavit continues. “Rick was asked if there was any other physical portions of the altercation and Rick stated there were not.”
When pressed on details by an officer, recounting a statement Brainard’s girlfriend already had given, “Rick then admitted that there was more than the initial tussle for the phone.”
“Rick admitted he had grabbed (girlfriend), pushed on her chest, and he admitted to slapping her on the left side of her neck/cheek area,” the affidavit said.
An officer noted his girlfriend had a black eye on the left side.
“Rick was asked if there was any way that he might have hit her a little higher and he stated he did not,” the affidavit said. “Rick also admitted later that he had pulled her hair.”
After slapping the woman, Brainard said his girlfriend called her employer and said she wouldn’t be coming in for her next shift, the affidavit said.
“Rick left the house and stated that he went to the police department to meet with us,” the affidavit said.
The officer, however, observed, “Rick never did check in or contact anyone at the police department and stated that he had forgot his (city issued) badge at home.”
“Rick stated (girlfriend) called him to come back to the house, but while showing us the text messages Rick was asked to stay away from the house. When asked why she would text ‘stay away’ and then call and say come over, Rick stated she is just like that and so he went to the house and retrieved his city ID.”
The officer continued, “He did not respond back to the police department nor did he call. Rick went out to his truck and left the house.”
Brainard’s girlfriend told officers that after she was slapped, she called her employer and said she wouldn’t be in for work. She told officers Brainard left the house, then came back a short time later, before leaving again.
“(Girlfriend) texted Rick that she had contacted the police department about the incident,” the affidavit said.
The woman told officers she’d been living with Brainard since November and an argument started Tuesday night, when she noticed a call or text message on his phone from a past girlfriend. She said he left Tuesday night and returned around 10 p.m. Friday when the argument became physical, saying she was pushed “several times” into a dresser, her hair was pulled, and she was grabbed by the arm and face, according to the affidavit.
She said she was pinned against the dresser after calling Brainard a “liar and cheat.”
“(Girlfriend) stated that she called out for her son to call 911, causing Rick to let her up,” the affidavit said.
Later during the incident, she said Brainard hit her with an open hand, causing swelling and bruising.
County Court Judge Gretchen Larsen on Monday ruled Brainard, 51, who was elected April 2 to the City Council’s at-large seat, is prohibited from contacting his girlfriend. The order includes her current residence, which is Brainard’s home at 2207 Avenal Court in the Redlands.
Larsen authorized Brainard to return home once to gather some personal items, but only accompanied by a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy. The home is jointly owned by Brainard and Emily G. Mason, according to Mesa County Assessor records.
Brainard walked out of the Mesa County Jail early Monday evening after Larsen set bond at $1,000, personal recognizance.
Brainard, who appeared in Larsen’s courtroom via video, said little during his brief appearance, outfitted in a yellow jumpsuit in the jail. Brainard’s alleged victim, her left eye blackened, attended the hearing but declined a chance to address the judge. Brainard was represented by local attorney Stephen Laiche.
“Very good, thank you,” Brainard told Larsen at the end of Monday’s hearing.
He’s expected back in court May 6.
According to Grand Junction’s city charter, a council member can be removed from office if he or she picks up a criminal felony charge while serving on the board, City Attorney John Shaver said.
Background checks are not required to run for City Council. If Brainard submitted a resignation letter before he is officially sworn into office on May 6, the current City Council would be tasked with appointing a new member. A resignation after that date would require the new City Council to appoint a replacement.
The Sentinel left messages with Brainard on Saturday seeking comment.
Staff writer Amy Hamilton contributed to this story