Report: Former cop asked chief to keep matter quiet

The Republican candidate for House District 54 asked the Fruita Police Department not to make him look like a dishonest cop before losing his job as a police officer last month.

Just days before he was given the choice of resigning or being terminated from his job, Jared Wright pleaded with Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo not to send out a so-called Brady memo to defense attorneys in the Grand Valley, saying it would make him appear to be dishonest, according to a police internal affairs report obtained by The Daily Sentinel.

“A Brady issue is now ... a career blow ... possibly a blow to two careers,” Wright told Angelo on July 10, three days before he handed in his resignation letter. “The fact that there’s a Brady cop running for, for political office ... it’ll be over in Denver. I mean it’s gonna be statewide. The last thing I wanna do is open the newspaper for the next two years looking at this mess.”

Wright’s troubles first came to light last week after that memo went public. Defense attorneys could use that document to impeach his integrity to win new trials in cases in which Wright was a main witness.

In hopes of preventing that, Wright offered Angelo a deal that included not sending out the memo and keeping the matter within the department.

Otherwise, Wright said he would challenge the termination, saying it was based on a trivial matter. He said that would cost the city money defending his dismissal and make the city look bad.

“All I can say at this point is my attorney has a decent deal for you,” Wright said, according to transcripts included in the internal affairs report. “I don’t wanna put the city in a bad spot and as a matter of fact that’s why I’m here to talk to you because this is a lose, lose.

“This is a lose for me and this is a lose for the city of Fruita,” he continued. “I’m just simply offering this, not for my own benefit alone. Certainly, I would come out better, but also for the city’s benefit.”

Angelo refused, saying he already had sent the memo to District Attorney Pete Hautzinger on July 6, four days earlier.

“It’s not going to be handled as an informal thing,” Angelo said. “This is a very formal process and it is a process designed around policy, not just our policy, but city policy.”

When Wright realized Angelo had already sent the memo, he tried to get the chief to rescind it before Hautzinger had a chance to forward it to defense attorneys in the valley. Wright later asked Hautzinger not to send it out, but he did two days later.

Although Angelo and Hautzinger said they couldn’t legally do that, Wright said he spoke to other “counsel” who said it could be done.

In addition to attorney Michael Holmes, whom Wright hired to help deal with his employment issues, he also has at least two attorneys helping with his campaign: former congressman Scott McInnis and Grand Junction attorney Erik Groves, both of whom have had political troubles of their own in the past.

In 2010, McInnis’ bid for the GOP nomination for Colorado governor was derailed over a plagiarism scandal that propelled political neophyte Dan Maes to win the nomination.

In 2009, Groves was admonished by a legislative ethics panel for trying to sway GOP leadership elections in the House.

In 2004, Wright worked as a staff assistant for McInnis during his last year in Congress.

At the end of the July 10 interview, Angelo turned to Lt. Judy Macy, who had conducted much of the internal affairs questioning of Wright.

“Did you hear what he whispered in my ear?” Angelo asked, referring to Wright. “‘Get ready for a battle.’”



COMMENTS

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Mesa County deserves better representation than this. Out of all the people available to run for office, this is our likely representative? I’m guessing that I’m voting Libertarian this year.

Claudette, I have a feeling you will not be alone. Where are all those that wrote in Woody Walcher for commissioner? We may see a very diverse group come out to support Menger.

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