Law enforcement

2 Scottsdale Police officers receive unpaid suspension

Discipline stems from violating policy amid hit-and-run investigation

Posted 1/11/22

Scottsdale Police officers have been disciplined for actions stemming from falsely accusing a woman of a hit-and-run accident in May 2020.

The Scottsdale Police Department had previously …

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Law enforcement

2 Scottsdale Police officers receive unpaid suspension

Discipline stems from violating policy amid hit-and-run investigation

Posted

Scottsdale Police officers have been disciplined for actions stemming from falsely accusing a woman of a hit-and-run accident in May 2020.

The Scottsdale Police Department had previously announced an internal investigation into the events surrounding the arrest of Yessenia Garcia, which occurred on May 24, 2020.

According to published news reports, Garcia was falsely accused of a hit-and-run, which she reportedly had proof she didn’t commit. Garcia reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Scottsdale Police Department, the city of Scottsdale and six police officers.

On Jan. 11, the department announced it had completed its internal investigation into the incident.

“We made some mistakes plain and simple, and the involved employees have been disciplined for those mistakes. We are not infallible and any expectation of such is unrealistic,” Police Chief Jeff Walther said in a press release. “I remain committed to maintaining a strong culture of accountability, transparency, and professionalism. When employees fall short of those standards, there are consequences. Those consequences will always be in line with the level of misconduct identified. In this case, I am confident in the investigation’s findings and that our employees did not demonstrate malice or ill intent. I know that does not change how the events unfolded that evening or how Ms. Garcia was affected, and for that she has my most sincere apologies.”

The police department says the employees who were found to have violated policy or fell short of department expectations received some degree of discipline or counseling depending on the severity of their policy violation.

The most serious of this discipline included one employee receiving a 40-hour suspension and another employee receiving a 20-hour suspension, both of which are unpaid, department officials say.

According to the Scottsdale Police Department, the internal investigation revealed that although probable cause existed for Garcia’s arrest under the “totality of circumstances known to the officers at the time,” department policies were violated by some of the employees involved and/or a more thorough follow-up investigation should have been conducted.

The internal investigation also confirmed that prior to Ms. Garcia’s arrest, officers did not have any information from the Galleria security video due to technical difficulties in accessing the video at that time, police say.

Police say ultimately, no citation was issued to Garcia and no charges were brought. Published news reports state Garcia did spend a night in jail the night of the incident.

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