‘Joe-Lo’ woke up in the morning and after he realized he was in Sheila’s bed, he exited the room after being startled and he said, “No, No, No” several times demonstrating his confusion. He then went and slept elsewhere. At some point in the morning he had to wake up Officer ‘G’ to have him move the vehicle that blocked him in. Does this sound like a man who just committed a sex crime? Would a guy who just fondled, groped, or attempted to have sex with a teenager stay around and wake up her dad? Nothing was said just like there had been zero conversation the night before. ‘Joe-Lo’ got his phone and left for his own residence
He would soon receive a ‘pretext’ phone call from ‘Sheila’ with sexual assault (S/A) detectives listening in (or recording him). He was ‘safe’ in a sense because he couldn’t remember what happened and knew that this first phone call ever between himself and Sheila was unusual. Even if he could remember things and denied any inappropriate behavior, Metro ‘bloodhounds’ would have pursued him. The call ended with detectives (members of his own department) losing their momentary ‘arousal’ because their attempt to get him to talk and say something incriminating had failed!
Next for ‘Joe-Lo’ was a CRIMINAL interview. He was not under arrest so he didn’t have a right to an attorney but he brought his PPA Chairman Steve Grammas as his representative. He didn’t incriminate himself because he didn’t remember what happened. Right after the interview with ‘Sheila’ the sexual assault detectives should have known that there was NO crime. Multiple detectives were part of this recorded interview (or were out in the hall watching). Officer ‘G’ was also interviewed but it didn’t seem to damage his credibility that he drank so much he couldn’t drive, probably allowed an unlicensed daughter to drive, had to call in sick, and got entry and alcohol for his 20-year-old girlfriend — ‘K’ — before retiring to bed with her in the same house. ‘G’ is 40 years of age.
At some point on the investigation timeline, there was also an interview with INTERNAL AFFAIRS. This is where someone has now come up with ‘administrative’ charges that don’t meet normal evidentiary standards. It would have been better for IA to call the entire matter ‘Conduct Unbecoming a Police Officer’ and issue a 40 hour suspension-the current maximum allowed. Even if they had never read an actual transcript of ‘Sheila’s’ interview (because it didn’t exist) this would have been a heavy hammer with which to correct ‘Joe-Lo’s’ behavior and put him back to work — but it didn’t happen!
There was another critical decision point (never communicated to ‘Joe-Lo’) when the District Attorney DENIED the gross misdemeanor charge of “open & gross lewdness” charges sought by Metro. I understand he only discovered this denial when he received his pre-term binder seven months after the October incident. The sequence of these events is important. Did Internal Affairs know that on November 4th the case was denied? The S/A tried hanging a case on ‘Jo-Lo’ without having anywhere near probable cause and the D.A. realized there was insufficient evidence. They started with a conclusion and worked back trying to find evidence (ignoring important information) to the point that this was almost a malicious prosecution! I recently recommended that ‘Joe-Lo’ send the transcript to the D.A. and file a complaint for them to investigate.
The reality is that ‘G’ and his kids lived in ‘Joe-Lo’s’ house for several months and there was certainly a high level of familiarity between the families. During interviews, it was confirmed (through S/A questioning) that there was NEVER any allegation of inappropriate sexual advances during all of those months! There was nothing ‘open’ or ‘gross’ or ‘lewd’ or sexually motivated that occurred after the picnic or at any time prior.
The interview with ‘Sheila’ was one of the goofiest I have ever read. Detectives actually did a customer satisfaction survey with the ‘victim’ at the end. Yes, they were seeking feedback about their own interviewing performance from a 16-year-old teen. They had started the interview with a lesson in ‘lies of omission’ which I also found almost disturbing. They used an example of going to a ‘skanky’ nightclub in their example to the teenager. They also made lots of references to court and defense attorneys making me think they felt their case would be prosecutable — it wasn’t!
You know what is absolutely shocking? It was not until April 30, 2017 that a transcript of Sheila’s interview was complete! This was AFTER ‘Joe-Lo’ had resigned. It wasn’t ready until May 2nd and it did not even have the date and time of the interview or the normal ‘headings’ making it look very unprofessional. Ultimately, it was a ‘rush’ job and it was transcribed by a private company — NOT by Metro personnel! The most important evidence and ONLY evidence against ‘Joe-Lo’ was ‘conspicuously’ missing from behind a tab in his pre-termination binder — but the PPA either never noticed or didn’t care. I told ‘Joe-Lo’ to request it. He did. NOBODY (not even his accusers) had the interview transcript to review until after May 2nd, but ‘Joe-Lo’ had already resigned. Just how is it ‘due process’ when you don’t even know what your accuser has said about you? When did Metro decide to be so UNJUST with their own people?
Just for the record, in order to sustain discipline at Metro the proof must rise to the level of ‘clear and convincing’ evidence. This is established in the union contract and all investigators and administrators should know this. This is a higher standard of proof than ‘probable cause’ and there was not even any probable cause to charge the crime. There is also a state law (known as the Police Officer Bill of Rights) pertaining to police officers under investigation. Nothing would stop Metro with ‘blood lust on their fangs.” They kept ‘Joe-Lo’ in misery for seven months wasting significant amounts of taxpayer money, isolating him intentionally, shattering his personal and professional pride and confidence, and leaving him so uncertain and broken that he could easily be coerced BY HIS OWN UNION — into resigning from his 10-year career!
FINAL SEGMENT NEXT WEEK: The very troubling failures of Metro and the PPA
Norm Jahn served with the LVMPD for over 21 years and achieved the rank of lieutenant. He also served as a police chief in Wisconsin for over three years. Jahn has been a university professor and also taught in the criminal justice program at the College of Southern Nevada for over a decade.