UPDATE: Sheriff Babeu orders investigation of deputy’s actions during Sept. 12 arrest

Logo Pinal County Sheriff s Office

The following statement from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu regarding the Sept. 12 arrest of a mother and daughter by a Pinal County deputy (see story below) was e-mailed Sept. 15 to members of the news media:

“It has been my priority as sheriff to assure that all of the people we serve are treated fairly and professionally, and that deputies know how to make the appropriate decisions when faced with confrontational persons. This past weekend, one of our deputies had a confrontation with a juvenile shoplifter and her mother that escalated into a physical struggle resulting in our deputy using intermediate weapons to affect the arrests. After reviewing the preliminary reports, I am concerned as to how this incident was handled. I am concerned that the deputy may not have done everything possible to avoid a physical confrontation while performing his public duties.
“Our deputies have a duty to investigate crimes of all nature and respond appropriately when faced with confrontational persons. However, we also have a duty to treat all people professionally, and have the appropriate response to try and de-escalate situations while keeping everyone involved safe.
In response to my concerns, I have asked our Professional Standards Unit to open an internal investigation into the deputies’ actions during this incident. As well, I have also placed one deputy on paid administrative leave while we investigate this incident.
“I want to assure the public that we have a thorough review process in place for use-of-force incidents such as these and that process has begun. I have asked our Professional Standards (Unit) staff to thoroughly and expeditiously investigate all the circumstances of these arrests and share the results with our command staff. Once the process is complete, it is our intent to share the results of this investigation with the public.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu

 

Katrina Williams (Booking photo courtesy of Pinal County Sheriff's Office)

Katrina Williams (Booking photo courtesy of Pinal County Sheriff’s Office)

PCSO: Deputy injured by shoplifting suspect while trying to make arrest

At 4:20 p.m. Sept. 12, a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy was allegedly assaulted and received minor injuries by an adult female and her juvenile daughter while investigating a shoplifting report from a department store in San Tan Valley, according to a press release. The deputy, with the help of a citizen, was able to take the suspects — Katrina Williams, 38, of San Tan Valley and her juvenile daughter — into custody, according to the release.

The deputy had responded to the Wal-Mart at 1725 W. Hunt Highway after store security personnel reported a juvenile shoplifter and her mother had left the store and refused to comply with their request to remain on-scene for law enforcement officers, according to the release.

Prior to the deputy’s arrival, the store security officers had confronted the mother and her kids. The mother managed to force her daughter to return the stolen items — a gift card and makeup — but the mother and daughter refused to remain on-scene, according to the release.

A security officer followed the suspect to her van and watched the van drive out of the parking lot. The security officer directed the responding deputy to the suspect’s van, according to the release.

The deputy observed a vehicle matching the description given by security, including the license plate number, leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot, according to the release. The deputy stopped the vehicle, which by then was across the street in a retail parking lot, and attempted to speak to the driver about the theft.

The deputy asked the driver to turn off the engine and get out of the car; however, the suspect was uncooperative, according to the release. When the suspect remained non-complaint and combative, the deputy felt forced to use his Taser to gain control of the situation, according to the release.

The suspect eventually exited her vehicle and then resisted the deputy’s attempts to take her into custody, yelling and further causing a disturbance, according to the release. The deputy was aided by a citizen to safely get the suspect into custody, according to the release.

While the deputy and citizen were taking the driver into custody, the driver’s daughter, the juvenile shoplifting suspect, attacked the deputy, striking him in the back several times, according to the release. The daughter was then arrested, according to the release.

The deputy sustained minor hand and arm injuries during the incident and was treated and released from Banner Ironwood Medical Center, according to the release. The driver complained of injury and was also treated and released at Banner Ironwood; she was then transported to jail, according to the release.

The driver was booked in to the Pinal County Jail on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and unlawful use of 911, according to the release. The juvenile was detained in the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest and shoplifting, according to the release.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.