Goodyear Deputy Police Chief Justin Hughes

Goodyear ex-Deputy Police Chief Justin Hughes

Goodyear Police Public Safety Personnel Retirement Board meetings have become something of sequels to the appeal hearing of former Police Chief Jerry Geier.

Alison Braughton and Justin Hughes, who played prominent roles in the accusations that led to Geier’s firing, both applied for disability.

Hughes is also the subject of an investigation into improprieties that has been concluded. Goodyear will not release the investigation until Hughes has used his personal leave time.

On April 30, the board unanimously voted to “accept the application for disability for Justin Hughes and to send him for an independent medical examination with additional questions,” according to meeting minutes. The board discussed the case privately in executive session before making its ruling in public. 

Jason Mattie, a detective who testified in the Geier hearing, is a Public Safety Personnel Retirement Board member.

Mattie recused himself from the March disability application of Kyle Cluff, a former Goodyear police officer who resigned in January.

The West Valley View asked Goodyear the reason for Mattie’s recusal but had not received an answer at press time.

Cluff was also the subject of an investigation, which found he was untruthful to his superiors.

The charges stemmed from a complaint Cluff made at a meeting that the Neighborhood Enforcement Team was using a fake license plate. Cluff told an investigator he was fearful of one of his superiors, whose name was redacted in the copy provided to the West Valley View.

However, the introduction to the Cluff investigation noted Hughes was one of the people interviewed. 

Cluff was present at the Jan. 23 and March 26 Public Safety Personnel Retirement Board meetings that considered his case and requested that “any discussion of his application and medical records occur during open session.”

Cluff told the board he was in treatment and mentioned a March 1, 2018, officer-involved shooting. 

According to meeting minutes, “Mr. Cluff admitted he did not seek treatment after the officer involved shooting and added that he reached out to a friend for advice. He indicated once he started to seek help is when he realized he had an issue. Kyle Cluff stated that his wife and parents told him they have seen him go downhill ever since he started this job and he recognized that he was a different person. He added that he was glad to be receiving the help he needs.” 

Cluff’s disability retirement application was accepted by the board March 26, with board members Laura Kaino, who is also a councilwoman; Michael Stewart; Jay Mathias and Eric Webster voting to approve. Mattie did not vote. Cluff is required to have an independent medical exam.

On Feb. 27, the board tabled Braughton’s application for accidental disability, so “the board may obtain all treatment records including any treatment plans, doctor’s notes and lists of all medications from all treating doctors including psychiatrists and psychologists from the date of resignation, Sept. 3, 2019, through Feb. 27,” according to meeting minutes.

In a complaint that led to the Geier investigation, Hughes and Marcus Patterson, president of the Goodyear Police Officers Association, claimed Geier inappropriately promoted Braughton, then did not allow staff to provide reports to the Maricopa County attorney’s office and Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training following an alleged April 3, 2019, hit-and-run by Braughton while she was off duty in Glendale.

Earlier internal investigations found Braughton used unprofessional language, drove her police vehicle unsafely and made inappropriate contact with a witness.

The West Valley View has requested the Hughes, Cluff and Braughton disability applications.