Justin Hughes, who investigators found violated department policy when he was Goodyear’s deputy police chief, was the subject of two other complaints.
In October, a week after Goodyear suspended Hughes, the city received an anonymous complaint, alleging:
“Several years ago, I had an accident with Mr. Hughes’ son who was not of legal age to be driving. … After this accident the young man called his father and Mr. Hughes showed up on the scene and he spoke to me in a manner where I felt intimidated. Mr. Hughes offered me money so I wouldn’t call the police to report this matter due to his son not being a licensed driver.”
The complaint was referred to independent investigators Susan Segal and Donald Conrad.
According to their report, “We interviewed Deputy Chief Hughes about this incident who admitted that a vehicle driven by his son had been in a collision with a vehicle driven by another individual. Deputy Chief Hughes denied that he acted inappropriately in any manner or that he was threatening or overbearing.
“We tried numerous ways to corroborate the allegation but ultimately we were unable to obtain any further information. We were unable to interview the source of the report or discover an accident report filed by the city of Phoenix.
“For these reasons, this allegation is not sustained,” the report concluded.
The city of Goodyear has refused to provide copies of another investigation of Hughes, stemming from a complaint the Goodyear Police Department allowed Hughes and another officer “to engage in a systematic series of serious harassment” against a Goodyear family.
The Goodyear resident who filed the complaint asked that his name not be used. He forwarded a response from Goodyear Police Lt. Joe Pacello of the Goodyear Police Professional Standards Division.
According to the Pacello email, the complaints against Hughes and another officer were investigated by the Gilbert Police Department Professional Standards Unit. “Gilbert’s investigation was completed and their investigation is considered closed and no further action will be taken reference those allegations,” Pacello wrote. “If you would like a copy of their investigation you can contact the Gilbert Police Department and submit a records request to them to obtain a copy. …
“The Goodyear Police Department Professional Standards Unit (PSU) takes great pride in providing exceptional customer service to its citizens and the handling of internal/external complaints in an expeditious manner,” the Pacello email concluded.
The resident who filed the complaint responded to Pacello, demanding a copy be provided by Goodyear: “Obviously, Goodyear PD has a copy of this report and the very moment you were delivered a copy and have it in your possession, it becomes a public record of Goodyear PD as well.”
Similarly, Goodyear denied the West Valley View’s request to provide a copy of the Gilbert Police Department investigation.
“There has been an investigation completed in Gilbert where Justin Hughes is also listed (IA: Gilbert PD OPS2019-145). To obtain a copy, please contact the Gilbert Police Department,” wrote Viviana Monge of the Goodyear city clerk’s office, in response to a West Valley View request for all complaints and investigations relating to Hughes.
The West Valley View was also rebuffed by the city after making requests for transcripts of the Jerry Geier firing appeal hearing and court documents filed by Geier’s attorney.
The West Valley View emailed City Manager Julie Arendall, asking why the city is not maintaining documents related to the police chief’s firing and hearing.
Arendall did not respond by press time.
However, after the print deadline for this story, Goodyear spokeswoman Tammy Vo replied, "The city relied on the findings of the hearing officer to determine the ultimate outcome of the case. The city did not need to order and pay for the full transcripts of the hearing in order to accomplish this. Typically, transcripts are only ordered if there are subsequent legal proceedings."
Goodyear also provided a copy of the Gilbert investigation after this story went to print.