Councilor Cleared In Traffic Stop Incident

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A senior assistant prosecutor from Peoria has determined that criminal charges will not be filed against Councilor Dick Reese for an incident in which the councilor flashed his badge at a motorist and instructed him to turn his blinker off.

Since Reese is a town councilor, the initial investigation was given to the Globe Police Department, which reviewed the police report.

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Councilor Dick Reese

The victim, Tony Creasy, who works for the town street department, said Reese got out of his car at an intersection, walked over to his vehicle, flashed his badge, and motioned for him to roll down his window.

As the victim did so, Reese allegedly said, "I can save you a $29 ticket if you'll turn off your blinker."

Creasy did as Reese instructed. It was moments later when he realized that the man who approached him was a town councilor.

"I recognized him from when he was campaigning," Creasy said.

In the Globe police report, Reese said he was just identifying himself as a councilor and trying to help the motorist.

The police report was given to the town attorney who forwarded it to the Peoria prosecutor's office, who rendered a decision March 1.

Payson's legal department issued a press release March 10.

According to the press release, the Peoria prosecutor found no basis for charges because the Arizona statutes do not contain a crime of impersonating a police officer. Instead, the crime is impersonating a public servant. Reese, by definition, is a public servant.

The second part of the statute dictates that the public servant "must additionally engage in conduct with the intent to induce another to submit to his pretended authority".

According to Creasy's statements, Reese told him he could save him a $29 ticket, which seemed to Creasy that Reese had some influence in whether he would get a ticket.

Payson Police Sgt. Donny Garvin said officers usually don't enforce excessive use of a blinker.

"It's usually that they fail to signal, rather than they continue to signal," Garvin said. "We are usually busy with more severe violations."

Peoria's assistant city prosecutor Anh Spiek said the burden of proof was not substantial enough to show that Reese was trying to impersonate a police officer.

"The way I read it is that he wasn't trying to indicate that he was a police officer," Spiek said. "We have to prove his intent and part of that is the intent to induce someone to submit to his pretended official authority."

Spiek said that to charge Reese, they would have to show that he was inducing the victim to do "something they would normally not do."

"The intent to induce would be more than turning off a blinker," she said. "Even if the victim took it that way, it's all about the intent of the person who did it."

Reese said he was only being neighborly and never intended to come off like a police officer.

"I was really only trying to be nice and help the guy out," Reese said.

"We have a high burden of proof," Spiek said. "If they deny they were impersonating a police officer, we need independent evidence that contradicts this. In this case, we didn't have it."

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