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Updated Jan 18, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Report outlines chaotic scene in Prescott bar

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — An investigative report released Friday provides new
details about a raucous fight at a Prescott bar that has affected the highest
level of law enforcement in the region, including surveillance video and
eyewitness accounts that indicate members of a police motorcycle club were

Witnesses said “everyone was swinging at everybody” during the Dec. 22 brawl
at Moctezuma’s on the night that the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club was having
its Christmas party on Prescott’s Whiskey Row, according to the report. The
Department of Public Safety released police reports to The Associated Press and
other media organizations.

The state is investigating whether the men involved in the fight were off-duty
police officers who belong to the Iron Brotherhood, whose Arizona chapter is
named after Whiskey Row and has members statewide.

State investigators had to take over the probe because of a conflict of
interest involving local law enforcement. The interim police chief of the
Prescott Police Department is a member of the club but wasn’t involved in the
scuffle, DPS spokesman Bart Graves said. The police chief of neighboring
Prescott Valley said he has since withdrawn from the motorcycle club. The
Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has at least three employees in the group.

The heavily redacted police reports did not name any of the people involved in
the fight or witnesses, but the victim recounted details in an interview with
The Associated Press.

Justin Stafford, who acknowledged he was drunk, said he was out with a friend
when he started up a conversation with a biker wearing a black leather
motorcycle jacket with a patch that said “president” on the front. Stafford,
23, said as he asked about what motorcycles the man and his buddies rode, the
biker grabbed him by the throat and pushed him toward the bar. Stafford said he
looked back to make sure he wasn’t going to fall, and when he turned around
again, someone punched him in the nose.

“Apparently one of them didn’t like the fact that I was talking to them, or
something like that,” said Stafford, who grew up in Chino Valley and now lives
in Colorado.

Stafford said his friend didn’t see who hit him and immediately whisked him out
of the bar and took him to a hospital with a bloodied and swollen nose. He has
been interviewed by authorities but didn’t learn until last week that police
officers could have been involved.

“I never saw the guy who did it,” Stafford said. “I couldn’t even begin to
tell you what he looks like.”

That wouldn’t stop the investigation, Graves said.

“We have a lot of witnesses, people at the bar at the time that saw
everything,” he said.

Graves wouldn’t say which officers, if any, were directly involved in the
fight. A full report should be ready in 30 to 45 days and will be turned over to
the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, he said.

“We’re very thorough, we take our time, we’re never in a rush,” Graves said.

The motorcycle club had reserved a room at nearby Hooligan’s Pub earlier that
night for its party. A representative of Hooligans told police that the group
of about 20 bikers, some of whom had brought guests, was rowdy and that he had
to stop serving alcohol to nearly all of them by the time the three-hour party
ended. The whole group “was acting like they were some outlaw motorcycle
gang,” according to the report.

Some of them walked down Whiskey Row to Moctezuma’s, which denies entry to
members of motorcycle clubs who are wearing their colors. The bar made an
exception for members of the Iron Brotherhood because they were recognized as
law enforcement officers, the reports state.

No officers or deputies have been placed on leave as a result of the fight, the
three local agencies said. No one has been arrested or charged in the alleged
assault. The owner of the bar declined comment.

While members insist that the Iron Brotherhood is a law-abiding organization,
Prescott has seen its share of illegal activity by street and motorcycle gangs
in recent years. It voted to become part of a regional effort in 2013 to combat
the problem.


Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report


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