The chief of the Goodyear Police Department, Jerry Geier, and his deputy chief, Justin Hughes, have been placed on administrative leave following recent allegations of impropriety, a spokesperson for the city said.
Goodyear, a city west of Phoenix with a population of about 80,000, has a police force of roughly 150 employees, according to data from the FBI. Spokespeople for the city of Goodyear and the police department would not immediately provide additional details about the allegations again Geier and Hughes.
City spokesperson Tammy Vo did say two other Goodyear police employees also had been placed on administrative leave over allegations of wrongdoing.
“Placing these employees on leave is important in order to provide the neutral environment and support needed while outside counsel reviews the situation,” Vo said in a statement emailed to Phoenix New Times. “The city of Goodyear values the public’s trust and takes these types of accusations seriously, and is committed to conducting a thorough review.”
Geier previously worked as police chief for the Yuma Police Department from 2009 to 2012, when Goodyear hired him.
Both Geier and Hughes previously have been named in federal lawsuits filed pro se by inmates in Arizona’s prisons, which isn’t unusual for police officers.
However in 2005, Hughes was also sued by a woman named Martina Blanchard while he was working for the city of El Mirage.
Blanchard alleged that on September 3, 2005, Hughes pulled over her son, who was driving her car, and interrogated him about another lawsuit Blanchard had filed against El Mirage. Hughes searched her son and her vehicle and had dogs search the vehicle as well.
“During this time, Detective Hughes prohibited Blanchard’s son from calling Blanchard,” the complaint states. “After being unable to find any reason to further detain Blanchard’s son, Detective Hughes let [him] go. However, Detective Hughes told Blanchard’s son that he was ‘lucky this time, and that he will get him later.'”
The case ended in a settlement one year later, according to the court docket, though the settlement amount is not available in court filings.
Hughes was also named in a 2004 pro se suit brought by an inmate that also ended in a settlement. Since the complaint was filed so long ago, it is not available online, and it’s unclear what Hughes was accused of, but it is unusual for pro se suits brought by prisoners to end in settlements.