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Ariz. police officer knowingly botched 10 cases, including murder and rape, still on force, report says

Tempe, Ariz. police officer TonyTrow
KPHO
(CBS) TEMPE, Ariz. - An internal investigation  by Tempe police revealed that officer Tony Trow knowingly botched 10 cases by taking evidence home and keeping it in his garage, failing to write reports, or both, CBS affiliate KPHO reports.

Included was a report in a murder case that Trow put off for five years, the station reported.  Trow was reportedly not dismissed, but suspended.

Curtis and Chyendall Gibson are the parents of 19-year-old murder victim Daron Gibson, a case Trow reportedly put aside for five years. He was shot dead in July 2007 outside a bar in Tempe.

"What bothers me is [Trow] didn't do his job," Chyendall said. "He didn't do due diligence. He took an oath to uphold the integrity of his badge and the public's trust. Where was that when he was taking this evidence and placing it in his garage?"

When the investigation wrapped up in May, Trow was not fired and instead received an unpaid 160-hour suspension as punishment, KPHO reports.

"Where is the accountability in the department?" Daron Gibson's father, Curtis Gibson asked. "Where are the checks and balances when you don't do your job and somebody oversees you to make sure it gets done?"

The internal investigation revealed that from September 2004 to March 2012, Trow stored evidence from five cases in his garage to hide his unfinished work, KPHO reports. That reportedly included case notes, crime scene photos and even original recordings of interviews. The report from that investigation said those items had been tossed together in cardboard boxes, according to the station.

KPHO reports the investigation also revealed Trow failed to write ten reports, some dating as far back as 2007.

The report also showed Trow didn't bother to turn in the rape kit of a 17-year-old, the station says.

KPHO tried for more than a week to get Tempe police Chief Tom Ryff to comment on why Trow still has a job but the station's requests were denied.

Tempe Police Department spokesman Michael Pooley did release a statement that read in part:

"In deciding the appropriate level of disciplinary action, a complete evaluation of Officer Trow's work history was completed, finding overall superlative performance, and no prior violations of departmental policy in his 12-year career."

Daron Gibson's family says throughout the years, before the internal investigation took place, they had stayed in contact through e-mail with officer Trow.

In one of those e-mails obtained by KPHO, Trow stated, "Neither I nor the Tempe Police Department have given up on this investigation in any way. In fact, I have spent a lot of time on this case often at the expense of time in working other cases."

"He wrote that to me while evidence sat in his garage," Chyendall Gibson said. "That's just shameful. Officer Trow does not deserve to wear the badge."

The Gibsons told KPHO that the Tempe Police Department never discussed with them the fact that their son's case had been botched.

It is unclear whether or not the people involved in the nine other crimes are aware officer Trow mishandled their cases.

  • Crimesider Staff

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