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News Link • Corruption

Quartzsite police firings case to move to federal court


An attorney representing the police officers called Police Chief Gilbert to the stand. The town’s attorney responded by saying that he was not present in the courtroom, which drew an audible response from the 60+ crowd sitting and standing in the courtroom. The officers’ attorney then called Quartzsite Councilman Joe Winslow, who was also not present.

Since none of the defendants were present, the attorney called a plaintiff, Sergeant William Ponce, to the stand. Ponce testified that he and 9 other officers had made allegations of an ethical nature about Chief Gilbert, and that he had subsequently been fired.

After over 20 minutes of testimony, the attorney for the Town of Quartzsite asked to approach the bench. After the attorneys’ sidebar with the judge, Bartlett announced that the town was exercising its right to move the case to federal court.

The court ordered that the papers be submitted within 10 days, and that the temporary restraining order would remain in place during that time.


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