Wednesday, August 10, 2011
YAKIMA - A conflict between Granger Police Chief Robert Perales and the city of Mabton made its way to the Yakima County Commissioners weekly meeting yesterday, Tuesday.
The tiff comes down to whether or not a police officer in Mabton should be kept on a watch list kept by the Yakima County prosecutor's office.
That's according to Rand Elliott, commissioner for an area that includes the Lower Valley. He says the case involves a police officer who was placed on the watch list, called a Brady List, while he worked for the Granger Police Department.
Today the officer works for Mabton, but is still on the prosecutor's Brady List.
Elliott says the officer was placed on the list by Granger Police Chief Robert Perales.
Elliott says the officer was accused of dishonest conduct, but was not found guilty of wrongdoing.
"There was found to be no basis for the charge," Elliott said.
Perales has refused to take the officer off the list despite Mabton's appeals.
Perales was police chief in Mabton three years ago, but was forced out of the post when the city council eliminated the position.
Elliott said the case essentially comes down to "small town politics," and commissioners have no authority to add or remove officers from the Brady List.
That, he says, will have to be done by Perales in conjunction with the prosecutor's office.
Yakima County commisssioners accordingly denied Mabton's claim to have the officer's name removed from the Brady List.
Meanwhile, the Mabton officer - Elliott said his name was never discussed during the claim - is still on the Brady List.
The impact, Elliott notes, is that prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official involved in their case is on the Brady List.
Phone messages were left for Perales and Granger Mayor Ramona Fonseca seeking comment for this story but were unreturned as of press time.
When contacted, Mabton Mayor Angel Reyna declined to comment on the specifics of the case. He indicated the city is considering its options.
"It's ongoing, we need to weigh our options," Reyna said.