Mark Spencer's PLEA's Smears Sergio Virgillo (Again), Fundraises for Richard Chrisman

plea444.jpeg
azplea.com
From PLEA's Web site: Next thing you know, they'll have an illo of Chrisman nailed to a cross

In the wake of the Phoenix Police Department's firing of Officer Richard Chrisman, the cop facing second degree murder charges in the October 5 slaying of an unarmed South Phoenix man, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association continues to smear fellow Officer Sergio Virgillo, who witnessed the shooting and told investigators that neither the victim, nor his dog (which Chrisman also killed), posed a serious threat to himself or Chrisman.

The latest sleaze tactic from PLEA comes in a post to PLEA's Web site, announcing a BBQ/fundraiser on April 7 for Chrisman. The post contains a not-so-thinly-veiled swipe at Virgillo's credibility, one that it would not surprise me to see tonight on KPHO/Channel 5, known by some detractors as "PLEA TV."

"The State's primary witness is currently part of an internal investigation regarding his veracity in a recent court proceeding," says the unsigned post.

Though the statement does not mention Virgillo by name, it's pretty obvious who's being talked about. But here's one piece of info that I hope Channel 5 uses if it runs with this latest piece of PLEA sleaze: It's dead wrong, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

PPD spokesman Steve Martos told me that there was a recent fact-finding inquiry into allegations of untruthfulness leveled against Virgillo, but whatever questions there were about Virgillo have been resolved.

"[PPD] did look into it and found no wrongdoing," explained Martos. "It did not reach the level of an internal investigation and quickly went nowhere."

I called PLEA president Mark Spencer and left a message asking for him to phone me back about the inaccuracies in the post. He has yet to return my call.

I also put in a public records request asking for any memos or reports related to the inquiry. I will report on them as soon as I have them.

This is, of course, simply PLEA's latest attempt to back PLEA member Chrisman and undermine non-PLEA member Virgillo at every possible opportunity.

Indeed, as I've previously reported, PLEA was investigated by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office regarding allegations that PLEA was involved in witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery has closed that investigation, as PLEA's shenanigans did not rise to the level of criminality. However, there have been shenanigans.

Reports and interviews done as part of the MCAO investigation revealed that 48 hours after the Chrisman shooting, Spencer called a detective in the PPD's Drug Enforcement Bureau, where Virgillo once worked, looking for dirt on the officer.

The MCAO wanted to talk to Spencer as part of the investigation, but Spencer clammed up and lawyered up.

It was more insidious than just pimping dirt on Virgillo. According to an MCAO interview done with the MCAO's law enforcement liaison Keith Manning, both Spencer and PLEA lobbyist Levi Bolton raised the issue of the Chrisman shooting with Manning prior to current County Attorney Bill Montgomery taking office.

Manning informed them that neither he nor the soon-to-be County Attorney could comment on the matter, but Bolton and Spencer had no problem bringing up the topic. After all, PLEA had endorsed Montgomery during his run for County Attorney, and PLEA had made a donation to Montgomery's campaign.

I'm not saying Spencer, Bolton, or other PLEA operatives broke any laws, but Spencer and PLEA have actively been attempting to undermine Virgillo and bolster Chrisman, truth be damned.

Maybe the PLEA folks think that's a-OK, since Chrisman paid dues to PLEA. But as part of PLEA's agreement with the City of Phoenix, PLEA technically represents ALL police officers, not just those who pay them dues. 

Plus, whatever happened to that much vaunted "brotherhood" amongst police officers? PLEA must not subscribe to that. The organization has no problem sliming Virgillo or anyone who doubts Chrisman's account of what happened on October 5.

Finally, the PLEA post whines that other Phoenix cops now under investigation haven't been fired, so why Chrisman?

The answer, of course, is a dead, unarmed man by the name of Danny Rodriguez. But I would argue the firing has come way too late. Chrisman should have been canned back in 2005, after a security camera caught him planting a crack pipe on a mentally-ill homeless woman.

If he'd been let go then, he would not be facing a second-degree murder charge today. And that's whether or not he ends up beating the rap.

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18 comments
TheyAreCrooks
TheyAreCrooks

So refreshing to see that the Phoenix Police Officers Union (PLEA) finally figured out that there is a law enforcement code of ethics. (See the PLEA Recap monthly magazine, May 2011 page 4.)  PLEA leadership is apparently surprised that their members are being held accountable to compliance with the code.  Amazing that they never read the code before.  Perhaps now they can serve the taxpayers instead of themselves.

PLEA recap, May 2011: http://www.azplea.com/index.ph...tent&view=category&layout=blog&id=9&Itemid=28

Arizona Peace Officers Code of Ethics, R13-4-105. Minimum Qualifications for Appointment: http://www.azsos.gov/public_se...

lawman53
lawman53

Police should have never been allowed to unionize, period.

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PPD officer
PPD officer

Not all PLEA members agree with the union reference this issue. Several have quit PLEA in protest and several more are going to. Don't lump all of us into one group; we do a difficult job and sometime officers need protect from the so called "Enlighten Leader" of the Phoenix Police Department.

XSoldier
XSoldier

PLEA is as dirty as the Flaccid Fool. It pits its members against its non members and makes its members march in step with them (PLEA).

A BBQ/fundraiser for Chrisman? For what? The $30M notice of claim served against the Phoenix PD? Chrisman's legal fees?

"[PPD] did look into it and found no wrongdoing," explained Martos. "It did not reach the level of an internal investigation and quickly went nowhere."

I smell conflict of interest here. The Phoenix cops are always quick to defend each other.

The answer, of course, is a dead, unarmed man by the name of Danny Rodriguez. But I would argue the firing has come way too late. Chrisman should have been canned back in 2005, after a security camera caught him planting a crack pipe on a mentally-ill homeless woman.

And that's whether or not he ends up beating the rap.

I agree. Which, I predict, will either make or break Monty's career as a lawyer and as Maricopa County Attorney.

Gray Race
Gray Race

Police unions are the unions I can never trust because they defend asshole like Chrisman that abuse the public.

FormerPLEAmember
FormerPLEAmember

The PLEA website often carries false information about people. The focus of the site is to blame everyone except recalcitrant PLEA members. PLEA motto: Why take responsibility for your actions when you can blame somebody else?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Of course we should all believe what the Phoenix Police Department says about this situation.

I mean after all, they have been telling everyone for months that the kidnapping statistics were "audited, vetted, and accounted for" and there was no problem. We had over 350 of those buggers making us the kidnapping capital of the US. And PLEA at the time was saying "wait a minute...they're not correct."

Now jack harris is out of a job, and I'm sure other heads will soon roll. So when a PPD mouth piece says ""[PPD] did look into it and found no wrongdoing," explained Martos" - we should all believe that.

After all, look how right the Phoenix PD were on the kidnapping stats and how wrong PLEA was???

Ryan the non-Aryan
Ryan the non-Aryan

That's good to know. And I sure hope most of the LEOs do quit that corrupt and insidious union organization. The media(not just New Times) is showing us how shadowy and abhorrent that group really is. I truly hope more respected cops do leave, because that group runned by Mark Spencer will only make you guys look bad. Knowing what's been going on with the PPD during the past year. Don't allow PLEA make matters worst for you guys. Do the right thing by quitting that organization.

Thanks for doing the hard job in the community.

Steve
Steve

What's that got to do with Vergillo witnessing Chrisman shooting a man?

JohnnyR
JohnnyR

Spencer called Phoenix the kidnapping capital of America, too. What's his excuse?

Anonymous
Anonymous

OMG this sounds like the entire board of the FOP is chiming in here! I mean after all Mark Spencer and PLEA have never done ANY good for PPD officers in the past five years. Thats why PPD officers have the highest wages and benefits package of ANY law enforcement agency in the state. Oh yeah, and thats why he keeps getting re-elected. Because they all hate him????? Stop drinking that watered down beer at the FOP lodge and the burnt chicken wings watching WWF on that magnificent 60 inch rear projection TV reminiscing about the good ol days when you guys used to be in charge.

Native Guns
Native Guns

You should know that traitor and defender of KKKriminals--Mark Spencer, is part of the "Good ol' Boy" network here in Sandland. His politiKKKal stance is that he is a diehard wing-freak with an agenda of his own. Just another blemish among the nativist terrorist circles here in Aryan-zona. He is dangerous as he is KKKorrupt.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Anonymous, when will you become a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem? If you know so much about how the department should be run, you need to start having your part in running it. But you have to become a part of administration, as you know. Put up, or shut up.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Tommy, we all know how you are a RETIRED lieutenant from a police agency in Colorado. You more than anyone knows thats why you are the ONLY person that puts out their "real" name...because you are in fact RETIRED. You are immune from trouble for speaking your mind. Someone can say they are "PPD Officer" or "FormerPLEAmember" and thats fine with you because they agree with your agenda, but when someone does not agree with you only "they" have have no balls for not posting their real name. I have dealt with supervisors like you my entire career. The ones that live by policy & not common sense and couldn't run a barricade if their life depended on it. The kind that sees corruption and wrong doing at the captain, command, and chief ranks but "doesn't have the balls to stop it." Your kind are a dime a dozen scattered throughout police agencies around country...more administrator than cop. So enjoy your retirement, blog about how you are the only one who has balls to post their real name and chastise those who don't because they would prefer to keep their jobs...even of their bosses are full of shit.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Anonymous, just because folks here state their opinions doesn't mean they are remembering, "the good old days". Conversely many of the policies, ethics, and cultural nuances from the 60s are still alive and well in professional law enforcement.

I personally don' t care for what I see from the antics of Mark Spencer and I don't think he is doing much for the labor part of PPD, regardless of your opinion. It doesn't take a union to garner high wages and benefits, but you may choose to believe that if you wish.

Although I'm not a member of FOP I have been there didn't find the beer to have beer watered down. But, you may not be old enough to have enjoyed any really good beer and wouldn't know the difference. You must be very impressive with your remarks at shift change. Of course anyone who doesn't have the balls to post under their real name really doesn't have much to add....

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