Chief asked Williams to resign
Post Independent Staff
An April 24 accident that left Brian Potter with crippling injuries to his right leg and foot was apparently the impetus for ex-Silt police detective Michael Williams to perform an “unsavory and unprofessional off-duty investigation” of Casey Beauchamp.
Williams’ investigation and interrogation of Beauchamp, 19, of Silt led Silt police chief Paul Taylor and Silt patrol Sgt. Tony Pagni to “convince Detective Williams to resign his commission,” according to a undated letter recently delivered to Beauchamp by the Silt Police Department.
Williams resigned from the department on May 2.
Williams’ investigation has also prompted attorney Richard Dally to notify the town of Silt that Beauchamp plans to sue the town for $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
According to Potter’s friend Kathryn Marapese, who lives in Garfield County just outside Silt, Potter is still unable to walk as a result of his injuries from the accident. Potter said the accident happened as he walked along Garfield County Road 311 south of town.
She said Potter, 38, who has since moved to Phoenix, was being fitted for a prosthetic heel on Wednesday.
Marapese said she met Potter when he was installing crown moldings and doing other finish work on her house. After the accident, when she saw he had nowhere to stay, Marapese said she let Potter stay at her house while he recovered.
The circumstances surrounding the accident are unclear.
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Marapese said Potter told her that he doesn’t recall much about the accident because he was drinking that night. All he could remember was being hit and thrown, he told her.
Marapese also said Potter told her his doctor said the injuries were consistent with someone being hit by a vehicle.
Potter could not be reached for comment.
Silt police chief Paul Taylor on Thursday declined to release any police reports on the accident because it’s “under active investigation.”
“This whole thing is under investigation,” he said. “When it’s over, we’ll let you all know. We’re not going to go into it.”
Taylor wouldn’t speculate on how long the case will be under investigation.
The only detail about the accident released by Taylor is that his department’s investigation shows that the accident didn’t involve a motor vehicle.
Beauchamp’s pending lawsuit
The notice of claim, filed by Dally on July 23, is the first step necessary when a suit is filed against a governmental agency – in this case the town of Silt.
Silt town administrator Rick Aluise said Thursday he couldn’t comment on the case because the town’s attorney has not yet reviewed it.
The notice informs Aluise that Beauchamp intends to file a suit seeking $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for assault, intentional infliction of emotional harm, outrageous conduct, false arrest, false imprisonment and deprivation of civil rights allegedly committed by former detective Williams in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 24.
According to the notice, Williams showed up at the Beauchamps’ Silt home at 1:10 a.m., banged on a bedroom window at the house and demanded to talk to Casey Beauchamp.
When Casey’s mother, Alice Beauchamp, opened the door, Dally’s notice states Williams demanded to speak with Casey Beauchamp.
“Detective Williams then interrogated 19-year-old Casey Beauchamp outside and inside the Beauchamp home for over two hours, accusing Casey of deliberately driving a truck across County Road 311 and swerving to hit a pedestrian, seriously injuring him and then driving off, leaving him to lie in the ditch of the road,” the notice said.
Williams told Casey Beauchamp that he and another off-duty officer saw the accident and confirmed the license plate of the vehicle to be that of Casey Beauchamp’s truck, the notice said.
Beauchamp denied being involved in the accident and denied driving on County Road 311 at all that evening, the notice said.
Also during the investigation, the notice said Williams was seen “intentionally rubbing his pant leg against the side of Casey Beauchamp’s truck, making the appearance of brushed marks on the truck.”
Williams then called a towing company and had Beauchamp’s truck hauled away, telling Beauchamp the truck would be the subject of a criminal investigation.
The next day, Taylor and Silt police Sgt. Tony Pagni visited the Beauchamps’ home to apologize for Williams’ being “out of order” that night, and helped him get his impounded truck back. They also told the Beauchamps that Williams was being investigated for his conduct, the notice said.
More recently, the Beauchamps received a letter from Pagni and approved by Taylor apologizing for Williams’ actions that night.
“Through my investigation I have found that members of my patrol staff, mainly Detective Michael Williams, conducted himself in an unsavory and unprofessional manner,” Pagni wrote. “It was these facts which were used by us to convince Detective Williams it was best to resign his commission.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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