Marshall, MO — As tensions between police and citizens rise amid tragic police shootings and despicable attacks on cops, two officers in Missouri were exposed for faking a story about being shot at — and their supervisor helped cover it up.
Donald Stouffer, the prosecuting attorney in Saline County in central Missouri, dropped all the charges against a man who was accused of trying to shoot police officers.
In a press release last week, Stouffer said he saw no evidence that Carl Roettgen even had a gun when the two Marshall police officers tried to arrest him for a parole violation.
“After hours spent examining the video, trying to reconcile the video with the two officers’ statements, and consulting with staff, I reached the difficult conclusion that no reasonable juror could find the officers’ accounts credible,” he said.
What Stouffer found was that officers Tyler Newell and Josh O’Bryan fabricated a story to frame a man they tried to arrest for a parole violation.
According to the officers’ account, they tried to arrest Roettgen for a parole violation on May 13, 2015, in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Marshall, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 75 miles east of Kansas City. Newell wrote that a passenger jumped out of Roettgen’s car as he was trying to drive off, and that he, Newell, got into the car to try to put it in park. He said Roettgen then pointed a gun at his face and that he heard a click. O’Bryan said he was on the driver’s side and that he saw a gun.
But there never was a gun, Roettgen never pulled the trigger, and Newell never got in the car. All these facts are backed up by video evidence.
However, as Roettgen sped away, Newell began firing at the man anyway in an attempt to kill him.
Roettgen’s attorney, John James, said Newell “lost his cool” and tried to kill him. “Then he compounded that mistake by lying about it and fabricating a story to explain why he discharged his weapon,” said James.
A week later, Roettgen was arrested in Alabama and was returned to Missouri. He was set to stand trial for three counts of first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm — all stemming from the officers’ fake story.
Had he been convicted on those counts, Roettgen was facing life in prison.
To add to the corruption of these two officers, their supervisor knew their story was a lie but covered it up to pursue the criminal case.
According to a report in the AP, Stouffer said the officers’ commander supported their false story so that the outcome of the criminal case would not be affected, raising further concerns about the department’s handling of the case. Furthermore, he said he will not file charges in any pending cases in which the officers, Tyler Newell and Josh O’Bryan, had a major role and that he’ll review other cases in which either officer was a key witness.
“It is inconceivable that there is an apparent belief among some members of the command staff that the outcome of a criminal case is more important than taking action to prevent Marshall police officers from presenting testimony, under oath, that is ‘questionable at best’ and suborning perjury at worst,” Stouffer said.
As for the two cops who lied to put a man in jail for life for crimes he did not commit — they are on paid vacation, pending the outcome of an investigation.