FBI Looks Into Bethel Incident

FBI staff were in Bethel recently on a fact finding mission related to an incident in which a former Bethel police officer arrested a man in a parking lot.

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An FBI spokesperson says they are looking at a possible civil rights violation. It’s not an official investigation in the terms used by the FBI, but the spokesperson says they are looking into the incident after surveillance video surfaced earlier this month. The U.S. Attorney’s office can use information from the FBI to decide whether or not to press charges.

The Bethel police officer, Andrew Reid, was fired this spring. Following the release of the video, the attorney for Wassillie Gregory, the man who was arrested, has filed for post conviction relief on his guilty plea to a harassment charge.

City Manager Ann Capela referred questions Tuesday afternoon to an attorney working for the city, Bill Ingaldson. He declined to comment citing the ongoing investigation and a desire to not interfere in the due process of individuals.

The city council, Tuesday night, however, briefly heard from Ingaldson about the video tape in question.

There have been many questions about the events surrounding the hard drive. An account from an email from an attorney for the parent company indicated that the video was on a hard drive that went to the police department but was deleted when it was returned to the grocery store. When asked by council member Zach Fansler about the video, Ingaldson insisted there was no nefarious activity and that there were several copies made of the video.

“There is absolutely no evidence at all, it’s just not true that anything was destroyed. Copies were made of that, and in fact the attorney for the other person involved, not the attorney for the officer, but the attorney for the other person, that attorney looked at the video in my office and nothing was hidden from anyone,” said Ingaldson.

There appeared to be confusion about who actually owned the hard drive. Ingaldson says the police returned the hard drive to AC in the condition they received it, he says that’s without the video.

Ben Matheson is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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