Quartzsite, AZ- Chief Jeff Gilbert held his monthly Coffee with Cops Wed. August 3rd in the meeting room of the Library. Due to a scheduling conflict, the meeting was moved from the normal location into the smaller meeting room.
It appears the Greater Phoenix Tea Party and the Oath Keepers are upset about some incorrect information given based on "two confirmed eye witnesses". I am the person who asked what Chief Gilbert thought of a group's event on Facebook called, "Occupy and Liberate Quartzsite Arizona".
I personally take offense to a group using that terminology. I am sure you would too, if a group of strangers decided to come into your hometown and "occupy and liberate" it! Come on folks, it's time to act like adults and stop pointing fingers to create drama!
While listening to the audio of the meeting, here are my notes to clarify the situation:
At Coffee with Cops on Wed. Aug. 3rd, the first 20 + minutes of the hour-long meeting, the discussion centered on recent power outages. Police Chief Jeff Gilbert talked about the two new cooling centers in town, about taking care of neighbors and how to deal with pets during power outages during the heat of the summer, how APS was so supportive.
Mrs. Jennifer Jones asked Chief, regarding an injunction filed by officers, if he knew he was going to be represented by the town attorney or the attorney of the insurance pool. Chief Gilbert’s reply was, “I don’t know”. He then explained the recent occurrences regarding the injunction.
About 22 minutes into the meeting, I asked Chief Gilbert how he felt about a new event posted online called, “Occupy and Liberate Quartzsite”; how he felt about outsiders coming in an attempting to occupy Quartzsite. His reply was that "a few weeks ago, there has been a lot of propaganda being put out there to the media. It has attracted the media. He explained how Mrs. Jones and Mayor Ed Foster had gone to the media with their stories. “They have appealed to the anti-government and radical types. Statements such as the town’s under martial law, officers suppressing the citizens, that the mayor had been kicked out of office, officers in riot gear, are flat out lies. Pure propaganda and it has attracted a lot of attention. That information is still continuing to filter out there. They were flat out lies. We all know that wasn’t the case.”
Chief Gilbert said he was still receiving numerous hate mails threats, phone messages, with some death threats. A woman in the audience asked, “Why is that not a federal crime? Isn’t that domestic terrorism?”
His answer was, “It could be. I have talked to the FBI and the Attorney General and anyone that will listen. What has happened over the past several weeks, I certainly consider this to be domestic terrorism. They are trying to create the fear and scare amongst the people. Our website was shut down, our emails were shut down. Their efforts are to shut down the government of Quartzsite.”
Chief continued to discuss the emergency meeting of June 10th, “the council set in motion increasing the security measures for everyone in this town because of all the threats and hate mail we have received.”
After a man tried to bring back the discussion to the event I mentioned, Chief Gilbert said, “From my understanding, there’s 3 groups planning on coming in on the 27th, Oathkeepers, Tea Party and another one. Hopefully they’re a peaceful group. But a lot of these people participating in the comments are advocating violence. It’s a difficult situation that we’re going through.” After Jones questioned where I found the information, I read it verbatim from the event posted on “Supporters of Mayor Ed Foster” Facebook page.
When Jennifer Jones asked if Chief denies he ran her husband 263 times over the past two and half years, Chief’s response was, “How many times?” Jones said, “263 times”. Chief Gilbert replied, “Oh, yes, I deny that!” and the crowd broke out in laughter.
The audience was reminded that the whole Jackson Lewis investigation report is available in the library. He explained the DPS investigation "is ongoing and is narrowly scoped investigation on NCIC and everything is computer generated. The truth will be told."
Chief Gilbert expressed he was sad about the situation with the officers. "The two officers who have returned to work are regretful." He asked the community to have confidence in the department. “If there’s a rebuilding we have to do, we will do that.”
There was discussion about a new gun store and indoor shooting range being planned near the Police Station. Jones asked if Chief considered those who frequent the new gun store terrorists. Chief said, “I hope not!” Chief said, "you don’t have to own a gun to be a terrorist."
One woman reminded Chief about what he said last year about how police never get invited to “Little Johnny’s” birthday party, unless it’s a domestic violence call. There was a discussion about how important it is to tell an officer thank you. Other attendees shared personal stories about how they appreciate the local police officers.
Chief Gilbert assured the audience “we’ll be ready” when asked about the upcoming season and the snowbirds arriving.
On Thursday, Aug. 4th, Oathkeepers announced the Quartzsite Liberty Festival will take place in Quartzsite on Saturday, August 27th. The groups involved are the Oathkeepers, Greater Phoenix Tea Party, Sons of Liberty, and others.
Information on the upcoming "Quartzsite Liberty Festival" can be found below: