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Bullying, harassment inside Glendale Police Department

Posted: 7:08 PM, Oct 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-02 22:47:01-04
Officer Matthew Schneider Glendale PD Abuse of Force

GLENDALE, AZ — A female police officer inside a special Glendale police unit was subjected to years of bullying, harassment, mistreatment, and a cruel childish prank by a notorious policeman, according to an internal complaint and investigation.

The main culprit of the workplace harassment was Officer Matthew Schneider, who is under FBI investigation after body camera video revealed how he pulled down the shorts of a handcuffed man and tasered him in the groin.

FULL COVERAGE: ABUSE OF FORCE

However, the female officer also raised concerns with other members of the Gateway Neighborhood Response Squad and supervisors who she felt failed to keep control.

READ THE OFFICER’S COMPLAINT

“I feel I have also been excluded and isolated from certain members of NRS because I am a more conservative, 'by-the-book' police officer,” the officer wrote in her complaint. “I feel I am very mindful of consent and search and seizure issues. I think things should be done the right way and believe we should hold ourselves to a certain standard. I feel some members of Gateway NRS subscribe to a more relaxed view of these issues, and I feel like lines have been blurred at times. I feel this has resulted in me being excluded since some squad members might feel I would not approve of or question some of their practices.”

ABC15 is not naming the female officer because the Glendale Police Department considers her a victim.

She said she waited years before filing the complaint, hoping things would get better. The officer was concerned about how she would be perceived once she brought the issues forward in an official investigation.

“I feel my career will be forever changed from this point forward, and I will certainly be subjected to undeserved backlash for having come forward,” the officer wrote. “These are all things I wished to have avoided all the times I tried using my chain of command to address the problem.”

Schneider and a pair of supervisors were disciplined after an internal investigation. They received either a written reprimand or memo of correction.

“The Glendale Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and we have policies in place to investigate and appropriately correct officer misconduct and error,” said Glendale spokesperson Lt. Jay O’Neill. “Consistent with the city’s dedication to accountability and transparency, the employee and two supervisors were appropriately disciplined at the conclusion of the investigation.”

One of the focuses of the internal investigation was an event known as the “chair incident.”

The female officer claimed Schneider “humiliated” her by pulling a chair out from underneath her, causing her to fall onto the floor in front of other police employees.

Schneider denied he pulled the chair out from underneath the woman. He claimed during an internal interview she “somehow ended up on the ground” but he didn’t know how.

However, other officers witnessed it.

“The chair pulling incident, I couldn’t believe what was, what I was seeing,” said Officer Roy Lewis during an interview with investigators. “

In Schneider’s written reprimand, it mentions the “chair incident.”

“While the incident was not fully investigated at the time as it should have been, there were witnesses that were present at the time it occurred,” according to the reprimand. “The incident was significant enough that it was discussed at length and had clearly impacted those who had witnessed it happen, as well as the involved officers individually, and the squad as a whole.”

Despite the statement in Schneider’s disciplinary record, when asked why Glendale police didn’t investigate the chair incident more thoroughly, a Glendale spokesperson challenged the question in a written response.

“Your question rests on your opinion and the untrue assumption that the incident was not thoroughly investigated,” Lt. O’Neill wrote in an email. “The City takes every claim of harassment seriously and conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations consistent with our policies.”

Glendale police have repeatedly declined on-camera interviews related to Officer Schneider and other issues of misconduct.

It also took more than seven months for Glendale to release the internal investigation.

The department had claimed the records were blocked from release because of a protective order in an unrelated lawsuit.

In early September, Glendale’s attorney sought to keep the records sealed by filing a new motion in federal court. However, in a recent order, a judge told the city that the lawsuit didn’t prevent the release of the records under public records laws.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dave@abc15.com .