About a half-hour before DPS failed to pin Mitch Taebel during a pursuit and he crashed head-on into another vehicle, the suspect first made a surprising call to police dispatchers.
On the phone, Taebel made one thing very clear: “I’m not stopping.”
The pursuit on January 24th grabbed national headlines because it ended in a terrifying crash in one of the Valley’s busiest areas. ABC15 obtained audio of a 911 call Taebel made to Goodyear police as he drove on Interstate 10 while DPS troopers pursued him for a traffic violation.
The call came in at 10:24 a.m. and lasted two minutes and 30 seconds [full transcript below].
Taebel said he made the call to identify himself and file an official report.
Throughout the entire call, the dispatcher tries to convince Taebel to pull over. But he repeatedly tells her that he won’t because officers don’t have “probable cause.”
It would be the first of multiple phone calls Taebel had with police officials during the pursuit. The later calls were with a DPS negotiator, court records show.
The DPS calls have not been released.
However, DPS investigators said that Taebel made statements saying it would be “lawful” for him to take an officer’s life to preserve his freedom, records show.
In the call with Goodyear Police, Taebel specifically asked the dispatcher to have officers back off and that he didn’t want to “jeopardize anybody’s safety.”
Other than the 911 call, Goodyear had limited involvement in the pursuit. Dispatch logs reveal that Goodyear chose not to assist in the DPS pursuit.
DPS is facing questions about how it handled the pursuit and recent changes to the agency’s pursuit policies.
An internal investigation is ongoing.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE 911 CALL:
Dispatch: 911 What’s your emergency?
Taebel: Hello, officers are attempting to, uh, I don’t know if they are trying to stop me or what. But [inaudible for a few seconds seconds]
Dispatch: Ok, are you on the I-10?
Taebel: I am on the I-10. That’s correct.
Dispatch: And officers are following you? What kind of vehicle are you in?
Taebel: Right. Right. I’m in a Grand Cherokee with 2014 [inaudible]
Dispatch: Can you pull over? The officers are trying to stop you. I want you to pull over.
Taebel: [Inaudible word] They actually have turned off their lights. They are not following me.
[Dispatch and Taebel talk over each other for a few seconds making it hard to understand]
Dispatch: Where are you right now?
Taebel: Ok. Well, let me just finish. First off, they are trying to stop me without probable cause. I was doing the speed limit, driving [inaudible] and they attempted to stop me without probable cause.
Dispatch: I understand that. They do need you to pull over though. Officers are behind you.
Taebel: Ok, well there seems to be unreasonable, uh, police attempting to stop without probably cause. And…
Dispatch: I understand that, but the officers are following you. You need to pull over. Where are you at right now? Bullard and I-10? So eastbound?
Taebel: Uh, yeah, but according to federal law you are allowed to resist unreasonable arrest. I just want to say so I’m not stopping. There seems to be a criminal conspiracy amongst the police to stop people without probable cause. And it’s unreasonable. It’s against federal law. Against, uh, 18 USC section 242 and section 241. I’m not stopping the vehicle. I’ve attempted to contact the Mayor. I’ve called the Mayor’s office. They have my name. I told them the situation.
[Dispatch cuts in and it’s hard to understand both parties for a few seconds]
Taebel: I just want to make an official report of, uh, who I am.
Dispatch: What’s your name sir?
Taebel: The last name is Taebel. First name is Mitch. I have several federal lawsuits against police that have stopped and made arrests, made stops without probable cause. You can search it online in the federal courts.
Dispatch: I understand.
Taebel: I’m not stopping. There is no probable cause.
Dispatch: We do need you to [inaudible]
Taebel: I just want to let you know and ask your officers to back off.
[Dispatch and Taebel talking over each other, hard to understand]
Dispatch: They are not going to back off.
Taebel: I don’t want to jeopardize anybody’s safety. They were starting to get a little bit aggressive.
[Dispatch and Taebel both talking and are talking over each other for the next several lines]
Taebel: [Inaudible] anyways. I wanted to make an official report. Ok.
Dispatch: You were going over 80 mph on the I-10.
Taebel: Goodbye. Alright. Alright. Alright.
Dispatch: You’re going to need to pull over sir, OK?