STATE POLICE REPORT: OFFICER SPIT ON GIRL

August 04, 2001 12:00 am

By JEFF ST. PETER

An external investigation into a recent incident that led to the early retirement of Brookings Police Sgt. Wayne Sheffel has revealed the veteran officer spit on a teenage girl while she was in custody.

In his report, Oregon State Police Sgt. Richard Carlton, of Roseburg, states he received a request from the Brookings Police Department to conduct a criminal investigation into a citizen complaint against Sheffel.

The complaint alleged that on July 6 Sheffel had reportedly spit in the face of the teenage girl while she was in a holding cell, Carltons report said.

Sheffel announced his retirement a few days later, prior to the completion of an internal affairs investigation by the Brookings Police Department and before Carltons report was made public. Sheffel had been on paid administrative leave at the time he retired.

According to Carltons report, there was a videotape of the incident. The tape clearly depicts (the female juvenile) spitting on Sgt. Sheffel, and Sgt. Sheffel spitting back at her, Carlton said.

The incident that led to the detention of the girl occurred in the parking lot of Rays Food Place in Brookings.

Officer Jess Oliver responded to a call for assistance from Officer Donny Dotson.

By the time Oliver arrived, Dotson had moved the girl into the back of his squad car.

Oliver stated to Carlton the girl appeared intoxicated and was the most out of control, screaming and fighting female juvenile he had ever encountered. She also reportedly threatened to shoot or kill Sheffel.

Oliver observed that Dotsons face was wet, and assumed he was sweating. Dotson told Carlton the girl had spit on him.

Dotson and Oliver then moved the girl from Dotsons car to Sheffels car, which was at the scene. When she resisted, each officer grabbed the girl by an elbow and removed her from Dotsons car.

She came out of the vehicle fighting and kicking the entire time, the report states. Dotson was kicked twice, once just above the knee and once in the right testicle.

The officers were finally able to get the girl into Sheffels car, and she was transported to the police department.

Sheffel and Oliver attempted to move the girl from the squad car to a holding cell, but she was yelling, screaming and fighting all the way, the report states.

Eventually police dispatcher Cameron Lynn assisted the two officers in getting her into the cell.

Sheffel was standing in front of the cell, calmly attempting to get the girl to sit down and calm down, according to the report. She repeatedly spit on Sheffel, hitting him in the face four or five times.

Sheffel, Oliver and Lynn then left the holding area and Sheffel went to wash his face of the spit and clean his glasses.

At that point, the report said, Oliver decided that because of the girls agitated state she should be videotaped while in the holding cell, so he went and retrieved the departments video camera.

Sheffel then returned to the holding cell where the girl again spit on him once or twice. He spit back at her, and then left the holding area to clean his face and glasses again.

Oliver then asked Lynn if he had witnessed Sheffel spitting on the girl, which he confirmed viewing on the dispatch monitor of the holding cell.

When Sheffel returned to the area he told Oliver, Dotson and Lynn that he was ashamed of himself, it was a stupid thing to do, the report states.

Both Sheffel and Oliver viewed the videotape and both confirmed Sheffel could be clearly seen spitting on the girl.

When Carlton interviewed the girl, she confirmed most of the statements of the three officers and dispatcher about the incident.

According to the report, she admitted that she was out of control, had been yelling and screaming at Sheffel and had spit on him. She also admitted to being intoxicated and threatening to kill Sheffel.

Sheffel also admitted his actions to Carlton, saying he was responsible for what he had done.

Carlton said Sheffel said during the internal investigation that he was getting too old for this kind of thing and that it was the first time in 22 years with the Brookings Police Department he had allowed someone to get under his skin.

According to Carltons report, Sheffel had been cooperative, remorseful and ashamed during the departments internal investigation.

Neither Carlton or Sheffel were available for comment about the report on Friday. The Brookings Police Department could not comment on the report because of its own internal affairs investigation, which federally prohibits any public disclosure.

Curry County District Attorney Charlie Steak reiterated on Friday that after reviewing Carltons report he would not file any charges against Sheffel.

Steak did say the girl was still facing charges, including assaulting an officer.

There will definitely be some consequences for her, he said.