January 28, 2016

City dismisses police officer

By Jerry W. Kram

The New Town City Council said it had little choice in dismissing an officer of the New Town Police Department after officer was involved in an off duty shooting incident.

In a special meet, members of the city council grilled New Town Police Chief James Johns over his investigation of incident involving Officer Peter Brown. Brown has been on administrative leave since the alleged incident.

Johns said that Brown allegedly emptied two weapons, specifically his service sidearms totaling 45 into a four wheeler owned by another person. Johns said this violated department and city policy regarding the use of department firearms. While Brown was under investigation, he was placed on paid administrative leave.

City Attorney Bill Woods asked if it was wise to continue to keep Brown on paid leave after the incident. He noted that Brown was under investigation by tribal and federal authorities regarding the incident.

"We can’t have one of our officers shooting up other people’s property," Woods said. "This comes across as an anger issue. The city could be liable for millions if he does something else."

City Councilman Terry Mattson said he had trouble paying a city employee for not working. He said he could support placing Brown on unpaid leave, if that was what the rest of the council wanted. But he questioned whether is was a good idea to keep Brown on the force.

"Is this the kind of cop we want representing New Town." Mattson said.

"Absolutely not," Johns replied.

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