Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin and TrooperGate Part I.

A Matter Of Public Record...
Some Background On The Officer In Question

This matter concerns the conduct of Mike Wooten, age 35, an Alaskan State Trooper since March 2001. Mr Wooten has been divorced and remarried four (4) times. This matter started in 2005, when Wooten was in the midst of a divorce and custody dispute from Sarah Palin's sister, Molly McCann. (Wooten has since remarried and divorced.)

A Domestic Violence Protective Order Against Wooten:
The troopers' investigation into Wooten began after Chuck Heath -- Wooten's father-in-law and Palin and McCann's dad -- alerted troopers about a domestic violence protective order McCann had obtained against Wooten on April 11, 2005. McCann filed for divorce the same day, according to the court docket.

"Extreme verbal abuse & violent threats & physical intimidation,"
McCann wrote in her April 11, 2005, petition to the court. He had driven drunk multiple times, threatened her father, told her to "put a leash on your sister and family or I'm going to bring them down," her petition says. A judge issued a 20-day protective order to keep Wooten away.

Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers:
"The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession," Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in March 1, 2006, letter suspending Wooten for 10 days. After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days. Col. Grimes warned that if he messed up again, he'd be fired.

Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:

• Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.
• He illegally shot a moose.
• He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.
• He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.

Beyond the investigation sparked by the family, trooper commanders saw cause to discipline or give written instructions to correct Wooten seven (7) times since he joined the force, according to Grimes' letter to Wooten.
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