Named in the wrongful death suit are Chief Ray Schultz, Lt. Shawn O'Connell, Sgt. Ron Olivas, Sgt. James Silver, and six other "John Doe" officers. Of course every lawsuit names just about everyone in the phone book, but in this case if even half of the allegations are true the 5th Floor isn't running a police department it's running a brothel.
The lawsuit alleges that in addition to his police duties, Officer Chavez was protecting and serving (emphasis on the serve part) multiple female APD officers simultaneously. And our Eyes tell us that since Tera Chavez' untimely demise last October, Chavez has married - you guessed it... another APD officer.
Meanwhile up on the 5th Floor, our Eyes have it that the Chief and his brain trust are deeply concerned that this story could grow legs. In truth they're afraid of the kind of media scrutiny that former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson received in the disappearance of his wife Stacy Peterson and they still haven't found a body (read about it here).
In the Chavez case, we have a death ruled a homicide by the medical investigator, where the weapon was an APD issued and owned handgun, marijuana found at the crime scene, and a number of APD officers running around in a crime scene outside of their jurisdiction. This story looks juicy even before you throw in the wrongful death lawsuit. We can see it now, live trucks everywhere and a gaggle of reporters waiting to ambush APD brass every time they stick their noses out of the Main.
What they're really afraid of is the possibility that the Feds could step in and start nosing around with warrants and their ability to charge you for lying to a federal agent. It's never comfortable to have a federal agency digging around in your files, particularly when you're trying to keep something hidden. Our Eyes tell us that there are a number of somethings that higher-ups would rather keep from seeing the light of day.
Even more interesting has been the lack of action taken by The 5th Floor. Nearly a year later Officer Chavez is still on paid administrative leave. Our Eyes tell us that Chavez - a lateral transfer from Aviation - was a probationary officer at the time. They could have terminated him for just about anything, but have chosen not to.
According to the lawsuit, Chavez had a $14,400 judgment against him stemming from his early departure from the Rio Rancho Police Department. Apparently, just 4 months after graduating from their academy Chavez left RRPD for a job over at the Aviation Department thereby breaking his agreement with the agency.
APD has a policy about financial difficulties - of course they choose not to enforce that policy in "special" situations like when a rehire happens to be a jogging buddy of the Chief's (read it here). What has our Eyes and a lot of officers scratching their head is - what is so "special" about Levi Chavez? What makes him bullet proof?
You would think that finding marijuana at the home of an officer would be enough. Yet, here it is some 10 months later and Chavez is on a taxpayer funded holiday that doesn't look like it's going to come to an end anytime soon.
What's more concerning is that our Eyes tell us that The 5th Floor has been talking to Chavez' attorney in an effort to derail this lawsuit. The Eyes have it that they even had a hand in Wednesday's Journal story (Subscription) - which by the way was startlingly devoid of details about the lawsuit considering the number and type of allegations contained therein.
The 5th Floor sure looks like they're trying to protect Chavez at all costs. Perhaps they just got him mixed up with another Chavez they're fond of protecting - we don't know. But one thing is sure, there's plenty of suspicious behavior in this case and we're not just talking about Levi Chavez.
----- Update -----
We received a comment earlier today from someone claiming to be Joshua Cordova. The post contained language that was certainly inflammatory and expressed a desire for vengeance that bordered on threats. We posted the comment only because it also contained numerous assertions that the poster would do nothing to harm Officer Chavez despite the obvious animus.
This afternoon we received the following email from Brad Hall who represents the Tera Chavez estate:
I represent the Estate of Tera Chavez. It was brought to my attention that a post on your blogsite was attributed to Joshua Cordova, twin brother to Tera Chavez. I spoke with him today by phone and he did not know anything about any blogsite. He denies sending any posts to any blog sites, including yours. He is in the Navy and quite busy, and has not even read the posting attributed to him. The comments attributed to him were submitted by someone pretending to be Joshua Cordova. He and other family members request you remove that posting, as it is not representative of their views, ethics or manner of speech. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.The post in question has been removed.