July 19, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 29

Police uncertain on release of tape

Haines Borough police chief Gary Lowe this week declined to say whether he would make public a recording of a July 4 encounter between officer Simon Ford and resident Dean “Bear” Lari.

Ford approached Lari and two others at an evening concert at Fort Seward after receiving reports that a drug deal may have been occurring.

Discrepancies in Ford’s and Lari’s accounts include whether Ford asked or ordered the group to empty their pockets, as well as Ford’s statements concerning two youths there.

Lari said Ford expressed that the youths had been using meth. Ford denies making such a statement.

A recording is typically made of encounters between police on patrol and individuals they approach.

Lowe said this week he spoke with Lari after the encounter with Ford.

“I talked with Dean (Lari). He filed a complaint. At the conclusion of our talk, he left me with the impression that he was satisfied with the conclusion of the outcome. I haven’t heard back from him,” Lowe said.

Lowe said he hadn’t received a request to release the recording. The Chilkat Valley News has since made a request for the recording.

“One, I’d have to see that we have (the recording), and two, I’d need to see if it falls under public information. I don’t know that would be included as public information. I’d have to do research on it,” chief Lowe said.

“Most recordings, if we’re not saving them for a legal purpose, we erase them,” Lowe said.

Lari said the encounter has made him fearful of police and that the drug accusation was damaging, as it was made in front of youths who are friends of his daughter.