A recording of a July 4 encounter between resident Dean “Bear” Lari and officer Simon Ford played by Haines Borough police last week revealed new details but didn’t differ significantly from previous statements about the run-in.
Police chief Gary Lowe played the 12-minute conversation for the Chilkat Valley News, with 21 seconds redacted that Lowe said identified youths who were near Lari when police approached.
“There’s mention of the juveniles at the end of the conversation. Juvenile information is one those things that doesn’t get released. It’s confidential,” Lowe said.
“Go ahead and empty your pockets for me, all of you,” Ford is heard saying a few moments after he and officer Josh Knore approach the group.
When Lari balks and asks police what they’re looking for, Ford responds, “Something in a zip-lock bag.”
Lari apparently throws the objects in his pockets on the ground, including a wad of cash. “All that’s from tie-dye?” asks Ford, who explains to Lari that he was acting on a tip and that he “kept seeing a hand coming in and out and another guy’s hand coming in an out. I’m not sure. It looked like little baggies so I thought I’d check it out.”
Lari becomes more upset and, in an apparent attempt to calm him, Ford says: “Bear. I understand you’re upset. I’m just asking… if meth comes to this town, it pisses me the hell off.”
Lari asks Ford if he looks like a meth addict and adds: “I hate tweakers. I sell ‘Tweakers Suck’ bumper stickers.” He tells Ford he’s a pot smoker, but not a pot dealer.
After more conversation, Lari starts talking about his children and Ford says, in an apparent reference to the youths that were standing beside Lari but apparently had since walked away, “I know two of those three kids…(15-second redaction).
The redacted segment of the conversation comes about three minutes before the end of the encounter. Lowe, in explaining the missing section, said Ford mentioned the names of the youths and said they were into “drugs.” In a separate interview, Lari this week said Ford ended the sentence with the words, “are doing and selling methamphetamines.”
A second, six-second redaction came as Lari was speaking about a minute before the encounter’s end. Police said Lari then identified the youths.
Near the end of the recording, Lari says he saw Ford and Knore “moving in on me.”
“As soon as we pulled in, you bolted up,” Ford tells Lari, saying he conveyed to Knore, “Yea, he’s up to something.”
“(It was because) I forgot my camera,” Lari said. “(It was) natural acting behavior.”
Lari said this week he would continue to pursue the matter.