A former Glendale Police officer and a current officer were on the June 17 Arizona Police Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) board agenda.
The AZPOST board, which has the ability to grant, suspend and revoke certifications, accepted without comment the voluntary relinquishment of peace officer certification for Matthew Schneider, a former officer.
Schneider, called “an arrest machine” in a glowing 2017 annual review, was the subject of numerous investigations and disciplinary actions.
The most serious came after a July 2017 traffic stop, during which Schneider repeatedly used his Taser on a man who was in handcuffs and deemed to be not resisting arrest.
Schneider was suspended—but not until more than a year after the incident.
According to a September 2018 Glendale Police Department notice to Schneider, “The subject got tangled in the seatbelt and was taken to the ground by Officer (Michael) Fernandez. Officer Fernandez had control of the subject who was face-down and handcuffed on the ground. The male suspect was no longer resisting once the handcuffs were applied. You delivered a 2 or 3 second drive stun to the suspect’s right shoulder.
“This application of force was not within policy as the resistance had stopped.
“The male suspect was complying with Officer Fernandez. … The suspect’s feet were close to where you were standing, when the male suspect swung his legs around and appeared to kick you. You reacted by kicking him in the groin. You stated you kicked the suspect in the groin with the tip of your right boot. You then placed your Taser on his right buttock … and drive-stunned the subject in the right lower buttocks/groin.”
According to the notice, “It is the philosophy of the Glendale Police Department to use only the amount of force or control reasonably necessary to conduct lawful public safety activities and the mission of the department.”
On June 29, 2018, Schneider received a written reprimand. “During the course of this investigation several witnesses brought forth examples of accounts in which they believed you displayed verbal or physical conduct that had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with their work performance. Witnesses described instances of you being insubordinate, bullying, and making inappropriate comments to others routinely. This conduct led to intra-squad fighting and low morale.
“Officer Schneider, you engaged in harassing behavior by repeated statements that you refused to ride with certain members of the squad, that often you wouldn’t respond to Officers on the squad about work matters, in some cases you seemed to be specifically acting in opposition of what was necessary to accomplish the work mission at hand,” said the notice from Rich LeVander, assistant chief of police.
A review of Schneider’s personnel file also shows he did not put a knife he was holding away when ordered to do so, leading to an injury.
According to a 2008 Glendale Police Department review, “Had Officer Schneider immediately acted as he was directed to by his supervisor this incident would have been avoided. Due to his failure to do so another officer was injured to the extent that he required surgery and has been unable to return to work in a full duty capacity. It is clear his actions affected the efficient operations of the department.”
Schneider was suspended for three days.
According to another written notice to Schneider, “On Nov. 26, 2005, you were investigated for Unbecoming Conduct, Administrative Investigation 2005-208. As a result of this investigation, you received a Letter of Counsel.”
Sgt. Don LaBrant called Schneider “an arrest machine” in a May 2017 annual review.
“Officer Schneider is a very successful officer, he has ‘IT.’ He is a bloodhound against criminals and can dig up crime anywhere you put him. Officer Schneider is in the top three in the department for arrests every year for the last 10 years. Arrests are great, but he has a high conviction rate which is more important.”
Schneider applied for disability retirement, which was approved by the Glendale Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Police Board in January.
According to the March 25 meeting minutes, “Based on the medical records and the IME (independent medical examiner) report, the board voted to approve the application for accidental disability retirement from the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) submitted by Matthew Schneider, Police Officer.” According to the city, Schneider’s last day of work was March 25.
Matthew Salyers was suspended in December after he punched a man during a traffic stop March 6, 2019. His 40-hour suspension was reduced to 30 hours after he appealed.
In a report he filed the day after the incident, Salyers stated he struck Angelo Carillo Sr. after he refused commands. On March 6, Glendale officers William Johnston and Salyers stopped Carillo, 57, near Maryland and 59th avenues. Police reported the Carrillo was stopped for failing to signal a turn. He then refused to provide identification.
According to a Glendale Police Department press release, “Officer Johnston attempted to arrest Carrillo who was still seated in the vehicle.
“A struggle ensued as Carrillo resisted and Officer Salyers, who was on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, entered the vehicle and delivered closed-hand strikes to Carrillo’s face, causing an injury which required stitches.”
At the June 17 AZPOST meeting, the board reviewed video of the Salyers case, during which the driver is heard saying, “Why are you hitting me? I’m not resisting nothing. … I didn’t do a damned thing, and you beat me up.”
In his report, Salyers wrote he saw the driver reach for the car’s console and feared he might have a weapon there.
AZPOST did not take any further action.
Assistant Attorney General Paul Ahler was the only board member to vote against the no-action motion and request further investigation of Salyers.
“We have a public trust; each (case) should be treated specifically,” Ahler said. “I think we ought to look at them very carefully.”