Same officer who arrested a man for requesting personnel records which the officer had faked
EGYPT, Ark. – Gerald Goza resigned as Egypt’s police chief on January 7 after he received a phone call informing him that he was no longer a certified officer.
Egypt Mayor Jerry Cook never informed the public or the press of this. Our reporter first confirmed it Feb. 12, 2020, with the Craighead County sheriff.
According to the letter obtained by NEA Report, Goza duplicated another officer’s RADAR certificate with his name on it – and admitted to it. He also had a diploma on file that wasn’t accepted by the high school listed on it or the United States Department of Education.
Sheriff Marty Bold told NEA Report that the Division of Law Enforcement Standards and Training had contacted Goza on January 7 to inform him that he needed to resign.
“What happened, CLEST informed him on that day until he provided a GED, he was no longer a certified officer,” Boyd said. “He resigned at that time.”
An investigative file was also opened at the Craighead County Sheriff’s Department regarding the forged documents. Boyd said the file was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office after his investigators found no intent to commit fraud – even though multiple forgeries were admitted to by Goza.
Boyd said investigators learned that Goza did possess a RADAR certification – he just didn’t have the paper certificate. So he forged it. What disqualified him was that he apparently had no high school diploma or GED, either. Boyd said he had presented investigators with a printed GED from the internet that he thought counted. The letter mentions a diploma that wasn’t accepted. It was unclear if both were passed off by Goza or different terms were used to describe the same fake document.
NEA Report requested the full investigative file and it was being prepared for our reporter – but won’t be ready until Thursday, the sheriff said.
What adds to the concern surrounding Goza’s forged qualifications is that he arrested the man who requested his records. Goza charged Stephen Warren with disorderly conduct and harassment for requesting records that Goza knew were fraudulent. Warren was forced to hire an attorney to defend him, Zachary Morrison of the Rees Law Firm in Jonesboro, who also brought a civil lawsuit against the City of Egypt. Only after reaching a settlement in the civil case on Tuesday, Dec. 17 were the criminal charges dropped. They were false charges – and yet – Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Long never moved to drop the charges until the civil lawsuit was concluded.
Long is the same deputy prosecutor who made the decision not to charge Goza for the Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office. The decision was supported by Prosecutor Scott Ellington, he told NEA Report on Wednesday.
The Rees Law Firm is in the process of preparing a Section 1983 lawsuit against the City of Egypt and Gerald Goza, according to Morrison at Rees Law Firm. Section 1983 cases are when a government official deprives a citizen of their civil rights, as Goza clearly did of Warren in this case.
“A complaint has been drafted and is in the process of being filed,” Morrison said.
Another question arises of if any of Goza’s arrests made during his chief of police tenure were legal. The prosecutor could not answer that question when asked.
To read the story about the lawsuit Egypt was forced to settle or to lose to in court, click here.
On Thursday morning, Mayor Jerry Cook sent NEA Report a statement:
Gerald Goza submitted a letter of resignation as police chief on 1-7-2020. Since that time Gerald Goza has not acted as police chief or police officer for the City of Egypt. The City of Egypt cooperated with CLEST regarding an inquiry into Goza ‘s qualifications.
When hired by the City of Egypt in October, 2018 by former police chief as a patrolman his records showed that he was certified by CLEST and had served many years as a police officer. This included local towns such as Cash and Alicia.