Confident he will be exonerated by State Police and the DA, Lafayette Police Department Maj. Glen Dartez steps down after 34 years.By Leslie Turk
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010
After 34 years with the Lafayette PD, Maj. Glen Dartez, who headed the Criminal Investigations division of the department, retired Sunday under a cloud of suspicion of departmental violations and potential malfeasance in office.
Embroiled in controversy amid allegations he failed to render aid to a woman who later died, allegedly at the hand of her live-in boyfriend, Lafayette Police Department Maj. Glen Dartez called it quits several months before what he says was his planned January retirement.
Dartez’s intention to retire early, effective Sunday, Sept. 12, was first reported in The Independent Weekly’s Sept. 1 cover story, “Internal Affair?” His retirement after 34 years comes on the heels of a potential material witness corroborating defendant William Phillips Jr.’s claim that the veteran officer, a former medic, failed to help out on the night of June 11 when Phillips informed the officer his girlfriend was sick and needed an ambulance. A Lafayette PD Internal Affairs investigation — not launched by Police Chief Jim Craft until two months later, Aug. 11 — led to a subsequent investigation by Louisiana State Police on Aug. 31. At that time, the case was also handed over to District Attorney Mike Harson for potential criminal prosecution.
The female witness was interviewed Sept. 3 by KLFY TV10’s Chuck Huebner. In the exclusive TV interview, Debbie Richard confirmed that on June 11 Dartez turned down Phillips’ request to help his girlfriend, Montie “Quinn” Martie, who died the following day. Though he had been fighting with her at their 202 Wilcox St. address on the afternoon of June 11, Phillips, 31, maintained in an interview with this newspaper that he tried to help Montie, whom he thought had slipped into a diabetic coma.
But the autopsy reveals that 44-year-old Montie Martie later died at Lafayette General Medical Center of blunt force trauma to the head. Initially arrested for attempted murder, Phillips was subsequently charged with second-degree murder and remains in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on $250,000 bond.
Dartez’s phone records, obtained by The Independent Weekly, show that he placed four phone calls from his police department cell phone to Debbie Richard’s cell phone number on June 11, the first at 8:13 p.m. and the last at 11:09 p.m. But Dartez disputes the accuracy of what those records show, telling this newspaper it was Richard who initially called him on his PD cell phone from the Wilcox address on the night of June 11 to say she was uncomfortable about being at the home because of the presence of another, unidentified woman. He says Richard told him she and Gertie Martie, Montie’s mother, had picked the woman up in Butte La Rose earlier that day. The officer, who claims Richard identified the woman only as “the ho,” says Richard was with the Marties on June 11 because of a romantic interest in Montie’s brother.
Debbie Richard told KLFY TV10 that Maj. Glen Dartez refused William Phillips Jr.'s request to help his girlfriend, Montie Martie, on the night of June 11. She remembers Phillips mentioning something about Martie's diabetes and asking Dartez to call an ambulance. Martie died the following day.
Dartez says he met Richard in the early ’80s and has been a constant friend to her; he adamantly disputes her claim to TV10 that he wanted a romantic relationship with her. “She would call me for help,” he says. “That’s what she did that night.” Dartez, who could not recall how many times he spoke to Richard on the phone the night of June 11, says he arrived at the home around 11 p.m. (which is closer to the time Phillips says he saw the officer) to pick Richard up and return her to where she had been living in Duson. He says shortly after they left, she changed her mind and wanted to be returned to Wilcox Street. So he brought her back, returning five to 10 minutes after they’d left, seeing no signs of an ambulance or any other trouble at the residence.
Richard, however, told the TV station Dartez arrived at 202 Wilcox St. between 9 and 9:30 p.m. She said Phillips spotted Dartez’s unmarked police vehicle and asked the veteran officer if he were a police officer. When Dartez confirmed that he was but said he was off-duty, she says Phillips told him, “My girl is sick,” and asked for help. She remembers Phillips mentioning something about Martie having diabetes and asking Dartez to call an ambulance. Dartez, according to Richard, told Phillips to leave him alone. “Maj. Dartez just told him to go away and didn’t even respond to helping him,” she told Huebner.
Phone records show Dartez’s final call to Richard that night was placed at 11:09 p.m., about 20 minutes before the affidavit for William Phillips Jr.’s arrest indicates he called Acadian Ambulance for help, claiming a diabetic emergency.
Dartez defends his inaction that night, saying he was in the middle of a conversation and did not know the situation was emergent, though he does recall Phillips mentioning the need for an ambulance. “There was no urgency in his tone,” Dartez recalls, also claiming Richard told him Phillips was just being nosey after Phillips walked away. He says when Phillips asked, “You the law?” he told Phillips (a self-confessed drug addict) he was off-duty to make it clear he was not there on official police business: “just to put his mind at ease that I wasn’t there for him .. ‘Yeah, I am a cop, but I’m not here to mess with you,’” was the message, according to Dartez. “A lot of that is being taken out of context.” Remarkably, Dartez’s only regret is that he ever went to the home that night. “But I wouldn’t do anything different,” he says.
The officer also does not recall Phillips saying anything about Montie’s diabetes, as Richard and Phillips both claim to remember. “[Phillips] has changed his story two or three times about what he said to me,” says the retired officer, who also notes that Phillips’ story about how Montie sustained her injuries — and that the two made up, had sex and took a shower — does not add up. “Everybody is choosing to believe this crack head, accused murderer,” Dartez says. “Once he inflicted that injury, there was no sex after that,” he says. “There was no shower after that. That’s immediate incapacitation.”
Debbie Richard did not return a voice mail message left on her cell phone.
Though Montie died on June 12, an Internal Affairs investigation into Dartez’s presence on the scene and potential role in the subsequent murder investigation was not ordered by Craft until two months later. Since that time, state police has launched its own investigation, which will be independent of the IA inquiry.
Dartez, 57, who was in charge of the department’s Criminal Investigations division, was not placed on administrative leave until Aug. 31, more than 2.5 months after the June 11 incident.
Dartez tells The Independent he notified detectives about being on the scene June 14, the Monday following Montie’s death, which he learned about when he turned on his computer that morning. He maintains he was unable to open “electronic pass ons” on his Blackberry over the weekend, which had specific information on her death. He did receive a phone call at about 1 or 2 a.m. on the 12th from Lt. Mac Gallien because he was head of criminal investigations, but says Gallien did not identify the address or victim. He says Gallien told him a suspect was in custody.
After telling Gallien and Detective David LeBlanc that he had been at the scene, he offered to contact Richard if they needed to talk to her, though he cannot recall what details about the night he shared with Gallien and LeBlanc. “And we were done with that. It was nothing sinister,” says Dartez, who could not even recall if he called Richard that Monday or the following week to “offer his condolences.”
Phone records from the Lafayette PD, however, show that Dartez called Richard on her cell phone on the 14th and she returned the call. Police phone records also reveal that Dartez tried to reach Richard from his office phone four times the Monday immediately after Montie died; the two appear to have talked on his office phone only once on the 14th. Dartez says he did inform Richard at some point that investigators may be calling her, but he could not recall how she responded to that information. He says detectives never asked for her phone number or followed up with him — and that as time went on he just assumed they had interviewed her.
Those phone conversations between Dartez and Richard further bring into question whether Dartez compromised the police department’s murder investigation — and leave unanswered if his friends in the department were complicit in his actions.
“I don’t think they saw any significance in [my being there],” says Dartez, who does not think either Gallien or LeBlanc immediately reported his presence to any superiors. “IA came to me on Aug. 11 and said, ‘We’re launching an investigation.’ Then I went and met [with] the chief.” He did not say what the two discussed. “There is not much he could talk to me about once the investigation has begun.”
Though it seems to have been common knowledge in the Lafayette Police Department that one of its officers was on the scene of an alleged homicide at 202 Wilcox St. on June 11, Police Chief Jim Craft did not order an Internal Affairs investigation until two months later. State Police and District Attorney Mike Harson are now investigating the case.
It remains unclear why it took so long for the investigation to get under way. Whether on or off duty, police officers are obligated to respond, and failure to do so constitutes a departmental violation and criminal offense under the malfeasance in office statute, Craft says. Investigation into the latter offense, Craft says, is the reason the matter was turned over to the DA two weeks ago. Malfeasance in office, or official misconduct, is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties.
Dartez says he is not guilty of malfeasance. “The law of malfeasance Chief Craft is citing does not apply to what he’s talking about. He’s taking one phrase, failure to act, out of a paragraph. ... first of all there has to be intent ... you’re not going to be able to show intent, but the second part of it has nothing to do with medical. It has to do with breaking the law, myself, while I’m under the color of law, in uniform, working or using it or knowing a crime is being committed and not acting on it.”
Continues Dartez, “Where do we draw the line of where our duty ends? Somebody’s not feeling well so I got to stop what I’m doing? What am I supposed to do for somebody who’s not feeling well? They’re making a big deal out of nothing given the circumstances I was looking at; now in the aftermath of it, yeah, it sounds like a big deal. ... They’re making it look like I killed her.” Dartez is adamant he did not know there had been a domestic disturbance at the home on June 11; he states emphatically that is not why Richard called him to pick her up. “Anybody that knows me knows I respond. If he’d have said she had a heart attack, I’m in there. If he’d have said she’s not breathing, I’m in there. If he’d have said she has a gun and she wants to kill herself, I’m in there. But she’s not feeling well?”
Dartez, 57, also is confident medical records will show that Montie could not have been saved, regardless of whether he had attempted to render care.
One of only three majors in the department, making him among the three highest ranking officials under the chief before his Sept. 12 retirement, Dartez says he does not have an attorney and is “not at all” worried about the outcome of the investigations. “Don’t need one,” he says.
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