Dashcam turned off in alleged sexual assault by ex-officer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) – An affidavit released to 13 NEWS details how a former Lawrence police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his patrol vehicle had his dashcam manually turned off during the incident.

13 NEWS has obtained the probable cause affidavit in the case of Jonathan Gardner, 41, of Tonganoxie, a former police officer in the Laurent Police Department. The affidavit states that on November 1, 2021, a lieutenant with LPD contacted a woman who had emailed to report that she had been raped by an officer.

The woman told the lieutenant that on January 1, 2017, she left the old Tonic bar and was separated from her friends when she asked to be taken home by a police officer, later identified as Gardner, during a another call she had encountered outside the Springhill. Sequels. On that drive home, she said the officer raped her in his patrol vehicle.

In April 2021, the affidavit says the woman accompanied a friend to the Lawrence Police Department to report that a neighbor had harassed her. Gardner had been instructed to take the harassment report. Near the end of the report, the document says Gardner turned to the victim of the assault, who was wearing a face mask, and told her he remembered her from New Years.

The affidavit states that the friend noticed that after Gardner entered the room, the woman had “closed off a bit” and when he spoke to her, he called her by her first name, which who had never been mentioned during the harassment report.

That’s when the affidavit says the woman was able to name the officer who allegedly assaulted her. He said she did not know the name of the officer who drove her before the April 2021 incident.

The document says the lieutenant noted that Gardner was actually sent to the Springhill Suites around 3 a.m. on January 1, 2017, and left with two people in his patrol car. While Gardner’s patrol vehicle’s GPS had recorded its location earlier in the night, at the time of the alleged incident, the lieutenant said he discovered that the GPS had stopped recording Gardner’s location. He noted that he didn’t know if there was a problem with the GPS or if Gardner had disabled it.

The affidavit also states that the lieutenant discovered that there was no dash cam footage of the entire reported return trip. He said he doesn’t know if the footage ever existed or if it was purged from the system due to categorization strategies and the time that elapsed between the crime and the report.

On November 1, 2021, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was called in to help investigate and on November 4, a special agent spoke with the victim again.

In the interview with KBI, the affidavit states that the woman told the officer that she was on probation and under 21 when she went to the bar with her friends and they had “drank a lot”. She admitted she misplaced her purse and phone and became separated from her friends and again detailed details of the attack.

According to the document, when KBI agents spoke to Gardner about the incident, he claimed to remember the incident in which he drove her home but denied the assault. He had also claimed that the officer assisting him had claimed that the woman had been somewhat “handicap”. However, when the other officer was questioned about the incident, he stated that he had no such recollection and would have remembered it, as women do not usually interfere with him during meetings. calls.

The affidavit continued to state that on November 11, the lieutenant spoke with KBI agents and reported that an analysis of the department’s database revealed that Gardner had researched the victim’s information and viewed his photo. 12 times between January 7, 2017 and November 1. January 11, 2021. Further analysis of search information through the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System revealed that Gardner searched the victim’s personal information through that system five times between January 7, 2017 and the November 4, 2021.

The affidavit also stated that the lieutenant told KBI officers after further research that a digital fingerprint was found linked to the dash cam footage of Officer Gardner’s contact with the victim. He said the fingerprint revealed that the recording had been manually stopped. However, the images had been purged from the system after 90 days.

Asked about the searches, as well as the lack of dash cam footage and GPS recordings, the affidavit says Gardner told the KBI he did not remember stopping the camera and did not know not why a digital fingerprint revealed that he had stopped the recording manually. He also said that any searches he conducted on the victim were for “law enforcement purposes”.

Gardner was arrested for the crime in March after a lengthy investigation. The case has benefited from criminal mediation according to the Douglas Co. District Attorney’s Office. However, if an agreed outcome cannot be reached through the mediation process, the case will proceed to trial.

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