The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating claims of excessive use of force against an off-duty deputy who pulled a gun on a cyclist who trespassed onto a golf course in May.
The incident, first reported by 12 News, happened on May 2 at the Scottsdale National Golf Club.
Roger Bracken, 55, said he rode his mountain bike onto the property in search of a trail, which he said at one point was publicly accessible and within a few hundred yards of the entrance.
The decision to disregard the “no trespassing” signs that Bracken acknowledged seeing led to a confrontation with off-duty MCSO Deputy Collin Seagraves, who ultimately pulled a gun on Bracken during the ensuing scuffle.
Bracken was ultimately charged with assault and trespassing, though MCSO spokesman Sgt. Bryant Vanegas confirmed the department is investigating allegations of excessive use of force by Seagraves.
Bracken said he’s lost business as a result of the incident, and he and his attorney maintain Seagraves should be the one charged.
Surveillance video captured the May 2, 2020 incident that led to a cyclist being charged with assault and trespassing.
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Surveillance video shows encounter
Bracken’s attorney, Colin O’Sullivan provided The Republic with a six-minute surveillance video that captured the encounter.
The footage starts by showing Seagraves driving toward Bracken. Seagraves stops the truck and gets out of the vehicle as Bracken continues cycling past him.
Another security guard then comes into view, gesturing for Bracken to stop. Bracken makes a gesture toward the guard and cycles past him, briefly disappearing from the camera as he makes a circle and turns around.
Seagraves was standing in the middle of the road as Bracken pedaled away, the video shows. Bracken can then be seen cycling toward Seagraves and, at the last moment, seemingly tries to pass him on the right. Seagraves appears to grab him and Bracken is thrown off his bike. The two then have a brief scuffle on the ground as the other security guard runs toward the scene.
The two guards appear to hold Bracken for a few moments before allowing him to stand back up. The three have a conversation for nearly two minutes before the unnamed guard returns to his post.
Seagraves and Bracken continue a conversation, with Seagraves making multiple gestures toward the path and surrounding area. Bracken eventually cycles to the guard post, and Seagraves follows him, at which point the video ends.
The Scottsdale Police Department report, also provided by O’Sullivan, said there were four “clearly marked” signs warning against trespassing. Bracken acknowledged that he saw the signs, but said there previously was a publicly-accessible biking path that led to a network of trails and that’s where he intended to go.
The responding officer wrote that the property owner, GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons, had recently been receiving death threats and that security was subsequently heightened.
Seagraves told the officer he ordered Bracken to stop as he got out of his truck but that Bracken did not respond and continued riding along the path, the report said. Bracken told The Republic in a July 30 interview he was wearing headphones at the time of the incident and did not hear any commands from Seagraves.
Seagraves said Bracken “came right at him” with the bike and “jumped on him while coming off the bike,” knocking the deputy to the ground, the report said. Bracken denied lunging at the officer, saying his biking shoes were clipped onto the pedals at the time and his hands never left the handlebars.
He said Bracken was “taunting” him and the other guard during the incident and yelled, “F— you” while holding up his middle finger.
Bracken said the only gestures he made were a circular motion with his index finger to indicate turning around and a thumbs-up sign.
Seagraves said he pulled out his gun because he was “being choked out” by Bracken before the other security guard helped separate them, the report said.
He reported feeling pain in his head, left elbow and knee because of the incident. The officer noted he had visible injuries on his right knee, right cheek and eye and left elbow.
The other security guard told the officer he told Bracken to stop several times and that Bracken cursed at them as he rode past him.
He also told the officer Bracken told him and Seagraves that he didn’t know they wanted him to stop, which they questioned because of the signage and their verbal orders.
O’Sullivan and Bracken deny the claims in the report, with O’Sullivan saying all his client told the guards was “I am turning around.”
Bracken also said Seagraves told him “I could’ve killed you, I should’ve killed you” and called him an “entitled a–hole,” but that the responding officer did not include those statements in the report.
Seagraves told the responding officer he was in “fear for his life,” but said he “never had time” to tell Bracken he was a sheriff’s deputy or that he had a gun, the report said.
Both O’Sullivan and Bracken denied Seagraves’ claim, with O’Sullivan saying there was “no way he was legitimately in fear for his life.”
Bracken was eventually escorted off the property and charged with assault and trespassing, according to records.
‘I definitely view the police differently now’
Bracken said he’s never had issues with law enforcement officers before the incident, but that he now feels “scared” and “nervous” when he sees them.
“I definitely view the police differently now, because I don’t feel like I was treated fairly,” he said. “I can see everybody’s anger with that.”
Bracken’s stopped riding his bike out of fear that a similar encounter could happen again.
He’s also worried about the long-term impacts to his business because of the criminal charges on his record, saying he had a client abruptly drop out of a deal following the incident. It meant a loss of tens of thousands of dollars, Bracken said.
Though the client did not specifically state their reason, Bracken said he’s never had that happen before and that he fears other clients will follow suit.
“I mean, if it were you, you would think, ‘why don’t I just go to the next person? Why do I have to deal with this guy who’s got these alleged assault charges?” he said.
O’Sullivan hopes for the charges against his client to be dismissed, saying if anyone were to be charged in the incident, it should be Seagraves.
MCSO did not provide further details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. O’Sullivan said he hopes the department gives the incident “the attention it deserves” and that he hopes it “doesn’t just get swept under the rug.”
“This is an individual — a law enforcement officer — that the public should be concerned about,” O’Sullivan said.
The golf club did not respond to The Republic’s inquiry into whether Seagraves was still employed as a security guard.
The City of Scottsdale offered Bracken a plea agreement, in which he would be required to spend 10 days in jail and pay Seagraves nearly $30,000 in restitution. A bench trial is set to begin Aug. 17.
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