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August 29, 2014

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DA won’t file charges against ex-Boulder City police chief over email flap

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Sam Morris

Members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club stand guard outside the Boulder City Inn and Suites as they hold their annual convention in Boulder City Saturday, June 23, 2012.

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Thomas Finn

Boulder City’s former police chief Thomas Finn will not face criminal charges for allegedly deleting emails related to preparation for the Mongols Motorcycle Club and directing the staff to do the same.

A Clark County District Attorney's Office report released Tuesday concluded that there was not enough evidence to indicate a specific intent to commit a crime to charge Finn for deleting emails. The district attorney’s office said Finn’s cooperation with the investigation supports his claim that he was trying to prevent the accidental dissemination of sensitive information.

“At first, the email seemed unusual,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. “However, when the city actually received a public records request, Finn and the city provided the documents requested. In fact, Finn contacted the city’s IT manager to make sure that backup computer files were searched for emails that may have been deleted from his individual inbox.”

The Mongols Motorcycle Club filed a complaint in October alleging that Boulder City Police targeted members for harassment during the national meeting in June and tried to destroy evidence of possible civil rights abuse.

The allegations of deleted records stemmed from an email Finn sent to various law enforcement partners days before the Mongols arrived for its national meeting. In the email, Finn asked staff members to delete emails regarding preparations for the Mongols visit to keep the safety plans confidential should the Mongols submit a public records request, the report said.

Months after a peaceful Mongols’ national meeting, Stephen Stubbs — a Las Vegas tax attorney representing the Mongols — made a formal public records request.

After the request, Finn also asked the police department’s IT division how he could recreate or download the deleted files, the report said.

The Mongols — a motorcycle club known as the “Baddest 1 percenters” — had been involved in a deadly riot at the Laughlin River Run in 2002 with the Hells Angels. Finn said the directions to delete emails were made to ensure the safety plans were not compromised and the residents were safe should an incident occur.

He also added that he wanted to prevent staff members leaving the plans open on their computer.

“What I really wanted to do was to get that information off the work station computers to minimize the chance of someone who was not authorized to view it and then disseminate it into the community,” Finn said in an interview with attorney general’s investigator Tony Kotlarz.

The report states that Finn’s actions didn’t indicate an overt intent to commit a crime by destroying records.

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