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Blue Grass police chief's home subject of search warrant

Chief Bobby Flaherty is not identified as a suspect, but police searched his home and car as part of an investigation into a councilman's alleged drunk driving case.
Credit: Blue Grass Police Department

BLUE GRASS, Iowa — A search warrant was served at the home of Blue Grass Police Chief Bobby Flaherty as part of an ongoing investigation surrounding a city councilman, according to court records.

Police searched Flaherty, his home and his vehicle as part of an investigation into a drunk driving incident involving Blue Grass City Council member Matthew Sampson and the resignation of the officer who arrested him.

According to court records, on July 3, Officer Mason Wilson stopped Sampson's vehicle in traffic and arrested him for operating while intoxicated (OWI).

After the arrest, Officer Wilson sent a text message to other city officials, including Chief Flaherty and Mayor Brad Schutte, notifying them of the incident.

Several hours later, Wilson received a phone call, that allegedly threatened his career.

The call was documented as saying, "Hi Mason, this is Matt Sampson, the guy you arrested last night... you’re a piece of s-- for doing what you did to me last night... you should have let me go since I was two blocks away from home...I resigned from the City Council and that is your fault... I’ll make sure your law enforcement career ends here in Blue Grass...enjoy your law enforcement career elsewhere...” 

In the evening, Wilson contacted Chief Flaherty about the message and sent him the data.

On July 5, Chief Flaherty rejected Wilson's OWI report due to the call. The chief told Wilson that the phone call was not an element of the OWI incident and could lead to other legal issues for Sampson.

Officer Wilson went on to submit a supplemental report to the Scott County Attorney's Office.

On July 19, Chief Flaherty called Wilson to his office and requested that the officer submit a letter of resignation for “disobeying an order from a superior and including not factual information in the report."

The next day, Flaherty and Wilson met again. Wilson told the chief that he did not have a response to the resignation request following conversations with his lawyer and union.

On Aug. 1, Sampson resigned from his position as the Mayor Pro Tem, but not from his city council seat.

Officer Wilson later completed his resignation from the Blue Grass Police Department on Aug. 15.

Scott County authorities later conducted a check on the phone number that called Wilson and found that it had been previously associated as Sampson's cell phone number.

An examination of cell phone records found that Sampson had been in contact with Mayor Schutte and Chief Flaherty in the time period between Sampson's arrest and Wilson's resignation.

Chief Flaherty was previously placed on administrative leave as the investigation runs its course.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is continuing the investigation.

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