This morning, Chief B.J. Wilkinson of Sidney, Nebraska, appeared before District Court Judge Paul Wess on the charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations, a Class I Misdemeanor and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
On January 29, 2014, Sidney Police Officer Tim Craig responded to a call at 1245 Alta Vista, Sidney, Cheyenne County, Nebraska. Officer Craig interviewed the complaining party, a Sidney woman, who reported that she and her boyfriend were in the bedroom of her residence and at approximately 9:15 p.m. the two of them heard a male voice outside the bedroom window. The woman believed she recognized the voice as being that of a City of Sidney employee, a man with whom she had a prior relationship.
Officer Craig went to the City employee’s residence in Sidney and contacted him. The City employee initially denied being at the woman’s home but then admitted to being at her house and looking through the window.
Officer Craig issued a citation to the employee for the offense of disturbing the peace. The citation was signed by the employee and he was to appear in Cheyenne County Court on March 10, 2014. Officer Craig wrote an incident report of the investigation and attached a copy of the citation issued to the employee. Officer Craig prepared the reports and citation to be forwarded to the Cheyenne County Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
B.J. Wilkinson was the police chief at the time of the issuance of the citation to the Sidney City employee.
Officer Craig was informed by Chief Wilkinson’s secretary that the citation had been removed from the packet going to the County Attorney’s Office. The County Attorney Paul Schaub has stated that the report and citation never came to his office for prosecution.
Officer Craig sent an email to Chief Wilkinson to inquire about the report not being sent to the County Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Chief Wilkinson responded by email to Officer Craig concerning his reasons for pulling the report and not sending it to the County Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
In an interview with Sgt. Monty Lovelace of the Nebraska State Patrol, Chief Wilkinson admitted that he pulled the file. He maintained it was for political reasons which would benefit the city and a man’s career.
Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Doug Warner prosecuted this case.