Yakima PD fires detective for misconduct in double-murder case

Yakima PD fires detective for misconduct in double-murder case »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- KIMA is learning more about the firing of a Yakima police detective. He's accused of giving away secrets in a double murder investigation. But, the police union says YPD took it a step too far. KIMA got both sides.

The findings of a months-long investigation left YPD Detective Geoff Gronewald out of a job. His behavior didn't sit well with the Chief.

"Physically, I had a knot in my stomach," said Chief Dominic Rizzi. "It physically affected me."

The detective was put on leave back in February. He was accused of sharing information in an active case with an outsider. An internal police report says Gronewald sent hundreds of texts about the Yakima Canyon double murder to his girlfriend, Shannon Rosales. She once dated one of the murder victims.

YPD believes Gronewald never disclosed that murder victim's involvement in a second case, as an informant, and tried to hide his texts with him before he was killed.

"Detective Gronewald, he crossed that line and he violated the trust," said Rizzi.

The Chief called Gronewald's actions a "betrayal" of his fellow officers and could put the double murder case at risk.

"It puts the prosecutor in a very awkward position, that there is potential damage that could be done to the criminal case," said Rizzi.

But, in talking to the head of Yakima's police union, Chairman Tony Patlan says the firing was uncalled for.

"He did need to be punished for some of it, but not as far as...but, not termination."

Patlan felt a suspension was more warranted.

"He just gave out of a couple of pieces of information, which he freely admitted to, which actually got him the information they needed to further the case with a warrant."

But Chief Rizzi says that's not how YPD does business. At least, not on his watch.

"We need to be held to a very high ethical and moral standard."

A standard he said has has led to several internal investigations and resignations since he took the reins two years ago.

But, the firing of a police detective. Well, that was a first.

KIMA could not locate a phone number for Gronewald, so we weren't able to get his side. Patlan says the union and its attorneys plans to take a second look at the investigation, on Gronewald's behalf. They want to make sure Gronewald's rights were protected and that the case was fully investigated.

Patlan told KIMA that, despite what happened, Gronewald still wants to be a police officer.