Saline County prosecutor blasts Marshall, Missouri police for false statements

Carl Clayton Roettgen

SALINE COUNTY, MO (KCTV) – The prosecuting attorney for Saline County dismissed three felony charges against a Missouri man who was accused of attempting to kill a Marshall police officer in 2015.

The attorney said he found video proof didn’t match up with written statements by officers.

Carl Clayton Roettgen appeared in court Monday where he entered a guilty plea to the class D felony of resisting a lawful arrest or detention by flying. Roettgen was sentenced to four years in prison.

Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Donald G. Stouffer dismissed the charges of first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Stouffer said he began to prepare for the Aug. 23 trial in early July.

“As I reviewed surveillance video, I noticed that the video was not consistent with the written statements of the two Marshall Police Department officers on scene,” Stouffer wrote in a release.

One officer’s statement said he had reached into Roettgen’s vehicle to put it into park. He looked up and saw Roettgen point a semi-automatic handgun within an inch of his face before hearing a click. A second officer’s statement also mentioned Roettgen having a handgun. The gun allegedly didn’t fire.

“After hours spent examining the video, trying to reconcile the video with the two officers’ statements, and consulting with staff, I reached the difficult conclusion that no reasonable juror could find the officers’ accounts credible,” Stouffer wrote.

Stouffer said he met with a police department commanding officer who told him the statements were “questionable at best.”

According to Stouffer, the commanding officer told him that as recently as six weeks ago, the second officer told command staff he did not see anything. When the second officer was reminded that he signed a statement saying he saw a gun, the officer said he must have seen a gun then.

“Remarkably, the command officer who met with me said that no disciplinary action was taken because of a desire not to affect the outcome of the criminal case,” Stouffer wrote.

Roettgen and a woman were taken into custody in May 2015 in Gulf Shores, AL. They had eluded authorities for nearly two weeks after the incident.

In a scathing statement directed at the Marshall Police Department, Stouffer said he will not file any future case in which either of the two officers is involved.

“For the first time in my 28 years of service in the Prosecutor’s office, I dismissed criminal charges because I concluded the testimony of the primary law enforcement witness lacked credibility. Today I am writing the Marshall Police Department Chief to inform the Department that this office will not file any case in the future in which either officer plays a significant role. It is inconceivable that there is an apparent believe among some members of the command staff that the outcome of a criminal case is more important than taking action to prevent Marshall police officers from presenting testimony, under oath, that is ‘questionable at best’ and suborning perjury at worst.”

Stouffer says he and his staff will go back and look at previous cases to see if either officer was a key witness in them and they may revisit them with the help of outside agencies.

“I am proud of my record of support for local law enforcement officers. I am proud that those officers work closely with me and my staff every day to investigate crimes and prosecute offenders. I am acutely aware of the dangers and difficulties officers face to protect us. Honest officers are the best of us, performing an often thankless task. The conduct of these two officers, and the apparent willingness of some members of the command staff to look the other way will cause irreparable damage to every honest cop in Saline County,” he wrote.

Stouffer added that dozens of other officers from various agencies and states were called in to help with the following manhunt. They too were victimized by the false statements.