Grant Woods’ private investigator, Lee Rappelyea (at right with gray hair) leaving the Federal Courthouse in Tucson with a witness.  Rappelyea is a past president of the Arizona and Phoenix FOP lodges and is assisting in the prosecution of Border Patrol Agent Nick Corbett for the self-defense killing of an illegal alien.

LDF Defends Border Patrol Agent while Former FOP Official Aids in Prosecution

By Dale Norris, Executive Director
Arizona Police Association

A jury has failed to convict Border Patrol Agent Nick Corbett on any of the three charges brought by Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer.  Rheinheimer hired former Arizona AG Grant Woods to prosecute the agent, and Woods brought along his side kick Lee Rappelyea, past-president of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police and Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 2.

When examining the facts in this case, Border Patrol officials believed Agent Corbett was acting in self-defense and have taken no disciplinary action in this case.  Border Patrol agents frequently work alone in remote areas and must apprehend illegal border crossers who are entering the country for many reasons.  Many are wanted criminals, human smugglers and drug mules, and while some may be coming for economic reasons, that does not mean they are not desperate and dangerous.

The Fraternal Order of Police has been silent on its former official’s participation in this shameless prosecution.  We all have the right to make a living following our careers as peace officers; however, being a mercenary in this war on a law officer forced to make a split-second decision while confronted by numerous suspects and alone in a remote area is not in any way on the best interest of the profession.

According to the website for Border Patrol agents in the Tucson area, Woods made outrageous remarks during closing arguments.  The site reports Woods stated “”officers on the street carry what’s called a throw-down gun’ so they can shoot innocent people and get away with it.” He then went a step further and said “Border Patrol doesn’t need that, they just need a rock.“” (  If true, how could any former or current officer support such derogation of our honor and integrity?

Rheinheimer and Woods have promised to continue this assault on Agent Corbett.  Hopefully, both men will come to their senses and abandon this persecution, but if not, Rappelyea needs to step away from this case and denounce the prosecution and the seditious comments about “throw down guns.”  Anything less is traitorous to the profession.

Article written by/or information provided by tcamos

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