PAHRUMP — A Nye County sheriff’s detective has been placed on administrative leave after an investigation was opened into last week’s arrest of one of his superiors and a longtime sheriff’s volunteer accused of removing political signs from private property.
Det. David Boruchowitz, himself no stranger to controversy, was placed on leave Sunday by Sheriff Tony DeMeo, sources close to the investigation said Monday. DeMeo was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
The administrative probe comes after Boruchowitz’s involvement in the arrest of Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, who is looking to replace DeMeo in the November election, and longtime sheriff’s volunteer Ben Gulley.
Insiders say Boruchowtiz orchestrated Marshall and Gulley’s arrests. The detective declined comment Monday.
A sheriff’s lieutenant is leading the preliminary investigation. Findings will be turned over to the Nevada attorney general’s office for review. Search warrants have also been issued for Boruchowitz’s work phones.
Sheriff’s investigators arrested Marshall and Gulley on April 22 after receiving a report from Steven Lee, president of Citizens to Elect an Ethical Nye County Sheriff, a political action committee, that they stole and destroyed 40 to 50 of his political signs. The signs, which said “Anybody But Rick,” are part of a campaign to keep Marshall out of the sheriff’s seat.
Marshall, who declined comment Monday, previously asserted he did not break the law by removing signs from private property because he had permission from the property owner to do so.
Lee has said he was unaware that any property owners were upset about his signs being on their property.
After receiving the phone call from Lee, Boruchowitz reportedly called sheriff’s dispatchers seeking back-up. He was then joined by more than a half-dozen other deputies — some traveling at high rates of speed to assist their fellow officer. Marshall and Gulley were pulled over and arrested during a traffic stop, and some deputies drew their service weapons. Boruchowitz nor other deputies did not consult with with superiors before taking Marshall and Gulley into custody.
Boruchowitz is president of the Nye County Law Enforcement Association, a union that represents street-level deputies. A union official, who asked to be kept anonymous, said Monday that Boruchowitz was talking with union lawyers and crafting a statement about being placed on leave. A statement was not immediately made available.
Gulley was put on leave from his volunteer job but quit. He said Monday he is weighing his legal options and believes his arrest is part of a politically-motivated conspiracy.
Marshall was initially placed on leave but convinced DeMeo in a phone conversation that he should continue to lead the agency in the sheriff’s absence.
Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said he was turning reports and evidence detailing Marshall and Gulley’s arrests over to the attorney general’s office.
“I have made the determination that my close working relationship with the SO command on many issues including personnel matters, which usually involves Asst. Sheriff Marshall, creates a conflict that necessitates this case be reviewed by the Attorney General,” Kunzi said in an email. “There are many aspects of how this investigation was conducted that warrant a fair degree of scrutiny that have nothing to do with any criminal charges being brought against Asst. Sheriff Marshall or Mr. Gulley. There is far more to this case than just whether $250 worth of political signs were removed and determining who is responsible,” he wrote in an email.
Kunzi also noted that potentially conflicting statements about “why and how the arrests were executed is why additional inquiry may be necessary.”
Boruchowitz is a controversial figure in Nye County law enforcement. Once considered DeMeo’s pit bull, he has fallen out of favor with top brass ever since becoming union president in 2011. Since then, he has filed dozens upon dozens of grievances against superiors, claiming everything from sexual harassment of female deputies to arbitrary discipline decisions based on personal relationships.
The detective was arrested in May 2010 and charged with 20 felonies and five gross misdemeanors after a special prosecutor hired by Bob Beckett, then the county’s district attorney, found probable cause that the detective misused his position to target two sheriff’s candidates as well as Beckett. Beckett eventually left office after facing criminal charges as well.
Boruchowitz eventually sued the county in 2011 and again in 2012 for false arrest and other claims detailed in a still-pending federal civil lawsuit.
The detective was in the spotlight again as recently as August of last year following word he was under investigation for allegedly coercing a woman to file a false complaint with the Nye County School District against the wife of a public defender who works as a school occupational therapist. The district dropped the complaint after the witness signed an affidavit saying she made up the information at the request of the detective.
The state Public Safety Department’s division of investigations was brought in to investigate the claims. It reportedly issued a report to DeMeo earlier this year detailing its findings. DeMeo is currently weighing what, if any, actions he will take against the detective.