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Officials: Arizona trooper used highways to prey on women

Updated September 11, 2019 - 5:49 pm

PHOENIX — An Arizona state trooper used the Phoenix freeways as his personal hunting ground, falsifying records to cover up traffic stops of women he hoped to sexually exploit, authorities revealed in court documents released Wednesday.

Court officials released a probable-cause statement detailing allegations made by eight victims against Tremaine Jackson. Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. Kameron Lee said the agency terminated Jackson’s employment late Tuesday after his arrest. He was jailed on suspicion of 61 counts including sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

The Department of Public Safety said it began investigating Jackson, 43, last spring after receiving a misconduct complaint saying that he sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop.

Additional victims were discovered during the investigation. Jackson was placed on administrative leave in June, the agency said.

The probable-cause statement said data from a traffic-enforcement system indicated that Jackson was a “statistical anomaly” who pulled over more women than men between January 2018 and last June. He “did not fit the norm” for Department of Public Safety officers in the Phoenix area, who typically stop nearly two men for every woman, the statement said.

The statement also said Jackson used comments, body language and other means to place women “in positions of desperation and fear.” It said he used his authority as a peace officer to “further his predatory behavior and illegally detained women he found attractive.”

Most of the incidents cited in the charging documents took place between midnight and 4:30 a.m. on the city’s west side. While either driving a motorcycle or a patrol car, Jackson would pull over the victim and detain her for nearly two hours. He would frequently ask what she was “willing to do” to avoid arrest, according to the documents.

The reported misconduct ranged from forced touching to asking for cellphone numbers and nude pictures. In two cases, he is accused of grabbing a woman’s hand and putting it on his genitals. In December 2018, a woman said Jackson pressured her to agree to an oral sex act. He then followed her to a friend’s house, where she ran inside and locked the door.

Jackson also forced two victims to connect with him on the social media app Snapchat and later messaged them.

Department of Public Safety officials said they were dismayed by the allegations and said it is possible there are still additional victims. The investigation, which remains ongoing, also found that Jackson manipulated the department’s documentation system to conceal the length of the traffic stops and his location. He also claimed overtime during the hours the incidents took place.

“The Arizona Department of Public Safety deeply regrets the reprehensible acts perpetrated by Tremaine Jackson,” Col. Frank Milstead said. “Jackson broke all trust with the community and the department.”

Jackson appeared in court Wednesday and was ordered held pending posting bail of $150,000. Court records didn’t indicate whether he had a public defender who could comment on the allegations.

Associated Press writer Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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