Agency leader changed ruling in trooper case

A former top official of the Alaska State Troopers reversed a finding in a 2005 investigation of the conduct of trooper Mike Wooten, the former brother-in-law of Gov. Sarah Palin, a step that's unprecedented, according to the head of the trooper's union.

John Cyr, executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, said former Alaska State Trooper Col. Julia Grimes punished Wooten, who has a rocky relationship with the Palin family, for drinking beer before and while operating a marked patrol car even though there was no "just cause" to do so.

An earlier internal investigation done in 2005 by Sgt. Ronald Wall, who is now a lieutenant, found that those claims were unsubstantiated.

Cyr said it was the first and only time he'd seen the findings of an internal investigation in a trooper's conduct revised by a top agency official.

"It's totally outside the expected norm," Cyr said.

Cyr said when he asked Grimes why she had reversed the agency's own findings, she said: "Are you going to call Sarah Palin a liar?"

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