Aurora officer accused of tampering with evidence

ERIE - An Aurora Police officer has been placed on unpaid administrative leave after he was arrested for interfering with a case involving his teenage nephew.

Officer Matthew Ewert was arrested by Erie police on two counts of attempting to influence a public servant, one count of tampering with physical evidence and two counts of first degree official misconduct.

The charges stem from an incident involving Ewert's nephew and two other boys around the same age.

On July 1, Erie police responded to the area near the intersection of Perry Street and Huntley Creek Court for a report that a "juvenile pointed a handgun at another juvenile male after consuming narcotics."

According to an arrest affidavit, one of the boys "cocked the gun and pointed it at the victim as if he was going to shoot him." The victim ran home and reported the incident to his sister.

Police contacted the two other juveniles and searched the area but did not locate a gun.

The victim's sister gave investigators a 9mm bullet she says the suspect took out of the gun and handed to her brother. According to the affidavit, on July 5, a gun that used the same type of bullets was found at the home of Ewert's nephew. One round was missing.

The next day, officers returned to the home to take possession of the gun as evidence. The boy's grandfather told police he no longer had the gun and that his son-in-law, Matthew Ewert, who is an officer with the Aurora police department, had taken it to his home.

After obtaining a search warrant, investigators recovered the weapon from Officer Ewert's home. However, Ewert told detectives he had taken all the ammunition out of the weapon and dumped it in a bin containing his own, identical ammunition. A second search warrant was obtained to collect all of that ammunition.

According to the affidavit, detectives also learned that Officer Ewert was emailed the police report involving his nephew on July 3. According to the affidavit, Officer Ewert told the records technician, "he was conducting an investigation and needed the report."

The detective told the records technician that Officer Ewert was a family member of the suspect and should not receive any more reports.

On July 7, Officer Ewert sent an email to a different records technician requesting "the rest of the completed reports for this case."

That records technicians did not receive the email until returning from vacation on July 10. He sent Officer Ewert additional reports.

Aurora police say Officer Ewert will remain on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal case after which an internal investigation will be conducted.

As part of his bond conditions, Ewert is not allowed to posses a weapon or have any contact with the three juveniles involved in the case.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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