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Police review board member on paid leave after disorderly house citation

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | MARCH 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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An Iowa City Police Citizen’s Review Board member and community liaison has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly hosting a party that turned into a fight, though she still retains her position on the board.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said officers responded to a call around 11 p.m. March 26 at the Saddlebrook Clubhouse, 120 Paddock Blvd., for reports of a brawl involving 40 people.

Police said Royceann Porter, 45, 136 Appanoose Court, hosted the party for her 17-year-old daughter and reportedly “made no attempt to control the party” even after 150-200 people showed up.

“As you can see, this wasn’t a college kegger,” Brotherton said. “It goes to show that a party is not always just a party. We would hold a college student accountable for an out-of-control party, and we’ll do the same thing for adults.”

Brotherton said police located more than 100 people running around, screaming and hopping in cars.

Porter was charged with keeping a disorderly house, and online court records said she pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the simple misdemeanor. A bench trial is set for April 22.

Liz Mathis, the chief information officer for Four Oaks, the child-welfare and juvenile-justice organization at which Porter is employed, said she was placed on administrative leave when officials became aware of the situation.

Porter is also a member of the police board, which is responsible for reviewing reports of possible police misconduct.

City Clerk Marian Karr said there is nothing that would preclude Porter from continuing her service on the board at this time.

“At this point, I am not aware of any action being taken in light of that [incident],” Karr said.

The decision to remove a member is left up to the City Council, which can only remove a person for “just cause.”

Board member Peter Jochimsen said he was “surprised” by the charge but doubted it would affect Porter’s ability to serve on the board.

“She’s a nice lady; she knows her stuff,” Jochimsen said. “She was on the board when I joined, and she certainly represents her constituency, and I think does it very ably and well.”

The alleged incident resulted in smashed tables, a broken piano bench, shards of glass, and between one and three guns being displayed, according to the report.

Brotherton said one person was injured and received lacerations requiring staples and stitches.

“Significant resources had to be allocated to deal with [the party], and this isn’t the first time we’ve had a fight among some of these individuals,” Brotherton said, noting some of the partiers had been involved in similar altercations on Clearwater Court and the First Avenue Club. “It’s been very time-consuming for the department.”

Porter is the only person who has been charged in connection with the alleged incident, Brotherton said. She only has two prior traffic violations.

Police are still investigating the alleged assault, and reports of guns.

“This [disorderly house] charge applies in other areas too, and this is just one of those scenarios,” Brotherton said. “If you’re going to host a party, you need to be responsible, and obviously, this was not.”


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