FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – John Gonzales has been waiting for the letter from the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office for two months. When it finally came in the mail Thursday morning, it did not have the news he had hoped.
“I’ve personally reviewed the case of Derrick Westfield and determined no charges will be filed,” Gonzales read from the letter signed by prosecutor Karen Richards.
The Gonzales family was shocked and disappointed. In a media release sent out Friday, Richards said “Due to the degree of discrepancy in all of the witness statements obtained, there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.” No one from the prosecutor’s office was available for comment.
Friday the Gonzales family sat down for exclusive interviews with 15 Finds Out investigator Alyssa Ivanson. While Richards cites a “he said, she said” scenario for why she isn’t filing charges, they said that’s not enough to discredit what they said Westfield did in the early morning hours of November 5, 2017.
“As a high ranking officer, you’re held to a higher standard. He stopped outside our house. He got out of the car and confronted them on my driveway. He could easily have drove away. He could have contacted us through dispatch. There’s a lot of options he could have done,” Gonzales said.
The incident started in the roundabout at Union Chapel and Auburn Roads. Adrian Lowe, 18, and his 17-year-old cousin were driving home from work.
Lowe said Westfield cut them off in the roundabout and he flashed his lights at Westfield. In the police report, Westfield said he “brake-checked” the teens. The teens told 15 Finds Out Westfield came to a complete stop in the middle of Auburn Road. The teens drove around him and then Westfield continued behind them. They both turned into the Falcon Creek addition. Westfield said he also lives in that addition.
The boys continued to their home and parked in the driveway. When they got out of their car, they said Westfield stopped in front of the house.
“The passenger rolled down her window and I was like, ‘Okay. Why did you cut us off?’ She said excuse me and before I knew it, I heard the car door slam and [Westfield] walked around and pushed my cousin,” Lowe said.
Westfield’s statements in the police report said Lowe was being aggressive toward him and he was trying to hold him back, when the other teen punched him.
“He started getting in my face saying, ‘Do something. Do something. Do something. I was scared for my life because I didn’t know what he was going to do,” Lowe said. “He shoved me and I saw my cousin punch him in the head because he was scared for us. He then threw [my cousin] into my car hard enough to leave a big dent and then pulled him into the street and put him in a headlock and arching his back and chocking him. I went over to him and heard my cousin saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.'”
Watch Adrian Lowe’s entire account of what happened:
Lowe ran inside to get his Uncle John, who came outside to find his son under Westfield in the street.
“The fear in his eyes and the blood running down his face, it was total shock. Any parent wouldn’t want to see their kid like that,” Gonzales said.
Lowe said Westfield did not identify himself as a police officer until after Gonzales identified himself as a police officer.
“I was surprised to find out he was an officer,” Lowe said. “They usually identify themselves as a police officer before they make contact with anyone. This was more like a straight on fight. The police report said it was wrestling, but it was fighting.”
The 17-year-old had a bloody nose and was bleeding from his ear and back of his head, his family said. He also now has a scar on his cheek from the fight.
15 Finds Out asked Gonzales if he thought Westfield’s behavior was appropriate for an off-duty officer and he simply replied, “No.”
15 Finds Out also requested an interview with Chief Steve Reed Friday and was told he is still reviewing the department’s internal affairs investigation. Westfield has been performing his normal job duties during that investigation.
“What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Just do the right thing, that’s all I’m asking,” Gonzales said.
15 Finds Out also submitted a request to interview Westfield. That request has not been answered as of Friday evening.
The Gonzales family said they are still looking into pursuing other legal action. Both Lowe and the 17-year-old had aspirations to become police officers, and said this incident has not changed that.
“There are a lot of good officers out there willing to put their life on the line and some bad apples can make the department look bad,” Gonzales said.
Now, they’re trying to move on as a family.
“Looking to each other for help and the rest of the community to see us through this,” he said.
Gonzales’ wife, Wendy, wrote a letter to Karen Richards in response to the decision to not file charges against Westfield. Read that letter below:
Dear Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards,
I am writing to you today as a woman and a mother. My children were born into respecting authority and having special connections with police departments. We are a law enforcement family and have been connected for over 20 years to the police departments in Fort Wayne. My son dreams of Federal Law enforcement and has planned his college life to pursue this dream.
Amazingly, this has not changed for him. He now clings to his dream even harder after witnessing corruption and conspiracy that was the outcome of the governmental agencies who are protecting our community. He now plans to find ways to eradicate these ways of political back scratching that defines our society today.
As a Mother. This is the only way I can describe the events that took place during the middle of the night that changed my child’s life. After working an extremely long shift at his part-time job, my son was coming home. He works weekends due to a love of football and concentrating on keeping his grades where they should be. His best cousin was driving him home that night as my child does not drive and is completing his driver’s education. Imagine being young teens and a driver purposely stops his vehicle on a dark street and forces you to go around this vehicle. All you can think about is coming home. Now this truck is following you down your street home. Now this man is in front of your home, the safest and most protected place you know.
As a mother, I was not able to protect my child as he was pushed against a car. As a mother I was not able to protect my child as grown man swung at his beautiful face and threw his glasses into the cold grass. As a mother, I was not able to protect my child as a grown man purposely dragged him into the street. As a mother, I was not able to protect my child as this man, using illegal techniques, forced his knee onto my son’s spine and pinned him onto the cold-hard asphalt of the street where he grew up. At the same time, I was not able to protect my child as this man placed his arm across the neck of my son and continued to remove the only thing needed to live, his breath.
As a mother, I am asking what actions would a woman of your power and influence have done to protect those precious to her.
Now as a woman of power and influence you have chosen to do nothing. This predator of women and children continues to live his life unchanged, reaping the benefits of his actions against the ones we have vowed to protect.
Now my son lives with nightmare of being suffocated and battered in his home.