A blogger critical of Phoenix police and an officer accused of feeding him material have been indicted on felony charges, the state Attorney General's Office said Thursday.
David Barnes, a former homicide detective and patrol officer who worked on the high-profile Baseline Killer case, is charged with one count of perjury and two counts of harassment. Blogger Jeffrey Pataky is charged with one count each of perjury and false swearing.
Barnes, who is on administrative leave, could not be reached for comment, while Pataky denied the allegations, calling them "absurd beyond belief."
An indictment handed up Tuesday and made public Thursday says the two lied about knowing each other. It also says Barnes repeatedly harassed Phoenix police officers Mike and Heather Polombo, who are married to each other, through an anonymous letter and e-mails.
Pataky said the indictment is in retaliation for his blog, called Bad Phoenix Cops, where authorities say some of Barnes' material was posted.
In the past, Pataky has posted about one officer's drunken driving arrest and another's arrest for investigation of sexual exploitation of a minor. He also has blogged about allegations of racism, corruption and ineptitude.
"Do you have some dirt on the Phoenix PD?" reads one of his blog posts. "Perhaps you have a voicemail or a recording you made of someone in management covering up, lying or trying to cover their ass? Then we want it!"
In May, Phoenix police raided Pataky's home, seizing computers, electronic records and storage devices. A warrant said Pataky was suspected of felony computer tampering and misdemeanor property theft, but none of those charges showed up on the indictment.
"They tried to go after me to silence a critic," Pataky said. "They didn't get that, so they're trying to bring up perjury. What's next, jaywalking?"
Phoenix police Detective James Holmes said late Thursday he had just learned about the indictment and didn't know much about it, but he denied Pataky's claim.
"We don't retaliate against people," Holmes said. "If there was an indictment handed down, it came down from the attorney general's office, which means there's some legitimacy to the charges."
Asked about whether Pataky's Web site is a thorn in the department's side, Holmes said: "Do you know how many Web sites are out there criticizing law enforcement? There have to be thousands. We don't operate based on what bloggers or Web sites say."