Bend Police are investigating a Redmond reserve police officer who allegedly hit a man with the handle of a hatchet on Thursday.
Bend Police spokesman Lt. Chris Carney confirmed that Brian Alvarez, a reserve police officer with the Redmond Police Department, is under investigation after police were dispatched to the Lava Lanes Bowling Center at 4 p.m. Thursday on reports of an assault in progress outside the bowling alley.
Redmond Police Capt. Brian McNaughton declined to comment on the incident, but confirmed that a reserve officer is the subject of an internal investigation by Redmond Police and a criminal investigation by Bend Police. Redmond Police spokesman Lt. Keith Knight also declined to comment.
Alvarez could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Lava Lanes owner Les Mombert, who was at the scene, said he didn't want to reveal too much information because of the ongoing investigation. But he feels the focus is on the wrong man.
“There's too much concentration on (Alvarez) being an off-duty police officer when (Michael Irby) caused all the problems,” Mombert said.
Mombert said Irby was asked to leave the bowling alley after he threatened employees and was causing a disturbance.
A video captured outside the bowling alley by witness Traci Platiro shows two men in a verbal argument about trespassing while a third man attempts to defuse the situation. One man, reportedly Michael Coleman Irby, asks the other man, reportedly Brian Alvarez, to show his badge after he identifies himself as an off-duty police officer. In the video, Alvarez says Irby is trespassing and needs to leave the property. Irby refuses and continues to ask for Alvarez's badge, saying he would leave if a police officer asks him to leave.
Irby repeatedly walks toward Alvarez, keeping his hand by his right side. Alvarez shoves Irby toward the street. When Irby does not leave, Alvarez reaches toward Irby and pulls a hatchet from Irby's waistband. Irby continues to yell at Alvarez, and the two push each other multiple times. Alvarez then strikes Irby with the handle of the hatchet. The two continue to argue, and Alvarez hits Irby again. During the video, a man who appears to be on the phone with police dispatch tells Alvarez to disengage, and Alvarez does not hit Irby again.
Police officers arrived shortly after the second strike and the incident concluded, Platiro said. Neither Alvarez nor Irby was arrested at the scene.
“I guess it was shocking,” Platiro said. “I don't know if I've ever seen something that violent.”
Carney said his office has obtained video of the incident and is following up on that information.
Bend Police arrested Irby for harassment and criminal mischief the following day, although it is unclear whether the arrest is related to the bowling alley incident.
He was released from the Deschutes County jail Tuesday.
Carney said Bend Police are working the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office on the case. The police reports from the incident have not been filed.