The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an assault call to PJ’s Restaurant and Casino on May 20, as its suspect is Ashlie Nystrom, wife of recently retired Havre Chief of Police Jerry Nystrom.
Interim Police Chief Gabe Matosich said Blaine County officials were investigating the incident to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Details of the incident were sketchy, and information has been difficult to come by.
Matosich was out of town for training last week.
When he returned, he said that there was an incident at PJ’s on May 20, but he didn’t want to add anything more that might “jeopardize the sheriff’s investigation.”
Blaine County Sheriff Glenn Huestis was out of town this week for the 2011 Joint Law Enforcement Training and Convention in Big Sky.
PJ's employees declined comment.
The Havre Daily News filed a Freedom Of Information request with Havre officials for the initial offense report, which is usually handed out to reporters. The newspaper also provided a legal advice from Mike Meloy, an attorney for the Montana Newspaper Association's Freedom Of Information project, stating that the information should be available to the public.
After initially balking, Matosich provided a redacted, or blacked out, copy of the report this morning
It read: “On 05-20-11 at 0120 (1:20 a.m.), Officers were dispatched to PJ’s lounge. The caller reports that a patron was assault. Officer spoke to and recorded several witness statements. Investigation continues.” This is the entirety of the officer’s narrative.
That narrative is preceded by two pages that provide information about Ashlie Nystrom and the location of the offense, and list the offense as disorderly conduct. The rest of the report is a list of two participants and three witnesses with no more than ages and genders listed, and a redacted evidence list.
Ashlie Nystrom’s former employers at the District IV Human Resources Development Council refused to comment, beyond the fact that she had worked as a victim witness advocate for their Domestic Abuse program and had left that position.
Matosich said that the Nystroms had left town after Jerry Nystrom’s resignation and the May 20 incident. The newspaper had earlier reported that the Nystroms were planning to move to Oklahoma.