Bodycam is released when James Wren Gardiner died suddenly when doing a sobriety test
Late on May 20, James Wren Gardiner died after a traffic stop by Payson Police.
His family has raised a series of questions about the circumstance of his death, especially since the Payson Police Department has so far not issued a public notice of the death, nor has it released any official documentation.
Commander Joshua Haines of Payson explained there is an ongoing investigation, so details cannot be released. He did say the department needed to wait until the autopsy was complete before the investigation could move forward and the family’s questions answered.
“I spoke with Mrs. Gardiner on Friday, and we discussed the investigation as well as the autopsy results, and I had some of our staff help walk her through the public records request process and assist her with making plans for retrieving Mr. Gardiner’s property,” said Haines in an email on July 12.
The Roundup learned of Gardiner’s death on June 22 when his mother Lynda reached out via email for help.
“On May 20, 2023, our son passed away at a traffic stop in Payson, Arizona (approximately 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.). We have reached out (to detectives). We have many unanswered questions and suspicions regarding our son’s tragedy. We would like to inform you of our concerns regarding this case,” wrote Lynda.
The Roundup immediately requested the police report on the incident.
The Roundup renewed its request for information two weeks later.
Finally, on July 6, the department responded that “the request is unable to be fulfilled.”
The software generated email stated that although the Payson Police Department located the requested information, “we cannot release it at this time. Due to the changes in the case…”
Lynda plans to come to “Payson within the week” to meet with PPD to seek answers. She said the police have not offered a clear accounting of the incident – or the circumstances of her son’s death.
“Part of the family’s confusion in the case is that we did not have the autopsy results when we were initially in contact with them,” said Haines.
It’s a murky tale, with no statement after more than a month to clarify what happened.
The PPD now has an automatic record request system that requires users to directly input their request for information. The system then generates an email receipt with a time and date stamp.
From there, it takes prodding to find out what happened to the request.