Fisher: One or more charges likely in PPD investigation

Robert Smith

District Attorney Mike Fisher said Friday that he asked, around the first of the new year, for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to conduct an investiation into Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva and the Pawhuska Police Department.

Fisher added Tuesday morning that the investigation of Silva and the Pawhuska Police Department that began at the first of the year was ongoing and would likely continue for another week to 10 days. Fisher also said it was likely that one or more criminal charges might be presented this week to the Osage County district attorney’s office or the Washington County district attorney’s office.

Pawhuska City Manager Dave Neely said Friday that Silva had been placed on suspension with pay Thursday, Jan. 16, after city government received correspondence regarding the investigation.

Fisher clarified that the suspension decision was the city of Pawhuska’s to make. Fisher indicated he anticipated that he might have more to say this week. Fisher did not comment Friday on the exact cause or subject of the investigation.

The Journal-Capital also talked with Fisher last Friday about results of an apparently separate OSBI investigation into the circumstances of an arrest Dec. 4, 2019, by the Pawhuska Police Department, including Silva, of a suspect identified as William Copple. City officials and a plaintiff attorney confirmed to the newspaper that tort claims had been submitted to city government on behalf of William Copple and his mother, Lola.

Fisher said Friday that it was his understanding the OSBI investigation of the Copple case had been completed and resulting information had been passed along to the district attorney’s office, but he added that the office was still reviewing the information and no decision had been made about it.

Silva said in December that he welcomed an OSBI investigation of the Copple arrest, and that the Pawhuska P.D. had nothing to hide.

The Journal-Capital made a telephone call to Silva last Friday to seek comment about the investigation that led to his suspension Thursday, and did not hear back that day; however, the newspaper received a text message early Saturday from Silva’s phone number. The text message contained a link to a Tulsa Channel 8 news story regarding a young woman who was identified as a confidential informant. The young woman was quoted as saying Silva had not mishandled her during the course of her activity as an informant.