Joey Hoadley expected officers to protect him in FBI probe. Many testified against him

Darin Oswald/doswald@idahostatesman.com

When fired Caldwell Lt. Joey Hoadley faced a federal probe related to allegations of witness tampering, evidence destruction and excessive use of force, he expected the Caldwell Police Department to take care of him.

“The walls of this place say, ‘Take care of us,’ (but) we truly feel left behind,” Hoadley wrote in an email to then-Caldwell Police Capt. Devin Riley in August 2021. “Please do something to take care of ‘us.’ This is my last request.” Riley retired in the spring.

Hoadley was referencing one of the former core values of the Caldwell Police Department: “Take Care of Us.” But since Hoadley’s removal from the department and the appointment of Caldwell Police Chief Rex Ingram, that value has been removed — literally. Ingram pried off any signs displayed around the department that referenced that value along with another: Address the Evil.

The newly hired chief left only one of the values: Take Care of Our Community.

Ingram told the Idaho Statesman that while he agreed with the concept of each value, he believed the “take care of us” value had been corrupted. He said he opposed the message it had sent to officers — “covering up for other people.”

“We don’t need to say we are taking care of us. I am taking care of my people, and I’m showing them,” Ingram told the Statesman by phone. Ingram is in the process of taking community and staff feedback to replace the old values.

Ingram, a former lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department, took over the department during a precarious time as the FBI began an investigation into Hoadley and a now-resigned Caldwell police sergeant. The FBI notified then-Chief Frank Wyant about the probe in June 2021, and officials have confirmed that the investigation is “active” and “ongoing.”

Ingram said he took down the “Address the Evil” value because he felt like it implied that everyone is evil.

“I don’t believe that society is evil,” Ingram said. “I think that there are evil people in society.”

After a six-day trial, Hoadley was convicted of three of the four counts against him: destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation; tampering with a witness by harassment; and tampering with documents. He was acquitted of the charge that involved the allegation that he struck a Caldwell man while arresting him in 2017 — a focal point of the FBI’s investigation.

A 14-person jury, two of the jurors were alternates, listened as over a dozen witnesses — most were current and former Caldwell officers — were called throughout the trial.

“I think that it’s kind of bittersweet for the people that testified because it’s the culmination of two years of living through this every day — this horror show,” Ingram said, referring to the officers who testified. “That was their day in court to really get it off their chest and be able to tell the world what they’ve been keeping in since the onset of the investigation. So they might feel vindicated, but they definitely are extremely traumatized over everything.”

Caldwell officers testify against Hoadley

Caldwell Police Detective Joseph Cardwell was the first witness to testify. In 2016, Cardwell attended a Northwest Gang Investigators Association conference in Spokane, Washington, with Hoadley and other officers. He testified that during the trip, Hoadley showed Cardwell a video of Hoadley punching a detained man “right in the face.”

It wasn’t until 2020 that Cardwell reported the incident to the FBI. During testimony, he became emotional and said he didn’t feel like he could tell his superiors, testifying that Hoadley was friends with high-ranking officials for both the city of Caldwell and Canyon County.

“Has this been hard?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Horwitz asked Cardwell during the testimony as he visibly began to choke up.

“It’s been super hard on my family and me,” Cardwell responded, holding back tears.

“I’m so proud of the fact that we had officers that went to the FBI, that trusted the federal government to come in and conduct an independent, unbiased, objective investigation into the misconduct — and for that I’m forever grateful,” Ingram told reporters during a Sept. 26 press conference following the verdict.

Former Caldwell Sgt. Joshua Gregory also took the stand. He left the department in September 2021. During his testimony, Gregory almost immediately became emotional as Horwitz asked him questions.

“Did you enjoy being a police officer?” Horwitz asked.

“Very much,” Gregory tearfully responded. After a small pause, he clarified: “I apologize. Yes, I enjoyed being a police officer.”

During the 2016 conference, which Gregory also attended, Cardwell approached him and told him about the video. He went to the FBI with Cardwell in 2020.

Hoadley rebutted these claims during his four-hour testimony. He testified that the FBI’s investigation, and subsequent reactions from his colleagues, negatively affected his work.

“The FBI has gone to extreme lengths to destroy our character, and if nothing is done by the police department, the city of Caldwell, (human resources) or the city attorney (to) put an end to this bogus investigation, I will take a drive over there and put a stop to it myself,” Hoadley wrote in an email he sent to Riley in August 2021, which was obtained by the FBI.

In Hoadley’s testimony, he said he sent the email because he wanted to get answers regarding the FBI investigation and had information on other officers that he felt the FBI should “actually be investigating.”

“I’m not above making some serious waves and giving them some things to truly investigate,” Hoadley said.