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TPD detective fired over massage parlor visit speaks out

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 21:42:28-04
A former Tucson Police detective fired for his connection to an illegal massage business says the public only heard half the story.
 
Martin Walker was one of five police employees fired in July 2015 after an internal affairs investigation revealed that they had been customers at illegal massage parlors. But walker says he never did anything illegal and he does not believe he should have been fired.
 
Walker spent 13 years in law enforcement, the last decade at Tucson Police. In April 2015, he was called into the internal affairs office. 
 
"That was when I first became aware of the extent of the massage that I had received," he said.
 
Walker says he was advised by his attorneys to not talk to media. 
 
"I've kind of been standing by for the last year as I watch half-truths and only bits and pieces of the story be reported," he said. 
 
In September 2014, Walker says he went on Backpage looking for a legitimate, non-sexual massage. He responded to an ad for a $40 massage through a business called "By Spanish."
 
A copy of one of the internal reports in the investigation shows the ad verbatim. At the end, the ad states "This is not a sexual massage so please don't ask. That means no VIP sorry."
 
"Their were two very distinct and very different advertisements that this business utilized," said Walker. "I think the evidence clearly shows that I was definitely looking for the more legitimate service."
 
Walker admits that there were several red flags during the massage, red flags that he did not report to the department.      
 
"I was obviously wrong," he said. "It was a poor decision had I had better knowledge of the extent to which this business was operating, I think I would have had no choice absolutely, it was something that should have been reported."
 
Walker says his chain of command saw his lack of reporting those red flags as the ultimate violation. But internal police documents show that four out of six members in his chain of command only recommended Walker receive a suspension, not termination.
 
The two who did recommend termination were the deputy chief and former Chief Roberto Villasenor. 
 
"My personal opinion is that right now...nationwide there's a fairly anti-cop sentiment and there's something politically to be gained by somebody quote 'cleaning up their department,'" he said.
 
During the investigation, the department reported that Walker failed a polygraph test. Walker says he chose to seek a second, independent polygraph test. The results showed that he told the truth.
 
But Walker says the department wouldn't allow that second polygraph test to become evidence in the investigation because they said they didn't have time to substantiate the test along with other points he had written in a letter. 
 
"I think that the desired outcome of this entire investigation was reached long before the investigation was done," said Walker.
 
He said he he knows people may not believe him, but he hopes by sharing his story, he can reach the people who never got to hear his side. 
 
"I'm sure when they saw my picture on the news [they] were in shock," said Walker. "And maybe some of them haven't reached out to me out of respect or fear that they might offend me and those are the people that I would like to adamantly tell, I did not do this." 
 
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9OYS reached out to Tucson Police for comment on this story but did not receive a response after several days. 
 
Walker originally reached out to KGUN9 by writing a letter detailing his experience. To read that letter in its entirety, click here.