On the Schmuck of the Week beat, figuring out who's the schmuck turns out to be more of a challenge than it might seem at first blush.
The arrest of Fountain police officer Daniel Barkus on a stalking charge is a case in point. Based on the information that's surfaced thus far, it's difficult to tell if he did something wrong or if he's simply the victim of a big misunderstanding, albeit a high-profile one, due to his association with the reality TV series Prospectors and its sexy star, Amanda Adkins.
Aired by the Weather Channel, Prospectors is about gem hunting, with Adkins serving as one of the people in the spotlight. Here's her mini-bio from the show's website:
Amanda is a former model and full time miner with more than twenty years experience. Born and bred from West Virginia mining stock, Amanda learned at a young age how to mine by watching her father. By the age of 12, Amanda was making money off of her gem and mineral finds and after moving to Colorado she knew mining was her calling! Amanda credits her 70-year-old cousin Oakley Adkins for giving her a leg up on the competition by training her at a very young age on all the Colorado pegmatite-mining locales. Amanda can roll boulders with the best of them, and is just plain tough. In fact, she has survived eight cave-ins.
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In its account of the bust, the Colorado SpringsGazette says Barkus, a relatively recent addition to the Fountain PD (he previously worked as a cop in Fairplay), appears on the show. But the cameras weren't rolling earlier this week, when he was taken into custody.
What happened? The account offered by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office differs substantially from the one shared by Adkins, ID'd as Barkus's ex-girlfriend.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the EPCSO reportedly received a call about possible harassment against a thus-far unidentified man at an address outside Manitou Springs. A short time later, the deputy found Barkus nearby and booked him on suspicion of felony stalking.
Adkins, though, characterizes what went down in largely benign fashion. She told the Gazette that Barkus was visiting one of her mining claims when he encountered an employee of hers who was guarding it -- and the two of them got into an argument that she was able to squash shortly after her arrival.
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Indeed, Adkins thought the problem had been resolved -- and she's puzzled as to why Barkus was cuffed. She speculates that he was detained mainly because he's a policeman.
Of course, those of us who don't get to wear uniforms and badges generally think cops get out of trouble when they identify themselves to fellow law enforcers. So is it possible he was targeted due to his celebrity? Or did he actually cross the legal line?
Sounds like the makings of a good episode of Prospectors. Here's a larger look at Barkus's booking photo.