Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

The People of Spokane vs. Law Enforcement Abuse, Impunity, Corruption, and Cover-up

Suicide by Cop? I’d have jumped too

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 28, 2007

After a botched attempt by the Spokane Police Department to taser him into submission, a suicidal Spokane man jumped to his death from Spokane’s Monroe Street Bridge mid-afternoon yesterday (7/27/07).

The situation on the Monroe Street Bridge reminds me of a scene from the 1992 version of The Last of the Mohicans starring American Indian Movement leader Dennis Means, Madeline Stowe, Daniel Day Lewis, and Wes Studi. In a scene late in the movie, the French-allied Huron Indian Magua is on a rampage of vengeance across the granite landscapes of the western frontier of the white colonies. He has taken as prisoner and presumed bride Alice, the youngest daughter of the British General Munro. At one point on a cliff trail while Magua’s party is in hot pursuit of Chingachgook, Uncas and Hawkeye, Alice steps to the edge of the cliff. Magua, demonstrating a frantic but fleeting moment of humanity, attempts to lure her back from the edge. Not surprisingly, she looks over her shoulder at the rocky abyss below and jumps to her death.

Faced yesterday with the Spokane Police Department’s homicidal history and deceptive tactics, a Spokane man, 28-year-old Josh Levy, chose to jump.

According to the Spokane Police, he had been on other bridges in the past and had threatened to jump. And he survived every time.

Faced with the Spokane Police Department, I would have jumped too.

Remember how on September 22, 2003, the Spokane Police shot 17-year-old Lewis and Clark student Sean Fitzpatrick in the face, arm, and torso rather than to wait him out or allow his father to intervene?

Who do these cops think they are?

As a social worker over more than 25 years I was disappointed — and said so publicly — when I heard recently that the Spokane Police had made a pact with our local county mental health agency to work more closely together in the field. As I read it, essentially someone has convinced Spokane mental health workers that they are at such risk that they should put the lives of the public and those mentally ill they pretend to help at risk by putting the trigger-happy, taser-trained Spokane Police Department in a position to assert its law enforcement “discretion” in determining when to stop mental health intervention and turn it over the gun-totters from the police.

Spokane Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick — lawyer, police officer, and public relations’ master that she is — managed to get a picture on the front page of the Spokesman-Review of herself “consoling” the victim’s family on the Monroe Street Bridge immediately after the incident.

The SPD and other law enforcement in Spokane are busy training themselves in the use of every possible type of weapon, crowd control device, and technique of submission one can imagine. These individuals in their periodic training on dealing with conflict and human nature always have one bottom line.

They are the law, they are the ones with the discretion, they are the ones who get to call it over when they decide it is over.

And so it is over for one more Spokane citizen who suffered the botched “rescue” efforts of the Spokane Police Department. For all the SPD’s police training, all their psychological profiles, all their “we know better because we are the police”, the outcome is still the same.

One more dead Spokane citizen.

I have one thing to say.

Get the *&$!# out of my face, officer!

The Chief said that they were offering this poor man the opportunity to save face.

Chief, it is time for you to save face.

Publicly confront the Spokane Police Guild. Put your career and credibility and your democratic credentials on the line for the people of Spokane.

It is time for you, Chief Kirkpatrick, to come out openly and unequivocally for immediate independent oversight of the Spokane Police Department in the form of a Boise-style Ombudsperson.

Furthermore, you should bring an immediate end to the practice of killings by your officers being investigated by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and vice versa.

We are sick and tired of being the victims of Spokane PD brutality, arrogance, and faulty judgment.

Either you are the Chief, Ann, or you are not. We are awaiting your choice.

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