Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for August 15th, 2007

Ethical Lapse by Chief Kirkpatrick?

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 15, 2007

(Update — September 10, 2007 — The website for Mike Worley’s business, Police Practices Consulting, was changed on September 5, 2007 . The “testimonial” page was removed and replaced with a client’s page. Chief Kirkpatrick’s testimonial was removed and replaced with a red dot representing the $8,800 tax-payer financed report contracted with Worley and his company by Spokane Mayor Hession. Under the column labeled DISPOSITION, it reads “settled”. Does that mean that the portion of Worley’s report dealing with the Otto Zehm killing has been revisited by Worley and completed. According to the October 26, 2006 edition of the Spokesman-Review, Worley’s report summary states, “A subsequent report will be released addressing the Zehm case when all investigative materials have been completed and reviewed.” In the Zehm case, a Spokane Police officer was the lead investigator of his seven Spokane Police colleagues. Worley recommended that practice end and that an outside agency always have the lead in such investigations.)

Is it ethically acceptable for Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick to provide a testimonial on the business website of police consultant Mike Worley?

Worley — Kirkpatrick testimonial

I doubt that Mayor Hession expected the Chief to do such a thing when he hired Worley and his consulting firm, Police Practices Consulting LLC, in July 2006 to review the SPD/Firehouse sex photo scandal, the Otto Zehm homicide, and the Civilian Advisory Commission.

And I am sure the public will consider it highly questionable.

Worley promotes himself as a national expert on police matters and conducts “independent reviews” for police departments, attorneys and journalists.

In October 2006–in the wake of years of scandal and controversy surrounding the conduct of Spokane police officers and administrators–Worley submitted his report on the Spokane Police Department. Subsequently, scandal has continued with further killings of citizens by Spokane Police officers, acts of brutality against citizens practicing free speech and civil liberties, officer misconduct on and off the job, and the recent botched tasering of a suicidal man who jumped to his death from the Monroe Street Bridge.

According to Worley’s report, “A subsequent report will be released addressing the Zehm case when all investigative materials have been completed and reviewed.”

As of today, to my knowledge, that subsequent report by Worley is still pending. Is Worley still under contract to the city of Spokane?

In either case, what is Chief Kirkpatrick doing scratching Worley’s back with her testimonial on his website?

Quoting the Worley’s Police Practices Consulting, LLC, website:

“[Mike Worley’s] review, I think, has been thorough, it has been independent, it has been complete, and it has been fair.”
— Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane Police Department

As a matter of fact, Worley’s review is NOT complete. He stated that he would not proceed to investigate the Otto Zehm matter until the FBI investigation and other investigations of the matter were completed and that a subsequent report would be forthcoming following the closure of those investigations.

Will Worley be able to be thorough, independent, complete, fair, ethical and honest after Chief Kirkpatrick has lent herself and her obligation to the people of Spokane to promoting Mr. Worley’s business interest?

Another curious twist is that Spokane seems headed towards a Boise-type police oversight system involving an Ombudsman and staff. Interestingly, Worley worked 32 years for the Boise PD, including as head of internal investigations and of criminal investigations, and was there when the Boise Ombudsman system was developed.

Mike Worley, of course, is part of the Thin Blue Line. Like Chief Kirkpatrick, he too was a chief, for two years in Meridian, Idaho.

And now he’s down in Blue Grass country, Louisville, Kentucky with his consulting business. Meanwhile Chief Kirkpatrick came out of Memphis, the home of the Blues. Law enforcement is a tight group and everywhere you look in this one it just all keeps coming up blue.

This entire proposition requires a whole lot more trust than the Chief or any employee of the Spokane Police Department deserves.

So one has to ask: Has the pending Worley report on the Zehm debacle been suspended indefinitely or canceled permanently? Will Worley essentially become an informal consultant to the Chief regarding how to manage a meddlesome, independent Ombudsman, if that is the model Spokane adopts?

Clearly as far as the Spokane Police Department, the Prosecutor’s Office and City Hall go, Otto Zehm is dead. Dead and buried and never to be exhumed. Case closed.

However, that is not the desire of the people of Spokane who intend to commemorate his death next year with the type of protest and commemoration which he has not received to date.

In any civilized city in the country, no, in the world, a wall of flowers, candles, and sympathy cards would have lined the street where he was beaten, tasered, hog-tied, suffocated, and killed by Spokane’s finest on March 18, 2004.

We owe it to Otto Zehm and the list of those killed by the SPD under questionable circumstances and those criminally killed by the SPD to demand the following:

1) A clear conclusion to the Otto Zehm investigation and all reports and analysis of that matter;

2) The implementation of a legitimate and independent police oversight mechanism and NOT the current moribund and fraudulent Citizens Advisory Commission;

3) An end to investigations of the Spokane Police Department by the Spokane Sheriff’s Office; and

4) Independent investigation, prosecutions, autopsies and inquests in all cases of killings by Spokane Police personnel or misconduct by Spokane Police personnel where it is determined appropriate by a legitimate independent oversight mechanism.

And with that, we return to where we started:

Is it ethically acceptable for Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick to provide a testimonial on the website of Police Consultant Mike Worley’s business?

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Posted in Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Urgent call from U.S. Comptroller General

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 15, 2007

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

The Financial Times

By Jeremy Grant in Washington

August 14 2007

The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.

While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”.

“I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on.

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

“With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”.

“Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.”

Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring.

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.

www.ft.com

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http://www.gao.gov/cghome/d071188cg.pdf

[excerpt] America is a great nation, probably the greatest in history. But if we want to keep America great, we have to recognize reality and make needed changes. As I mentioned earlier, there are striking similarities between America’s current situation and that of another great power from the past: Rome. The Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years, but only about half that time as a republic. The Roman Republic fell for many reasons, but three reasons are worth remembering: declining moral values and political civility at home, an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government. Sound familiar? In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time. [end excerpt]

Posted in Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

“Irreparable Damage” — Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 15, 2007

A very frequently cited case and one of substantial significance and precedence in regard to disclosure of public records by a public agency is the matter of Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board.

The link highlighted below leads to the full Supreme Court decision on the matter. In addition, I have included the following brief excerpt by way of explaining the context. And finally, I conclude with a quote from the Spokane City Prosecutor on the “irreparable” nature of the damage to the Spokane Police Guild and Spokane Police Department.

In the end, the court sided with the public’s right to know over any broad claim by government to non-disclosure based on a claim to protection of personal privacy of the officials involved.

12 Wn.2d 30, POLICE GUILD v. LIQUOR CONTROL BD.

CITE: 112 Wn.2d 30, 769 P.2d 283

POLICE GUILD v. LIQUOR CONTROL BD.

CAUSE NUMBER: 55432-3

FILE DATE: February 16, 1989

CASE TITLE: Spokane Police Guild, et al, Appellants, v.
The Liquor Control Board, et al, Respondents, The
City of Spokane, Appellant.

FACTS OF CASE

This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court for Spokane County wherein the court declined to enjoin the Washington State Liquor Control Board from releasing an investigative report to the public and news media. We affirm.

On or about March 19, 1986, a party was held on the Spokane Police Guild Club premises. These were premises licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (Liquor Board). The party has been variously referred to as a bachelor party, stag show and strip show. The party was, in any event, given for a prospective bridegroom by his brother. A dancer performed at the party in a manner which, as it was subsequently determined, violated Liquor Board regulations. Forty or more people were in attendance. Following an investigation by an investigator for the Liquor Board, the club’s liquor license was suspended for 21 days.

A reporter for the Spokesman Review and Spokane Chronicle newspapers requested a copy of the Liquor Board’s investigative report. The Liquor Board ultimately determined that it would release its full report on the incident. This suit was thereupon commenced by the Spokane Police Guild to enjoin the release of the records. The publisher of the newspapers, Cowles Publishing Company, and the City of Spokane were permitted to intervene in the suit.

Following consideration of affidavits, briefs and arguments, and after reviewing the investigative report in camera, the trial court filed its memorandum decision stating in part as follows:

“Nothing this court can do will ever erase the fact that this regrettable incident occurred. And probably nothing the news media can do from here on out will really be considered a benefit to this community. But it seems obvious to this court that the full story must be made public, including the names of persons involved.

The trial court then entered an order denying the injunction and ordering that a complete and unedited copy of the investigative report be disclosed. An appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals and the trial court stayed disclosure pending appeal. The Court of Appeals, in turn, certified the appeal to this court and we accepted review.

The appeal presents one primary issue.

ISSUE

Should the Liquor Board’s report of its investigation of liquor law violations at a party held on the premises of one of its licensees be exempt from disclosure under the state freedom of information act?

DECISION

CONCLUSION. We hold that the trial court properly concluded that the records in question were not exempt from disclosure and that a complete and unedited copy of the Liquor Board’s report should be made available to the public and news media.

This suit was brought under the state freedom of information act, RCW 42.17.250.340 (the act). The parties concede that the Liquor Board’s investigative report of the event in question is a public record.

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http://www.mrsc.org/mc/courts/supreme/112wn2d/112wn2d0030.htm

(quote from Supreme Court decision) By affidavit, the City Attorney stated that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.” (end quote)

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »