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?
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?