Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

And they call this a choice?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 11, 2007

Following is a question that Spokane citizens have a right to ask and to answer. Remember, in theory, this is a democracy and as such we get to make certain decisions collectively. So……

Do you want the men that did this…

Trent Yohe, age 37, on life support equipment the day before he died

to investigate the men and woman that killed this man?

Otto Zehm (Spokesman-Review photo)

And vice versa?

This is what the law enforcement powers-that-be want the people of Spokane to passively accept.

Until recently, the Spokane Police would have been the lead agency in investigating its own malfeasance, police killing of citizens, etc.

But then, in their infinite wisdom, the Spokane Chief of Police and the Spokane County Sheriff agreed that their officers will play only a “support” role, rather than the lead role, in investigations of their respective agencies. So now a Spokane Sheriff deputy would be the lead investigator of a brutal killing by the Spokane Police such as that of Otto Zehm, while Spokane Police officers would only play a “support” role. And then, in an apparent bizarre effort to avoid giving any impression of conflict of interest, a Spokane Police officer would lead the investigation of Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies involved in a brutal killing of a citizen such as in case of Trent Yohe.

By the way, what is a “support” role? Would that be a role which reports back to the SPD Chief and Spokane County Sheriff or to Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker and Assistant Spokane City Prosecutor Rocky Treppiedi on the course of an investigation which might potentially result in the charging of a SPD officer or SCSO deputy with a felony crime?

Here are a few more details on the two brutal incidents.

May 12, 2007 — After 12 days in a coma, thirty-seven year old Trent Yohe died May 12, 2007. His death was ruled a homicide by Dr. John Howard of Spokane County medical examiner’s office. Yohe was tasered and then bound hand and foot by Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies on May 1, 2007. His death came after 12 days in a coma. No one has been charged. (Per standard procedure in Spokane County, the Spokane Police are investigating the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in this case. Typically, when a Spokane Police officer kills a citizen, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office handles the investigation. Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies also provide police coverage for the City of Spokane Valley.) Spokesman-Review Coverage of Trent Yohe death

March 18, 2006 — Seven Spokane Police officers participated in killing a mentally disabled janitor, Otto Zehm. His death has been listed as a homicide — heart failure due to suffocation while being restrained. Zehm was tasered, beaten, hog-tied, and suffocated by seven Spokane Police officers with the assistance of paramedic personnel.

Surveillance: All Zehm materials via KREM.com

Are the people of the Spokane area going to take a stand on this matter, recognizing that any one of them may be the next innocent person — as was Otto Zehm — to be set upon by and killed by Spokane Police?

Does it matter that your son or daughter might be the next confused and misguided young person attacked and tasered to death by Spokane County Sheriff deputies?

If your brother or best friend ends up in a crisis threatening suicide on the Monroe Street Bridge, will a mental health professional be the person attempting to help them or will it be the entire Spokane Police Department armed with tasers and AR-15s?

Anyone ever heard the words “good old boys’ club” or “Thin Blue Line”?

It is time to demand independent oversight of Spokane Police by a full-time Ombudsman with full access to all investigative materials.

The Spokane Citizen Review Commission has already been determined to have failed. During 10 years of controversy, corruption and abuses involving the Spokane Police Department, the Commission never met to consider a single case.

Moments like this are those that define whether or not a community has any sense of community, whether or not democracy is just an empty slogan, and whether or not the community rules the police or the police rule the community.

My faith in Spokane’s ability to get this right is slim. Time — the little of it left — will tell.


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