Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for July, 2010

Know Your Rights — Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Coming

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 20, 2010

[Author’s note: Having just had the opportunity to spend some time this evening with my good friend, Michael Lyons, and in his honor, I am taking the opportunity to reprint this piece I wrote a month after Spokane Police and the multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) attacked a group of young people on July 4, 2007 in Spokane’s Riverfront Park. I encourage people to study this case and consider its implications for protest, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and public ownership of public space. I also encourage people to understand the abuses of power by the Spokane Police in hiding evidence in the case as well as the roles of the city prosecutor’s office and Spokane Police administrators in the cover-up and spinning of the facts. Finally, I encourage people to watch the entire still relevant short video on the Kent State shooting. As the expression goes in Spanish, “Prohibido olvidar” — “Forgetting is forbidden.”]



What is the theme unifying abuses by increasingly militarized police departments, pervasive media lies and ruling class complicity, military brutality abroad, corporate war profiteering, stunning cowardice by the U.S. Congress, and near total passivity by the overall U.S. population? It is our dishonesty and complicity in the face of U.S. imperialism, manifested by illegal invasions, brutal military occupations, and gross human rights abuses, as well as saber-rattling in many parts of the world.

Over the years I have been very clear about one thing with anyone who has asked me about my activism. What drives my beliefs and actions is anti-imperialism.

What is imperialism?

Imperialism is best known by its fruits.

Imperialism is a Vietnamese girl running down a highway in 1972, her naked body burning with napalm.

Imperialism is the naked bodies of Iraqi boys and girls and men and women at Abu Ghraib sodomized by U.S. troops and intelligence personnel in 2004.

Imperialism is the naked bodies of young children all over the world year after year being washed before they are buried after starving in a world of plenty, a world where the U.S. dominates all major international institutions and routinely blocks actions desired by the rest of the planet.

Imperialism is a disgraced United States of America, unable to justify its actions to its own citizens or to the peoples and nations of the world, a U.S. resorting to spying on its own citizens and torturing the citizens of the rest of the world.

When Alberto Gonzales comes to Spokane to share “sensitive, top secret” information with the Spokane Police and other law enforcement agencies, it is Nixon and John Mitchell all over again.

When it is revealed that Spokane is a key link in human rights abuses and torture being committed by the U.S. around the world, it is My Lai all over again.

When young people march to Riverfront Park and in the midst of peaceful protest are attacked by Spokane Police , it is Kent State all over again.

In my opinion, when people begin to defy authority on the streets all over the U.S., it signals a coming confrontation. As Oliver Tambo said, “The people’s patience is not eternal”.

Hear it coming?

1970 is in the air again.

Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming. Remembering Ohio.

“Ohio” — Neil Young Lyrics Analysis

[To the individual who wrote stating that it is hyperbole on my part to suggest that 4th of July in Riverfront Park is comparable to Kent State, I have the following comments…

1) I stand by that.

2) The global capitalist/imperialist system run from Langley, Wall Street, the Pentagon, and the White House reaches periodic moments of minor and of severe crisis. We are currently at a moment of such severe crisis.

3) What happened on the 4th of July 2007 in Riverfront Park was just one of many police state actions around the country against free speech, protest, and activism.

Here is the equation for the mathematically challenged:

Combine 4th of July 2007 Spokane with FBI spying on Spokane activists, torture masters operating out of the American Legion Building on Washington Street in downtown Spokane, Alberto Gonzales meeting secretly with Spokane law enforcement, the arming of the Spokane Police with 100 AR-15s and other military weaponry, and the majority Democrats caving in to a Republican president on pro-war and civil-liberties-curtailing legislation. Now multiply that by a hundred U.S. cities the size of Spokane or larger and…voila!

Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Coming.

So the writer does not buy my analysis? No problem.

It’s not for sale anyways.

Hasta la victoria siempre! ]

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

Just exactly who is Anne Kirkpatrick? Annie Got Her Gun now tries to get out of town

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 4, 2010

[Note by author: For readers who may consider the words that follow in this post to be harsh and unfair, consider that even the elegant, upscale Spokane Couer d’Alene Living Magazine, in the Lilacs and Lemons section of its March 2010 issue, gave Chief Kirkpatrick a lemon and reprimanded her, saying basically that if she is so busy making plans to leave Spokane in the midst of such a crucial period in city and police history, she should darn well hurry up and get the heck out of Dodge, I mean Spokaloo.]

Listening to a recent KYRS Thin Air Community Radio morning news piece by Don Gronning (6/22/10 podcast), one is struck by the most recent persona of the always strutting, full-of-attitude Anne Kirkpatrick. The sassy southern gal, who arrived in Spokane nearly four years ago with her slick little one-girl show from the south, replete with meaningless but media-savvy slogans like “You lie, you die” and a repertoire of song and dance (literally) at the ready for any and all occasions, apparently has at least one more routine up her sleeve as she — like a teenager graduating from high school — desperately seeks a way out of Spokaloo.

So what is that persona? A new and improved Chief Anne Kirkpatrick who, despite previous statements to the contrary, appears to be headed out of town.

And naked. Well, not naked exactly but definitely devoid of her long characteristic Southern accent. (Seriously, listen to Gronning’s 6/22/10 podcast.) Besides, in the south — like Abilene and Shreveport where I used to live, or Memphis, Tennessee where Anne was born and raised — we say “neck-id”.

Apparently the “Ya’ll come back now, here?” phony southern drawl worked as part of the dog and pony show the chief put on to get us Okies in Spokaloo to hire her as chief under a previous mayor and city council. But it appears she decided that it wasn’t going to make her any friends or influence any people in the sophisticated environment of Seattle. So she is suddenly accentless, a sophisticated and independent woman, itinerant again and forced to strike out on her own. Maybe she should take Doug Clark’s advice and take her bopping and jiving back to Memphis. Or how about Mabton, Washington, population 1891.

All of this after a long string of that bad luck: 1) the Guild stabbed her in the back, 2) she still can’t shake Tony Bamonte off that same back, 3) Councilman Jon Snyder could not get his slip-shod, loop-hole filled version of the Ombudsman Ordinance passed in 30 minutes as he proposed he could in the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, after over-whelming public testimony in favor of a more tightly-written, forceful ordinance to move a blatantly out-of-control police force closer to effective citizen oversight and control, 4) the Grand Jury and FBI noose tightened around the necks of her lying officers and administrators, 5) Ombudsman Tim Burns himself finally stood up and said, “Hell yeah, I’ll take some of that independent oversight”, and 6) the people of Spokane, who had made common cause with many a citizen abused or murdered by the police, and in the process made themselves heard over and over and over again for years, combined a powerful community coalition with public participation and turnout that would not succumb to old fashion tactics of “bait and switch” in the writing of legislation nor to agenda-stacking designed to run out the clock on democratic participation.

Unfortunate for Anne, even after giving it that old Tennessee try in the open competitive portion of the Seattle hiring process and after a private “perhaps I still got that old charm” approach via e-mail to Seattle’s Mayor, Seattle didn’t buy the song and dance.

Besides, can you imagine this “Chief” — who okayed tasering Josh Levy off the Monroe Street Bridge to his death yet in Gronning’s podcast defends tasers like a shameless East Sprague used car saleswoman — dealing with the sorts of complicated human dramas and dilemmas that a Seattle would present her? Or how about having Chief Kirkpatrick in charge of the sophisticated political and social environment of one of the most dynamic and liberal cities in the U.S., the same Chief Kirkpatrick whose boys and girls in blue botched every aspect (from initial provocation to evidence suppression) of the July 4, 2007 police riot in Riverfront Park — being in charge of a police department in a world class city like Seattle? Can you imagine how much worse the 1999 WTO police repression would have been or what she would do with officers punching teenaged girls in the face or kicking and stomping an innocent immigrant?

Gigs up, Lil’ Annie…

(Come to think of it, maybe the gig is not up after all. As I understand it, former Spokane Police Internal Affairs official Jim Faddis is looking for a spoons player for his jugband, the Prairie Flyers. Some will recall that Faddis and the notorious officer Dan Torok used pseudonyms while blogging at Frank Sennett’s Spokesman-Review Hard 7 blog in the summer of 2007. Faddis, under the pseudonym of Kevin, along with Torok and others SPD plants defended the SPD at the height of public outrage over the Firehouse Sex Scandal, the 4th of July “near police riot”, the arrests of protestors Dan Treecraft and Rebecca Lamb, and the killings of Otto Zehm, Jerome Alford and Eagle Michael, as well as the non-fatal shootings of Shonto Pete and Sean Fitzpatrick, not to mention controversial incidents involving SPD officers John Elam, Jonothan Smith, David Freitag, and Jay Mehring. The killings of Otto Zehm and Jerome Alford involved Torok and Faddis’s department was involved in investigating most of the other incidents. The chief would no doubt be a fine addition to Faddis’s band. Come to think of it, if someone could teach Spokane county prosecutor Steve Tucker to play a washboard and city attorney Rocky Trepieddi to play the cowbell…

[See also Educating the Chief – It’s Spokane, not Spokaloo]


[Excerpt below from The Seattle Times article Biographies of the 11 SPD chief candidates: Here are short biographies on the semifinalists for Seattle police chief

Anne Kirkpatrick

Chief of police, Spokane

Anne Kirkpatrick, 50, who previously served as police chief in Ellensburg and Federal Way before joining the Spokane department in 2006, has carved out a reputation as a no-nonsense chief and strong believer in community outreach. She announced her intention to seek the Seattle job in February when she told Spokane officials she had applied for the position.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Kirkpatrick applied last year to be San Francisco’s police chief but downplayed her action by saying that as a woman leading a large department she is often recruited. The job went to another candidate.

The Spokesman-Review reported that, while support for Kirkpatrick has been mixed on the police force, she enjoys broad support from city leaders, who credit her with making officers more accountable and improving ties to the community.

In April, union leaders representing the Spokane Police Department’s officers said a majority of the Spokane Police Guild’s 268 members voted no-confidence in the “office” of the police chief, but didn’t disclose the vote tally, The Spokesman-Review reported.

But the department’s lieutenants and captains gave her a vote of approval after learning of the union’s vote.

The following excerpt from a Spokesman-Review article at the time of Spokane’s search for a new chief reported on the Chief’s 5 “Cardinal Rules” which apparently after the hanky-panky of the Jason Uberagua case and the police lying in the Zehm case must have referred to the Memphis Redbirds, the minor league affilitate of the St. Louis Cardinals —

She landed at Green River Community College, teaching criminal justice for two years. Then a retiring Ellensburg police chief called and asked her if she’d apply for his job.

“God’s timing and God’s hand involved,” Kirkpatrick says of the surprise call. “And I’m glad, because I have to admit I wanted to go back.”

Soon, she was running a 30-member department. And that’s where she launched her five cardinal rules.

“They’re character-based,” she said of the rules. “People are going to make mistakes. But character-based mistakes are not tolerable.”

The rules: No harassing, bullying or discriminatory language, “including zero tolerance of male white-bashing.” No lying. No abuse of authority. No insubordination. And nothing that causes lack of trust in the department, such as sex on duty or failing to take a rape report.

One former officer and her attorney, however, contend Kirkpatrick applies those rules unevenly.

Former Federal Way officer Jessica Nelson was fired for what Kirkpatrick concluded was insubordination and lying about misuse of a department computer. Nelson maintains that it was a miscommunication – and that other officers were lightly disciplined for far worse offenses.

Nelson’s Portland attorney, Beth Allen, said that officers were suspended for a few days, “if that,” for allegedly sexually harassing other officers, discharging a firearm in the station and having a detainee escape from a police car.

Posted in Educating the Chief, Ethics, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Spokane taser, Stop it. You're killin' me., Tasers, Yes ma'am Chief | 3 Comments »

Spokane City Press Release on Ombudsman Ordinance

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 2, 2010

(To read the ordinance fought for by the people of Spokane, approved by the Spokane City Council and to be signed by the Mayor, go to ORDC34609.pdf)


Mayor to Sign Updated Ombudsman Ordinance; Commends Council and Community for Work

Release Date: 6/29/2010 4:45:00 PM
Contact: Marlene Feist,
(509) 625-6740

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner today said she will sign the ordinance adopted by the Spokane City Council on Monday, June 28, that updates the authorities and responsibilities of the City’s Police Ombudsman.

“I want to commend the City Council, the City Attorney’s Office, and the community members who worked so diligently to find a path ahead on this important issue,” the Mayor said. “For me, the creation of the Ombudsman office always has been about devising a comprehensive system of civilian oversight that provides accountability and ultimately earns the trust of citizens. Today, we have an improved system.”

Under the revised ordinance provides the Office of Police Ombudsman with independent investigatory authority and requires the office provide closing reports about complaints. These reports will include a summary of the OPO’s conclusions and recommendations regarding revision of policies, procedures, or training.

The revised ordinance also clarifies ambiguous language and formalizes that complaints can originate with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit or with the Ombudsman.

Attached is the revised ordinance. Additional information about the Office of Police Ombudsman is found at SpokaneOmbudsman.org.


Posted in Educating the Chief, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Law, Solutions | Leave a Comment »

S-R Letters in Support of Independent Police Oversight

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 2, 2010

Letters to the editor
July 1, 2010

Trust tied to independence

I agree with Bob Apple the ombudsman needs power to investigate. The police force investigating themselves does not work to restore trust in the police. Only independent investigations will do that.

Most police have nothing to fear. Those who overstep and use more force than necessary should have everything to worry about. Now, unfortunately, they act with impunity. Support good police; get rid of the rotten ones.

John A. Perkins


Protectors or threats?

Upon reading Bill Morlin’s June 27 account of the late Beverly Saruwatari’s encounter with the Spokane Police Department on June 7, 2009, a reasonable person can legitimately react with disgust toward the SPD and could conclude that us citizens of Spokane need protection from the SPD at least as much as we need protection by the SPD.

The plethora of evidence about ongoing and apparent police misconduct clearly indicates that someone other than the SPD should be reviewing their abuse of our fellow citizens. Although I applaud City Councilman Bob Apple’s clear statement that “someone other than police should be involved in reviewing” the epidemic of SPD misconduct I assert that a police ombudsman, whatever their powers, is now insufficient for this task.

The SPD has lost the respect and support of so many law-abiding citizens that direct accountability to us citizens is the most viable pathway toward healing what is now a broken bond between the SPD and our community. Us law-abiding citizens cannot continue idly observing this renegade agency terrorizing our fellow human beings – silence is the voice of complicity. We citizens of Spokane must demand direct citizen oversight of the SPD now.

Ed Byrnes


Police Guild too influential

I am 77 years old and a native of Spokane. I have known and become friends with many members of the Spokane Police Department, and I have the utmost respect for who they are and what they represent.
I have read and heard of many heroic deeds and misdeeds performed by them. But what I don’t understand is how did the Police Guild get so powerful that City Councilman Steve Corker said we would be fighting these labor issues for years (“Ombudsman gains power,” June 29)? Even if the enhanced ombudsman oversight is approved. I thought the citizens of Spokane, managed by the City Council, paid the salaries of the police, not the Spokane Police Guild. It looks to me like the cart has gotten ahead of the horse and we the citizens of Spokane are the ones who are paying the piper.

Not being an attorney, thank God, I don’t know if Mr. Corker is correct, but if he is, chalk up another one for the legal profession. I can only hope he is wrong and truth and honor and the citizens of Spokane will prevail.

James A. Nelson


Cloud darkens police success

The Spokane Police Department is a mystery to me. Great response by officers and others to the shooting at Hoopfest Saturday. The cloud hanging over the department unfortunately overshadows this good work.

The cloud is characterized by the handling of the Otto Zehm and Bev Saruwatari cases. Bev Saruwatari was a friend of mine. I knew her as a fellow educator and teacher of my granddaughter. I am ashamed of the police treatment of her. These situations and others are an embarrasment to us all.

The department apparently has a select bunch of “cowboys,” lacking in common sense and decency that operate as if Spokane is still the wild west. They harass the public in spite of the facts and feel safe because any internal affairs investigation will find their actions “proper.”
We are afraid to take them on. Are we powerless to make any change in this sad state of affairs?

Lynn Jones

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »