Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

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


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