Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Gangs?’ Category

Former Spokane Police Officer and Military SpecialOps veteran replaces non-Spanish speaking member of Governor’s Hispanic Commission

Posted by Arroyoribera on May 31, 2008

The Washington State Hispanic Commission has chosen to replace its non-Spanish-speaking northeastern Washington representative (covering Spokane and surrounding counties) with a veteran cop and military special ops “expert”. Bob Cepeda is a former Spokane Police Officer and comes to the Governor’s Hispanic Commission at a time when the Spokane Police Department is involved in extensive controversies including unresolved killings of disable individuals, illegal strip searches of minority individuals, spying and civil liberties abuses, and charges of corruption and abuse of authority, as well as the recent forced resignation of a Hispanic member of the Spokane Police Advisory Committee due to accusations of corruption against her. The presence of Cepeda on the Governor’s Commission should be cause for concern given his extensive connections within various police and military agencies, as well as for the intense focus of the commission on gangs, a topic championed by the commission’s former chairwoman, Yvonne Morton-Lopez. Now chairwoman of the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Morton-Lopez has continued to press the focus towards gangs, a topic which in a state where minorities are grossly under-represented in law enforcement is fraught with serious dangers for communities of color. Why did the Governor consider a career cop to be the appropriate representative on her committee in this moment? When will the Governor consider someone who is actually from the community to be a “commissioner”?

http://www.cha.wa.gov/english/yvonne.shtml

Bob Cepeda

Ex-Spokane Police Officer and Military Special Ops named to Washington State Hispanic Commission

Counties: Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens

(Term Expires 8/01/08 – 1st Term)

Work: Gonzaga University

502 East Boone

Spokane, WA 99258

Telephone: 509-323-3998

Email: cepeda@gonzaga.edu

Commissioner Cepeda is a born and raised native of New York City (Harlem) who currently resides in Spokane with his family.

Mr. Cepeda has over twenty five years experience working in the criminal justice field and seventeen years in military special operations. He is a current consultant and trainer on gangs, terrorism, ethics, crime prevention, and use of force issues. He is a subject-matter expert with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

(translation to Spanish by David Brookbank)

Comisión Hispana del estado de Washington reemplace a Comisionada quien no habla español con ex-policía de Spokane

La Gobernadora del estado de Washington ha nombrado al ex-policía y militar de carera Bob Cepeda como representante de la Comisión Hispana, reemplazando a la ex-comisionada Yvonne Morton-Lopez — quien no habla español — en el noreste del estado de Washington y Spokane.  Cepeda, ex-policía de la ciudad de Spokane y ‘experto’ en operaciones militares especiales, llega a la comisión en un momento en que la policía de Spokane esta involucrada en extensas controversias, incluyendo homicidios no resueltos de individuos incapacitados, cateos ilegales de minorías, espionaje y violaciones de derechos civiles, y cargos de corrupción y abuso de autoridad, igual como el caso reciente de la renuncia obligatoria de un miembro hispano del Comité de Asesoría Policíaca por acusaciones de corrupción en su contra. La presencia de Cepeda en la comisión de la Gobernadora ha de ser causa de preocupación dado a sus extensos vínculos dentro de varias agencias policíacas y militares, igual como su enfoque intenso en pandillas, un tema promovido en gran parte por la ex-presidenta y representante del noreste en la Comision Hispana, Yvonne Morton-Lopez. Ahora como presidenta de la Comisión de Derecho Humanos del estado de Washington, Morton-Lopez ha seguido enfocándose en el tema de pandillas, un tema lleno de peligros serios para las comunidades minoritarias, especialmente en un estado en donde las minorías culturales y raciales son severamente sub-representadas en las agencias policíacas locales, estatales y federales. Por que nuestra Gobernadora consideró un policía de carera apropiada para esta región en este momento? Cuando va a considerar la Gobernadora una persona de veras de la comunidad apropiada para ser “comisionado” o “comisionada”?

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Posted in Corruption, Espanol, Ethics, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Racism, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Northwest Gang Investigators in Spokane, May 19-22, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 30, 2008

So-called “gang experts” from the Northwest Gang Investigators Association will invade Spokane from May 19 to May 22, 2008, bringing their ever blessed light to shine upon the allegedly serious problem of gangs in Spokane.

It is especially disturbing to see this organization coming to Spokane at this time given the fact that Spokane Police Department is facing a severe crisis of corruption, misconduct, improperly and incompletely investigated police homicides against civilians, a practice of counter-suits against citizens who complain, and an ongoing history of racism in police hiring and policing of the community.

May god help us!

One might recall how in late September 2007 the collective anti-gang brain trust of Spokane — the Gang Enforcement Team (GET) — was involved in a widely publicized scandal as a result of their dissemination of patently false information about a “three-day gang enforcement focus”. The ATF and the GET widely touted their reported “success” in rounding up 70 plus gang members and associates as well as a large amount of weaponry. As it turns out there was only one gun and a handful of gang involved individuals charged with any crime. What was portrayed as a massive anti-gang bust was revealed to be a hoax involving publication of false data and a large scale effort to seed the media with false information. The GET is composed of the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, ATF, FBI, and other unnamed government agencies.

Not surprisingly, the restricted-attendance event has been promoted by Yvonne Morton-Lopez, the non-Spanish-speaking chairwoman of Governor Chris Gregoire’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs (CHA). Organizations such as the CHA and the Spokane Human Rights Commission have been at the forefront of organizations promoting “forums” on gangs run by the Spokane Police Department, COPS, and the Gang Enforcement Team.

At recent GET forums in Spokane, presenters have taken already unsubstantiated numbers on gang membership in Spokane and inflated them by 25%, claiming for example that the supposed 900 gang members in Spokane is now 1200.

In an environment of police abuses — corruption, violence against members of minority groups, lack of civilian oversight — and in a community with a significant history of racism, organizations such as the Morton-Lopez’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Terry Goetz’s Spokane Human Rights Commission are acting extremely irresponsibly and jeopardizing their organizations’ credibility as defenders of the rights of Spokane’s small minority populations.

(Note: Morton-Lopez has recently been named the head of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. It will be interesting to see how she promotes law enforcement interests and their questionable practices from that position.)

Despite evidence which counters the claims of law enforcement and those such as Morton-Lopez about gangs in Spokane, the campaign goes on.  Crime is down in Spokane, according to the police and FBI, despite SPD Corporal Lee’s best efforts to spin the statistics.  And that is with 25 less officers than the comparison year of 2004. Yet, the GET and the COPS program continue to promote their Gang Seminars in the community despite the questionable information presented by GET team members.

http://www.nwgia.com/downloads/2008spring_nwgiaconference-reg.pdf

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, Independent Oversight, Law, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Northwest Gang Investigators in Spokane May 19-22, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 17, 2008

So-called “gang experts” from the Northwest Gang Investigators Association will invade Spokane from May 19 to May 22, 2008, bringing their ever blessed light to shine upon the allegedly serious problem of gangs in Spokane.

It is especially disturbing to see this organization coming to Spokane at this time given the fact that Spokane Police Department is facing a severe crisis of corruption, misconduct, improperly and incompletely investigated police homicides against civilians, a practice of counter-suits against citizens who complain, and an ongoing history of racism in police hiring and policing of the community.

May god help us!

One might recall how in late September 2007 the collective anti-gang brain trust of Spokane — the Gang Enforcement Team (GET) — was involved in a widely publicized scandal as a result of their dissemination of patently false information about a “three-day gang enforcement focus”. The ATF and the GET widely touted their reported “success” in rounding up 70 plus gang members and associates as well as a large amount of weaponry. As it turns out there was only one gun and a handful of gang involved individuals charged with any crime. What was portrayed as a massive anti-gang bust was revealed to be a hoax involving publication of false data and a large scale effort to seed the media with false information. The GET is composed of the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, ATF, FBI, and other unnamed government agencies.

Not surprisingly, the restricted-attendance event has been promoted by Yvonne Morton-Lopez, the non-Spanish-speaking chairwoman of Governor Chris Gregoire’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs (CHA). Organizations such as the CHA and the Spokane Human Rights Commission have been at the forefront of organizations promoting “forums” on gangs run by the Spokane Police Department, COPS, and the Gang Enforcement Team.

At recent GET forums in Spokane, presenters have taken already unsubstantiated numbers on gang membership in Spokane and inflated them by 25%, claiming for example that the supposed 900 gang members in Spokane is now 1200.

In an environment of police abuses — corruption, violence against members of minority groups, lack of civilian oversight — and in a community with a significant history of racism, organizations such as the Morton-Lopez’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Terry Goetz’s Spokane Human Rights Commission are acting extremely irresponsibly and jeopardizing their organizations’ credibility as defenders of the rights of Spokane’s small minority populations.

(Note: Morton-Lopez has recently been named the head of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. It will be interesting to see how she promotes law enforcement interests and their questionable practices from that position.)

Despite evidence which counters the claims of law enforcement and those such as Morton-Lopez about gangs in Spokane, the campaign goes on. Crime is down in Spokane, according to the police and FBI, despite SPD Corporal Lee’s best efforts to spin the statistics. And that is with 25 less officers than the comparison year of 2004. Yet, the GET and the COPS program continue to promote their Gang Seminars in the community despite the questionable information presented by GET team members.

http://www.nwgia.com/downloads/2008spring_nwgiaconference-reg.pdf

Posted in Gangs?, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Crime Statistics, Reports, and Concerns

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 15, 2007

NEW ITEMS:

Legal Resources — A new category below providing an extensive list of links on Freedom of Information and Open Meeting Law; Communication, Media, and Publication Law; and Legal Research

Police Attitudes towards Abuse of Authority — National Institute of Justice — (posted 12/19/07)

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin — Archive 1996 – present

Spokane City/County Proposed Spending Plan/2007 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) — “In the Event of Riots, Civil Disturbances and other L.E. Needs” — (posted 11/30/07)

Conducting Surveillance Operations — May 2004 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (posted 11/30/07)

Police Assault on Protesters — 4th of July 2007 in Spokane’s Riverfront Park — Officer Jay E. Kernkamp’s report (posted 11/27/07)

Electronic Control Weapons: Review & Recommendations (posted 11/27/07)

Filming in Spokane (posted 11/26/07) — provides guidance to film companies on movie making in Spokane. Page 10-12 are information on hiring “extra-duty” SPD officers. Information confuses “off-duty” and “extra-duty”.

Spokane Police Department Radio Signal Codes (posted 11/25/07)

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States — Human Rights Watch 1998 Report on Brutality in  Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis,  New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia,  Portland, Providence,  San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (posted 01/11/08)

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The manipulation of facts by law enforcement officials results in misappropriation of public funds and the targeting of innocent people, particular racial minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

Let’s start with a couple examples of why the citizens of Spokane would do well to spend some time becoming familiar with statistics on crime in the Spokane area:

1) Lies, Damn Lies, and…SPD Corporal Lee and statistics differ on Crime in Spokane –In a KXLY 4 report entitled “Spokane Bucking National Trends”, Spokane Police Corporal Lee states on behalf of the Spokane Police Department that “we believe crime is up”. Yet the statistics say crime in Spokane is down, and down very significantly in 4 out of seven categories with no change in two others.

2) Facts Fabricated by Local and Federal Law enforcement regarding alleged Gang Bust — “I guess he may have taken some liberties with how those numbers were represented,” said Steve Lowhurst, Spokane special agent in charge for the ATF. (source: Spokesman-Review)

*Reports on Police Abuses

Police Attitudes towards Abuse of Authority — National Institute of Justice

Punishing Protest: Government Tactics That Suppress Freedom — National Lawyers Guild 2007 Report

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual — American Civil Liberties Union 1997 Report

Faces of Surveillance: Targets of Illegal Spying — FBI/JTTF Spying on Peace Groups — ACLU FOIA Info

Conducting Surveillance Operations — May 2004 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Spying on the Home Front (Video) — PBS FRONTLINE Report

Government Spying on US Citizens — ACLU

Silent Injustice: A Joint Project of the Washington Post and 60 Minutes — FBI withholds info on faulty ballistics testing

Information about the FBI — Your source for comprehensive, independent and nonpartisan information about the FBI

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States — Human Rights Watch 1998 Report on Brutality in  Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis,  New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia,  Portland, Providence,  San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

* Weaponry

Spokane Police Weapon of Choice — Glock 40

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office — Pistols, Submachine Guns and Battle Rifles

Battle Ready — The SPD’s Military Arsenal

Training Spokane Law Enforcement in Intel, Military Weapons, Crowd Control and more

“In the Event of Riots, Civil Disturbances and other L.E. Needs”

SPD’s Suicide Prevention Weapon — (Click on Virtual Tour)

* Statistics

Spokane Statistics and Demographics

Washington State Crime Statistics — Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (1995-2007)

Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)

City rating Crime Stats

City Crime Stats

Partners in Crime Prevention (PICP)

Spokane Public Library — Demographics

Hate Crime Incidents — Spokane 2005

Community Colleges of Spokane — Crime Stats and Information

Gonzaga University — Campus Crime Statistics

——-GU — Frequently asked questions about Spokane crime

——-GU — More Campus Crime Statistics (Federal Clery Act Stats)

*COPS — Spokane Community Oriented Policing Services

——-Neighborhood Observation Patrols (NOPS)

——-Calls for Service in Spokane City

——-Spokane Crime Map

——-Spokane Police Department Radio Signal Codes (11/25/07)

*Media Reports

Police Overtime — Seattle PI

New crime hotline not ringing true

Crime Stats in State have mixed pattern — Seattle PI

Spokane Crime Rate Soaring

Padding gang seminar stats

*Academic Studies and Reports

*Resources

Freedom of Information and Open Public Meeting Laws

Communications, Media & Publishing

Legal Research

*Spokane Police Department Generated Reports

SPD Neighborhood Policing Plan

Police Department Details Neighborhood Policing Plan (11/21/07)

*Publications

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin — Archive 1996 – present

*Lies, damn lies and…

Experts say ‘ most dangerous city’ rankings twist numbers

*Tasers

Man dies after police jolt him with stun gun — Fredrick, Maryland 11/18/07

Electronic Control Weapons: Review & Recommendations — Georgia Association of Police Chiefs (2005)

*Other

Filming in Spokane (posted 11/26/07) — provides guidance to film companies on movie making in Spokane. Page 10-12 are information on hiring “extra-duty” SPD officers. Information confuses “off-duty” and “extra-duty”.

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Statistics, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Gangs and the School of the Americas

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

 

¡Presente!

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

¡Presente!

Gangs and the SOA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Guadalupe Chavez and Tiel Rainelli, SOAW Los Angeles

When the chickens come home to roost. Gangs in the Americas and the Cycle of Violence and Domination. Images of Latino men with tattoos are often used by the media to generate fear and anti-immigrant sentiments.

 

When individuals and their experiences are dehumanized enough, many people turn away in fear. But if we step beyond those broad stereotypes and take a closer look, we can see that those tattoos tell war stories of long before their wearers were born and how their eyes offer insights into the psychological trauma and effects of repression and war. We see Children of War, some of whom have established one of the most well-organized and largest numbering street gangs in the country. Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13), a Salvadorian street gang formed in Los Angeles operates now out of at least 31 states and three countries. MS 13 has spread like a wild fire: sweeping across poverty-stricken areas of Central and North America. MS13 memberThe formation of MS 13 has a unique origin that needs to be understood.

 

During the 1980’s, under the false logic of the Cold War, the United States provided direct military aid and School of the Americas training for the Salvadoran army that was systematically violating human rights in El Salvador. U.S. military aid, training, and on-the-ground advisors provided the government of El Salvador with the resources and know-how to terrorize the civilian population.

The war left over 70,000 dead and not a single soul untouched. Over two million people fled El Salvador with a great majority of them immigrating into the United States. Los Angeles became a refuge for many Salvadoran families. Faced with oppression on the streets of Los Angeles, jobs were hard to come by and the schools and streets were occupied by gangs defending their territory and indifferent to the struggle of the newly arrived. MS 13 was born out of a need for self-defense and survival. Many MS 13 members are the sons and daughters of the people that fled the U.S. suponsored war in El Salvador. The 1990’s were an incredibly bloody time for Los Angeles gangs and communities. “The War on Gangs gradually began to take shape in the mid 1990’s after a 1996 immigration law in the U.S. facilitated the deportation of undocumented people serving more than two years in U.S. detention facilities. From 1996 to 2003, the United States deported 70,000 people to El Salvador.” Those deported were not well received once they arrived in El Salvador, instead they were stigmatized and marginalized for their cultural differences and kept out of yet another system of employment, and education. In response to the deportations and the import of the gang culture from the United States to El Salvador, the Salvadorian government implemented “localized anti-gang measures and [formed] death squads that emerged to kill youth thought to be gang members.” The efforts of the Salvadorian government have been championed by the White House and Department of Homeland Security and have in fact led to the Salvadorian government’s hosting of the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). The ILEA is a U.S. run police training school on Salvadorian soil. The school will train security forces from throughout Latin America and is operating from the exact mindset that has given rise to the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC). Both institutions are part of a racist system of violence and domination that promotes U.S. sponsored repression as the one-size-fits-all solution to social problems throughout the Americas. The anti-gang initiatives implemented and proposed by the United States and Salvadorian governments have done little to address the core conditions of tyranny that have given rise to the ever-developing gang culture. MS 13 and other street gangs need to be understood and addressed in a context that recognizes and validates the systemic forces that have led to their creation, and incorporates the gang members into the decision making and strategic planning processes needed to tackle the vulgar injustices of being poor in the Americas. As Americans scour through policy books searching for a quick fix for the gang violence it is important to admit and take responsibility for the monster we have created.

As Malcolm so eloquently put it, the chickens have come home to roost.

http://www.johnpilger.com/

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, In Collective Self-Defense, Mitchell and Jessen, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Working up from the streets — Rev. Greg Boyle on Word For Word

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 2, 2007

“Gang members are not our enemies. They are our children. And if we do not help them, no one will.” — The mother of a former gang member speaking about the work of Father Greg J. Boyle, S.J.

“It is not about service provider or service recipient. It’s about us belonging to each other”. — Father Greg Boyle

(Click here to Listen to this brilliant, entertaining and inspirational speech by Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries)

In recent presentations by the Spokane Police Department, the expression has been used on more than one occasion, “we are not going to police ourselves out of gang problems“. To be honest, what was said was, “YOU are not going to police yourselves out of gang problems”, as if the solution lay only with the community minus law enforcement.

Nevertheless, the truth of this message — that we will not succeed in dealing with any gang problems Spokane may have, nor any other social problems we have unless we begin “working up from the street” — is the message of Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Rev. Greg Boyle  

November 2, 2007

Working up from the streets — Homeboy Industries

Rev. Greg Boyle is the founder of Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries, an organization that gives jobs to young men and women who agree to give up the gang life. They make T-shirts and tacos, do maintenance and landscaping work, and in the process Boyle says they find a sense of self-worth. Rev. Boyle described his mission to “plan futures, not funerals” in an Oct. 25 speech in Minneapolis.

http://download.publicradio.org/podcast/wordforword/2007/11/02_wordforword_64.mp3

Homeboy Industries

Word for Word from American Public Media

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Solutions | Leave a Comment »

Know Your Rights: Boy Confronts Police

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 31, 2007

Boy Confronts Police

Adelante muchacho. Eres el futuro del mundo. Defiéndete, cipote, porque los escuadrones de la muerte vienen por ti y tu hermanita. Tus padres ya son viejos y tienen miedo.

El gringo es un hijo de su *&#$%* sin corazón. Vende lo que puede, desde tierras y almas hasta pasaportes y armamentos…..y una bala con tu nombre.

No tengas miedo, chavalito. Son cobardes quienes se esconden detrás de escudos, bastones, ametralladoras, nubes, y velocidades súper-sonicas. Invaden, ocupan, destruyen, masacran y nunca se van. Son imperialistas, matadores, cabrones, y no se van. Torturan, violan, difaman, y no se van.

Párate firme y dále duro, igual como los muchachos palestinos con sus piedras contra los tanques israelíes. Diles que no les tiene miedo. Son matamujeres, mataniños, matapobres. Allá se llaman Pérez y Gutiérrez. Aquí se llaman Torok y Olsen. Anda, juega, y ponte trucha, mi hijo, porque “the man” tiene un plan y no es nada bueno.

Translation — Be brave, child

 Be brave, mi hijo.  You are the future of the world.  Defend yourself, child, because the death squads are coming for you and your little sister.  Your parents are already old and they are afraid.  

The gringo is a son-of-a-*&#$% without a heart.  He sells what he can, from lands and souls to passports and weapons…and a bullet with your name on it.  

Don’t be afraid, cipote.  They are cowards who hide behind shields, and clubs, and machine guns, and clouds, and super-sonic speeds.  They invade, occupy, destroy, and massacre, and they never leave.  They are imperialists, assassins, and bastards, and they never leave.  They torture, rape, and defame, and they never leave.  

Stand firm and give it your all, just like the Palestinian boys with rocks against Israeli tanks.  Tell them that you are not afraid.  They are killers of women, and children, and the poor. There they are named Perez and Gutierrez.  Here they are named Torok and Olson.  Run, play, live, but be ready, my son, because “the man” has a plan and it is nothing nice.

*********

(Both original Spanish text and English translation by David Brookbank.  Origins of photo are unknown.)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

SPD slumlord Jay Olsen’s drug house

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 30, 2007

By the way, what ever became of Spokane Police Officer Jay Olsen’s drug house at 112 W. Montgomery Avenue?

I have asked about this at Frank Sennett’s Hard 7 blog, but because I am really finding frequent blogger Spokane Detective Officer Dan Torok’s non-responsiveness to be very annoying, I would like to invite SPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick or former internal affairs Sgt. Jim “aka Kevin” Faddis to respond on this one.

In reality, not anticipating a response from either Faddis or Kirkpatrick, I came up with this partial response to my own question. Again, this is from the S-R:

(quote) This is the second time in less than two years that (SPD Officer Jay) Olsen has been in the news. In September 2005, neighbors living near 112 W. Montgomery Ave. were frustrated by frequent drug activity at a home owned by the police officer.

Dennis “DJ” Jones was convicted of selling drugs out of one of the five apartment units in the converted house. Olsen said he had no knowledge of the illegal activity.

Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said there was an internal investigation into whether Olsen had done anything improper. It was unclear Monday what that investigation turned up. (end quote)

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=176398

Apparently, it is SPD Officer Jennifer DeRuwe who could respond to this but, like SPD spokesperson Dick Cottam before her, I am sure the answer would be, “No comment”.

How many other Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office staff are local slumlords?

Posted in Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | 1 Comment »

Report: FBI’s troubled relationship with Spokane area law enforcement

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 28, 2007

Upon reading the entire May 2007 report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, one gets a much clearer sense of why Spokane’s inter-agency coordination efforts have gone astray more than once in recent months.

Perhaps this even helps to explain why we continue to await the FBI’s report on Otto Zehm.

In fact, I am guessing it explains the statements by FBI boys to me as far back as summer 2004 regarding their low morale and feelings that they had been unable to get anything right for some time.

In fact, now we know why — despite their best efforts to pull their heads out and to win one for the gipper with their phony gang bust in late September 2007 — the boys from the multi-agency Spokane Gang Enforcement Team (GET) ended up shooting themselves in the foot and winning the 2007 boner award by announcing bogus arrest and weapons confiscation data.

Check this out from page 19 and then from the appendix to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s May 2007 Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2007-004 entitled “Coordination of Investigations by Department of Justice Violent Crime Task Forces“:

(quote)

In Spokane, the FBI planned to create an FBI Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force and contacted local law enforcement officers in the fall of 2005. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington told the OIG that, as the result of the FBI’s attempt to form a new antigang task force in Spokane, he received many calls from multiple law enforcement sources expressing concerns. Because local law enforcement personnel and resources were limited, the U.S. Attorney told us that he did not want “proven and successful task forces to be robbed of their officers.” An Assistant U.S. Attorney stated that he informed FBI task force officials that they had to coordinate the creation of the new task force and their request for local personnel with the other components and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in accordance with the Deputy Attorney General’s August 2005 memorandum. According to the Assistant U.S. Attorney, FBI task force managers stated that they were not aware of the memorandum. The U.S. Attorney therefore spoke with the components’ Special Agents in Charge and explained that if they were going to create new task forces, they had to be coordinated. Ultimately, the FBI decided not to create a Safe Streets Task Force in Spokane. (from p. 19)

Coordinated Anti-Gang Task Force Efforts in Spokane and Tulsa–Summary of the EOUSA Response. EOUSA stated that notwithstanding the FBI’s initially uncoordinated efforts in Spokane and coordination problems in Tulsa, the U.S. Attorneys in both cities believe that coordination has significantly improved.

OIG Analysis. We accept, but have not independently verified, EOUSA’s report of recent cooperation by the FBI in a local anti-gang task force in Spokane and the resolution of coordination problems in Tulsa. Notwithstanding any recent improvements, during the time period examined in this review we found coordination issues in both cities, and we reported on these issues and made recommendations for improvement. (from appendix)

(end quote)

Posted in FBI in Spokane, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Diversity at the Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 13, 2007

Because I believe that the issue of diversity (rather the lack of it in all aspects of life in Spokane) is so crucial, I have combined three prior posts on the Spokane Police and its lack of diversity. I believe it is especially important to look at this reality now as the SPD engages in its factually unsubstantiated gang propaganda campaign. And for a perspective on the same issue of lack of diversity in law enforcement on a statewide basis, check out All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

All-White Spokane Police Department? Or just all-white recruitment?

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th September 2007

 

These photos are from the Spokane Police Recruitment announcement on their web page.

Some dozen and a half photos posted on the recruitment page of the Spokane Police Department website show about 71 white officers and approximately 5 non-white officers. That is a seven percent ratio, under-representing the minority population in Spokane by at least 30%.

(If you click repeatedly on the refresh button on your browser you will eventually work your way through the photos.)

The contact for applications is Sgt. Chuck Reisenauer, recent past President of the Spokane Police Guild.

This link will take you to other posts from the All-White SPD category at the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog.

https://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/category/all-white-spd/

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Photos of All-White Spokane Police Department from Spokane Police Guild Website

Posted by Arroyoribera on 18th July 2007

 

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All-White Spokane Police Department?

Posted by Arroyoribera on 28th July 2007

 

It would appear again that the Spokane Police Department is an all-white police force.

The photos on the Spokane Police Guild website point to that possibility (see slide show in prior entry at this same blogsite).

So does the new newsletter put out by Chief of Police Ann Kirkpatrick. Everyone portrayed, everyone commended, everyone awarded, everyone promoted is white.

Spokane Police Department Newsletter

One should not be surprised by this. Leaving aside the issue of the town’s history of blatant racism, it is one of the whitest per capita cities in the United States. In fact, per 1994 census data, it was the second whitest city per capita for all cities in the U.S. its size or larger. In other words, of all the cities in the U.S. the size of Spokane or larger, only Lincoln, Nebraska had fewer minorities per every hundred people than Spokane.

All-White Spokane Police Department

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Photographic Evidence | Leave a Comment »

Urban Legend or part of Spokane anti-gang campaign?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

Periodically, over the last several years, a bogus story about gangs begins to make the rounds by e-mail in one part of the country or another.

Somewhere along the way in summer 2007, about the time the scandal-ridden Spokane Police Department was stepping up its gang propaganda and inviting the COPS TV crew to follow them around town, someone decided to circulate this bogus email in Spokane.

In an effort to give it greater credibility, this version was augmented with a few local facts, for example, stating that one of the victims was Bruce, “the painter contractor for Condron Homes” and including references to streets such as Mission, Bowdish, and Sprague.

Late this summer the phony email was sent out by — among others — the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was also sent out to a number of conservative Christian Churches and members of the Hispanic community in Spokane.

The e-mail — obviously untrue to anyone with experience with “urban legend” emails — is a fabricated tale of gang initiation.

Let me start by letting you know from my own experience some of the characteristics of these Urban Legend emails:

1) Fonts of different sizes and colors.

2) Readers are told that it is “real” and asked to “Please share” with everyone and anyone.

3) The writing style is often very formal.

What can you do when you receive a suspicious email of this nature?

Go to a website like www.snopes.com or http://urbanlegends.about.com and type a sentence from the email into the search engine. If that doesn’t provide you with information, summarize it yourself, for ex., “gangs flashing headlights”. In the case of this e-mail you get the following: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/lightsout.asp
and
http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/crime/a/lights_out.htm

Following is the e-mail sent in Spokane by Celia Sogge, followed by Tom Lutey’s Spokesman-Review article on the matter. The http://www.snopes.com link above includes references to multiple media articles debunking the myth.

———————————————

From: Celia Sogge [mailto:celiasogge@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 12:31 PM
To:
Cc:

Subject: Gang Initiation in Spokane Valley

Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 11:03 AM

Subject: Gang Initiation in Spokane Valley, very REAL!!!!!

This is terrible. Please share with anyone you know who lives in Spokane.

This is very real. It happened on the corner of Mission and Bowdish Saturday night. Bruce is the painter contractor for Condron Homes.

Pass the word.

Bruce and I came very close to being beaten and/or
killed Saturday night. We were on our way home from
the boat when a car coming at us did not have on
their head lights. I, of course, blink my lights at
them to let them know they needed to turn on their
head lights. As they passed us they flipped a
U-turn and were driving erratically behind us
flashing their flashers. We locked the car doors,
of course. But we had to stop at a red light.
Nobody else was around. It was dark. They jumped
out of their car and ran towards us. Bruce shouted
“Go! Go” I went, went. They jumped back in to their
car and were so close to us I’m surprised they
didn’t bump us. We were very scared to say the
least. At that point we used our cell to call 911.
Bruce hardly had told the gal what was happening and
she said they were on there way. She didn’t ask any
question like they usually do. (Later. we thought
that was very strange). I turned down Sprague and
went directly to the Police Station

IT WAS CLOSED! The car went straight up Bowdish.
We figured with Sprague being busy and well lit
they decided not to follow. Turns out we were
right.

We found out this is some sick gang initiation.
They drive around with their lights off. They
‘choose’ the people who blinks their lights at them
to beat/shoot/kill in order to get into the gang.
Great sport, eh? Had we gone home we more than
likely would be dead or very badly hurt now.

So do not blink your lights at ANYONE! And if
someone behind you is driving with their lights off,
stay in a well lit area with traffic and call 911 if
they keep following you. (Don’t go to the police
station they are not opened! Out here in the valley
anyway.)

Please pass this on. We heard about this a long
time ago but it was in LA or someplace. Didn’t even
think much about it except to think how sick it was.
Well, they are here now. So be aware!

Bruce and Bonnie (Alive and kicking)

——————————————–


Urban legends hit Spokane Valley

Heard this one?

A Spokane Valley couple, Bruce and Bonnie, on their way home from the lake Saturday night, pass a car traveling with its headlights off. The couple flash their car’s high beams as a heads-up warning to the other driver that he’s driving in the dark. Terror ensues. The couple’s lives are threatened.

Lately, the story of Bruce and Bonnie has been spreading like wildfire on the Internet as Spokane locals receive – and then disseminate – the account via e-mail. The story suggests the chase was part of a gang member initiation, with the death of Bruce and Bonnie being the objective.

 

And people are taking it seriously; the Spokane Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, was sending the e-mail to its members this week as a warning.

But Spokane Valley police say the gang allegations in the e-mail are bogus, apparently originating from an old Internet hoax about gang pledges baiting and killing unsuspecting motorists as part of a bloody initiation. They say they suspect an angry driver was responsible – not gang members.

“It’s probably more likely a case of road rage, and that’s a real problem. Road rage is scary,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane Valley police spokesman. “But people have heard it was gang-related, and that’s an urban legend.”

Reagan said he learned about the incident via e-mail, as a growing number of concerned Spokane Valley residents have.

The e-mail account says the couple called 911 while they were being chased through Spokane Valley, but there’s no record of the call, according to police.

In the story, the couple does the right thing, Reagan said; they just keep driving to a well-lit place where they can get help.

The story of prospective gang members killing drivers who flash their headlights at pledges is an urban legend dating back to the early 1980s, according to Snopes.com, an Internet service that debunks online hoaxes.

The story has been applied to would-be gang members from Los Angeles to London.

The story also was key to the plot of the 1998 movie “Urban Legend.” The movie’s tag line was: “It happened to someone who knows someone you know. … Never talk to strangers, never answer the phone, never flash your lights, never leave the car and always believe what you’re told.”

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/voices/story.asp?ID=205972&page=all

Posted in Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Lies Damn Lies and ... | Leave a Comment »

Homeboy Industries / Homegirl Bakery

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 4, 2007

NPR Home Page

 

Nation

Bakery Run by Ex-Gang Members Reopens

by

Morning Edition, October 3, 2007 · In Los Angeles, a bakery run by former gang members has reopened nearly a decade after the original one was destroyed by fire. It’s part of Homeboy Industries, a rehabilitation program headed by Father Gregory Boyle, who’s worked with young people from more than 600 street gangs in Los Angeles.

Interviews

Father Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries

Fresh Air from WHYY, September 10, 2004 · Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest, has worked to find jobs for former gang members in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. A book about Boyle’s work, G-Dog and the Homeboys, is just out in paperback. This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 17, 2004. We speak with Boyle by phone for an update.

Posted in Gangs?, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

Are You in a Gang?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 2, 2007

The New York Times

 

 

 

September 30, 2007

Ideas & Trends

Reporting While Black

By SOLOMON MOORE

THE police officer had not asked my name or my business before grabbing my wrists, jerking my hands high behind my back and slamming my head into the hood of his cruiser.

“You have no right to put your hands on me!” I shouted lamely.

“This is a high-crime area,” said the officer as he expertly handcuffed me. “You were loitering. We have ordinances against loitering.”

Last month, while talking to a group of young black men standing on a sidewalk in Salisbury, N.C., about harsh antigang law enforcement tactics some states are using, I had discovered the main challenge to such measures: the police have great difficulty determining who is, and who is not, a gangster.

My reporting, however, was going well. I had gone to Salisbury to find someone who had firsthand experience with North Carolina’s tough antigang stance, and I had found that someone: me.

Except that I didn’t quite fit the type of person I was seeking. I am African-American, like the subjects of my reporting, but I’m not really cut out for the thug life. At 37 years old, I’m beyond the street-tough years. I suppose I could be taken for an “O.G.,” or “original gangster,” except that I don’t roll like that — I drive a Volvo station wagon and have two young homeys enrolled in youth soccer leagues.

As Patrick L. McCrory, the mayor of Charlotte and an advocate of tougher antigang measures in the state, told me a couple of days before my Salisbury encounter: “This ganglike culture is tough to separate out. Whether that’s fair or not, that’s the truth.”

Tough indeed. Street gangs rarely keep banker’s hours, rent office space or have exclusive dress codes. A gang member might hang out on a particular corner, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, but one is just as likely to be standing on that corner because he lives nearby and his shirt might be blue, not because he’s a member of the Crips, but because he’s a Dodgers fan.

The problem is that when the police focus on gangs rather than the crimes they commit, they are apt to sweep up innocent bystanders, who may dress like a gang member, talk like a gang member and even live in a gang neighborhood, but are not gang members.

In Charlotte’s Hidden Valley neighborhood, a predominately African-American community that is home to some of the state’s most notorious gangs, Jamal Reid, 20, conceded that he associates with gangsters. Mr. Reid, who has tattoos and wears dreadlocks and the obligatory sports shirts and baggy jeans, said gangsters are, after all, his neighbors, and it’s better to be their friend than their enemy.

Sheriff’s records for Charlotte-Mecklenburg County show that Mr. Reid has been arrested several times since 2004 for misdemeanors including driving without a license, trespassing and marijuana possession. Despite his run-ins with the law, Mr. Reid said he had never been in a gang and complained that the police had sometimes harassed him without a good reason.

“A police officer stopped in front of my house and told me to come to his car,” he told me. “I said, no. They got out and ran me down. They did the usual face-in-the-dirt thing.”

Maj. Eddie Levins of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said that officers are allocated to different areas based on the number of service calls they receive, so high-crime areas are likely to get more police attention.

“Where there are more police, expect more police action,” Major Levins said. “Some people think ‘I can just hang out with this gang member as long as I don’t do any crime.’ Well, expect to be talked to. We can’t ignore them. In fact, we kind of want to figure out the relationship between all these gang members and their associates.”

Major Levins said that his fellow officers aren’t perfect and that he was aware of occasional complaints of harassment, but he said that most residents would like to see more police officers on the streets, not fewer.

Even Cairo Guest, a 26-year-old who complained he was handcuffed in his backyard, acknowledged that gang members in his neighborhood were “out of control.”

“There are a lot of guys out here doing stuff they shouldn’t have been doing,” Mr. Guest said.

Still, some civil rights advocates complain that the definition of a gang member is vague. Gang researchers find that most active members usually cycle out of their gangs within about a year. Even active participants might only be marginal members, drifting in and out of gangs, said Kevin Pranis, a co-author of “Gang Wars,” a recent report on antigang tactics written by the Justice Police Institute, a nonprofit research group.

Harsh penalties could actually reinforce gang membership by locking peripheral gangsters in jail with more hardened criminals, he said.

Suburban Salisbury, population 30,000, is about as far from the traditional ganglands of Los Angeles, Chicago or even Durham as you can get. But it has had an outsize voice in pushing for tougher antigang measures since a 13-year-old black girl was inadvertently killed there in a gang shootout after a dance party in March.

I arrived in Salisbury at midnight, figuring that gang members would be more visible after dark, and found a local hangout with the help of a cabdriver.

Striking up a conversation with young gang members in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar town is always a tricky proposition, but the one advantage I figured I had was that I am African-American. Brown skin can be a kind of camouflage in my profession, especially if you do a lot of reporting in minority neighborhoods, as I do. Blending in visually sometimes helps me observe without being observed.

But even when my appearance has been helpful, the benefits rarely survive the first words out of my mouth, which usually signal — by accent or content — that I’m not from around wherever I am.

“What’s The New York Times doing down here?” asked an incredulous black man. He and about a dozen other men were standing in front of a clapboard house in Salisbury. I observed several drug sales there within minutes of arriving.

“Man, you a cop,” said another. “Hey, this guy’s a cop!”

“You’ve got me wrong,” I said trying to sound casual as the men looked at me warily. I started to pull my press identification out of my wallet. “I’m a reporter. I’m just trying to talk to you about your neighborhood.”

In the distance I heard neighborhood lookouts calling: “Five-O! Five-O!” — a universal code in American ghettos for the approaching police. I thought they were talking about me, but thought again as three police cars skidded to a stop in front of us.

A tall white police officer got out of his car and ordered me toward him. Two other police officers, a white woman and a black man, stood outside of their cars nearby. I complied. Without so much as a question, the officer shoved my face down on the sheet metal and cuffed me so tightly that my fingertips tingled.

“They’re on too tight!” I protested.

“They’re not meant for comfort,” he replied.

While it is true that I, like many of today’s gang members, shave my head bald, in my case it’s less about urban style and more about letting nature take its course. Apart from my complexion, the only thing I had in common with the young men watching me smooch the hood of the black-and-white was that they too had been in that position — some of them, they would tell me later, with just as little provocation.

But here again I failed to live up to the “street cred” these forceful police officers had granted me. As the female officer delved into my back pocket for my wallet she found no cash from illicit corner sales, in fact no cash at all, though she did find evidence of my New York crew — my corporate identification card.

After a quick check for outstanding warrants, the handcuffs were unlocked and my wallet returned without apology or explanation beyond their implication that my approaching young black men on a public sidewalk was somehow flouting the law.

“This is a dangerous area,” the officer told me. “You can’t just stand out here. We have ordinances.”

“This is America,” I said angrily, in that moment supremely unconcerned about whether this was standard police procedure or a useful law enforcement tool or whatever anybody else wanted to call it. “I have a right to talk to anyone I like, wherever I like.”

The female officer trumped my naïve soliloquy, though: “Sir, this is the South. We have different laws down here.”

I tried to appeal to the African-American officer out of some sense of solidarity.

“This is bad area,” he told me. “We have to protect ourselves out here.”

As the police drove away, I turned again to my would-be interview subjects. Surely now they believed I was a reporter.

I found their skepticism had only deepened.

“Man, you know what would have happened to one of us if we talked to them that way?” said one disbelieving man as he walked away from me and my blank notebook. “We’d be in jail right now.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/weekinreview/30moore.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

Posted in Gangs?, Know Your Rights, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

Videos at Spokane Police Abuses

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 28, 2007

“Videos” — There are three ways to access all the videos posted at Spokane Police Abuses.

1) Click on the word “video” in the column called “Categories” on the left side of this blog.

2) Click here.

3) Click on the item below that interests you.

  • Police Batons: Another “less violent” alternative — Police Batons

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Spokane taser, Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

URGENT CALL (10/03/07)–Gang Seminar by Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 25, 2007

UPDATED 9/26/07 — At the 9/25/07 version of the SPD/COPS Gang Seminar, the law enforcement-supplied numbers on gangs in Spokane continued their inflationary trend. Though informative and somewhat cautiously presented by a Spokane Gang Enforcement Team member, the typical law enforcement practice of inflating statistics was evident. The COPS program flyer for the seminar uses the numbers of 50 gangs, 900 gang members and 7000 gang associates in Spokane.

With no evidence presented to back him up, the Spokane Police team GET member took those unconfirmed numbers and turned them into 71 gangs and 1200 gang members. While useful for public relations purposes and writing federal grant applications, the poeple of the Spokane area need to be asking more questions and getting more answers from law enforcement prior to accepting these claims by the SPD, SCSO and FBI. As other posts at this blog indicate, the SPD has a practice of manipulating statistical information, information which — not unlike information on the war in Iraq — is controlled by the government agencies involved. In the next couple weeks, more information on the information presented at the SPD/COPS Gang Seminar will be reviewed here.

Meanwhile I encourage you to attend the next SPD Gang Seminar:  

Wednesday Oct. 3, 2007 6-9 PM WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Spokane

(Warning! Armed and uniformed and undercover Spokane Police officers and other law enforcement including prosecutors and others will be attending this event!)

Wednesday Oct. 3, 2007 6-9 PM WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Spokane

PLEASE ATTEND!

**************************

Did you know that, according to the Spokane Police Department, 7900 people in Spokane are gang members or gang associates?

Did you know that would represent 3.9 percent of the Spokane population?

Did you know that would represent some 40% of Spokane’s ‘minority’ population?

Do you really believe that?

In an event billed as “What you need to know and what you can do”, the Spokane Police Department and COPS will pump up their racially-tinged public relations offensive against gangs in Spokane with two more forums.

It is extremely important for people to attend these informative sessions. While informative, they are extremely biased, racially-tinged, and intended to stimulate support for law enforcement activities such as profiling and other aggressive police practices with serious civil rights implications.

Do we really want a police force that looks like this to be the sole source of information and the major initiator of community discourse on gangs and all the related issues of poverty, racism, selective law enforcement, etc?

In particular, do you want a police force engaged recently in highly questionable killings and assaults on African-Americans, the mentally ill, and others to be the sole framer of truth with regards to gangs?

Here is how the event is announced by the Washington State Chairwoman of the Governor’s Hispanic Commission, Yvonne Morton-Lopez, on the Comunidades Latinas website:

(quote) September 25 & October 3: Gang Seminars. Learn what you need to know and what you can do if there is a gang situation in your neighborhood. These seminars are open and free to the public from 6 – 9 p.m. September 25 seminar will be held at West Central Community Center, 1603 N Belt and October 3 forum will be held at WSU Riverpoint, Phase One Auditorium, 668 North Riverpoint Blvd. For more information about… the gang forums, please contact Maurece Vulcano, Spokane C.O.P.S. Programs Manager, 509- 835-4572 or e-mail mvulcano@spokanepolice.org . (end quote)

This leads to a series of questions:

Isn’t it time for someone else, other than Spokane Police Department, to step forward and begin to help educate the community on issues of crime and justice in Spokane?

Isn’t it time for organizations such as the Governor’s Hispanic Commission and the Spokane Human Rights Commission (which is helping to advertise the event on their website using law enforcement supplied photos and statistics on gangs in Spokane) to begin serving as forums for intelligent, sophisticated, multi-perspective debate and dialog on issues like gangs, rather than promoting law enforcement’s public relations efforts?

Until the Spokane Human Rights Commission is reconstructed and becomes an effective vehicle for citizen complaints and defense of the abused (thanks to HRC chairman Terry Goetz for his efforts in this regard), until the Spokane offices of organizations like the Governor’s Hispanic Commission and the Center for Justice are professionally staffed by bilingual/bicultural individuals, until there is a functioning civilian oversight mechanism of Spokane police, and until there is credible independent information on the gang reality in Spokane, do we want an out-of-control, homicidal police force to be engaged in aggressive policing in our poorest, most diverse, and least understood blocks and communities?

Please attend this event to listen to the law enforcement slant put on this crucial issue, as well as the response of your neighbors, some of whose attitudes about the poor, youth, minorities, and others may shock you.

Meanwhile, for more information on COPS and COPS-sponsored events, such as Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP) Training, please visit: http://wwww.spokanecops.org/calender.htm

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane Police vs. Youth, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Gang Crisis?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 15, 2007

As we all know, Spokane allegedly has a “serious gang problem”, one sufficiently serious we are told as to justify the Spokane Police Department’s recent acquisition of 100 AR-15 assault rifles and training the entire force in their use.

Is the problem really that serious? Or is it a convenient drum to beat to arose public support and draw in taxpayer dollars to the city and SPD coffers? Of course, all statistics on gang activity, gang population, and designations of individuals as gang members come directly from law enforcement, not the most credible of source in the last several years.

Following is the entire section on “gangs” from the last published annual report (2003) by the Spokane County Prosecutor, Steve Tucker. Note that Tucker‘s report is replete with words like “numerous”, “increase”, “many”, “increased substantially”, “numerous”, and “sharp increase”.

Entirely missing is hard data. Surprisingly, for a city with this reportedly “serious gang problem”, the prosecutor’s report on gangs is barely longer than a letter-to-the-editor in the Spokesman-Review.

*******quote*******

Gangs — In the year 2003, the gang unit dealt with numerous homicide, rapes and robberies by gang members. The homicide cases tended to create their own caseload because of the type of witnesses involved (gang members). Many individuals involved were arrested on unrelated crimes and are serving substantial prison terms due to the hard work of law enforcement, the federal government and our unit. Again, last year we saw an increase in gang related drive-by shootings and violence that went unsolved. Many of the cases that were resolved involving guns went to the Major Crimes Gun Deputy. Even with that, the gang unit filed over 270 cases during the course of the year 2003. The Gang Unit closed over 220 files by trial or plea in 2003. Many of them were violent offenses with the majority being murder, attempted murders, robbery, rapes, violent assaults and drug delivery cases. ”Meth” busts involving gang members have increased substantially. Again this year numerous gang members were prosecuted federally on gun and drug charges. This helped facilitate pleas in state court and ease increasing caseloads. Many gang related crimes remain unsolved due to an increase in witness intimidation. Sadly, 2003 saw another increase in youth related gang activities. As 2003 closed and 2004 started, the Gang Unit saw a sharp increase in their caseload and had to start sending cases out to other units including major crimes, property and drugs.

*********end quote**********

How numerous were homicide, rapes and robberies by gang members in Spokane in 2003? 2004? 2005? 2006? Of course, the ‘report’ does not say. It seems to me that we pay Prosecutor Steve Tucker and his some 143 attorneys and staff (not including interns and ‘extra help’ positions) for more than this amateurish and unsubstantiated report once every so many years.

The Washington State Legislature has been busy empowering law enforcement to escalate its efforts against gangs in the state of Washington. Local, state and federal law enforcement in Spokane — as well as Boise and Seattle — received a “top secret, sensitive” briefing on gangs in a late June 2007 visit by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in one of his last acts before resigning in disgrace. As someone knowledgeable on the matter told me, the trip was essentially a “fund-raiser” for Spokane law enforcement and as the transcript of the press conference with Gonzales makes clear, the SPD is now in line for a multi-million dollar Department of Justice grant. Even now, in the midst of an election season, Spokane city council people vying for Mayor and Council President are anxious to be in the debate on gangs and engage in rhetoric about erasing “gang-related” graffiti.

A “work group” on gangs established by the Washington State legislature and run by a less-than-objective Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs just met in Spokane on September 10 and 11, one of five forums to be held around the state. (In fact, the Washington Uniform Crime Reporting (WUCR) program is the only UCR program in the United States which is sponsored, administered and supported by an organization of contributing agency administrators (i.e. police chiefs), rather than a bureau or department of state government.)

The word “gang” is and has always been code for poverty and race.

That is why it is of great concern to see this issue surfacing now, in the midst of rising division between wealth and poverty, national xenophobia associated with the U.S. crusade in the Muslim world, continued disproportionate incarceration and disenfranchisement of African Americans and Latinos, and the hyped-up hysteria over an “invasion” of undocumented people who are here, after all, with the tacit and long-standing consent and knowledge of the U.S. government and U.S. corporate/financial interests, as well as U.S. consumers.

The alleged ‘gang threat’ is certainly a convenient piece of a “ruling class” analysis about Spokane, as the ownership of Spokane changes hand and the urban poor are displaced by the liberal, white ‘urban renewal’ crowd. In fact, it is a propaganda line that police in Spokane have been using for at least 15 years.

Where is this all this gangland graffiti that we are supposed to be in an uproar over? How much of it is actually gang related? Supposedly when graffiti is reported it is photographed and cataloged by police and then painted over by volunteers. That was not my experience on the one occasion that I reported graffiti to the police (the experience was typical of the SPD — no response at all). And that is not what I have observed either. Local politicians are proposing measures such as banning spray cans in the hands of minors. Yet graffiti on city-owned and county-owned property and signs remains for months on end, probably as part of an intentional strategy to increase the impression of gang presence.

One of the focuses of this blog in the near future will be this unrelenting yet largely unsubstantiated emphasis by law enforcement and government on the “gang” problem in Spokane. At the same time, attention will continue to be directed at the scandal-ridden Spokane Police and the lack of public accountability and transparency.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

The Gang Reality–Looking to root causes to address gangs

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 13, 2007

Spokane police are enthusiastically acquiring larger and more powerful weapons for their war on gangs — not to mention their wars on drugs and on the poor and the mentally ill and the homeless. Meanwhile, the Washington state legislature is muscling up the law and financing for the same war on gangs et al. And bogus stories, bogus statistics and bogus e-mails are circulating in the Spokane area about the supposed threat of gangs.

Yet some folks either don’t buy it or at least see a different approach.

Recognizing root causes is, literally, too radical for most people and institutions in this society and country. So it should not be surprising that a project looking to address root causes would be little known and little mentioned.

The September 2007 edition of The Fig Tree, an independent non-profit communications ministry operating in Spokane since 1984, reports on Project HOPE (Helping Our Young People Excel).

Here is the article from The Fig Tree:

Project counters appeal of gangs with jobs

Jobs Not Jails is both a slogan and an organization.The logo appears on clothing and accessories to create community awareness while it deters gang life by providing jobs for young people in West Central Spokane through Project HOPE (Helping Our young People Excel).

“Too often, ‘gang’ has become a four-letter word no one wants to talk about. Our goal is to help people find constructive ways to talk about gangs and to help young people choose viable options—especially employment as an economic incentive—to reduce the appeal of gang life,” said Pat Copeland-Malone, who is coordinating several efforts at workforce development in the neighborhood through Project HOPE.

Jobs not Jails logos are printed on T-shirts, tank tops, coats, handbags, tote bags, hats, work shirts, dress denim, sweatshirts and other items on display at the Book Parlor, 1414 W. Broadway. Organizers are seeking other outlets.

Pat said they will also produce shirts for the Riverfront Farm Project and God’s Gym, which re-opened in early August at Salem Lutheran Church 1428 W. Broadway, with five former gang members serving as volunteers.

“Nothing stops a bullet like a job,” said Pat.

Other workforce development programs he is encouraging include a Youth Entrepreneurship Program and a Youth Landscape Business, as well as the Riverfront Farm Project.

He also is researching what other products to produce in partnership with other outlets, including churches.

“As we mature, we will learn more about what people will buy and will find more ways to involve youth in building skills and leadership,” he said,

He believes that churches will become interested in the social justice aspects of the anti-gang effort.

God’s Gym, which operated in the 1990s at Central United Methodist Church downtown, is an avenue for drawing youth into recreation and awareness of alternatives to gang life.

Having former gang members who are now in school and employed engaged in the effort makes it more credible, Pat said. Their stories of turning their lives around can motivate young people more than a nonprofit director or counselor can.

For information, call 280-1702.

Mary Stamp – The Fig Tree – © September 2007

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