Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Racism’ Category

Testimony: SPD murder of Tyrone Thomas on 8/6/01

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 30, 2010

Following is the powerful testimony of Terri Anderson about the 2001 murder of Tyrone Thomas by the Spokane Police. Anderson spoke these personal words at the June 21, 2010 Spokane City Council meeting at which 65 people remained until nearly midnight to testify against the long history of human rights abuses and deaths committed by the corrupt and out-of-control Spokane Police Department.

Just before Anderson and nearly two dozen citizens testified against these abuses, and after sitting through hours of other council business, Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick and Mayor Mary Vernor abandoned the Council chambers and went home. Faced with this unprecedented and persistent public movement against her abusive police force, the Chief returned June 28, 2010, to verbally murder Tyrone Thomas again and to carry out a character assassination of Anderson. (Note: Councilman Jon Snyder supported the Chief’s actions in his blog post on 6/30/10 and in other statements).

Nevertheless, Chief Kirkpatrick failed in her dishonest attempt to influence the Council, when it voted 7-0 in favor a new and strengthen ordinance on police oversight and civilian control of the Spokane Police Department.

Here are Anderson’s powerful words in remembrance of Tyrone and in favor of strengthened police oversight:

Hello, my name is Terri Anderson and this is the second time I am standing here to ask you to pass an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. I have had the opportunity to speak to each of you tell you that we need real and meaningful oversight of police misconduct. But I have never told you why.

In August 2001 I was working at Spokane Community College in Multicultural Student Services. I was looking forward to a new school year and preparing my work study students for their new job responsibilities. One of those students was Tyrone Thomas. I knew Tyrone because he had served as president of the Black Student Union and later served on the Associated Student Council at SCC. He was a successful and committed student nearing the end of his studies in the Invasive Cardiac Technology program, a challenging program where he achieved outstanding grades and was looking forward to a promising future with a career in the health care industry.

That all ended on August 6, 2001 when he was shot and killed by two Spokane police officers in downtown Spokane. The days that followed were heart breaking. Students who had taken the summer off from school were pouring in my office because they had to talk to someone about the loss of their friend and fellow classmate. What troubled us the most was the way the police portrayed him and the description of the events that led to his death. It didn’t make sense to those of us who knew him. A staff member recalled seeing him in class almost immediately before the fatal shooting. Something didn’t seem right.

We were also troubled by the fact that he was shot in the back while fleeing the police and turned down a hallway where he collapsed. Even though a witness saw him through a glass door and told the officers that he was down and bleeding, severely injured but still alive, those officers would not allow emergency medical help into the building for nearly an hour. When help was finally allowed in, Tyrone had bled to death. The bullets did not hit any vital organs. He just bled to death.

After the students and I attended a memorial service for Tyrone at the Jesus is the Answer Church where he attended, the students asked me to help them in getting some answers to questions we had about Tyrone’s death. We went to the NAACP and asked for help. The president at the time arranged a meeting between the Chief of Police Roger Bragdon and us. He gave us an implausible explanation about the bullet entry in Tyrone’s back and an equally implausible and heartless explanation why they let him bleed to death with an ambulance sitting on the sidewalk just outside the building where he had been shot. There was no ombudsman at that time, there was no one we could go to that could conduct an independent investigation.

Of course those officers were cleared of any wrong doing through an internal investigation and several months later they received a commendation of valor. For what? For shooting a man in the back and allowing him to bleed to death alone in a hallway after an eye witness told them he was down and injured with emergency medical help minutes, maybe even seconds away?

That is why we need independent investigations for complaints of police misconduct and critical incidents. I care about Tyrone Thomas. Students, faculty and staff at SCC cared about Tyrone. We all care about Tyrone, about Eagle Michael, Otto Zehm, Josh Levy, Jerome Alford and the many others who have been killed and injured by the Spokane police. You should care about them, too.

This ordinance is just a first step. But it must be an honest ordinance that mandates action, and not one that just uses the right words. I will always wonder if we had true, meaningful, independent oversight of police conduct when Tyrone was shot, maybe, just maybe the officers would have thought about it, and they would have allowed the emergency medical help in the building and Tyrone would be alive today.

Thank you very much.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Racism, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Yes ma'am Chief | 1 Comment »

Tyrone Thomas – shot in the back by Spokane Police – August 6, 2001

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 1, 2010

On August 6, 2001, Tyrone Thomas, an African American student at Spokane Community College, was shot and killed by Spokane Police in a downtown office building. The police accused Thomas of shooting directly at them and that they shot back in self defense. However, the bullet entered Mr. Thomas’s back as he fled down a hallway and turned down a corridor. A local attorney walking through the building was able to see Thomas through a glass door but was unable to render assistance because the door was locked. The witness, not knowing that police officers shot the victim, reported seeing the injured Thomas and told the officers to get medical assistance immediately because he was still alive and was losing blood rapidly. Police officers would not allow emergency medical assistance for more than a half an hour. Even though the victim had been reported as incapacitated and severely injured, police officers claimed a need to have a SWAT team clear the area before they would allow emergency medical personnel into the building. Though the bullet did not hit any vital organs, Tyrone Thomas bled to death in the corridor. It was reported that if medical assistance had been provided immediately Mr. Thomas would more than likely have lived. Several months later, in the midst of controversy that has endured to this day, the Spokane Police Department awarded the two officers (Shane Oien and James Erickson) involved in shooting Tyrone Thomas in the back with its highest award, the Medal of Valor. Thomas’s death was one of those that generated great outrage in the community, resulting in public meetings with then-Police Chief Roger Bragdon but no actions to curb police abuses nor impunity nor, of course, any effective community oversight of the police.

(This is one of numerous deaths not included on the original timeline that forms the backbone of this blog. The information on the death of Tyrone Thomas was sent to me by a key activist in Spokane’s police accountability movement. Though I myself have not been very active of late, I invites the entire community to e-mail him at SpokanePoliceAbuses@gmail.com with additional cases of deaths, abuses, crimes, corruption, and impunity which mark the Spokane Police Departments history and have left our community fearing for the safety of our law-abiding children, family members, and friends. Please contribute to this project with ideas, articles, links, format ideas, etc.)

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, License to Kill, Racism | Leave a Comment »

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”?


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”?

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

URGENT CALL — Spokane Campaign Against Violence Motivated by Hate

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 11, 2008


Working together to address the increase in random acts of violence against homeless individuals in our community. We hope as a community we can put an end to this appalling and frightening trend.

Central United Methodist Church

518 W 3rd

Tuesday March 18, 2:00 pm

Please RSVP with

Holly Jean Chilinski

Shalom Ministries


(509) 455-9019


http://www.spokesmanreview.com/media/video/?ID=844 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003089027_webhomeless27.html  http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/search?q=spokane  http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/2006/07/disabled-homeless-man-set-afire-after.html


Posted in Ethics, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Racism, Solutions, Testimonies, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

FILM — Up The Ridge: A US Prison Story — Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Magic Lantern

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 9, 2008

Up The Ridge: A U.S Prison Story
A Shocking Look Inside The Incarceration Industry

Film Screening & Public Discussion

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 — 7:30 to 9:00 PM
Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W Main, Spokane

*Due to the graphic nature of this film, it is not recommended for children
Sponsored by November Coalition Foundation and Thousand Kites

For more information call (509)684-1550 or e-mail tom@november.org

Admission is free; donations gladly accepted!

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story is a one-hour television documentary produced by Appalshop’s Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby. In 1999, Szuberla and Kirby were volunteer DJ’s for the Appalachian region’s only hip-hop radio program in Whitesburg, KY when they received hundreds of letters from inmates transferred into nearby Wallens Ridge State Prison, the newest prison built to prop up the region’s sagging coal economy. The letters described human rights violations and racial tension between staff and inmates. Filming began that year and, through the lens of Wallens Ridge, the film offers viewers an in-depth look at the United States prison industry and the social impact of moving hundreds of thousands of inner-city minority offenders to distant rural outposts. Up the Ridge explores competing political agendas that align government policy with human rights violations, and political expediencies that bring communities into racial and cultural conflict with tragic consequences. As the film makes plain, connections exist, in both practice and ideology, between human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and physical and sexual abuse recorded in American prisons.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisons in Spokane, Racism, Solutions, Surveillance Society, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

Elections & Voting
Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Feb 25, 2008, 00:55

According to the Dallas Star-Telegram, the Secret Service gave an order to stop screening for weapons for a full hour before the February 20 Barack Obama rally in Dallas. Metal detectors were turned off, and bags were not checked, as hundreds were allowed to file into Reunion Arena. This bizarre activity “ordered by federal officials,” was immediately reported by an alarmed Dallas Police Department, which knew that it was a “lapse in security.”

The Secret Service (which has been assigned to Obama since August 2007) has denied the allegations, declaring post-facto that the event was secure. However, the Secret Service has provided no detailed explanation about this blatant security stand-down. It is not known who gave the orders. The Obama camp itself has issued no statement.

While this story has been vastly underreported by major corporate media, independent liberal media, particularly Democratic Party and Obama faithful, have expressed astonishment and outrage. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in Dallas, Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 (which came on the eve of his California presidential primary victory) were also facilitated by Secret Service “lapses.”

While there is no doubt that Barack Obama, bankrolled and sponsored by political elites, appears to be closing in on the Democratic Party nomination, and is an enthusiastic imperial war facilitator, this does not eliminate the real danger he faces from political adversaries.

It goes without saying that Obama is viewed as a bitter enemy (at the very least a symbolic one) by the Bush-Cheney-McCain-neocon gang. Obama not only faces threats from fanatical right-wing and racist elements, but the desperately power-hungry rivals within the more conservative neoliberal wing of the Democratic faction, led by the Clintons. The incendiary Karl Rove-esque attacks launched against Obama by the Clinton apparatus have become increasingly bitter, personal, and below-the-belt in recent weeks.

Obama is also competing with Hillary Clinton for the support of John Edwards. Edwards, the calculating emissary of Bilderberg Group interests, who was, according to Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, handpicked by Henry Kissinger to be John Kerry’s vice presidential partner in 2004, may be positioning himself for the same powerful seat this year. Kissinger (who is lurking in McCain’s camp for 2008) and other leading elites already have control of the entire process, from both sides.

Obama’s supporters, and congressional allies such as Senator Dick Durbin, have been concerned for Obama’s safety for months.

It must be noted that the Clintons’ longtime criminal connections, which both tie to, and parallel, those of the Bush family/faction are well-documented (but roundly ignored) fact. The Clintons and Bushes have been full partners across official and unofficial power agendas, co-rulers of the United States, for over two decades. The body count that can be attributed to these two cooperative factions is long and gruesome.

The Clintons’ love of presidential election-season intimidation and dirty tricks are well-known. During the 1992 race for the Democratic Party nomination, Jerry Brown repeatedly accused the Clintons of resorting to tricks worthy of Nixon. As noted by Michael C. Ruppert in Crossing the Rubicon, Ross Perot withdrew from the 1992 presidential contest, pressured into assuring a Clinton victory, after Perot and has family received death threats. (Ruppert, who worked for the Perot campaign, witnessed this firsthand.)

Any prominent political figure who dares vary an inch from the imperial geopolitical script faces threats; first to their reputations and careers, and then their lives. In the “godfather government” that is the United States, this is the rule. This same criminal stranglehold prevents “change” — even the slightest variance from establishment consensus. And even high-level representatives who operate well within the consensus must still defend themselves from “colleagues.”

No government can be trusted. Nor can government officials and elites trust each other.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor


Here is my comment posted on the Dallas Star website in response to the original news article reporting this incident:

As the OnLine Journal makes clear in its article, “Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?”, Obama is a ruling class candidate. However, he was not supposed to have “slipped through the nominating process” with the kind of mass following, momentum, etc. With the likes of Kucinich, Paul, Nader, etc, it has always been easy to just look the door to the debate halls and exclude them. Or if they run as third party or independent candidates then the media marginalizes and ridicules and simply does not cover them. Or in the case of Dean who managed to get to Iowa with a head of steam but without endorsement of the ruling class, the party machine and the media took his exuberant shout and declared him “dead on arrival” as a result of a self inflicted wound (his shout in a campaign event). But what do you do when on the scene appears a charismatic leader like Obama who may be too savvy and suave to shoot himself in the foot much less the head as Dean did and who, worse yet, makes it all the way to Texas and Ohio with a long string of victories over the establishment’s candidate (i.e., Clinton, as in Bush 1, Clinton 1, Bush 2, Clinton 2)?. What does the ruling class do when a candidate who would dare to stand up and propose change manages to slip through the media/money/machine controlled process of the caucuses and looks like he may ride popular sentiment to a true mandate (not the 1% or less “mandates” that recent presidents have had)? What does the ruling class do? They call out the “assets” and ” secret teams” within the permanent government, not the permanent government of beltway bureaucrats but the permanent government of the Cheneys and Kissengers and others who represent the true interests behind real political power in this country. Let us not be naive again. David Brookbank

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Racism, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Police State — 1 in 100 Americans in Jail, per studies reported in NY Times

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

Excerpt —

The report points out …. that prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the nation’s population at large. Instead, more people are behind bars principally because of a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and other sentencing laws, imposing longer prison stays on inmates.

Pew Report Finds More than One in 100 Adults are Behind Bars

Release Type: Pew Press Release

Pew Contact: Jessica Riordan, Communications (215) 575-4886; jriordan@pewtrusts.org

Washington, DC – 02/28/2008 – For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety. According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women, according to the study. During 2007, the prison population rose by more than 25,000 inmates. In addition to detailing state and regional prison growth rates, Pew’s report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, identifies how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in both prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.

As prison populations expand, costs to states are on the rise. Last year alone, states spent more than $49 billion on corrections, up from $11 billion 20 years before. However, the national recidivism rate remains virtually unchanged, with about half of released inmates returning to jail or prison within three years. And while violent criminals and other serious offenders account for some of the growth, many inmates are low-level offenders or people who have violated the terms of their probation or parole.“For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project. “More and more states are beginning to rethink their reliance on prisons for lower-level offenders and finding strategies that are tough on crime without being so tough on taxpayers.”

According to the report, 36 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons saw their prison populations increase in 2007. Among the seven states with the largest number of prisoners—those with more than 50,000 inmates—three grew (Ohio, Florida and Georgia), while four (New York, Michigan, Texas and California) saw their populations dip. Texas surpassed California as the nation’s prison leader following a decline in both states’ inmate populations—Texas decreased by 326 inmates and California by 4,068. Ten states, meanwhile, experienced a jump in inmate population growth of 5 percent or greater, a list topped by Kentucky with a surge of 12 percent.

A close examination of the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data (2006) found that while one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, the figure is one in nine for black males in that age group. Men are still roughly 13 times more likely to be incarcerated, but the female population is expanding at a far brisker pace. For black women in their mid- to late-30s, the incarceration rate also has hit the one-in-100 mark. In addition, one in every 53 adults in their 20s is behind bars; the rate for those over 55 is one in 837.

The report points out the necessity of locking up violent and repeat offenders, but notes that prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the nation’s population at large. Instead, more people are behind bars principally because of a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and other sentencing laws, imposing longer prison stays on inmates.

As a result, states’ corrections costs have risen substantially. Twenty years ago, the states collectively spent $10.6 billion of their general funds—their primary discretionary dollars—on corrections. Last year, they spent more than $44 billion in general funds, a 315 percent jump, and more than $49 billion in total funds from all sources. Coupled with tightening state budgets, the greater prison expenditures may force states to make tough choices about where to spend their money. For example, Pew found that over the same 20-year period, inflation-adjusted general fund spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent.

“States are paying a high cost for corrections—one that may not be buying them as much in public safety as it should. And spending on prisons may be crowding out investments in other valuable programs that could enhance a state’s economic competitiveness,” said Susan K. Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States. “There are other choices. Some state policy makers are experimenting with a range of community punishments that are as effective as incarceration in protecting public safety and allow states to put the brakes on prison growth.”

According to Pew, some states are attempting to protect public safety and reap corrections savings primarily by holding lower-risk offenders accountable in less-costly settings and using intermediate sanctions for parolees and probationers who violate conditions of their release. These include a mix of community-based programs such as day reporting centers, treatment facilities, electronic monitoring systems and community service—tactics recently adopted in Kansas and Texas. Another common intervention, used in Kansas and Nevada, is making small reductions in prison terms for inmates who complete substance abuse treatment and other programs designed to cut their risk of recidivism.

Pew was assisted in collecting state prison counts by the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the JFA Institute. The report also relies on data published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Association of State Budget Officers, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

To view the entire report, including state-by-state data and methodology, visit the Public Safety Performance Project’s web Site.

Launched in 2006 as a project of Pew’s Center on the States, the Public Safety Performance Project seeks to help states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.

The Pew Charitable Trusts applies the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Our Center on the States identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues facing states. Online at www.pewcenteronthestates.org.

One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Prison Industrial Complex, Racism, Statistics | Leave a Comment »

Zero Diversity in Spokane’s Major Law Firms

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 10, 2008

The Washington State Bar Association publication Law and Politics (June/July 2003) ran an article entitled “Gaining and Retaining Diversity: How well do law firms keep their promise of a diverse environment?” by Paul Freeman.

The article and graphic were based on a survey of Washington State law firms conducted by the Washington State Latina/o Bar Association, the Loren Miller Bar Association, and the Asian Bar Association of Washington.

Several law firms did not respond, among them Spokane based firms Lukins & Annis, P.S. (35 attorneys); Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport, and Toole, P.S (50 attorneys); and Paine, Hamblen, Coffin, Brooke & Miller, LLC (55 attorneys).

It is not difficult to see why these firms would not have responded to the survey.

A look 5 years later at the websites for these large Spokane-based law firms shows that they have no attorneys of non-European ethnicity whatsoever. (On the WKDT and PHCBM websites you will have to click on the names of the individual attorneys.)

And this despite the presence of a well-known Jesuit law school — Gonzaga — in Spokane.

This non-diverse reality is reflected throughout the Spokane professional, political, educational, and arts communities. While more than one in ten residents of Spokane is of a diverse ethnic background, that reality is not seen in the offices of government, medicine, law, business, education, social work, religion, or virtually anything else in this community.

The consequences in the application of justice are seen in on the streets and in the court room as recently seen in a well-publicized Spokane court case revealing blatantly racist statements by Spokane jurors regarding an attorney of Asian heritage.

The consequences in the emergency room and in doctors’ offices are experienced on a daily basis by patients who do not receive language appropriate services required under the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and other provisions of law. In Spokane these failures to comply with the law happen on a daily and flagrant basis. As a result, adverse outcomes and deaths have occurred), conditions have been misdiagnosed, and much humiliation and abuse has been suffered (as in the death of 9-year-old Rocio Rodriguez, for example.)

The consequences in the class room are that non-English speaking students do not receive notice of extracurricular and enrichment activities and access to musical instruments in their parents’ languages and thus talented and worthy children are excluded from participation. Beyond that, the larger community and society is denied the fruits of their talents and abilities.

Given that most, if not all, of these matters of access, equity, and justice must be adjudicated in the final instance through the legal system, the lack of diversity in the Spokane legal profession, from law school, to law practice, to public service law agencies, to court room has long-lasting repercussions on the lives of people in Spokane and raises fundamental questions of access to justice which should be matters of major concern for everyone involved in civil rights in Spokane and the betterment of our minority communities.

The time for change in Spokane is long since past. Why has change not come?

Could the answer be “entrenched racism”?


Spokane County Bar Association diversity page

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, Know Your Rights, Law, Racism, Statistics, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

WACOPS — Another All-White Washington State Law Enforcement Organization?

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

All-White Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS)

Photo from the home page of the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs ( WACOPS ) website.

Also revealing (or scary depending on your perspective on the documented and pervasive history of racism in law enforcement) are these photos of the executives and staff of WACOPS.

Another picture of the all-white staff and executives of WACOPS is found on the cover of the WACOPS Shield & Star Publication.

This should not be surprising but is certain cause for concern and worthy of public scrutiny.

This are links to other information on the nearly all-white nature of other police organizations and police departments in the state of Washington:

All-white Spokane Police Department?

All-White Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA)

Posted in All-white SPD?, Corruption, Photographic Evidence, Racism, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Are Racist Cops Better Organized Than We Thought?

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 1, 2008

[Note from SpokanePoliceAbuses blogmeister: Hopefully those at Spokane’s so-called “progressive” radio station KYRS – Thin Air Community Radio who are discussing airing a radio show hosted by racist ex-LA cop Mark Fuhrman are paying attention to information like this.]

Are Racist Cops Better Organized Than We Thought?

This is just chilling:

INSIDE the locker of a narcotics cop, Philadelphia police officials recently made a shocking discovery: A cartoon of a man, half as an officer in uniform and half as a Klansman with the words: “Blue By Day – White By Night. White Power,” according to police officials.

…Schweizer, 33, joined the force in June 1997 and makes $54,794 a year, city payroll records show. He became part of the elite Narcotics Strike Force about six years ago. As an undercover, plainclothes cop who worked day and night shifts, Schweizer was part of a surveillance team that watched drug buys and locked up hundreds of suspected drug dealers. He frequently testified in court as a witness for prosecutors. [Philadelphia Daily News]

Racial disparities abound in the war on drugs, but most analysis of the drug war’s disparate impact focuses on institutional bias. Rarely are we confronted with such a disturbing window into the racist mindset of an individual officer. Such beliefs render one thoroughly unqualified to carry out law-enforcement duties in any capacity and raise serious questions about this officer’s past actions.

More troubling, however, is the possibility that Schweizer is just the tip of the iceberg. Is he a cartoonist? Did he draw the thing himself, or is there a larger organization that produces and markets police-themed racist merchandise to a clientele of closeted white supremacist police officers? I don’t know the answer, but this poster sounds like a logo for something very creepy.

Of course, this is just one anecdotal incident, but when such revelations occur within an institution with such a hideously rich tradition of racial bias, it certainly doesn’t feel like a coincidence. It is an unflattering portrait of our criminal justice system that adherents to such ideology are able to assimilate within it. Indeed, had he merely possessed the wisdom to keep racist cartoons out if his locker, this officer would still be hard at work filling our prisons with young black and Hispanic drug offenders.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Racism, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Laying out the case…

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 19, 2007

Re-posted by Arroyoribera on November12, 2007


(Posted originally on July 19th, 2007 and updated regularly)

November 1909 — (quote) On November 2, 1909, the city government at Spokane, Washington, started to arrest the speakers of the I. W. W. (International Workers of the World) for holding street meetings. The locals at that point decided to fight the city and force it to allow the organization to hold street meetings. The fight lasted up to the first of March following, and resulted in compelling the city to pass a law allowing street speaking. Over 500 men and women went to jail during the free speech fight. Two hundred went on a hunger strike that lasted from 11 to 13 days, and then went from 30 to 45 days on bread and water; two ounces of bread per day. Four members lost their lives as a result of the treatment accorded them in this fight. (end quote) http://www.iww.org/cic/history/V_St_John.html

March 5, 1913 — Officer Frederick E. Goddard was “accidentally shot” during a training exercise and died. He was the first black member of the Spokane Police Department to die in the “line of duty”. He had served in law enforcement for five years and was survived by his wife and four children. http://www.ntoa.org/2007TrainingDeathsReport.pdf

September 1935 — In the 1980s Pend Oreille County Sheriff Tony Bamonte detailed the involvement of a Spokane police detective involved in the 1935 cover-up of the shooting death of Newport, Washington marshal George Conniff.

February 12, 1939 — Officer John H. Miller was accidentally shot and killed while attending an FBI training school in Washington, DC. The accident occurred as a result of practicing “quick draws” with another attendee. The other officer forgot he had reloaded his weapon when Officer Miller requested to run through the exercise one last time before dinner. http://www.ntoa.org/2007TrainingDeathsReport.pdf

January 15, 1962 — Airman 3rd class Olaguibeet Angel Lopez-Pacheco Vera from the 84th Consolidated Maintanence Squadron at Geiger Field was killed by Spokane Police officers Dennis R. Apperson and Richard E. Luders. Also present was Sgt. James D. Worsham of the Fairchild Air Force Base police liaison detail. Both Lopez and his father, a prominent Puerto Rican veterinarian, were pro-Puerto Rico independence advocates. Lopez father, Olaguibeet Angel Lopez-Pacheco, filed a civil rights complaint with the FBI on March 29, 1962. As part of a Federal Tort Claim, he received 111 pages of information from the FBI in 1976 and another 98 pages in 1978. The information indicated that the pro-independence organization to which Lopez’s father belonged was a target of FBI Cointelpro surveillance starting in at least 1958.

April 1969 — Spokane Police told Gonzaga University president John P. Leary he would be arrested in relation to charges of sexual abuse of minor boys unless he left town immediately. Thankful for the tip, Leary did obligingly leave town, beginning the long peregrinations so well known to predatory clergy.

February 1981 — In the midst of the infamous South Hill Rapist case, Spokane Police Captain Richard Olberding commented that Spokane women should “just lay back and enjoy it”.

1986 — (quote) The Spokane Police Department’s Gypsy File, a document half an inch thick, has determined that crime constitutes our very culture: “scams, theft and confrontations with law enforcement officials is a way of life with Gypsies” (dated 1986, on page 9). (end quote) http://www.radoc.net:8088/RADOC-31-PROFILING.htm

March 19, 1986 — [per Washington State Supreme Court records] (quote) On or about March 19, 1986, a party was held on the Spokane Police Guild Club premises. These were premises licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (Liquor Board). The party has been variously referred to as a bachelor party, stag show and strip show. The party was, in any event, given for a prospective bridegroom by his brother. A dancer performed at the party in a manner which, as it was subsequently determined, violated Liquor Board regulations. Forty or more people were in attendance. Following an investigation by an investigator for the Liquor Board, the club’s liquor license was suspended for 21 days. A reporter for the Spokesman Review and Spokane Chronicle newspapers requested a copy of the Liquor Board’s investigative report. The Liquor Board ultimately determined that it would release its full report on the incident. This suit was thereupon commenced by the Spokane Police Guild to enjoin the release of the records. The publisher of the newspapers, Cowles Publishing Company, and the City of Spokane were permitted to intervene in the suits. (end quote) The Spokane County Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and, finally in 1989, the Washington State Supreme Court all ruled in favor of the public’s right to know and against the Spokane Police Guild’s attempt to keep the information secret. This decision is widely cited and is considered a primary source of case law on the matter of public access and records disclosure.

August 15, 1991 — In a shootout with a crime suspect, Spokane Police shot and killed Kelly A. Miller in her home. With her children watching, Ms. Miller was killed by one of 50 shots fired by Spokane Police officers at John Chavers who had holed up in the Miller house. In response to the killing of his wife, Rod Miller, sued the city of Spokane for $5 million.

February 27, 1993 — Elwood Rayvon Lee, age 34, was shot in the head by Spokane Police officer Benjamin Estes. The Spokane Police had arrived at the Lee home unannounced and were met at the door by Mr. Lee carrying a rifle. Police alleged that Lee refused their order to drop the rifle and pointed it at them. Joan Lee, who witnessed her husband’s killing by the police along with her two children, sued the city of Spokane.

August 6, 1993 — Spokane Police Officer Jeffrey Harvey shot and killed a man said by two witnesses to be unarmed. On two prior ocassions, Harvey had been subject to disciplinary action for unauthorized use of force.

December 21, 1993 — (quote) Spokane Police Officer William Gentry pled not guilty on December 21, 1993 to alleged sexual assaults of two women described as mentally disabled. These attacks are alleged to have taken place while Gentry was in charge of the police station. According to a spokesperson for the Spokane police, Gentry has been discharged, but news reports suggest that he is receiving disability pay for a stress-related condition. Details of the allegations remain unclear, but at least some of the incidents are alleged to have taken place in the police station and while the victim was restrained with handcuffs. (end quote) — from Dick Sobsey, Educational Psychology, 6-102 Education North, University of Alberta

August 28, 1994 — Sidney McDermott, married and father of 5 children, was shot to death by Spokane Police after an officer followed him home. His wife sued the city for $9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

December 17, 1994 – Alleging that she pointed a gun at them, Spokane Police fatally shot —– Borgman. Police had gone to the location in response to a domestic violence report.

January 1, 1995 — Spokane police refused to identify a man they killed nor explain the cause of his death prior to the results of an autopsy.

March 8, 1995 — Blaine Dalrymple, a 38 year old man described by Spokane Police as mentally ill, was shot and killed by three Spokane police officers who alleged that attacked them with a piece of glass.

September 3, 1995 — A 28-year-old man died within minutes of being restrained by five officers and held at the the Spokane County Jail.

October 29, 1995 — Alledging that he had threatened them with a pellet gun, Spokane Police shot dead _____ Bolton.

December 13, 1995 — Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed ______ Stowell. Police alleged that Stowell may have shot himself.

December 28, 1995 — Police killed a man after a vehicle pursuit following a bank robbery.

January 22, 1996 — An unidentified woman was shot to death at her home by two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies after she allegedly shot a third deputy in the chest with a shotgun. The deputy was not seriously injured.

January 23, 1996 — Scott Waterhouse died after being arrested on a warrant after a traffic stop by Spokane police. Police say that they don’t know why he died. Mr. Waterhouse was from Fairfield, CT.

November 2, 1996 — Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas DiBartolo shot and killed his wife Patti DiBartolo. He then shot himself and invented a story that two Black men had committed the crime. Despite a plea by his teenage son against releasing DiBartolo, DiBartolo was released. He was subsequently convicted of 1st degree murder and sentence to 25 years in prison.

April 15, 1997 — Joe R. Lawson was shot to death by Spokane Police Officer Patrick Dobrow after he allegedly charged at them with a knife during a domestic violence call at his home. The Spokane County prosecutor ruled that the shooting was justified.

June 13, 1997 — Authorities claim that the death of Nicholas Struckman was a suicide in custody. Mr. Struckman’s father has come forward to question the police version of events.

April 28, 1998 — While Spokane Police chased him for violating a traffic regulation, 35 year old Christopher Kraft crashed his motorcycle and died.

June 12, 1998 — ___ Lefebvre was shot by a Spokane County Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team after a six-hour standoff. There is videotape of this incident, which reportedly shows police shooting the suspect as he retreats. Mr. Lefebvre was in a Spokane hospital in critical condition. It is not clear if he survived. He was supposedly wanted for a robbery and a carjacking.

May 27, 1999 — Spokane Police Chief Alan Chertok’s resigned his short tenure with the SPD are he told a high school class that prior Spokane Police Chief Terry Mangan was a suspect in the deaths of several area prostitutes.

June 2000 — “If a higher percentage of minorities are stopped for nonhazardous violations, it would kind of make you wonder,” Bragdon said (Spokane Police Chief Roger Bragdon). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Spokane County’s population was 1.6 percent black as of 1996. Bragdon said 900 tickets out of 29,000 – about 3 percent – were given to black drivers last year. If initial traffic numbers show signs of racial profiling, the probe could expand, he said. http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice/racialprofiling/15979prs20000622.html

August 11, 2000 — (quote) Assistant Police Chief Loses Pay Over Traffic Stop–Odenthal ‘Influenced’ Officers at Scene not to Arrest His Daughter: A top Spokane Police Department official will lose five days’ pay for intervening to prevent the arrest of his 24-year-old daughter the impoundment of the car she was driving. According to an internal investigation, Assistant Chief Al Odenthal’s actions amounted to preferential treatment and a breach of department policy. (end quote from August 24, 2000 Spokesman-Review) Odenthal was suspended for five days and lost $2000 in pay. In 2006, Odenthal was a candidate for the new police chief position and–after not getting the position–was subsequently fired.

August 6, 2001 — Tyrone Thomas, a 34-year-old African American student at Spokane Community College, was shot and killed by Spokane Police in a downtown office building. The police accused Thomas of shooting directly at them and that they shot back in self defense. However, the bullet entered Mr. Thomas’s back as he fled down a hallway and turned down a corridor. A local attorney walking through the building was able to see Thomas through a glass door but was unable to render assistance because the door was locked. The witness, not knowing that police officers shot the victim, reported seeing the injured Thomas and told the officers to get medical assistance immediately because he was still alive and was losing blood rapidly. Police officers would not allow emergency medical assistance for more than a half an hour. Even though the victim had been reported as incapacitated and severely injured, police officers claimed a need to have a SWAT team clear the area before they would allow emergency medical personnel into the building. Though the bullet did not hit any vital organs, Tyrone Thomas bled to death in the corridor. It was reported that if medical assistance had been provided immediately Mr. Thomas would more than likely have lived. Several months later, in the midst of controversy that has endured to this day, the Spokane Police Department awarded the two officers (Shane Oien and James Erickson) involved in shooting Tyrone Thomas in the back with its highest award, the Medal of Valor.

September 22, 2003 — Spokane Police officers shot and severely injured 17-year-old Lewis and Clark High School Student Sean Fitzpatrick rather than wait him out or allow his father to intervene. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=092303&ID=s1414769

September 27, 2003 — (quote) Fifteen-year-old Couer d’Alene Tribe member Eagle Michael was shot dead by Spokane Police Officer Michelle Madsen. The Officer alleged that Eagle Michael pointed his BB gun at her. Per published reports, Eagle Michael attended the Idaho School for the Deaf & Blind and was wearing a hearing aid when he was shot. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=092903&ID=s1417811

May 4, 2004 — Spokane Police officers investigating the assault on Iraq War protesters David Brookbank and Al Mangan told Brookbank, “You should have known something like this would happen.” The case was closed before the assigned SPD Detective Crystal Jolley interviewed the two primary witnesses of the assault. Subsequently, in a letter to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, the Seattle office of the FBI wrote that “Mr. Brookbank was assaulted after he assaulted the passing driver”. (see Spokesman Review article, May 6, 2004)

August 30, 2004 — Thirty-four year old Spirit Creager was tasered multiple times by a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy. Creager had been stopped for driving with a suspended license and a non-working taillight. Deputy Chad Ruff claimed Creager resisted arrest. ( movementforchange.org/article )

November 2005 — The Washington State Patrol twice recorded a Spokane Police lieutenant doing over 100 mph on Interstate 90 in an unmarked department patrol car, both going to and returning from a training event in western Washington. To keep the State Patrol from stopping him, the Spokane Police lieutenant turned on his siren as the State Patrol approached. Rather than being charged and/or fired, the lieutenant–who had been in charge of Spokane Police traffic officers–was demoted to the rank of detective.

January 29, 2006 — A delusional Spokane County inmate, Benites Sichiro, died after being repeatedly tasered, beaten, and “donkey kicked” by jail staff. Sichiro was tied to a restraint chair prior to being taken to hospital where he died of internal injuries, including a lacerated liver. Three weeks later, jailer John Elam — who administered the donkey kick– was hired as a Spokane Police officer. Sichiro’s death was ruled a homicide by the Spokane County Coroner’s Office. On July 12, 2007, a civil rights lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court against Spokane County, the Spokane County Sheriff, and 12 jail personnel.

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

Otto Zehm (Spokesman-Review photo)

May 24, 2006 — In April 2007, Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker termed as an “excusable homicide” the death at the hands of Spokane Police Officers of Roger D. Hanks, a truck driver from Texas. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=183069

August 29, 2006 – Spokane Police officer Jonathon Smith resigned as a result of allegedly purchasing and consuming marijuana cookies at a concert by the band Tool at the Gorge Amphitheater in Central Washington.

November 2006 — Spokane Police Officer David Freitag was fired after housing level 3 sex offender Thomas R. Herman in the basement of his house. Freitag was also storing 10 weapons for Herman who as a convicted felon is prohibited from owning firearms. Herman was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in an international child pornography network.

February 26, 2007 — Spokane Police officer James “Jay” Olsen shot Navaho Indian Shonto K. Pete in the head from behind. Olsen was been charged with first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Olsen is on unpaid leave. At the time of the shooting Olsen was off-duty and had been drinking in a Spokane bar. He was legally drunk at the time he chased Pete down and shot him from behind. http://www.badcopnews.com/category/washington/

March 24, 2007 — Spokane Police Sgt. Daniel Torok shot and killed 33-year-old Jerome Alford, an African-American, during a confrontation near downtown Spokane. The killing of Alford by the Spokane Police is being investigated by the Spokane Sheriff’s Office and is pending a decision at the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office. http://s-r.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=182954

March 30, 2007 — Spokane Police Special Investigations Officer Jay Mehring was arrested while on duty and laid off for felony harassment and domestic violence for allegedly threatening to kill his wife. http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/2007/05/wa-detective-mehrings-terroristic.html http://www.kxly.com/news/?sect_rank=1&section_id=559&story_id=9758

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

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

June 27, 2007 — Two Spokane citizens were arrested for acts of civil disobedience, one brutally, during the visit of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Spokane. According to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, the meeting involved the sharing of “top secret sensitive information” with Spokane Police, FBI, ATF, and other law enforcement agencies. The meeting allegedly dealt with what some want to characterize as a “serious gang problem in Spokane”. TV coverage shows officers choking, tripping and manhandling 59-year-old Dan Treecraft. The other protester arrested was Rebecca Lamb, a middle aged woman in a wheel chair.




July 4, 2007 — Independence Day was marred by a “near police riot” in Riverfront Park. Seventeen young Spokanites were arrested in a coordinated action by a Spokane Police Tactical Unit. The police were acting to protect the private property rights of Clear Channel, Inc. which had ‘purchased’ the public park –home of Expo ‘74– for the day.

July 9, 2007 — Some one hundred fifty demonstrators of all ages and backgrounds gather to protest Spokane’s rampant police brutality and misconduct scandal. After denouncing the lack of independent oversight, impunity, and civil liberties abuses, the protesters took to the street and peacefully marched to City Hall. At City Hall, several dozen protesters waited through a 4 hour long City Council meeting to be able to make one minute presentations about Spokane Police abuses.

July 27, 2007 — Following investigation by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker determined that the shooting of an African-American man, Jerome Alford, in a Spokane alley on March 24, 2007 by Officer Daniel Torok was a “justifiable homicide”. Torok was also involved in the beating, tasering, hog-tying and suffocation of Otto Zehm in March 2006. Both Alford and Zehm suffered from disabling conditions.

July 27, 2007 — After a botched attempt by the Spokane Police Department to taser him into submission, a suicidal man jumped to his death from Spokane’s Monroe Street Bridge mid-afternoon yesterday. Josh Levy, a 28-year old mentally ill man whose father had recently brought him to Spokane after his discharge from a western Washington mental institution, was lured from the bridge by police promises and then attacked with a taser. When one taser prod did not penetrate his flesh, Levy leapt to his death. According to Levy’s father, Spokane Police had promised him they would not use violence against his son.

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(This post is under-construction…your comments, criticisms, and contributions are welcome. Several police killings of citizens in the last couple years have yet to be added. Also missing is the Police/Fire Department evidence destruction incident.)

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Racism, Trained to Kill | Leave a Comment »