Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘Spokane Police Guild’ Category

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 4, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gigs up, Lil’ Annie…

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

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

____________________________________________________________

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

Anne Kirkpatrick

Chief of police, Spokane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spokane Ombudsman Ordinance Postponed

Posted by takayanagisan on June 23, 2010

In the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, Spokane City Council members decided they needed one more week to decide on an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. Council member Bob Apple introduced the original ordinance on May 10 and the matter was deferred until May 24 for a vote. After listening to over 20 members of the public, many who told of personal experiences of police brutality and racially biased policing, council members voted to table the vote for four more weeks until the June 21 meeting. Then, on June 14, an alternative ordinance was introduced by Council members Amber Waldref, Richard Rush and Jon Snyder that substantially weakened the independent investigative authority sought by the first ordinance but was written to conform to language that was negotiated with the Police Guild establishing the Office of Police Ombudsman in the existing ordinance. If that didn’t confuse the public enough to give up, council member Richard Rush and Jon Snyder brought forward yet a third version of the ordinance midway through the meeting on June 21.

All of the political manipulation did not deter the more than 80 people in attendance to urge passage of an ordinance that will give real and meaningful oversight over police misconduct. It didn’t matter that nobody really understood why it took three versions of an ordinance, a confidential memo from city legal, and sitting through five hours of the council agenda. By the time the ordinance came up for discussion it was well after 11:00 p.m. and 65 people remained. 28 people testified in favor of an ordinance that nobody seemed to know was before the council for a vote. Neither did the council, it seems. When it was all over, it was near 1:00 a.m. and the council voted 5-1 to postpone the vote until June 28. What will happen next? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of the hottest new Spokane soap, “As the Ordinance Turns.”

For additional detailed information on the hearing and copies of versions of the rapidly changing proposed ordinance, please read “Groaning Toward Dawn” at the Center for Justice website.

Also the coverage of the hearing can be found at the Spokesman-Review website.

Video of the June 21, 2010 council meeting and the public testimony on it can be viewed on the City of Spokane’s website. Click on City Council Meetings and then click on City Council Meeting Part 2 June 21st, 2010.

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

End Spokane Police Abuse — Hold Them Accountable

Posted by Arroyoribera on June 12, 2010

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer pdf

End Spokane Police Abuses — Flyer Word<img

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

Torok — a troubling choice as spokesperson on police interrogation of 12 year olds

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 6, 2008

The March 6, 2008 edition of the Spokesman-Review ran a story on the interrogation by Spokane Police and Spokane School District 81 Resource Officers of two 12-year-old girls, KellyAnn Cameron and Taylor Wyatt, who signed away their Miranda rights despite indications that they did not understand the process nor the implication of their actions. At least one of the girls was unclear as to whether or not an “attorney” and a “lawyer” were one and the same. Nevertheless, the four law enforcement personnel interrogated the girls without presence of parents or other staff.

The story is very troubling, both in the details of the incident itself as well as in the person chosen as the spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department, Sgt. Dan Torok.

Sgt. Dan Torok is perhaps the most controversial police officer in Spokane, both for his involvement in three high profile incidents in the last few years, two of which resulted in deaths, and for his belligerent online comments under the name “Dan” at blogs run by the local Spokesman-Review newspaper. In the matter of the Alford death by Torok’s service weapon, the chief of police ordered him to issue a Garrity letter, so infrequently used that Spokane County Sheriff’s investigators were confused about its propriety, according to the reporting of the Spokesman-Review. The Garrity letter effectively shielded Torok from questioning by investigators.

(It is highly ironic that Torok was shielded by the Chief from questioning from investigators over the Alford killing yet Torok is commenting publicly in defense of the SPD regarding the interrogation of the two twelve year old girls after questionable application of a Miranda waiving statement).

The killing of Alford by Torok remains controversial. Beyond that, however, the death of Otto Zehm is even more controversial not to mention the fact that the case remains unresolved from the perspective of many. To this date it remains unclear whether or not the FBI has a review of this matter open or not. And a report on the Spokane Police by consultant Mike Worley paid for by the city of Spokane remains incomplete to this date. The status of the contract the city signed with Worley’s company to write that report also remains unclear.

Torok was one of seven Spokane Police Officers involved in the brutal March 18, 2006 attack on and subsequent death of Otto Zehm, an unarmed mentally ill man who was beaten, tasered, hog-tied, kicked, kneed, and suffocated, before dying March 20, 2006 in what the coroner called a “homicide”.  Almost exactly a year later, Torok shot a homeless man, Jerome Alford, in a little trafficked area of Spokane.

As quoted in the Spokesman-Review article, Sgt. Torok waxes eloquent in justifying the actions of the SPD and suggests that police must interrogate pre-teens and other youth at school because the presence of parents is an impediment to their interrogation techniques.

I can assure you that Miranda rights are not in the curriculum of School District 81 in the seventh grade or elementary school and I believe it is safe to say that they are not in the curriculum through 10th grade as well. One of these girls was not even sure what the word “attorney” meant without asking for clarification.

Is Sgt. Torok — who with his men did not have the judgment to understand that Otto Zehm was “carrying” a pop bottle as opposed to being “armed” with a pop bottle before brutalizing him — a credible spokesperson for the tax-payer financed Spokane Police Department on issues of police discretion and police interpretation of policy? That the Spokane Police Department would even consider Torok in such a role shows just how far they are from understanding the crisis of credibility from which they are suffering.

Sgt. Torok — whose fellow SPD detectives did not have the training, judgment and ethical uprightness to understand that the photos taken by a Spokane Fireman of a minor girl with whom improper sexual contact occurred constituted evidence of a possible crime and therefore should have been confiscated as legal evidence rather than deleted at the direction of the detectives as in fact occurred — is going to be defending the SPD before the press and public in matters of alleged misconduct? Ironically, Torok’s experience at the center of significant controversy caused by his own poor judgment and questionable actions in the field makes his selection by the SPD brass as a spokesman to the media logical in a certain perverted bureaucratic sense. Furthermore, Torok has been practicing his role defending the SPD’s indefensible and ongoing scandals for months on the blogs of the Spokesman-Review, blogs such as Hard 7 and others. In his comments on those blogs he has become a master of stonewalling, rationalization, and the dodge.

Given his role in killing mentally ill Otto Zehm and his shooting to death of homeless Jerome Alford, it is extremely dangerous and troubling to see Torok resort on multiple occasions to calling members of the Spokane community participating in those blogs ‘mentally ill‘ when their comments simply seek to inform or when they express the disdain and disgust felt in many sectors of the community towards SPD misconduct, corruption, and lack of accountability.

In fact, prominent members of the city government and the professional community should be vocally outraged and up in arms that Torok is being allowed to play this role of public spokesman, given his direct role in the murder of Zehm and the killing of Jerome Alford, not to the mention the SPD’s severely botched “intervention” in the matter of Josh Levy who jumped to his death from the Monroe Street bridge following 18 hours of being surrounded and isolated by Spokane Police and after they lied to him and botched a sneak taser attack on him.

This is a police department with ZERO credibility in dealing with “other” (the term used by Dr. John “Gus” Olson, Spokane community activist and advocate for the disadvantaged, to describe those in Spokane who are rejected for being different, looked upon with disdain for being poor, excluded for being “other”, left to rot by a society incapable of real compassion). Recall Carmen Jacoby, who testified to the Chief of Police in the public forum at City Hall on September 19, 2007. Jacoby told of the Spokane policeman who told her that in relation to homeless people sleeping in the green space near a freeway on ramp, “I have a job to do…to get these shit bags out of this park” and then threatened to put her in the bag of his squad car if she persisted in demanding his name and badge number.

Having shown incompetence which endangers public safety and a shocking level of disdain for the poor, homeless, mentally ill, and non-white, does the Spokane Police Department now move on to 12-year-old girls? Apparently so.

The manner in which a police department deals with the most vulnerable among us is highly indicative of their attitude towards the people they pretend to “protect”. How the SPD handles pre-teen girls provides a window into the core attitudes of the Department. Many members of our community, like these girls, are easily exploited by a police department without adequate procedural training, supervision, and independent oversight.

The S-R article contains links to both the pertinent R.C.W. (Washington state Revised Code of Washington, i.e., the law in Washington state) and the OLR Research Report on the Miranda rights of children.

The study states: “In determining whether a juvenile effectively waived his Miranda rights, courts consider whether the juvenile had the capacity to understand the warnings given to him, the nature of his constitutional right to remain silent, and the consequences of waiving those rights.”

The parents of the two 12-year-old girls in this case have appropriately and effectively questioned whether in this case these young girls had in fact “the capacity to understand” the Miranda warnings given to them, their constitutional rights, and “the consequences of waiving those rights”, prior to the police interrogation.

This is an area of great controversy and a fundamental issue of individual rights and protections in our nation. While some states set higher ages for children to be able to waive their Miranda rights, other states require the presence of parents. Some states, including Washington, use a “totality of circumstances” test. It is heartening to see that the ACLU is involved.

I, for one, do not trust the judgment of SPD officers in the field nor their integrity in reporting the of facts. In the case of the interrogation of these two pre-teen girls by SPD officers, that lack of integrity rises to such a level that a court would have difficulty establishing that these very young, very vulnerable girls clearly understood the waiving of their right within the “totality” of circumstances. With two Spokane Police officers and two District 81 resource officers in the room, and with at least one of these girls not certain if an attorney and a lawyer are the same thing, clearly there was an intimidation/coercion factor.

I would certainly be interested in the outcome of the internal affairs complaint filed by these parents. Sgt. Jim Faddis used to be an internal affairs officer so he could help the Spokane people and media out on that one. Sgt. Faddis was asked by me on the S-R’s Hard 7 blog (where he blogs under the names “Jim F” and “Kevin”) to clarify the exact procedure for making an internal affairs complaint in Spokane. Not surprisingly, Faddis has failed to respond to that request.

It would also be nice to get more comment from Spokane School District 81 on the parents’ request for a change in the policy regarding police interrogation of children at school. I for one would strongly support changes in the policy as well as a public education effort to educate Spokane area youth on their rights in dealing with the police.

Posted in Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Solutions, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Torok, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | 2 Comments »

Police Officers And Alcohol

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 4, 2008

While the Spokane Police Guild continues its deliberation over how much civilian oversight and subordination to the will of the public its officers are willing to accept, it is a good moment to look at the issue of police officers and alcohol. It is an increasingly well known fact that police officers are greatly affected by the stress of their jobs and that one consequence is rates of domestic violence greater than found in the general public. At the same time, the role excessive alcohol consumption in the issue of domestic violence is inadequately examined. More important, however, are the broader implications for public safety resulting from alcohol abuse by law enforcement personnel.

As previously addressed in this blog, a stag party held at the Spokane Police Guild club a number of years ago resulted in a precedent setting Supreme Court case dealing with public access to information. The Supreme Court decision quoted the Spokane City Attorney stating via affidavit that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.

And the “irreparable damage” to the Spokane Police Department has continued to this day.

Of course, the problem of alcohol abuse by law enforcement is not limited to just Spokane Police officers, of course. The Seattle P-I’s August 2007 special series documents in detail the preferential treatment of police officers throughout Washington state when they are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The article refers to two Spokane County Sheriff’s officers “who were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.”

More recently the people of Spokane have been subject to two grave alcohol related incidents.

In the first, a controversial Spokane police officer — already under scrutiny for his ownership of a drug house less than two blocks from an elementary school — left a Spokane bar under the influence of alcohol and shot a man in the back of the head, endangering the residents of the Peaceful Valley neighborhood of Spokane. The officer, Jay Olsen, faces charges while the man he shot and accused of stealing his truck has been acquitted of the charges against him. To make matters clearer, the city of Spokane has walked away from Olsen and left him to defend himself.

Then came the matter of Jason Uberuaga, former Gonzaga University baseball star and decorated police officer, involved in both the Intermodal Center shooting and one of seven Spokane Police officers implicated in the yet unresolved homicide by cop of Otto Zehm. Uberuaga, a deputized federal drug task force member, was fired by the chief of police for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer. In essence, the demise of Uberuaga is the result of a drinking episode with other law enforcement personnel, allegations of rape against Uberuaga, and Uberuaga driving his undercover police vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

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A broken system works in favor of cops busted for DUI

By ERIC NALDER AND LEWIS KAMB
SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS

(Part 1 of a part 3 series)

The state is airing another ad against drunken driving this month warning, “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed.”

But there’s an exception out on the streets for some police officers.

Cops confronted with a drunken-driving arrest fare better than the average citizen, according to a Seattle P-I investigation of seven years’ worth of internal discipline records, arrest reports, accident reports, license-suspension files and court documents statewide.

The P-I selected 63 cases from 92 to examine closely, focusing on active duty officers who consumed alcohol before driving police or personal vehicles. Most were street cops, but nine were assigned to county or city corrections duties.

  Michael Bowe, bloodied
  Zoom Washington State Patrol
  Michael Bowe, a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy, was stopped in March 2004 in Grays Harbor County for a DUI arrest — one of five such stops while he carried a badge. How his face was bloodied was never determined, but his service weapon was in the car.
Read his story.

Five sworn officers were not prosecuted at all, despite blood-alcohol tests indicating impairment.

A half-dozen officers kept their licenses after a drunken-driving arrest simply because their paperwork missed the deadline at the state Department of Licensing. Arresting agencies are given a grace period of 50 days to file the paperwork.

Although the samples are very different in size and demographics, a member of the general public’s chance of getting a license suspension because of a breath test over the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit was double that of a cop, according to a P-I comparison. Only one of four current and former officers who refused a breath test lost her driver’s license, while the public’s rate is 16 out of 17.

  Inside Brown's car
  Zoom  
  On July 23, 2003, Tacoma police Officer Paul A. Brown registered a 0.244 blood-alcohol level and was charged with DUI. Eleven full, one empty and one partially consumed miniature scotch bottles were found in Brown’s car, as well as 15 full beers, two open beers and one empty beer container.

Police officers who were visibly inebriated and reeking of alcohol smashed their department cars or their personal cars, asked for favors, got breaks and even threatened fellow officers who had the temerity, in their minds, to arrest them, the records showed.

In one case, an unidentified colleague of an intoxicated Seattle officer who got in an accident in a city-owned car asked the arresting trooper “how we could take care of this.”

One Renton police jailer had his police identity card taped to his license as an ongoing precaution. Others outright asked for “professional courtesy.”

Impaired law officers were in at least 14 accidents, including four in police cars. Kevin Williams of the Seattle police drunkenly rolled his car on a northbound Interstate 5 offramp early one morning in 2005. Lawyer David Vanderpool and another bystander used a box cutter to free him from a seat belt just before flames consumed the car. Vanderpool said he didn’t know, until a P-I reporter recently called him, that he had saved a policeman’s life. Williams got deferred prosecution, a five-day suspension or loss of vacation time.

  Garcha accident
  Zoom Kent Police Department
  In 2002, Tacoma police Officer Gurdial Garcha hit a telephone pole in Kent in his personal van, so drunk he was nearly six times the legal limit. Some in the Tacoma department wanted him fired, but he got a two-day suspension and lost two vacation days.

In 2002, Tacoma police Officer Gurdial Garcha hit a telephone pole in Kent in his personal van, so drunk that he was nearly six times the legal limit. Some in his department wanted him fired, but he got a two-day suspension and lost two vacation days.

The Seattle Police Department was far more secretive about releasing records than any other department in the state. The department blacked out officers’ names and released fewer documents. The P-I had to find details about the cases from databases and other agencies.

“We follow the laws,” said Chief Gil Kerlikowske, whose agency signed a union contract that prevents release of names of officers in disciplinary records.

Some cases break down trust. In one Seattle case, an anonymous hospital worker confronted a sergeant when an alcohol-affected officer driving a city-owned car wasn’t investigated for DUI after a civilian motorist running a red light struck him. Despite her efforts, the officer was never prosecuted.

At the heart of the P-I’s findings is a police discipline system that is broken, illogical and unevenly applied, according to interviews, documents and a computer analysis of outcomes.

DECODING CENSORED SPD DOCUMENTSFor this project, Seattle P-I reporters sent public disclosure requests to more than 270 law enforcement agencies across Washington. Although the requests were identical in the types of records being sought — sustained officer-misconduct internal investigations — police department responses widely varied. The Seattle Police Department and Mercer Island Police Department offer good examples of the range of responses to the P-I’s request.Seattle police provided only one page of disciplinary records per each misconduct case requested and have not yet provided other documents the P-I requested. The three documents the Seattle police released to the P-I with officers’ names censored (see PDF) turned out to be the only hint of unpublicized accidents involving cops driving department cars who had been drinking. Because Seattle police were more secretive than other agencies, the P-I went elsewhere to learn the details of the crashes involving Timothy McGrath (June 21, 2002), Anthony Baily (Oct. 25, 2002) and Maria “Susan” DiTusa (June 9, 2004).By contrast, here are just the first six pages (PDF) of a Mercer Island police internal investigation of Det. Chris DeChant’s DUI-arrest and police vehicle accident on Dec. 16, 2004. Along with the complete 20-page investigative report, documents released to the P-I included an additional 86 pages of attachments, including the full Washington State Patrol arrest report, victim damage claims and the hand-written case notes of the city’s public safety director, who made the final disciplinary decision.Here’s what different officials for each city said when asked about how their city responded to the P-I’s requests:”There’s no department that handles more public disclosures than us. We follow the law.”

— Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske

“We disclosed the documents we believed we were required to under the law.”

— Mercer Island City Attorney Bob Sterbank

Regulators in Olympia and in Seattle who oversee the discipline of lawyers, judges and even cosmetologists do so through a detailed set of disciplinary standards. What passes for statewide discipline in the police world is one investigator attached to the state police academy in Auburn who reviews disciplinary records of terminated officers from various agencies to assess whether they should lose their state licenses.

In individual departments, standards are forged through union negotiations and in case-by-case consultations among sheriffs and chiefs. Few agencies maintain a schedule of discipline that could be laid out in a database — the Washington State Patrol and the Arlington Police Department being two exceptions.

The result is a lack of uniformity. Crashing a police car while inebriated on Mercer Island earned an officer a suspension 15 times longer than the penalty imposed for the same violation on the other side of Lake Washington in Seattle.

Driving drunk in a police car brought a one-day suspension for a King County sheriff’s detective and a termination in Island County. That King County detective also wasn’t prosecuted and didn’t get punished for reportedly asking the arresting state trooper for favors. A state trooper who asked for favors during a DUI arrest in a private car got a 45-day suspension and was put on probation under tough terms for the remainder of his career.

In cases in which two Spokane County sheriff’s officers were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.

In Seattle, Kerlikowske said he has toughened discipline for DUI while chief the past seven years. When compared with other big U.S. cities, Seattle is right in line, typically doling out three- to 10-day suspensions, he said. He said he is planning to fire repeat offenders.

Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Rich O’Neill said cops are treated more harshly than citizens because they face discipline in addition to court proceedings. He said they can get hit in the pocketbook twice — a court fine and a loss of pay in a suspension.

However, many citizens are also disciplined at work. Under federal law, truckers lose their licenses for a year for a first drunken-drinking offense, and for life for a second. Some police officers weren’t suspended from their jobs, and some of those who were suspended were allowed to forfeit vacation instead of losing pay.

Police officers and firefighters are also specifically exempted from a federal law that requires truckers to be blood-tested after an accident.

Yakima Officer Lori Sheeley had five accidents in her patrol car and caused citizen injuries, but Assistant City Attorney Sofia Mabee said Sheeley wasn’t tested in any of them because city policy doesn’t require it. In May 2005, a year after Sheeley resigned, in part because of the accidents, she hit a barrier on a Tri-Cities bridge. She blew a breath test of .117, over the limit.

Discipline failures erode public confidence, some cops and members of the public say.

Wendi Eccles was rear-ended one December night in 2004 by a Mercer Island cop who was drunk in a city-owned car. Her back never fully recovered, and she resents that internal investigators from Mercer Island never interviewed her.

“They’re supposed to be upholding the law, making sure people don’t do this kind of stuff,” she said. “But they go do it and don’t face the same consequences.”

Former Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley, now a lieutenant in the department he led until December 2006, agrees that those charged with upholding the law should be held to a public and uniform disciplinary system. Hawley led the department when it got mired in a DUI favoritism mess in 2004.

“I think some kind of standardization of disciplinary action would be good,” Hawley said. “For criminals, we have standardized ranges.”

Hawley served until recently as a charter member of a state board that adjudicates police license-revocation cases. “I’ve seen people fired for things they should never have been fired for. Then it happens at the other end, where this guy should be fired immediately, but he isn’t because he is the boss’ best pal.”

But Kerlikowske warned that widespread police standards are “no panacea,” because they take away the ability to evaluate cases individually.

Four case studies

A review of four accidents involving police officers provides a window into the process, showing how disparate the disciplinary system is.

Seattle police Detective Sgt. Anthony Baily was cut loose from his crumpled undercover police car after a three-vehicle accident in downtown Seattle about 2 a.m. one night in October 2002.

He was later cut loose from a possible DUI.

Three hours after the accident, then-Sgt. John B. Heneghan of the West Precinct was visiting Baily at the hospital, and a nurse confronted him, records show. She asked the sergeant why Baily wasn’t being tested for alcohol when one of the other drivers was under police guard and being blood-tested, records show. Heneghan then noticed the odor of alcohol near Baily, the report said. Heneghan didn’t write down the woman’s name, and police were never able to identify her. Heneghan alerted accident investigators about 5:30 a.m.

At that point, police investigators could have blood-tested and processed Baily for DUI, but they didn’t. Seattle attorney Paul Cullen, a DUI specialist, said the law wouldn’t have prevented Baily’s prosecution. He said experts can scientifically show that a person was drunk at the time they were driving, using blood-alcohol evidence gathered by police 3 1/2 hours later.

Later that day, a lieutenant told internal investigators about the nurse’s comments.

The city attorney later considered prosecuting Baily — a police union board member — for DUI.

He considered using tests on blood vials that a paramedic and the hospital staff routinely collected from Baily right after the accident, but concluded that the evidence wouldn’t stand up in court.

Finding Baily’s case was difficult. When the Police Department released a stack of internal investigative records to the P-I — including Baily’s — the accused officers’ names were blacked out, as the city’s contract with the police union dictates. But Baily’s name was visible on a sheet mentioning his three-day suspension for, among other things, “use of alcohol” in his department car.

The report noted that the accident wasn’t his fault, and, indeed, it wasn’t.

Lynnwood defense lawyer Jim Feldman, who represented the inebriated man who ran a red light and hit Baily’s car, told the P-I that he had felt Baily deserved a DUI citation.

He said Baily’s unofficial test reading was higher than that of his client, who was prosecuted. Records ultimately confirmed that his client’s blood-alcohol level was 0.10 and Baily was between 0.12 and 0.15.

Three weeks after the accident, SPD internal investigators with a search warrant obtained three vials of Baily’s blood and test results from Harborview Medical Center. The state toxicology lab tested it.

Selected for evidence was the lowest reading, which was from the first vial drawn less than a half-hour after the accident. An investigator, Sgt. Mike Teeter, and supervising assistant city attorney Mike Finkle explored a possible DUI case, but in July 2003 Finkle wrote a memo concluding that it wasn’t possible.

He noted that blood collected by the hospital wasn’t preserved or handled in the way courts require. Finkle based his decision largely on technical opinions by Ann-Marie Gordon, manager of the state toxicology lab.

Gordon was concerned about a lack of preservatives and chain of custody of evidence and speculated about how a skilled lawyer might defend Baily. She suggested an admittedly unlikely defense that Baily had pounded down eight doses of liquor, wine or beer immediately before driving, and at the moment of impact hadn’t yet reached the legal intoxication level of 0.08, documents show.

Gordon’s credibility has since come into question. She resigned her post July 20, several days after the State Patrol began investigating whether she had lied about testing ethanol-water solutions used to make certain that breath-test machines are working properly. If proved, the allegations could lead to hundreds of challenges of DUI convictions.

As for the Baily case, Cullen, the DUI lawyer, said court precedents indicate that he could have been prosecuted using the hospital blood.

The P-I asked Chief Kerlikowske last week about Baily’s case. After that interview, documents previously requested but not provided to the P-I were made available for review. Both the Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office said they had been preparing the release. To date, not all of Baily’s records have been provided.

Kerlikowske visited Baily at the hospital an hour after the nurse blew the whistle that night, but was then unaware of the nurse’s tip, said department legal adviser Mark McCarty. Kerlikowske said he didn’t smell alcohol, but if he had, he would have ordered a DUI investigation on the spot.

Feldman said his client, David Cotner, 27, of Winthrop may have benefited from what he believes was SPD’s fear of publicity. That’s why the city abandoned plans to charge Cotner with vehicular assault, a felony, and didn’t challenge his request for deferred prosecution in the DUI case, Feldman speculates.

Kerlikowske bristled at that. “I just find that incredulous. That is so far outside the bound of what the prosecutor or a Police Department would do to keep something outside a newspaper,” he said.

In another case, a Seattle police officer first tried to avoid calling police after rear-ending a young Renton man’s car, then got on the phone with his superiors, who eventually had a conversation with the Washington State Patrol trooper investigating the accident.

Seattle police Officer Timothy McGrath drove his unmarked SPD Pontiac Grand Am into the rear of the man’s Ford Tempo on Interstate 405 near Renton at 11:30 p.m. on June 21, 2002. No one was hurt.

A “nervous” McGrath suggested to Jeff Shane, 18, that they exchange insurance information and go their separate ways. He didn’t seem drunk, Shane said, but he “was really hinting toward not calling the police, if not outright saying it.”

  McGrath
  Seattle police Officer Timothy McGrath drove his unmarked department car into the rear of a Renton man’s vehicle on Interstate 405. McGrath was charged with DUI but pleaded guilty to negligent driving and was issued an occupational driver’s license.

But Shane called 911, and McGrath got on his cell phone. SPD officers arrived to talk with him, and a state trooper arrived roughly a half-hour later.

McGrath smelled of alcohol and handed his commission card to Trooper James Miller the minute he arrived, the trooper wrote in his arrest report.

Miller told him to sit tight while he called a State Patrol sergeant to the scene, who “made some phone calls” and told the trooper to process McGrath like “any other person.”

All the way to the Renton police station, McGrath talked on his cell phone to “his superiors” from the back of Miller’s cruiser, the trooper wrote.

Then, while McGrath waited to take a breath test at the station, he handed his cell phone to the trooper.

“They asked me how we could take care of this,” Miller wrote, referring to unidentified parties on the cell phone call. “I told them I’d send (the) case up the chain of command. It was up to them.”

Timing was key, because as soon as anyone takes a breath test, a state computer records the name and the reading. Was someone at the other end of the phone line trying to stop the process of a DUI citation?

“Nobody came out and said that,” said a State Patrol spokesman, Capt. Jeff DeVere. “But (Miller) said it seemed that might have been what was asked.”

Miller doesn’t remember the name or affiliation of whom he spoke to on the cell phone, DeVere said. “He doesn’t remember who he was. We don’t know if it was an officer.”

O’Neill, of the Guild, suggested that someone could have been impersonating a supervisor or an officer.

Troopers don’t usually allow DUI suspects to talk on cell phones from a cruiser out of concern for officer safety, but there are exceptions, DeVere said. He didn’t feel that Miller did anything wrong.

McGrath registered nearly twice the limit on the breath-test machine, a 0.136, and though cited for DUI, he pleaded guilty to first-degree negligent driving. His license was suspended for 90 days, but an occupational driver’s license was issued to allow him to continue driving at work, according to state Department of Licensing records. Such licenses are often issued with employer approval to allow people to drive for work.

SPD internal affairs had the trooper’s report but did not investigate McGrath’s cell phone calls from that night, said McCarty, the SPD legal adviser. More than a year after the accident, in August 2003, the SPD issued a suspension order to McGrath, five days for “conduct unbecoming” for the negligent-driving conviction. The officer was allowed to forfeit vacation instead of losing pay.

The P-I found the cryptic order in a stack of papers the SPD turned over to the newspaper with the names of the offending officer blacked out. Databases the reporters obtained helped them identify the case. McGrath resigned from the SPD in 2005.

“Well, that’s all very interesting information,” he said from his Florida home after a reporter detailed what he knew. “But I’m not interested in talking to you about it. I don’t think it’s really any of your business.”

In another case, it was a night of holiday partying that ended with a Mercer Island patrol car rear-ending a civilian’s car, and a King County prosecutor who had been at the same party arriving at the police station to represent the interests of the drunken police officer.

The officer’s job suspension was 15 times longer than what SPD leveled against McGrath for essentially the same offense. The Mercer Island cop wasn’t allowed to forfeit vacation time.

Instead, Detective Chris DeChant got the stiffest discipline of any of the cops who drank and crashed a police car, a 75-day suspension. That’s the harshest penalty ever given by Mercer Island police short of firing, said police Chief Ed Holmes, who was then in charge of the internal investigation.

  DeChant
  Mercer Island police Detective Chris DeChant was given a 75-day suspension after he drank and rear-ended a civilian’s vehicle with his police car. It was the harshest penalty ever given by Mercer Island police short of firing.

But other police administrators around the state said any violation drawing more than a 30-day suspension should be a dismissible offense, and that goes especially for anyone drunk in an agency car.

“If it was sustained they were drunk, and they were driving a patrol car, they are fired,” said Benton County Sheriff Larry Taylor. “That tears at your credibility, of the entire department.”

Guild President O’Neill said the toughest discipline possible under the Seattle contract, short of firing, is 30 days.

Eccles, the day care operator whose back was injured when she was rear-ended, feels that DeChant got off easy. She couldn’t work for a month.

DeChant, who didn’t respond to interview requests, caught some breaks in the case.

For example, his license should have been revoked for a year when he refused a blood-alcohol test after the accident, but it wasn’t. A Des Moines Municipal Court judge suppressed his breath-test refusal due to confusing instructions from the trooper. Because of that, the state Department of Licensing had to let him drive.

Eccles said she could tell DeChant “was drunk” the moment she saw him. He handed her his police business card when she asked for insurance information and repeatedly told her the damage would be covered. She called 911.

Some confusion arose that night when King County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Fullington, who was assigned to DeChant’s narcotics task force and had been at the same party, initially tried to act as his attorney, but withdrew when reminded that his office was responsible for prosecuting DeChant.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Mark Larson said he “vigorously counseled” Fullington for what was “not the proper role for a King County prosecutor.” Fullington has since left the office.

Eccles was disgusted by the whole mess.

“He’s still able to drive. His license wasn’t even taken away,” she said. “I don’t understand why guys like him get to be above the law.”

Internally, DeChant signed a “last chance” agreement that said he’d be fired for another alcohol-related offense. But when three more charges were sustained against him earlier this year for drinking and making a scene at an officer awards banquet, he got only a letter of reprimand.

“I didn’t believe (the most recent violations) were severe enough for termination,” Chief Holmes said. “He’s a good officer, and he works really hard.”

In another case, Seattle Detective Maria “Susan” DiTusa said from the wreckage of her unmarked police car that she was a police detective — “before I could even ask DiTusa any questions,” State Trooper Joseph Zimmer wrote in his report.

“I only had one, and my co-worker can attest to that,” she said of her drinking.

Maybe she was rattled when she smashed the side of her department’s Ford Taurus into the Mercer Street exit tunnel wall on June 9, 2004, because she probably wasn’t telling the truth. She recorded 0.137 on a preliminary breath test, more than the effects of one drink.

At the hospital, DiTusa refused a blood test that would have legally determined her level of intoxication. Preliminary tests aren’t admissible in court.

DiTusa appealed the state’s mandatory one-year license revocation for refusing a blood-alcohol test, but when the Licensing Department rejected her arguments, she obtained an occupational driver’s license.

Kerlikowske gave her a five-day suspension but allowed her to forefeit vacation in lieu of it. He promised to impose five more days if she got drunk and crashed another patrol car — “similar misconduct” is how he put it — within the next two years. The chief cited her “forthright cooperation with the administrative investigation” for the leniency.

In court, she reduced her criminal DUI citation to first-degree negligent driving by pleading guilty.

UPCOMING

Tuesday: Looking through mountains of public documents and internal reports, the P-I reveals how cops avoid arrest.
Wednesday: One officer whose career ended after a highly public DUI tells his story – and what’s wrong with the system.

P-I reporter Daniel Lathrop and P-I researcher Marsha Milroy contributed to this report. P-I reporter Eric Nalder can be reached at 206-448-8011 or ericnalder@seattlepi.com. P-I reporter Lewis Kamb can be reached at 206-448-8336 or lewiskamb@seattlepi.com.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Police Union Resistance: A Tactical Overview — Covert Action Quarterly

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 28, 2008

[Note: See section in bold print for reference to Spokane’s place in the history of police intransigence and resistance.]

CovertAction Quarterly
Cops Vs. Citizen Review, continued


Family_protests_NYPD_killing

Family of Mary Mitchell protests her killing by NYPD
after a domestic dispute.

POLICE UNION RESISTANCE:A TACTICAL OVERVIEW

It is not surprising, then, that the FOPs and police unions paramilitary labor organizations whose purpose is to protect the interests of their patrol officer members will go to great lengths to eliminate oversight. The tactics that police organizations increasingly use illustrate some of the ways in which they differ from other trade unions. They also show how difficult it is to distinguish genuine labor grievances from attempts by police to avoid accountability. As in Philadelphia, police organizations around the country are developing an increasingly sophisticated array of tools designed to manipulate the political system and sabotage the citizen review boards. At least five categories of tactics are being implemented.

1. NATIONAL LEVEL ORGANIZING I wasn’t political when I came out of the FBI, says Charles Kluge, a former agent who is current executive director of Philadelphia’s PAC, [but] some of the political stuff has been very eye-opening. 16 Over the past decade, police unions have become extremely politicized and have established a national lobbying presence. In October 1994, for example, the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) founded the National Law Enforcement Officer Rights Center in Washington, D.C., to protect officers’ legal and constitutional rights that are being infringed upon by a wave of anti-police civil litigation. NAPO’s main objective appears to be passage of a national Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights Act which attempts to weaken state and local review by allowing only commissioned police officers to conduct investigations. NAPO claims that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), is collectively supported by its 475,000 police officer members, by the Fraternal Order of Police and by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

2. LITIGATION SABOTAGE On the state and local level, police response to perceived incursions on their autonomy follows a pattern. John Crew, of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Police Practices Project, has identified three stages of union resistance to citizen oversight:

  • Over My Dead Body. After a particular, usually racially charged, incident prompts serious community discussion of citizen oversight, police leaders threaten to resign or take other extreme action.
  • Political Inevitability. When a visible pattern of abuses emerges, police leaders suddenly undergo a magic conversion, and become proponents of citizen oversight advocating a pallid model lacking such teeth as subpoena power and independent investigations.
  • Post-Partum Litigation. If a community manages to obtain strong citizen oversight, even if only on paper, police union resistance becomes vehement. Increasingly, unions are initiating lawsuits (such as that currently underway in Philadelphia) challenging the underlying authority or legality of the citizen review process. In California such lawsuits are common, even though many California boards have been operating for up to 20 years, and even though, says the ACLU’s Crew, these suits have been 100 percent unsuccessful. In not one single legal challenge have the unions won.

If chilling citizen oversight is the goal of these unwinnable SLAPP suits, chilling citizens’ complaints is the predictable result of another union tactic. In the fall of 1994, the Seattle Police Officers Guild slapped defamation suits against six citizens who had filed complaints that were not upheld by the department’s internal investigations section. The suits were apparently prompted by the citizen review auditor’s recommendation that officers who had logged a certain number of unsustained complaints be required to undergo intensive supervision. Although the guild’s suits were ultimately dropped, citizen complaints in Seattle dropped almost 75 percent in the next six months.

3. OBSTRUCTIONIST TACTICS
When faced with a citizen review board which has independent investigative powers, leaders of police unions often advise their members to refuse or avoid subpoenas or interviews, to plead the Fifth Amendment, or to otherwise block an inquiry. This obstructionism is illegal, according to Crew. Although officers cannot be forced to testify if they plead the Fifth Amendment, they can be disciplined or discharged for their refusal. *22 Police unions, says Crew, invoke these tactics even though they know that they will not win in court and that review boards have the legal power to compel statements. The effect of the obstructionism and of SLAPP suits against citizens who file complaints is time-consuming and expensive litigation; the goal is to create enough pressure to force cities and counties to back down.

4. STATE LEGISLATION & LOBBYING
Law enforcement groups use their significant political clout, based largely on financial resources. According to a 1992 study by California Common Cause, law enforcement groups in that state contributed $1.2 million to local lawmakers between 1989 and 1991. [L]aw enforcement groups also hold the potent weapon of campaign endorsements, the study noted. …If legislators vote against bills supported by police interests, they know they run the risk of being labeled as `soft on crime,’ even if the legislation has nothing to do with public safety. The last thing a legislator wants in an election year is to lose the endorsement of police groups, or worse yet, wind up on their hit list.

In California, and other states, law enforcement groups have used this clout to pass a Police Officer Bill of Rights that grants privileges to cops during disciplinary processes privileges not available to suspects whom the same officers may have arrested or questioned. The Bill of Rights proposed in Pennsylvania, for example, restricts non-department questioning of officers and prohibits anonymous complaints. Others require that complaints be removed from personnel files after a few years and restrict the types of behavior that can trigger disciplinary action.

In 1992 and again this year, California legislators proposed major amendments to that state’s Bill of Rights Act imposing a one-year statute of limitation from the time of the complaint to the date of punitive action. Given normal backlog and lengthy appeal delays, this limit would have virtually guaranteed immunity from discipline. Massive organized opposition from the ACLU and other groups defeated the proposed legislation.

5. ADMINISTRATIVE CHALLENGES OVER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Although sometimes they lose sight of it, the primary purpose of police organizations is to represent members as public employees and to collectively bargain with municipal and state governments over such negotiable issues as wages, benefits, off-duty pay, hours, and promotional opportunities. Since 1986, when the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was applied to public employees, most police unions have argued that the issue of citizen involvement in individual officer discipline falls under collective bargaining and thus involves only two parties: the union and the employer. This position omits entirely the role of a public justifiably concerned that police will act abusively or unlawfully and that their superiors will not take appropriate disciplinary action. The Ohio Supreme Court has recognized this right of the public to participate. Since collective bargaining is not an appropriate process for the full consideration of the issues raised in a complaint by a citizen against a police officer, it ruled, effective citizen review is essential to maintaining the public trust and disciplining police abuses.

Not all rulings have been as sympathetic to public involvement. In 1992, the Spokane (Washington) City Council established a citizen review process giving citizens the right to appeal whenever the police chief refused to discipline an officer after a complaint. The police union fought back with a complaint to the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission. It alleged that the City had unilaterally changed procedures and by publicly disclosing disciplinary information, had invaded the officers’ privacy rights, something that inherently constitutes a working condition.

The Emploment Relations Commission agreed with the union that changes in disciplinary procedures were subject to collective bargaining. It ordered the city to dismantle the Citizens Review Panel and to negotiate with the union. Spokane did not appeal this ruling and set out to work with the police body to create a new oversight mechanism one that includes police representatives, holds secret hearings, and has no subpoena power.

On the other side of the country, the same scenario is being played out. The Syracuse (New York) Police Benevolent Association has filed a similar complaint against the Citizen Review Board. A decision by the New York Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) is pending. The most dangerous aspect of all this, says community activist Nancy Rhodes who edits Policing by Consent, is that we have no access to the process. The PERB hearings are conducted in secret as are the union negotiations. There are no democratic controls.

PHILADELPHIA: AN ALL-OUT CITIZEN REVIEW WAR

In Philadelphia, too, the FOP is clearly in full-blown post-partum resistance sparked by the DeJesus case, but fueled by the potential effectiveness of the city’s citizen review mechanism. Created in October 1993 after a fierce political struggle, it has subpoena power, independent investigators and the power to conduct public hearings. After it was funded and staffed in late 1994 and took on the DeJesus death-in-custody as its first case, the local FOP began to actively sabotage the PAC investigation. Few cities are more in need of citizen oversight than Philadelphia. At about the same time the FOP was challenging citizen review, six of its members pled guilty to federal charges stemming from blatant corruption in Philadelphia’s largely African-American 39th District. The New York Times described the convicted cops as so corrupt, so calloused to the rights and welfare of residents that the details have shaken the city to its roots. Federal charges include conspiracy, obstruction of justice and pocketing more than $100,000 in cash they robbed from suspected drug dealers through beatings, intimidations, illegal searches and denying suspects their constitutional rights. Revelations from this latest in a series of police scandals will force the city to set aside at least 1,400 drug-related convictions and pay millions of dollars for false arrest and imprisonment claims.

An FBI investigation of Philadelphia’s Police Department, started in 1992 in the 39th District, now includes the department’s Highway Patrol, as well as other areas, including the predominantly Latino 25th District, where DeJesus died.33 Even Ken Rocks, vice president of the local FOP, admitted that the prospect of the arrest of additional officers was certain and very, very distressing.

Still, the FOP maintains that the police can police themselves. The case of officer John Baird makes nonsense of that claim. Baird, who had made thousands of arrests in the 39th District by the time of his discharge, had received excellent ratings from his superior officers, while he was racking up 22 citizen complaints all dismissed. By the 23rd complaint, Baird was confident that the whole thing would go away, just as the previous 22 complaints had. His downfall was bad timing. The last complaint was filed in March 1991, just as the Rodney King case prompted the Justice Department to review all police brutality cases, including those in Philadelphia. The resulting FBI investigation and arbitration hearing revealed Baird’s sordid history of fabricating evidence, buying off witnesses, and lying and covering up.

It also came out that over the past five years, Philadelphia’s Police Internal Affairs Unit had investigated almost 600 citizen complaints. Only ten were sustained, with only two Philadelphia officers actually disciplined. The enormous bias in the department and its almost total inability to deal with a department run amuck was undeniable.36

Nonetheless, the FOP refuses to cooperate with an agency whose main purpose is to bolster public trust in the police. And community leaders in Philadelphia, particularly those in the Latino community, continue to demand that the Police Advisory Commission function in the public eye to deal with rogue officers. The Commission is the only hope that our community has to redress the wrongs of some of the officers from that District, says one 25th District Latino leader. *37 Another community leader hopes that the DeJesus hearings will begin a cleansing process that in the long run will restore the community’s confidence in a critical public service. Hopefully, something positive will come out of the DeJesus tragedy.

WEIGHING THE COSTS

Some of the demands by police unions, including the right to due process during any disciplinary proceeding, deserve active citizen support. Others far exceed the boundaries of legitimate labor concerns: Police officers should not be entitled to a separate Bill of Rights that encourages disregard of the real thing and promotes an official sense of separateness and privilege. In addition, contrary to the administrative ruling in Washington state, the daily working conditions of police are not affected by citizen review since boards only recommend discipline to a police chief who then decides whether or not to act. At least one state supreme court has upheld this position.

As the situation in Philadelphia illustrates, unions have the resources to launch innumerable chilling lawsuits. They can obstruct and sabotage, refuse to cooperate, and take the Fifth. But in the end, when the situation festers to the point that it has in Philadelphia, citizen oversight and democracy have a chance to reassert themselves.

LAPD_officers_beat_riot_suspect

LAPD officers beat a riot suspect at a downtown music-street fair.
The suspect was not arrested.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Area Law Enforcement and Public Safety Unions

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

· Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc.
Martin Tucker (e-mail)
· Spokane Co. Lt. & Cap. Assoc.
Jim Finke (e-mail)
· Spokane Sheriff Management Assoc.
Cal Walker (e-mail)
· Spokane Police Guild
Craig Bulkley (e-mail)
· Spokane Police Lt. & Captains Assoc.
Steven Braun

(e-mails from Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs website)

* Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association
* Spokane City Police Guild
* Spokane County Deputy Prosecutors Association
* Airway Heights Police Guild
* Local 492 RFC Sheriff’s Radio Operators, Forensics, Cooks
* Local 492 SP Sheriff’s Support Personnel
* Local 492 Sheriff’s Correction Deputies
* Local 492 Sheriff’s Correction Sergeants and Lieutenants
* Spokane Valley Fire Fighters Union Local 876 (IAFF)
* Spokane Fire Fighters Union Local 29 (IAFF)
* Spokane County Courthouse Employees Local 1553

Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS)

Posted in Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Guild at Monroe Court on Feb. 27, 2008 at 2 PM

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 9, 2008

NEXT GUILD MEETING:

Wednesday, February 27th 2008

General Meeting at 1500 Hours

* Executive Board at 1400 Hours*

901 N. Monroe St, Monroe Court Bldg, Room 330 (map)

 

More information on the Spokane Police Guild —

Spokane Police Guild Forum Page

Spokane Police Guild to Chief & Public: We’ll investigate ourselves

Police union walks the enemy business beat

Spokane union balks at outside investigations of officer-involved shootings

Spokane Police Guild Approves Retro-active Pay Raises, Costing City $1.25 Million

Spokane Police Guild vs. Spokane Civil Service Commission (1999) 7 pages

“Irreparable Damage” — Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board

All-White Spokane Police Department?

Guild defends evidence destruction in Firehouse Sex Scandal

Firehouse Sex Scandal — Photos of 16 year old girl by fireman violated the law but no charges filed

Guild defends brutal killing of Otto Zehm — Case remains unresolved 2 years later

 

Posted in Educating the Chief, Independent Oversight, Spokane Police Guild, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Bloggers at Spokesman-Review — Hard 7 Blog Purged by S-R Editor

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The only daily newspaper in Spokane, Washington — the Cowles family-owned Spokesman-Review — is plagued by Spokane law enforcement personnel, most notably Spokane Police Department officials, blogging under false names and partial names.

Most notable is the regular and extended participation of Spokane Police Department Detective Dan Torok, who killed the unarmed Jerome Alford on 3/24/07, and who was one of the direct participants on 3/18/06 in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, an unarmed disabled Spokane native.

Torok participates in newspaper blogs under the name “Dan” and posts at all hours of the day and night on matters related to the Spokane Police and other law enforcement matters. Torok is well-known for staunch on-line defenses of his own police activities, as well as those of seriously disgraced police colleagues here and elsewhere in the country, such as the soon-to-be ex-SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga.

(Note: Uberuaga is the SPD veteran who was alleged to have raped a woman during a bar-hopping incident with Spokane Sheriff Deputies. Uberagua used a cell phone camera to photograph the woman’s breasts, had sex with her, and drove his unmarked patrol car under the influence of alcohol. Uberuaga was immediately removed from the Federal Drug Task Force of which he was a deputized member but the decision to fire him from the Spokane Police Department was not taken by SPD chief Anne Kirkpatrick until January 17, 2008.  Uberuaga involved along with Torok in the 3/18/2006 homicide killing of Otto Zehm, a brutal murder which involved seven Spokane cops beating, tasering, hog-tying, masking, and kneeing the unarmed Zehm on March 18, 2006.)

Also active on the Spokesman-Review blogs is Sgt. Jim Faddis. Sgt. Faddis was unmasked blogging under the pseudonym of “Kevin”. He was repentant and promised he would never do so again but continued to blog as “Jim” or “Jim F”. In his blog writings, Faddis was often the backup to Torok’s verbal assaults on citizen bloggers. Faddis is a former Internal Affairs officer and Special Investigations Unit member.

Some Spokesman-Review bloggers have expressed concern regarding whether or not Torok and Faddis, as well as Det. J.R. Russell, have used official duty time and resource for their blog activities. (According to Spokane City records, then-Sergaent Dan Torok was paid $75,744 in 2002 while at that same time, Sergaent Faddis was paid $76,480.)

Others have expressed concerns about police officials lurking about blogs and intervening under the guise of citizens with no connection to the police in an effort to bolster a severely tarnished police department.

On a rare occasion Torok would intentionally sign a posting as “Det. Dan Torok” and explain that he was acting in an official capacity. Then there was the occasion when he signed in that fashion and had to return and write a disclaimer that he should not have signed as an SPD employee. Wow! Just sign Dan Torok and clarify that you are a cop, especially when the topic is the cops, including yourself!

The whole affair raises serious questions for those blogging openly under their real names (as I have made a practice for a few years now) or for those concerned about the identities of those with whom they are engaging in public blogs, not least those owned and run by newspapers.

Despite the important information disclosed at the Spokesman-Review’s Hard 7 blog by SPD officials Torok, Faddis and Russell about the Spokane Police Department and highly prejudicial attitudes held by them toward the mentally ill and disabled as well citizens in general, the Spokesman-Review recently purged its site of all postings at Hard 7 on January 4, 2008. That action was taken by Ken Paulman, one of the Spokesman-Review’s primary censors and the editor of the S-R’s collection of columns known as “7″.

Among the information purged by Paulman are very important public discussions involving citizen blog-posters engaging both Torok and Faddis regarding the lack of independent civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department; the unprovoked brutality on July 4, 2007 against young people by the SPD Tactical Response Unit in Riverfront Park; the excessive force arrest on June 27, 2007 of Dan Treecraft by SPD officers at the location of the secret meeting between Spokane law enforcement officials and then-US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez; the incomplete investigation of the homicide of Otto Zehm in which Torok was a participant; Torok’s killing of the unarmed Jerome Alford; tasers; high powered police weaponry acquired by the SPD; the use of the Spokane Police Guild website and forum to carry on private discussions about “LE friendly and LE hostile businesses“; and the use of the Guild website to post a private link to this blog (first denied by Faddis and subsequently admitted by him).

In purging the entire history of postings at Hard 7, Paulman wrote:

(quote)

And that’s a wrap…

Posted by Ken Paulman, 7 editor • 4 Jan 9:38 AM

As most of you already know, Frank Sennett, author of the Hard 7 column and blog, is on his way to the great Midwest to become the new editor of Time Out Chicago.

Unfortunately, that means the Hard 7 blog is closing up shop.

Frank is no longer posting or moderating, and unattended blogs tend to become magnets for spam, flame wars, and other garbage. So I’ve had to shut down comments on the blog. This unfortunately means all of the archived comments aren’t visible, but we’ll see about getting them back online soon.

(end quote)

Hard 7 author and blogmeister Frank Sennett had barley left Spokane for a new job in Chicago when Paulman struck in the first days of 2008. It will be a measure of the credibility of Spokesman-Review and the integrity of Paulman — one of the Spokesman’s primary monitors and censors of public’s participation in its dialogue with the town’s only daily newspaper — if Paulman keeps his word to “see about getting them (the missing archived comments) back online soon.”

Paulman admits to his “banning” and censorship activities at the S-R, having written previously, (quote) I had banned Brookbank back when I was moderating the “old” News is a Conversation, so that may have added to the confusion. Posted by Ken Paulman | 20 Dec 9:08 AM (end quote)

(The other primary S-R censor is Doug Floyd, S-R editorial page “editor”. Floyd has known no other employer other than the Spokesman-Review since 1969, three years after he graduated from journalism school in Oregon, and thus is likely eminently qualified to represent the censorial red pen of S-R publisher Stacey Cowles.)

Frank Sennett’s postings are still there to read at Hard 7 but the public forum that is a blog — including substantive discussions by the public of the above mentioned topics of great importance to the community — were summarily removed. The advent of the internet and interactive media such as blogs have resulted in a worldwide process of remaking the institution known as “the newspaper”. One traditional role of newspapers has been as the “paper of record” for towns, regions, and countries. Thus, in the process of remaking the newspaper, a central and crucial question for the future of the free press and free expression will be the role of newspapers as the “source of record” for events and of dialogues on matters of crucial public interest, as well as the role to be played by related electronic media used by newspapers today, such as blogs, comment sections, etc.

At the present moment, the direction of the Spokesman-Review (already severely crisis stricken) bodes ill for that future. The S-R editors have chosen to take refuge in their privileged position and the belief — expressed on multiple occasions by S-R editor-in-chief Steve Smith– that what is in play on Spokesman-Review blogs is not a matter of freedom of speech. Rather, Smith argues, the reader and blog writer must understand that what they mistakenly believe to be a right to freedom of speech in the public’s blogging activities is in fact a gift given to them by the newspaper’s publisher and therefore not a right at all but rather an honor and a privilege bestowed on the blog reader/writer by the editor on behalf of the publisher. Furthermore, per Smith, that gift, honor, and privilege may be abridged or completely taken away at the discretion of the editor or his minions.

And therein lies the danger to free speech constituted by grossly consolidated media ownership in the US and globally. The owner is effectively the censor, even if indirectly, through his editors. The publisher invites participation. The editor monitors participation. The editor censors participation.

This is a perfect sub-theme for the disgrace of the media’s open and unquestioning complicity with the US government in the “war on terror” and the phenomenon of “embedded journalists” and “lapdog reporters”. The media no longer even pretends to be a watchdog or a source of objective truth. When — as in the case of the Spokesman-Review’s Doug Floyd — a newspaper has as its editorial page ‘editor’ a careerist with nearly 4 decades working loyally for that institution, there is truly a danger. More so when the institution is actually a family dynasty which has dominated, if not at times run, a city for well over a century.

Such is the history of our fair town, Spokane, Washington. Police bloggers, newspaper censors, and a disempowered public.

Where art thee now, Frank Sennett?

(I know, I know. Chicago. And good luck to ya!)

Posted in Censorship, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest and Free Speech, Spanking the Spokesman, Spokane Police Guild, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Comments Off on Spokane Police Bloggers at Spokesman-Review — Hard 7 Blog Purged by S-R Editor

Marie Yates: “Qualified” for what?

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 17, 2007

(adapted from the longer post Citizen Review Commission is NOT the answer to independent oversight)

Eighty-three year old Marie Yates serves on the Citizens Review Commission as the so-called “qualified” member of the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association. On the Police Advisory Committee she represents Lincoln Heights/COPS Southeast. For many years, she has played a very prominent and not always productive role in police-civilian relations in the Spokane area.

It was Yates who in September 2006 publicly declared Bob DeMotte an “ass”. At the time of Yates outburst, DeMotte had just presented to the Civilian Review Commission the first case brought before it in more than a decade. Yates also questioned the legitimacy of DeMotte even being involved in the matter, calling him “someone from California”, despite his three years living in Spokane.

Under consideration by the Commission that September night was the matter of Lt. Judi Carl’s involvement in a scene involving her children and other teens out late at night in a crime-ridden Northside neighborhood. At issue in that case are the use of vulgarities by Carl and issues of favoritism. As a result of the incident, Lt. Carl had been suspended from duty for one day by acting chief Jim Nicks during the summer of 2006 for what is know as “conduct unbecoming“. Chief Kirkpatrick, three weeks after her hiring as Spokane Police Chief, chose that case to send to the Citizen Review Commission for review.

Think about this.

Yates was being called upon to render a judgment on the use of vulgarities by a Spokane Police officer. And what does she do? She calls the complaining citizen “an ass”.

In their extensive and thorough June 25, 2006 article “Police Oversight on Trial” about the history and failures of police oversight in Spokane, Bill Morlin and Jody Lawrence-Turner of the Spokesman-Review wrote of Yates and her consistently pro-police stance:

(quote) Marie Yates, 83, was one of Mangan‘s original appointees. A police ally and volunteer at the COPS Southeast office who once helped purchase a police dog for the force, Yates said she was embarrassed to be on Barnard’s panel “because it had too many members who were critical of the police.”

The next chief, Bragdon, reappointed her to the slot representing police captains and lieutenants. Yates still serves on the current commission. (end quote)

Yates has been deeply involved in police matters for years, serving simultaneously on both the Citizen Review Commission and the Police Advisory Committee as well as having been a COPS volunteer for nearly 12 years. As a current member of the CRC Yates would be called upon to render judgment on matters of police conduct. Yet as a current member also of the Police Advisory Committee she advises and assists the police.

As if all this is not enough, Yates represents the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association. As the article by Morlin and Lawrence-Turner points out, it was the Police Lieutenants and Captains Association which filed a labor relations action against the city and forced the dissolution in 1995 of the first Citizens Advisory Commission in Spokane.

Perhaps all this is indication that Yates is no longer (and perhaps never was) “qualified”.

Nevertheless, disappointingly and troubling, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously on August 10, 2007, to give Yates another year on the Citizens Review Commission. According to the minutes of that Spokane City Council meeting as published in the August 23, 2007 edition of the Official Gazette of the City of Spokane (vol. 96, no. 34):

(quote) Motion by Council Member Verner, seconded by Council Member McLaughlin, to confirm the Mayor’s re-appointments of Ms. Marie Yates, Police Lieutenants and Captains Representative, with her term to begin immediately and end March 31, 2008, and Mr. Robert Byrne, Police Guild Representative, with his term to begin immediately and end December 31, 2010. Motion carried unanimously. (end quote)

Most problematic and disturbing is that the City Council reappointed Yates despite the clear recommendation ten months earlier in police consultant Mike Worley’s $8800 tax-payer paid report that “the representation of the Police Department labor groups on the Citizens Review Commission should be eliminated.” In fact, despite Worley’s high-priced recommendations, the City Council also voted to re-codify the ordinance on the membership of the commission on March 6, 2007, setting the stage for the re-appointments of Yates and Byrne.

I am not the first person to question how “qualified” Yates is at this point. A year ago Yates’ appropriateness was called into question by Frank Sennett who asked in his Hard7 blog, “How professional and unbiased is our highly regarded Citizens Review Commission when it comes to handling complaints of police misconduct?” Yates had previously offered this self assessment to the Spokesman-Review in responding to the criticism of her calling DeMotte an “ass”: “I have a lot of regard for the police, but I’m fair.” To which Sennett responded, “Yes, as fair and unbiased as Fox News…”

Among other things, the citizens and government of Spokane now face a $1 million law suit as a result of Yates actions in the Carl matter. (The City of Spokane could purchase a lot of police dogs for $1 million, Marie.)

More important is how an individual like Yates — who is a representative of a police association, who defends the police in her speech and conduct, who worked for years with the police as a volunteer, and who denigrates citizens who dare to question the actions of the police — can be considered an appropriate member of a Citizens Review Commission which exists nominally to hold the police accountable in their relationship with the public. Clearly Yates is incapable of seeing the part of the citizenry in matters involving the Spokane Police.

Please join me at the next City Council meeting on Monday, October 22, 2007 at 6 PM to object to the Council’s re-codification of the ordinance on the composition of the Citizens Review Commission as well as its unanimous reappointment of Marie Yates to the Citizens Review Commission. Remember that citizens must arrive at 6 PM to sign up to speak and then must wait until the very end of the meetings of their City Council for an opportunity to speak for three minutes — a time limit strictly and rather brutally enforced by Council President Joe Shogun in his inimitable style. Be aware that council meetings often run extremely long when, for example, city attorneys are promoting the interests of corporations and developers as happened the night the council passed the Kendall Yard TIF (Tax Increment Financing). So be prepared to remain possibly even for several hours until the meeting ends for your opportunity to speak. Realize even then that those three minutes of democracy can be reduced to one minute by executive fiat of Shogun, as happened on July 9, 2007, to a long line of individuals speaking about the SPD attack on 4th of July protesters in Riverfront Park.

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 18, 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/

Posted in All-white SPD?, Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

LE Friendly vs. LE Hostile — Spokane Police Guild’s Forum Discussion

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 3, 2007

(See the end of this article for an update to it added on September 4, 2007 at approximately 11:45 PM)

As readers of this blog know, the Spokane Police Guild maintains a password protected website.

Shortly after I began this blog, I began to notice that my page was being reached by a link or links placed on the forums page of the Spokane Police Guild website. For ex., one of the referring site links which appeared on my blog was http://spokanepoliceguild.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=730 and variations on that (instead of v-web another variation uses ipw-web.)

In an interaction at Frank Sennett’s Hard 7 blog, Spokane Police official Jim Faddis stated first that there was no link to my blog on the Spokane Police Guild forums page and than latter in the same Hard 7 blog wrote that there is such a link to my blog but that it is there by mistake. My response was to tell him not to take us for fools and that obviously it was no mistake.

As far as it goes, it is perfectly fine that the Guild has posted a link to this blog on their website. In fact, I had in a previous post here cordially invited the SPD and its Guild to visit this blog frequently.

I noticed however that when I clicked on the link back to the Spokane Police Guild website, I was taken one page inside their password protected website. This meant that while I could not see the actual comments posted by Guild members — which were also password protected — in their several forum discussions, I could at least see their discussion topics.

You will see in my earlier post about this discovery that I have included a Word version of the text from that Guild forum page.

The topics of discussion at the Guild forum page as of August 3, 2007 were:

1) Guild Business

2) Legislative Announcements: The latest political news from the Guild’s Legislative Reps.

3) Negotiations

4) General Topics: Rumor Mill and the Kitchen Sink–What’s on your mind? Anything goes.

5) Funny Police Stories: Have hilarious story to share with everyone? Please use common sense!!

6) For Sale: Got something for sale? Is that hard earned cash burning a whole in your pocket? Take a look inside for a great deal.

7) LE Friendly / Hostile Businesses: Do you know a business that is pro-Law Enforcement? How about anti-Law Enforcement? Post them here and let everyone know.

8} Old General Topics Threads

9) Forum Talk: Questions and Help

I must admit I would love to see if stolen property ever shows up on the For Sale forum. And I am certain that there is a great story behind why the Funny Police Stories category of the Guild forum is qualified with the warning “Please use common sense”. (Could it be because police officers have a tendency to embellish stories?)
But what is most interesting and of greatest concern to me is the category “LE Friendly/Hostile Businesses: Do you know a business that is pro-Law Enforcement? How about anti-Law Enforcement? Post them here and let everyone know.”

Are there local espresso stands on the list of law enforcement (LE) hostile businesses because of a lack of “cooperation” by young baristas?

Is the Spokesman-Review characterized by SPD officers as a “law enforcement hostile business” for its consistent and aggressive reporting of police actions over the last few years?

Are local minority-owned independent businesses (as opposed to the large, mall-based stores) associated with the hip-hop culture considered hostile by Guild members?

Is Police Practices Consulting, LLC treated as a “law enforcement friendly business”? Spokane Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick, in her testimonial on the Police Practices Consulting, LLC, website, would suggest so when she states “[Mike Worley’s] review, I think, has been thorough, it have been independent, it has been complete, and it has been fair.” Career police officer Mike Worley and his Police Practices Consulting were hired in summer 2006 by Mayor Hession to investigate the Otto Zehm murder, the Spokane Firehouse Sex Scandal, and the dysfunctional Citizens Advisory Commission. It bears stating as I did in this post that–to my knowledge–Worley’s report is not complete in that he passed on investigating the Zehm murder because of ongoing investigations. The Zehm case remains unresolved and stands as a permanent scar upon the SPD, Spokane city government, and other law enforcement agencies in the area.

Is it possible that the conversation going on under the category “Law Enforcement Friendly and Unfriendly Businesses” on the Guild’s forum is of interest to Spokane area defense attorneys seeking to defend their clients against prejudicial Spokane Police attitudes and conduct?

What sort of racist, sexist, or other prejudicial and discriminatory types of information and characterizations of people and businesses are shared there?

Who decides what a pro-law enforcement or anti-law enforcement business is in Spokane? What if Officer Torok characterizes business ‘x’ as anti-law enforcement? Do other officers file that “warning” away in their mental data banks and carry it into the field with them? Do they access it from the field over their wireless internet connections? What if Officer Applewhaite holds a different view of that same business, has always had good relationships with that business, and understands the business owners and customers? Does Applewhaite speak to Torok? Does Applewhaite contradict Torok by posting his contradictory view on the forum? What if Torok outranks Applewhaite? What if Torok shoots the owner of that business in a dispute on the street? Are his comments on the Guild forum discoverable for purposes of criminal investigation and judicial action? What if Torok and Applewhaite are of different racial backgrounds and Torok’s characterization of the business as hostile to law enforcement, as opposed to Applewhaite’s view that it is not hostile, is impacted by his race and his relationship to the business?

Who monitors the Guild’s website — in particular its forum — for legality, appropriateness, professionalism, etc?

An extremely long blog discussion (some thirty pages printed out) at Frank Sennett’s Hard 7 came to an end when I asked SPD bloggers Officer Dan Torok and Officer Jim “Kevin” Faddis for a second time what they meant by “law enforcement friendly and law enforcement hostile” businesses. After an attempt at jail house humor by Faddis, he and Torok simply abandoned the blog conversation.

It is now up to defense attorneys, the media, concerned citizens, the City Council and Mayor, and Chief Kirkpatrick to figure out what impact the casual and unofficial characterization of businesses as hostile and friendly has on police response times, investigative quality and integrity, abusive practices, use of force decisions, and other critical operational, legal, and ethical concerns.

Whether or not questions like these will be addressed in the future will depend in large part on whether or not Spokane’s citizens demand and receive an independent oversight mechanism.

Unfortunately, this depends on negotiations with the Guild. Comments on the Guild’s forum discussion entitled “Negotiations” would be fascinating to read. The attitudes of the Spokane Police expressed by the likes of Torok and Faddis in public forums and other officers blogging anonymously or under pseudonyms suggest that neither the SPD nor the Spokane Police Guild intend to ever, ever come under civilian independent oversight and control.

Is there an SPD whistle blower willing to break ranks with the Thin Blue Line and disclose the nature of Spokane Police Guild forum chatter to the public?

(Clarification: The WordPress statistics page provides a list of links which people have clicked on to reach my blog. However, it provides no information on individuals who visit my site. Be assured that in relationship to my blog your anonymity is protected.)

——————————————

Update 9/5/07

Found on Google by searching for “David Brookbank”:

(quote from Google search)

SPOKANE POLICE GUILD :: Memberlist Dave Adams, PSB “Lower Level Suite”, 17 Feb 2004, 104 …. LE Friendly / Hostile Businesses, Old General Topics Threads, Discussions About David Brookbankspokanepoliceguild.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/memberlist.php?sid=5cb758f01d4dba664238b9ccc1fd4d4e – 70k – Cached – Similar pages

(end quote from Google search)

The above Google search results are simply an ordinary copy of the text produced as a result of the above mentioned Google search. The links automatically reproduced when pasted here.

Also be aware that if your experience is the same as mine, if you click on this link produced by a Google search, you may find as I did two cookies placed on your computer by the Spokane Police Guild website, one expiring at the end of the session and one expiring in one year. You know these guys have some high paid techie-types working for them. You can delete the cookies by opening your browser “Preferences”, go to “Cookies” (probably under Privacy and Security) and either delete the specific cookies for the Spokane Police Guild or delete all your cookies (I am not an expert on these matters and accept no responsibility if you delete all your cookies and later have difficulties of any sort).

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Spokane Police Guild, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Guild Forum Page

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 24, 2007

I decided that I would post this Word version of the Spokane Police Guild Forum Page on my blog site. Though it appears that this page is not available from the web, I have been able to get to it from the “Referring page” statistics page in the WordPress blog platform that I use for this blog.

My site has been accessed at least a couple dozen times from the Spokane Police Guild Forum, meaning that a link to my site is posted on the Guild’s Forum page and that Guild members access my blog from the Guild’s Forum. Here is a copy of the Referrer list for 08/20/07:

2007-08-20

Referrer Views
spokanepoliceguild.com/v-web/bulletin… 1
us.f311.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?… 1
sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Black…  

My guess is that my blog is being discussed under the Spokane Police Forum headings of either 1) Rumor Mill and the Kitchen Sink: What’s on your mind? Anything goes or 2)LE Friendly / Hostile Businesses: Do you know a business that is pro-Law Enforcement? How about anti-Law Enforcement? Post them here and let everyone know.

SPOKANE POLICE GUILD

http://www.spokanepoliceguild.com

FAQ Search Memberlist Usergroups Register

Profile Log in to check your private messages Log in

The time now is Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:51 pm

SPOKANE POLICE GUILD Forum Index

View unanswered posts

Forum Topics Posts Last Post

Welcome to the Spokane Police Guild Forum

Welcome to the Forum

Please stop by here if it is your first time to the forums.

2 2 Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:19 am

Kevin King

Spokane Police Guild

President Message Forum

Latest updates from the President – Ernie Wuthrich. Post your questions for the President HERE.

Moderator Ernie Wuthrich

13 99 Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:53 pm

Ernie Wuthrich

1st Vice President Message Forum

The latest news from the 1st V.P. – Jeff Harvey. Post your questions for the Vice President HERE.

Moderator Jeff Harvey

2 22 Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:31 am

Kevin King

2nd Vice President Message Forum

The latest news from the 2nd V.P. – Ray Harding. Post your questions for the Vice President HERE.

Moderator Ray Harding

3 8 Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:53 pm

Ty Snider

Secretary Message Forum

The latest news from the Guild’s Secretary – Ty Snider. Post your questions for the Secretary HERE.

Moderator Ty Snider

8 25 Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:25 pm

Ty Snider

Treasurer Message Forum

The latest news from the Guild’s Treasurer – John Griffin. Post your questions for the Treasurer HERE.

Moderator John Griffin

6 34 Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:33 pm

John Griffin

Guild Business

Guild Business

Daily Guild Business, including past and future SPG events.

16 75 Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:32 am

JAN POGACHAR

Legislative Announcements

The latest political news from the Guild’s Legislative Reps.

Moderators Paul Carpenter, Craig Bulkley, Jim Christensen

8 14 Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:02 am

Ty Snider

Negotiations

Discussion about upcoming contract negotiations.

7 158 Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:38 am

Mark Burbridge

Old Guild Business Threads

Barring a member request, the following threads will soon be deleted.

39 266 Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:47 am

Kevin King

General Topics

Rumor Mill and the Kitchen Sink

What’s on your mind? Anything goes. These categories were combined.

Moderator Webmaster

27 152 Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:15 pm

Ernie Wuthrich

Funny Police Stories

Have hilarious story to share with everyone? Please use common sense!!

6 27 Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:58 pm

T. J. Lee

For Sale

Got something for sale? Is that hard earned cash burning a whole in your pocket? Take a look inside for a great deal.

Moderator Webmaster

2 5 Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:21 am

Bonnie Sherar

LE Friendly / Hostile Businesses

Do you know a business that is pro-Law Enforcement? How about anti-Law Enforcement? Post them here and let everyone know.

Moderators Webmaster, Bryan Tafoya

9 24 Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:32 pm

Douglas A. Orr

Old General Topics Threads

Barring a member request, the following threads will be deleted in 270 days.

11 103 Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:30 pm

Dan Torok

Forum Talk

Questions and Help

Are you a new forum user and in need of some help? Seek your answers here.

Moderators Webmaster, brad hallock

12 45 Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:11 pm

Kevin King

Mark all forums read

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Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Guild to Chief & Public: We’ll investigate ourselves

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 18, 2007

Chief Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Knezovich defied the Spokane Police Guild earlier this year by calling for an end to the absurd and un-American practice of the Spokane Police Department investigating its own alleged crimes and misconduct. Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s intentions are vehemently opposed by the Guild, of course.

Composed of 270 members who have been involved in repeated homicides, amateurish pranks, brutal attacks on citizens, civil rights violations, and corrupt practices, the Guild is on the defensive and taking the offensive. Per the Spokesman-Review, Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey recently stated, “This decision is taking work away from the police department.” Harvey continued, “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”

Earth to Spokane Police Guild: “You work for us, the citizens who pay your salary, and we want the best non-Spokane Police Department investigator determining whether or not our dead fellow citizens were murdered by cops or whether or not the cops were actually protecting us in killing alleged criminals.” Comprende?

Even under Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s plan, there are significant problems. Kirkpatrick has stated that while the SPD would not be the lead agency in investigating itself, the SPD would be part of the investigative team and the Guild and the city would agree on the investigators who would be involved.

Let’s see, Chief, does mean that if I am accused of a crime I can chose the investigators and perhaps even suggest that my mother be part of the investigative team? To quote Officer Harvey, not only do I want but I am entitled to “the best investigator to do the job” and want the “best outcome” for both myself and in terms of our increasingly perverted sense of truth and justice.

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

Spokane union balks at outside investigations of officer-involved shootings

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPOKANE, Wash. — The union representing Spokane police officers says a rule requiring an outside agency to investigate officer-involved shootings is an unfair labor practice.

After a series of on- and off-duty shootings by officers, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich last year agreed to the “fatal incident protocol” that requires investigations led by another law enforcement agency.

“This decision is taking work away from the police department,” Spokane Police Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey told The Spokesman-Review in an article published Thursday. “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”

The guild, which represents about 270 police department employees, filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the city.

The protocol was changed after high-profile incidents involving both agencies. It replaced a system in which city detectives would take the lead role in the investigation when a Spokane police officer was involved in a shooting, with the sheriff’s office assisting.

Kirkpatrick and Knezovich said transferring investigations to the other agency shows transparency and avoids potential conflicts of interest and accusations of an agency unfairly protecting its own officers.

“We will not investigate our own,” Kirkpatrick said Wednesday. “I’ve always taken the position that if an officer is involved in a critical incident that we would not investigate our own.”

The protocol requiring independent investigations is routinely used by other law enforcement agencies, she said.

The police union is arguing that the change should have been negotiated before going into effect and is asking that the protocol be suspended during negotiations.

Kirkpatrick said she won’t budge unless a judge forces the issue.

The police chief said the complaint, filed in April while a new labor contract was being negotiated, forces both sides to try to find a resolution.

It comes in the wake of discussions about independent oversight of the department.

Kirkpatrick said her aim is to have critical incidents investigated by a team of detectives from Spokane police, the sheriff’s office and possibly the Washington State Patrol. The agency being investigated wouldn’t take the lead on the case, but investigators would be agreed upon by the guild and the city, she said.

Harvey said he is concerned that an officer’s career can be destroyed by a sloppy investigation.

“Why would I want someone who has never had the experience of investigating a shooting to come in and take the lead?” he asked.

Three incidents this year involving Spokane police officers “overtaxed the sheriff’s office,” Harvey said.

Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesmanreview.com

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

“Irreparable Damage” — Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 15, 2007

A very frequently cited case and one of substantial significance and precedence in regard to disclosure of public records by a public agency is the matter of Spokane Police Guild v. Liquor Control Board.

The link highlighted below leads to the full Supreme Court decision on the matter. In addition, I have included the following brief excerpt by way of explaining the context. And finally, I conclude with a quote from the Spokane City Prosecutor on the “irreparable” nature of the damage to the Spokane Police Guild and Spokane Police Department.

In the end, the court sided with the public’s right to know over any broad claim by government to non-disclosure based on a claim to protection of personal privacy of the officials involved.

12 Wn.2d 30, POLICE GUILD v. LIQUOR CONTROL BD.

CITE: 112 Wn.2d 30, 769 P.2d 283

POLICE GUILD v. LIQUOR CONTROL BD.

CAUSE NUMBER: 55432-3

FILE DATE: February 16, 1989

CASE TITLE: Spokane Police Guild, et al, Appellants, v.
The Liquor Control Board, et al, Respondents, The
City of Spokane, Appellant.

FACTS OF CASE

This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court for Spokane County wherein the court declined to enjoin the Washington State Liquor Control Board from releasing an investigative report to the public and news media. We affirm.

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 suit.

Following consideration of affidavits, briefs and arguments, and after reviewing the investigative report in camera, the trial court filed its memorandum decision stating in part as follows:

“Nothing this court can do will ever erase the fact that this regrettable incident occurred. And probably nothing the news media can do from here on out will really be considered a benefit to this community. But it seems obvious to this court that the full story must be made public, including the names of persons involved.

The trial court then entered an order denying the injunction and ordering that a complete and unedited copy of the investigative report be disclosed. An appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals and the trial court stayed disclosure pending appeal. The Court of Appeals, in turn, certified the appeal to this court and we accepted review.

The appeal presents one primary issue.

ISSUE

Should the Liquor Board’s report of its investigation of liquor law violations at a party held on the premises of one of its licensees be exempt from disclosure under the state freedom of information act?

DECISION

CONCLUSION. We hold that the trial court properly concluded that the records in question were not exempt from disclosure and that a complete and unedited copy of the Liquor Board’s report should be made available to the public and news media.

This suit was brought under the state freedom of information act, RCW 42.17.250.340 (the act). The parties concede that the Liquor Board’s investigative report of the event in question is a public record.

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

http://www.mrsc.org/mc/courts/supreme/112wn2d/112wn2d0030.htm

(quote from Supreme Court decision) By affidavit, the City Attorney stated that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.” (end quote)

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

Reflections on Blogging Down the SPD

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 10, 2007

WordPress is the blogging platform I have chosen for two of my blogs — SpokanePoliceAbuses and SpankingTheSpokesman. One of the WordPress features I like most is the BlogStats feature. From the BlogStats page, I am able to learn a number of things.

For one, I am able to see that in the 23 days since I began SpokanePoliceAbuses, it has been viewed 1116 times or an average of just under 50 views per day. The best day registered 162 views.

I can also see that the four most frequently selected posts on SpokanePoliceAbuses are “Laying Out the Case“; “Suicide by Cop: I’d Have Jumped Too“; “The Role of Spokane, Fairchild, and the SERE/JPRA Programs in U.S. Torture and Geneva Convention Violations“; and “Color of Law Matters–Spokane FBI Chief Egon ‘Dez’ Dezihan“.

Additionally, I am able to see the combinations of key words that people used in search engines to arrive at my Blog. Some of them include: “taser model ml18”, “40 CALIBRE”, “Spokane JPRA John Bruce Jessen”, “spokane police misconduct attorneys”, “restraint chair”, “how do I know if it is a police officer”, “what is sere resistance training like”, “Otto Zehm”, and “Jay Mehring”.

But the BlogStats data that I have found the most interesting is the Referrer information. This allows me to see from what sites people arrived at my site. In otherwords, someone placed a link for SpokanePoliceAbuse on a website and then someone else clicked on that link to get to SpokanePoliceAbuses.

The most interesting Referrer site so far? The forums section of the Spokane Police Guild website at http://spokanepoliceguild.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=730 and a similar address http://spokanepoliceguild.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=730. Of course, if you or I click on these links we will not get to the forums but rather we will be redirected to the Spokane Police Guild sign-in page and be unable to go any further. Hits from the Spokane Police Guild forums have now risen to four, including a third Guild site address ending in 730&highlight=

So what does this mean? It means that a police officer or police administrator or police attorney or someone else with password access to the SpokanePoliceGuild website posted my Blog address on one of their forums and others have clicked on that link to get to my Blog.

Would love to see their posts!

Meanwhile, I want to extend a warm welcome to the members of the Spokane Police Guild. Please make yourselves at home here at Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present. Look around, take your shoes off, light up a stogy, and stay a while. No warrant required.

And remember: without you this Blog would not be possible.

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

Update: Boys in Blue at the Ballot — Contract Vote Dates Changed

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 5, 2007

In the last 48 hours, the Spokane Police Guild changed its contract vote dates from August 7th & 8th to August 7th & 10th. I do not know whether or not this change from August 8th to August 10th has anything to do with the fact that the Police Advisory Committee meets on August 8 and is overseen by the SPD’s top brass, but suffice it to say that I suspect so. I can’t imagine that SPD brass would want the PAC to meet unsupervised and on its own, especially at this time of controversy.

http://www.spokanepoliceguild.com/

Spokane Police Guild — Contract Vote — August 7 and August 10, 2007

* Drill Hall at Roll Call Times– E-mail Ty Snider if you are on Vacation that Week *

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

Boys in Blue at the Ballot — August 7 and August 10, 2007

Posted by Arroyoribera on August 4, 2007

http://www.spokanepoliceguild.com/

Spokane Police Guild — Contract Vote — August 7 and August 10, 2007

* Drill Hall at Roll Call Times– E-mail Ty Snider if you are on Vacation that Week *

Posted in Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Arroyoribera on July 18, 2007

http://www.spokanepoliceguild.com/

Posted in All-white SPD?, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police Guild | Leave a Comment »