We don’t know yet!

Last email to Fuller



But apparently it is a secret!






Officer Fuller wouldn’t even tell me whether or not the Lydia Taylor IA Case was one of the 5 Open Cases from 2015, or one of the 5 Open Cases from 2014, so I wonder what is going on.


When I read this story in the SR back on April 25th, 2015 by Nina Culver, based on her story I figured she had a copy of the Lydia Taylor IA report and I was kind of waiting for it to be posted on the SPD website so I could read it, the SR never posted a copy and as far as I can tell it was never posted on the SPD website.










We do know from PRRs that there was some kind of an agreement between Mell Taylor and Frank Straub, what exactly we don’t know, nor do we know if it had anything to do with Lydia Taylor.





TS Heanding


Tim Schwering is of course one of the many exempt hires Frank Straub and David Condon made, and is the individual that Mayor Condon decided we should pay for to go to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. There is a lot of speculation about what plans Mayor Condon and Jim McDevitt have for Mr. Schwering. But here is what Tim Schwering has given us as far as transparency and the SPD.


This is an excerpt from the COPS/DOJ Report:



SPD has made various documents, such as the policy manual and use of force reports, available to the public and has updated the public regarding changes to or within the organization. In addition, SPD has eliminated the backlog of requests from the public and is seeking to expand resources that will further in­ crease the transparency of the organization.

SPD has posted all 2013 and 2014 use of force reports, completed IA investigations from 2011 to 2014, and posted SPD’s policy manual to its website. In March 2014, the director of strategic initiatives started delivering Office of Professional Accountability monthly updates to the Public Safety Committee; these are also available to the public on the department’s website.



The easy way to fake it is to come up with novel excuses to keep the cases from becoming public or even bothering to investigate them, unless of course someone with authority calls you on it.


Here are just a few of my favorites:

The Juvenile Arrest CPS Report Cover:

(We don’t want the Juvenile or CPS Case just the IA case with the necessary redactions, please!)







Kick it to Heather at Human Resources that way we don’t have to post it!







Heck why post a report when just a few sentences will do?











Whew… we got them to retire or resign so we don’t have to worry about doing an investigation that might make us look bad!














Well…No claim of the “Ongoing Investigation Exception” but close!!


We continue to work on your request, and I anticipate providing you another update on your request in approximately 45 days, or on or about April 8, 2016.



TP One


TP Two





My Response:


My TP Response









Terri Pfister:


Also, attached are records that were previously released under the Spokesman’s August 18, 2015, records request (copy attached) and which may be considered responsive to your records request.



Well…hell yes they were, and if I had them, when I should have, I would have reported lots of interesting stuff that the SR did not!!!



Here is some of the “previously released” records I didn’t get:




I am just going to hit a couple of highlights from the records I just received. The City Council members that read my stories should take note and especially Council President Stuckart it was his City Ordinance that was passed.




“McGregor has an IP camera on Dutch Jake park”

What is an IP Camera? You can buy your own here if you want!



Who is McGregor? He is a member of a little known SPD Unit.




“TARU” (Technical Assistance Response Unit) (Located in Basement of PSB – Public Safety Building) Director Tim Schwering 625-4109 // 385-5833 cell Unit Manager – Kyndrin Tenny (Sr Analyst) (ktenny@spokanepolice.org) 625-4092 795-4582 ASSIGNMENT NAME IDA PRSNL # PHONE CELL F 8/6 (Desk Top Computer Specialist) MCDONALD, SEAN 722 625-4149 (ON CALL) 768-3143 F 8/6 MCGREGOR, JOHN I458 060 363-8220 370-2122 SS 0730-1530 (Administrator for RALEIGH, ERIN TARU3 605 625-4120 869-8910 Patrol Laptops, SREC (Radio), CAD, Cell Phones, Fleet) F 8/6 (Programmer Analyst) SEIDEL, CHRIS 865 625-4107 216-1034 M 8/6 (Body Camera/Taser) SNIDER, RYAN TARU2 486 625-8225 863-6597




This one is funny to me. I have pointed this out before, and all of the Spokane Media folks know that if the SPD or SCSO want positive press there go to guy is Jeff Humphrey from KXLY, whose son is a SCSO Deputy. So Jeff Humphrey gets lots of early and inside tips. This text message says it all.

To be perfectly clear there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mainstream media reporter developing information sources. You just have to use caution that your own biases don’t interfere with your reporting. Although in my opinion I sometimes see what I consider a hint of bias on Humphrey’s part, IMO overall he offers a fair perspective, and there is no question he does make some local reporters jealous.


FYI Jeff Humphrey has been notified about warrant tomorrow and will call Lydia for details on where to meet at 1pm. Torok, you suggested Gardener? He knows nothing more than that we are serving a warrant.



Terri Pfister:


Records located on City Administrator Theresa Sanders personal cell phone have previously been made available to you.  We are still in the process of reviewing the data from the City issued phones of Griffiths and Williams.



Yes, Terri but I still don’t have a Nissen Affidavit from Sanders, or Condon, or Fire Chief Williams, and the others and by golly it has been quite a while.




Included on the last page of Terri Pfister’s second email from yesterday was a copy of Frank Straub’s response to her shotgun email after my email back in September of 2015.

Since Frank Straub is no longer with the City I’m sure we will never see a Nissen Affidavit from him. Also since he is gone from the City there is no way of getting him to cooperate with the City Council “Independent Investigation”. You might recall while he was Chief of Police here in Spokane he refused to cooperate with a similar investigation being conducted in Indianapolis. The question of course is; Was Frank Straub being truthful in his email to Terri Pfister, back on Wed, 16 Sep 2015? It doesn’t look that way!




–Forwarded Message Attachment– From: XXXfstraub@spokanecity.org To: tpfister@spokanecity.org CC: dcondon@spokanecity.org; tsanders@spokanecity.org; nisserlis@spokanecity.org; bcoddington@spokanecity.org; hlowe@spokanecity.org; xxxmcotton@spokanecity.org; leadie@spokanecity.org; PoliceChiefs@spokanecity.org; msteinolfson@spokanecity.org; ccortright@spokanecity.org; rhollwedel@spokanecity.org; apashon@spokanecity.org; pdalton@spokanecity.org; mmuramatsu@spokanecity.org; lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org; swilliams@spokanecity.org Subject: Re: Public Records Request Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 15:27:44 +0000

As previously indicated I do not have any personal emails, phone messages or text messages related to this matter Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 16, 2015, at 7:25 AM, “Pfister, Terri” <tpfister@spokanecity.org> wrote:

Passing along Mr. Breen’s email below.



Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org


From: Brian Breen [mailto:emb4949@msn.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 5:57 PM To: Pfister, Terri Subject: RE: Public Records Request


Ms. Pfister,   Thank you for your response. I do however want to be clear that my request includes both City of Spokane owned and privately owned email, text messaging, or any other communications systems or methods used at any time for conducting public business. I also want to be clear that a search should be done of any and all independent server or storage systems beyond the Enterprise Vault System, and that the records search complies with the recent Washington State Supreme Court Decision concerning Nissen v Pierce County. Please also understand that my request is for any public information concerning the movement of Monique Cotton from Director of Communications at the Spokane Police to the City of Spokane Park Department.   Sincerely,    Brian R. Breen _______________________________________________________



I also received copies of toll records that apparently a Reporter names Erickson requested some time ago. The is lots of good information in those toll records but my suspicion is that once the reporter got the documents he looked at them and said “Holy Crap…what do I do with all this!”. I wonder if I’ll get a call from someone wanting to borrow my link analysis software?








Breaking News….This Just In!!!!

I just got this email from Terri Pfister:


TF today


The big question is will the Mayor and City Attorney use the “Ongoing Investigation” exception to the PRA?


And how it relates to my PRRs.


I received a question from a reader regarding my persistence in obtaining Nissen Affidavits, which I am entitled to pursuant to the Public Records Act via my September 5, 2015 Public Records Request. The reader noted that the public employees signing the Nissen Affidavits could easily lie and the average citizen wouldn’t know the difference. That is true, and since a member of the media or private citizen doesn’t have subpoena power they might not ever know if someone falsified an affidavit. PRRs from media and private citizens can however come in quite handy if there is an investigation by law enforcement or some other agency with subpoena power like the City council has, if that investigation is conducted properly. As an example, if an investigation revealed a public employee lied in a Nissen Affidavit there could very well be a criminal violation for such things as Misconduct of Public Officers ( http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.20 ), etcetera, which would be sound elements for removal from office or recall. All of the players in the Cotton/Straub case, as well as all of the staff in the City Attorney’s Office I’m sure are very aware of what could happen should they falsify a public document.


I think it is pretty obvious that as a member of the media and a citizen my persistence involves getting to the truth.


Below you will find a link to the Washington Supreme Court’s Decision in Nissen, to make it easy I copied the case conclusion and highlighted a couple of things for you:

*** Keep in mind that Nissen became law August 27th, 2015, my PRR was September 5th, 2015, and today is February 26th, 2016) 







We affirm the Court of Appeals in part. Records that an agency employee

prepares, owns, uses, or retains on a private cell phone within the scope of

employment can be “public records” of the agency under RCW 42.56.010(3).

Nissen’s complaint thus sufficiently alleges that at least some of the text messages

at issue may be public records subject to disclosure. Because it is impossible at this

stage to determine if any messages are in fact public records, on remand the parties

are directed as follows. Lindquist must obtain a transcript of the content of all the

text messages at issue, review them, and produce to the County any that are public

records consistent with our opinion. The County must then review those messages just

as it would any other public record-and apply any applicable exemptions,

redact information if necessary, and produce the records and any exemption log to

Nissen. As to text messages that Lindquist in good faith determines are not public

records, he must submit an affidavit to the County attesting to the personal character

of those messages. The County must also produce that affidavit to Nissen.

We note that the County responded to Nissen’s records requests and produced

records in a timely manner based on what we presume was its good-faith

interpretation of the PRA. Though we now hold that interpretation is incorrect,

penalties are not warranted at this early stage before the County has had the

opportunity to comply with our opinion and supplement its response to Nissen’s

requests accordingly. We reserve for the trial court the issue of penalties going







Where we stand now!


Well nowhere actually! I have received Nissen Affidavits from Nancy Isserlis, Rick Dobrow, Leroy Eadie, and Brian Schaeffer, that is it. If you are wondering, why…see above! 🙂


The Nissen Affidavit thing from this “confused Jeremiah”, as Nick Deshais refers to me, kind of threw Terri Pfister for a loop so she had to call in the “Big Guns”. In this case Mr. Pat Dalton from the City Attorney’s Office. You might recall that Mr. Dalton is the lawyer that recently IMO tried to intimidate the City Council into not talking regarding their meeting with Mayor Condon.

As an aside; I’m pretty sure the City Council was about as intimidated by Mr. Dalton as I am and provided their investigator with statements detailing what happened in the meeting prior to Straub’s termination. We of course won’t know for sure until the results of the investigation are made public. If the City Council did provide statements to the investigator, as I suspect they have, Mayor Condon and Pat Dalton know…so the damage control I’m sure is underway.


Here is the email exchange between Mr. Pat Dalton and Myself (I apologize for mistakenly using the suffix Ms. Instead of Mr.):

Dalton 1

Me to Dalton 1

Me to Dalton 2


Dalton back to me






I want to point out a couple of things in the above email exchange that might interest you!





“As to the search of personal phones and signing affidavits, the City is certainly willing to ask our employees to do so, but we have no mechanism to require any employee to search his or her personal phone or prepare and sign an affidavit”


My response as a responsible Investigative Reporter is of course TS find a “mechanism”!!



We can ask each of those employees to conduct an “adequate search” for records and then in good faith submit “reasonably detailed, nonconclusory affidavits” attesting to the nature and extent of their searches to us, which we can then share with you. 


Mr. Dalton shares the same opinion of me as Nick Deshais does and thinks I’m a “confused Jeremiah” …good that’s an advantage. I always had to be the Dumb Cop and my Partner the Smart Cop…so I can handle it!


“facts sufficient to show that the [personal records are not] public records under the PRA.”    See Nissen v. Pierce County (2015).



Yes, Mr Dalton I did “see Nissen v. Pierce County (2015), and happened to notice you left out this part!


Where an employee withholds personal records from the employer, he or she

must submit an affidavit with facts sufficient to show the information is not a “public

record” under the PRA. So long as the affidavits give the requester and the trial

court a sufficient factual basis to determine that withheld material is indeed

nonresponsive, the agency has performed an adequate search under the PRA. When

done in good faith, this procedure allows an agency to fulfill its responsibility to search for and disclose public records without unnecessarily treading on the

constitutional rights of its employees.





Thank you for the response, however this has really gotten silly on the City of Spokane’s part and it is becoming quite obvious the City is making every effort to delay the release of the records I have requested. As a member of the Bar you are required of course to follow the law and I hope you will do just that regarding my Public Records Request.


Come on folks…it isn’t what you are thinking…. HONEST! 🙂




I want to reiterate here, and have stated several times, that during my career with the Spokane Police Department from 1969 to 1995 I was the subject of IA Investigations all with the exception of one were false complaints, including one where I was accused of being paid off by the gypsy Marks family during the “Great Gypsy Caper” that resulted in “The Curse” we are obviously under. In that case I demanded an independent polygraph exam to help prove my innocence. Being falsely accused of things is just part of being a cop. The one that wasn’t false was when I got in a “Bar Beef” in Colorado. I wasn’t arrested, or charged but I was completely in the wrong I should have just gone back to my room. I deserved the two days off without pay I received, admittedly I deserved more. There wasn’t an IA Investigation because I simply walked into Chief Mangan and admitted what I had done. I also investigated many IA cases while I was on the SPD so I’m no cherry when it comes to IA cases and being on both sides of the fence including after I retired reinvestigating IA cases for law firms who had cops for clients.


This comment was made by Lt. Dave McCabe of the Spokane Police Department in the comments section of the Rachel Alexander story I was critical of in my story yesterday. I was hoping he would either delete the comment or apologize for making it. He chose not to and instead made another comment which just added fuel to the fire.

First McCabe comment





To be clear there are many cops that post under personas in the SR Comments section and it is always the same narrative of defending a particular officer who has been in trouble, or simply expressing their displeasure with the people making negative comments. The truth is McCabe and those other cops have every right in to make those comments, the same is true for the people that make the negative comments. But that isn’t the issue, the issue is quite simply the very poor judgement on the part of cops that do it. McCabe’s recent posts, considering the facts, were in very poor judgement and only add to the problems now facing the SPD in trying to establish transparency and credibility with the people they serve. In McCabe’s case there are a number of factors that clearly demonstrate his poor judgement.

1) McCabe is I believe still President of the SPD Lts and Captains Association so the question for the public of course is are the views he expressed just his or does he speak for the entire association?

2) McCabe and the Lts and Captains Association are key players in the Cotton/Straub case which is of course an ongoing investigation, and should include he and other members of the Association being interviewed by the investigator.

3) McCabe was in IA for a long period of time and responsible for IA investigations so making public comments which tend to demonstrate a bias will make some folks question the validity of past and current IA Investigations.

These are just 3 reasons why McCabe’s public comment was in poor judgement, there are more I won’t go into at this point.


Let’s break his comment down from the perspective of many citizens that have and will read it:


“The venom spewed against the SPD by you all is what’s troubling. First, Yen wasn’t even on the Department when the salute occurred. Second, this case has absolutely NOTHING to do with Karl Thompson or Otto Zehm. That was ten years ago people – over fifty percent of our officers weren’t even working here when that tragedy occurred. It’s time to let it go!”


It is time for members of SPD to realize that ALL members of SPD, past, present, and future OWN the Karl Thompson case, like it or not, and no matter how many years pass. If Condon and Straub had taken the proper steps, conducted an IA Investigation of the entire matter and disciplined those that should have been, chances are the public would have been far more willing to put it behind them. The only “discipline” that resulted from the Karl Thompson case was the forced retirement of an Assistant Chief of Police.

What has SPD learned from the Karl Thompson case? Apparently not much when you consider recent cases of cops, among other things, being tipped off the same way Thompson was by SPD members. It is important to remember that there are cops still on SPD that are on the Spokane County Prosecutor’s “Brady List” because of the Karl Thompson case, and others have been added as the result of other cases.

I suppose that there is a school of thought that continually using the term “tragedy” will mitigate the fact that for the first time ever an SPD Officer was convicted and sent to prison for a Criminal Civil Rights Violation. Well continually using the term “tragedy” won’t work for a good portion of the public. It sure as hell isn’t “time to let it go” it is about time to learn from it.


“ You all fail to note that despite being uncomfortable, the officers and supervisors that responded to this incident ARRESTED Yen. They didn’t let him go and, despite your disbelief, he WAS treated like anyone else.”


It sure makes me wonder if you read the report before you commented Dave. The IA report makes it quite clear that Yen WAS NOT treated like everyone else.


“There was no assault alleged, only that he MAY have illegally entered the residence.”

“Yen was not disciplined for a felony but trespassing, a misdemeanor. Do you really believe that an objective prosecutor would offer such a deal if he had a rock solid case for a felony on a cop?”


McCabe’s statements above are real disingenuous and he knows, or at least should know, that it is not necessary for an assault to take place for a case to have a Domestic Violence element and or an alleged felony. Unfortunately, this is one of the problems that arises when a news story involving cops doesn’t go into the “Key Issues” and is “Missing Facts”, it opens the door for disingenuous comments and considerable misunderstanding.

The truth is that both First and Second Degree Trespass are DV elements.

DV elements


DV elements 2


This link is to the Washington State Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s Domestic Violence Manual. Aside from the images above it details the firearms and DV issue which you might want to read and draw your own conclusions whether or not McCabe’s statements are consistent with the facts and whether or not Yen is one lucky cop.




“Yen is still employed because there was NO legal basis to terminate his employment or his right/ability to carry a firearm and because he is a very good young officer who can overcome these issues.”


This statement by McCabe is true, since there was no DV Element in the plea deal, there was NO legal basis based on the way the charge ended up to use it alone in a decision to terminate Yen.


“I don’t normally get caught up in these threads but I must be tired tonight. In fact, I know that I am tired, and many of my co-workers are tired, of the constant barrage of negativity that we sometimes generate ourselves, that our City/Department leaders generate and the absolutely unrelenting venom spewed by the usual suspects in any thread here relating to the SPD.”


Just part of the job Dave, a job you decided to take like your father did, so you and your “co-workers” had better start realizing that and focus on your job, instead of taking your frustrations out on people that have some legitimate complaints to go along with some not so legitimate complaints. If you want to express your frustrations you are always welcome to do it on this Blog, and by all means take your best shot at me, I’m quite used to it from all sides.


I think the offer for a ride along that has been made by cops, reserve cops, and even non-cops is getting kind of old. If they want one they will arrange for one offering one time and again makes NO SENSE.


Ride along