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.
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.
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.