UPDATE !!!AN INDEPENDENT POLICE OMBUDSMAN…. HOW NOW???

UPDATE: Make that “INDEPENDENT” Instead of “INDEPENTENT”…per the spelling Nazi! 🙂

Rachel Alexander of the Spokesman Review did a good recap of another one of those public meetings regarding Police Oversight.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/apr/26/interim-ombudsman-asks-community-to-articulate-pol/

 

For those that don’t remember this most recent public meeting regarding Police Oversight is another in a long series of public meetings seeking public input dating back to the time prior to the voters overwhelmingly approving a change to the City Charter (2012) which DID come close to establishing Independent Police Oversight.

 

https://my.spokanecity.org/opendata/charter/article-16/#Article16

 

 

What happened?… one might ask. The truth is Spokane’s elected leaders at the time including Mayor Condon and the City Council refused to fight the “Good Fight” for the Citizens they represent and entered into a labor contract with the Spokane Police Guild which effectively makes the OPO, and OPOC an expensive paper tiger.

 

I had to laugh at this comment Rachel reported in her story:

 

“Logue stopped short of suggesting specific changes to the ordinance but said he’d like the office to serve as a national model for civilian police oversight.”

 

Had Mr. Logue been around Spokane during the time the battle over Police Oversight was taking place perhaps he would have known that the office he now holds IS “a national model for civilian oversight.”.

The history of the battle Spokane lost is fairly well documented, but for some reason people forget.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jan/26/spokane-leaders-outline-proposed-police-reforms/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/nov/10/bland-recipe-for-oversight-of-police-may-be-all/

http://www.inlander.com/Bloglander/archives/2013/11/11/city-council-rejects-agreement-with-police-guild

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/oct/18/center-for-justice-calls-oversight-in-proposed/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/dec/05/spokane-mayor-chief-rally-behind-ombudsman/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/dec/03/limited-spokane-police-ombudsman-plan-pitched-by/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/dec/17/city-council-votes-to-delay-ombudsman-discussion/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/dec/15/spokane-police-oversight-contract-on-councils/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/jan/17/spokane-police-guild-contract-proposal-being/

 

 

How do Citizens know the OPO and OPOC are a national model for civilian oversight?

Because over and over again Mayor Condon and Frank Straub told the Citizens of Spokane that the contract with the Guild established a regional and national model for Police oversight. Not only that it was a big part of Mayor Condon’s “Immediate Police Action Plan”.

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/3c208ffe-9f5e-4549-b6fb-48ecaa63a478

 

According to Mayor Condon not only was the contract he and Straub pushed through for the OPO and OPOC a regional and national model but it also “delivers to the community unprecedented independent oversight of its police department,”.

 

“This agreement includes the elements requested by the City Council and the public, and delivers to the community unprecedented independent oversight of its police department,” Condon said.

And of course our illustrious City council at the time gave up the battle they were elected to fight, and basically said it was the best they could do.

“On January 2nd, I sent a letter to Mayor Condon, on behalf of a majority of the City Council, asking that he reopen negotiations with the Police Guild to include independent investigation capabilities for our police ombudsman that align with the City Charter,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart. “I believe this new tentative agreement satisfies our request and takes a step forward for our community. I appreciate the Police Guild and the administration for getting this done.”

 

https://my.spokanecity.org/news/releases/2014/02/04/city-police-guild-reach-new-tentative-agreement/

 

 

 

Council President Ben Stuckart, who successfully pushed back against the mayor’s first bite at the apple and helped advance the proposal significantly, has taken heat, along with other council liberals, from the most passionate proponents of reform.

But he says he believes this is not only a good plan in the abstract, but one that satisfies Proposition 1 and the city charter’s call for independence. He also sees it as a victory of the legislative process and the separation of powers, and the civics nerd in me agrees.

“This isn’t a matter of me saying, ‘This is as good as we can get,’ ” Stuckart said. “This is me saying, ‘This is good for the citizens.’

“This should’ve been a time to take a victory lap,” he said. “Together, the citizens and the council forced the mayor to get it done, and it’s going to be a really good thing for the community.”

 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/feb/14/shawn-vestal-ombudsman-rule-imperfect-but-promisin/

 

 

Well guess what folks…as predicted over and over…nothing could be further from the truth”

https://examplepro.me/2015/10/23/breaking-down-the-opo-ordinance/

 

 

ENTER BREEAN BEGGS!

 

Finally, someone with some background in dealing with Cops is in a position to ATTEMPT to establish some type of legitimate oversight. Beggs hopefully won’t be the pushover that other members of the City Council have been when it comes to police oversight. What Beggs does know that others in the past have not been willing to accept is that Cops lie. He also should have a clue about, as other members of the City Council are beginning to realize is that the dog and pony shows put on by SPD Administrators before the public and during Public Safety Committee Meetings are in most cases just that…dog and pony shows.

 

Begg’s ideas are sound, I might not agree with all of them, but they are sound and I believe his heart is in the game.

 

The game by the way, is the uphill struggle he will have with the Police Guild and the Condon Administration in trying to establish legitimate Police Oversight. The problems he will have with the Guild are obvious, but the biggest hurdle he will face is the Condon Administration as any Mayor with political aspirations knows full well that when all of the bad deals he has made will come back to haunt him when he seeks election to another office…and this bad deal is among his worst.

 

ENTER BART LOGUE!

 

Logue may make a good Ombudsman IF he is able to completely get away from what he learned during 25 years in the Marine Corps. I ain’t even close to being the same, there is no UCMJ, and Marines don’t have a Union.

 

“I fight with the police department on an almost daily basis to gain some ground, and I do it within the confines of the ordinance that we have,” he said.

 

Don’t talk about it…DOCUMENT IT…POST IT ON YOUR WEBSITE…AND LET THE PUBLIC KNOW WHAT EVERY “FIGHT” INVOLVES!!!

 

https://examplepro.me/2016/03/30/furniture-gate-part-eight-is-this-what-you-want/

 

 

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!

 

UPDATE!!…HYPOCRISY AND POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP IN SPOKANE IT MAKES FOR GREAT FUN!!!

UPDATE… UPDATE…UPDATE !!!

 

Councilman Mike Fagan did respond quickly to me when I requested comments from him regarding this story. He also was willing to answer a number of questions I posed to him and I thank him for that. Among the questions he answered that related to this story was this one.

QUESTION:

2) Do you feel it was ethical for Mayor Condon to accept money from John Stone while he was working as an aide to McMorris-Rogers?  

ANSWER:

“Without ALL of the facts, it would be improper to me to render judgement based what I have seen thus far. At a glance there is an appearance.”

 

Although the documents and press statements speak for themselves, as far as Mayor Condon receiving $15,000.00 from the Stone Family when he was working as an aide for Cathy McMorris-Rogers and sitting in on meetings as her representative, Councilman Fagan is accurate with respect to not having “ALL of the facts”. I have of course requested Mayor Condon comment on this story so I can ask the appropriate questions, but have not received a response. IF and WHEN I receive a response I will report it. The questions I would ask should be fairly obvious to all of my readers.

___________________

A recent story in the Spokesman Review regarding an ethics complaint by Mayor Condon associate Michael Cannon against Council President Ben Stuckart’s aide Adam McDaniel highlights some of the Liberal Vs Conservative gamesmanship we enjoy watching here in Spokane.

 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/apr/21/spokane-city-council-aides-outside-political-work-/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/apr/24/editorial-rewrite-council-job-descriptions/

 

The new ethics complaint process written by City Attorney Nancy Isserlis makes for an interesting tool for both sides to attack the other. Whether the complaint is legit or not really makes no difference, the important thing is to get the negative press out there…and it works.

 

Many speculate that Cannon’s complaint was prompted because of his close relationship with Mayor Condon and Stuckart’s recent call for Condon to invoke Garrity on our public employees in the Cotton/Straub Investigation. In my view Stuckart won that one and it is apparent that Mayor Condon has no intention to force our employees to cooperate in the investigation which has really made the Mayor look bad, even in the eyes of many Conservatives. The question is… “If this complaint is part of a typical mudsling game will it work?”. The answer is… “Of course it will!”, at least with some segments of the Community, even though the move was bound to cause a little mud to rub off and attach to Conservative Mike Fagan for his outside political activities.

 

We won’t see Mayor Condon commenting on Cannon’s ethics complainant, although he is welcome to at any time with me, and I will certainly report on any comment he makes. Adam McDaniel has chosen not to comment because of the ongoing ethics complaint.

One of the questions I would ask the Mayor is… “Can you explain how your own outside activities while working as an aide for Cathy McMorris-Rogers are any different from what McDaniel’s outside activities are, and do you believe working for and receiving money from John Stone, while at the same time being CMR’s representative on issues involving his companies was a conflict or in the least bit ethical?” I would of course have a number of follow-up questions some will become obvious later in this story.

 

One thing I should point out is that for some reason Spokesman Review Reporters as of late never seem to ask our local politicians the pointed questions that are common place in most other Communities even though they have information that would provide important context and such is the case here.

 

A good place to start would be this 2012 SR Article written by Jonathan Brunt which deals with Condon’s family relationship with the John Stone Empire. You might notice the reference in the story to Condon having the Ethics Commission look into any conflicts. I’m not going to get into all of the business relationships the Condon’s have with John Stone, or the contracts Pacificlean has with the City of Spokane. Those business relationships are easy to find even with the recent changes to individuals listed as members in corporate filings with the Secretary of State (SRM, Barr-Tech, Pacificlean, etcetera). I will mention however that Stone along with some of his business partners and the Cowles Family are strong Condon supporters and contributors.

 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/feb/19/condon-family-feud-could-trouble-mayor/

 

Brunt Story

 

The key thing for me in that article is Condon’s admission to Brunt that he did sit in on meetings regarding issues involving some of John Stone’s interests.

 

Now to the Nitty Gritty!

 

For folks that don’t know all Congressional Staffers are required by law to report under the penalty of perjury their outside income and Mayor Condon did just that in 2010 while he was an aide to CMR. Here is what is interesting about Mayor Condon’s 2010 outside income that he reported.

 

Condon filing 1

 

 

Condon filing 2

 

I guess some folks, and reporters, would take a look at Condon’s reported outside income and say… “Oh…it looks like he did $15,000.00 worth of consulting for a fish and chips joint named “Captain Jack LLC”…but when one checks… Captain Jack LLC ain’t no fish and chips joint, as a matter of fact I will be darned if I have been able to determine what type of business Captain Jack LLC actually was…so I would have to ask Mayor Condon what the business was and exactly what type of consulting did they get for $15,000.00.

 

One of the first things you notice when you run the filings on Captain Jack LLC is that the Agent is Bryan P Stone of the Stone family who is pretty prolific at setting up LLCs. You also note that the sole member listed is Captain Charlie LLC.

Captain Jack LLC 1

Captain Jack LLC 2

 

One might also notice that Captain Jack LLC was set up in 2004, expired 07/31/2010, and went inactive 11/01/2010, which is interesting since Mayor Condon filed his required paperwork in May of 2010. Whatever “Consulting” the Mayor did for Captain Jack LLC must not have helped the business it was in, whatever that was.

 

 

It is pretty easy for anyone to determine who the first back company is for an LLC like Captain Jack LLC when folks aren’t that slick about it. So here is the back company for Captain Jack LLC… “Captain Charlie LLC”:

Captain Charlie LLC 1

Captain Charlie LLC 2

 

It makes it pretty plain, at least to me, where the 15 Grand came from…so the question is… “Did the Stone Family payment to Condon while he was an aide to CMR represent a conflict of interest and ethics violation as his friend Cannon alleges was perpetrated by McDaniel?”

 

Don’t think for a second that political gamesmanship doesn’t take place on both sides of the political spectrum…it does…and around Spokane it is really easy to get away with because no one seems to care and for the most part local media doesn’t bother to take an in-depth look at what is actually going on.

 

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!  

(* Coming soon a story regarding an old WSP investigation into a former State employee)

A CONVERSATION WITH INTERIM CHIEF MEIDL AND MAJOR JUSTIN LUNDGREN…PART FIVE!!!

(Continued from Part Four published April 7th, 2016)

 

Officer Involved Deaths and Compelled Statements (Garrity).

You might find this interesting given the recent news stories concerning Mayor Condon NOT compelling statements from public employees in the City Council Investigation into the Cotton/Straub issue.

http://www.inlander.com/spokane/theyd-prefer-not-to/Content?oid=2742543

http://www.inlander.com/Bloglander/archives/2016/04/14/assistant-city-attorney-erin-jacobson-resigns-heres-the-messy-role-she-had-in-the-straub-investigation

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/apr/14/key-figure-in-police-chief-harassment-controversy-/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/apr/13/42-employees-on-witness-list-in-spokane-city-hall-/

 

As I mentioned in a previous story both Meidl and Lundgren did state their interviews with Cappel were voluntary, which I found interesting.

To be clear, and I have responded to several inquiries regarding the question of the Mayor invoking Garrity, YES, HE CAN COMPEL ALL OF OUR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO TALK ANY TIME HE WANTS.

Seeing people walking out of public employment as Erin Jacobson has is not the least bit unusual. Once a public employee is no longer a public employee they cannot be compelled to talk under Garrity. They can of course be subpoenaed, however, they can easily stand on their Fifth Amendment Rights and not say one word…so all the public statements regarding wanting to be cooperative if subpoenaed, are just that “public statements”. It will be interesting to see what happens when and if it gets to subpoenas but I can’t imagine a lawyer NOT advising their client to take the Fifth. 

During the Q & A I brought up the findings of both COPS/DOJ and the Use of Force Commission recommendation that SPD conduct Parallel Investigations of Officer Involved Deaths. As you can see from the images below according to the COPS/DOJ Six-Month Assessment follow-up zero progress has been made by SPD.

DOJ 1

DOJ 2

DOJ 3

DOJ 4

DOJ 5

 

Let me reiterate that whether DOJ does a Pattern and Practices Case against a Police Department or a Department agrees to using the Collaborative Reform Model the finding on the Garrity issue is almost always the same. The link below demonstrates the position of DOJ regarding Garrity and was part of their Patterns and Practice Case against the Seattle Police Department.

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/d65ff8b6-3edc-4738-b049-4fecccf9ab23

 

The Spokane Police Department is a long way from meeting the Garrity standards set forth above, and probably will be for a long time to come. Just one of the key elements in the letter above as far as Spokane PD is concerned is this:

Seattle PD Garrity

 

 

Justin Lundgren in response to my questions among other things stated that because the Spokane County Prosecutors Office does not have an independent Public Integrity Section the Criminal Investigation could too easily become tainted (“tolling”) with information from the Parallel Administrative Investigation being leaked or used by Prosecutors doing the Criminal Investigation or Review.

 

I think Justin was a bit surprised when I agreed with him that SPD is NOT in a position to run a Parallel IA Investigation, but may have been a bit less surprised when I pointed out that besides the lack of independence in the Prosecutors Office there is no real independence in the SPD IA process and as a number of media stories have pointed out details of both Criminal and IA cases are passed around at SPD over and over again.

 

In reality it would take a complete change in the IA structure, as well as the structure of the OPO, and OPOC for the COPS/DOJ Recommendation to become a reality.

I should note that Justin and I did have a brief discussion regarding the way LAPD handles their OIS cases, which is entirely different from SPD and more along the lines of what DOJ wants.

Is it really necessary to have to get the OK from the Lieutenants and Captains Association and the Police Guild before moving ahead on this issue? In my view NO, but it would result in an Unfair Labor Practice Complaint because of the way the contracts were negotiated.

 

To sum things up, can Cops, or any other Public Employee be compelled to talk? YES, THEY CAN, or they can be terminated, or they can walk out the door as at least one individual has in the City Council’s Investigation.

 

The Mysterious Requests for Proposals has been solved.

A Public Records Request resulted in obtaining the RFP responses, so now even the City Council knows. As I mentioned before I was interested in the “Scope of Work” requested and I was not in the least bit surprised that the scope of work is limited to Patrol Division Staffing which eliminates the needed analysis done of the entire department including the Condon/Straub failed programs which are staffed with Patrol Officers who should be on the Street, as well as the Detective Division caseload productivity.

 

I was also NOT surprised at which company SPD chose to do the study. It may be just years of experience but when I see a former Cop who purports to be an “Expert” and only being in law enforcement for a short period of time, as well as not mentioning the Department they were with on their Website, I like to see if I can figure out why, and also review their work product. It is something we just don’t do here in Spokane the “City of Choice”.

This is the mom and pop Company SPD picked:

https://www.eticosolutions.com/index.php?lang=en

 

This is the “Expert”:

Freesmeyer

 

This is some background:

http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=3018

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/6199c13d-f866-4d49-8b54-e596df3a7eed

http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160309/NEWS/160309480

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:NIYXrW1cJOUJ:caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1689557.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2015/D01-13/C:14-1195:J:Williams:aut:T:fnOp:N:1484438:S:0

 

The following are links to all the RFP responses so you can decide:

 

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/45e2ede5-baf9-48e3-9bfc-885a67877b31

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/dcb2721c-e46d-440d-9a19-00236d49f5e0

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/461f5846-1f54-4106-a995-881b5a3ae15e

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/f650b7b3-45a7-4f69-b4cf-016394ae858b

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/e1fd33d2-9644-4718-9679-134f5db497f5

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/0c5256dc-91e9-42ee-805f-93a3628c2257

 

 

The weather in the newsroom hasn’t been great lately so this is a bit late, but the weather is improving.

 

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!

 

 

 

A CONVERSATION WITH INTERIM CHIEF MEIDL AND MAJOR JUSTIN LUNDGREN…PART FOUR!!!

(Continued from Part Three published April 5th, 2016)

UPDATE: Still no word on the “Staffing Analysis” RFP/Contract. I did reach out via email to Craig Meidl requesting a copy and received this response:

______________________________

“Brian I’m not going to have time to respond to individual requests for reports and don’t want to start that habit.   If you submit a PRR, they will make sure this and any future requests are located and redacted as appropriate. Thanks, Craig”

______________________________

During our Q & A, Interim Chief Meidl, brought up the COPS/DOJ Collaborative Reform Process of the Las Vegas Metro PD early in the Q &A. I had intended to bring that process up since in my pre-journalism career I had to study it. When he opened the door I began to ask my questions, which included what I feel is very significant to the Spokane Community, and that is Recommendation 8.7 of the Spokane COPS/DOJ Report.

Original 8.7

 

 

The highlighted area in the image above is a recommendation that SPD establish some kind of a “separate forum” to release the “facts” regarding a Deadly Force incident involving an SPD Cop.

That recommendation was predictable, at least to me, based on the COPS/DOJ Process with the LVMPD, which also was conducted by the consulting group CNA, so I asked how SPD was going to handle that recommendation, and I drew a comparison. Meidl said it had been a long time since he had read the LVMPD Report so I kind of filled him in.

LVMP COPS DOJ

 

 

COPS/DOJ LVMPD Link:

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/a0155272-5b61-41de-bb9e-41e625585371

 

 

 

According to the Spokane COPS/DOJ Six-month review this is where SPD stands regarding 8.7:

Six Month 8.7

 

For folks that don’t know, or haven’t figured out yet, the COPS/DOJ COLLABORATIVE REFORM PROCESS is very similar to a situation where a CONSULTANT (CNA in this case) comes in, does a study, comes up with recommendations, and there is a period of back and forth where the two parties argue about what can and can’t be done. The final report usually ends up being a compromise in certain areas so it will ultimately be up to our City Leaders to decide what SPD does or doesn’t do.

I have said this several times but I will say it again. The results of SPD’s Deadly Force Review Board have only been made public on TWO occasions, in the Use of Force Commission Report and the COPS/DOJ Report. In both cases the reports were quite critical of SPD. If someone wanted to do a PRR to get them they could, or if it involves a civil litigation they are available through Discovery. Of course I’ve said a lot about this stuff before, as many know.

As an aside, during this portion of the Q & A Justin Lundgren and I had a short discussion of SPD’s use of Rifles when I pointed out that both the Use of Force Commission Report and the COPS/DOJ Report addressed the issue of Rifles.

Use of Force Commission Report:

 

UOFC Rifles

COPS/DOJ Six Month Report:

 

COPS DOJ Rifles

 

 

It will be interesting to see how COPS/DOJ Recommendation 7.5 turns out.

 

Getting back to COPS/DOJ Recommendation 8.7 (Spokane) and the COPS/DOJ Recommendation in the LVMPD Report I want to note that in LVMPD Recommendation (8.1) they discuss “Coroners Inquests”, since that report Clark County NV ran into a lot of the problems we are seeing with the Spokane City Council’s current investigation. Cops refusing to testify, political intrigue, law enforcement lobbying, and the whole shooting match. I was invited by Liz Moore a short time ago to a Peace and Justice Action League (PJAL) meeting to talk about this topic, I’m not sure I got my point across so maybe this story will help.

 

This is what Clark County Nevada ended up with to make OIDs available to the Clark County NV Public, some folks might like the way they handle those type of cases others may not.

 

Clark County Today Public Release Link:

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/countymanager/Pages/PoliceFatalityPublicFact.aspx

 

If you really are interested, you can go to the link below and watch some video of the OID/OIS Hearings in Clark County.

 

Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Reviews Link:

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/public-communications/Pages/Agendas.aspx

 

What are the chances for something like the above happening in Spokane? I don’t know what the Vegas Odds are but I would say at this point…SLIM TO NONE!

 

One of the things I should note is that one of the big reasons for the involvement of COPS/DOJ with Las Vegas Metro was the intense media coverage of Metro’s problems.

 

Here is just a sample:

 

Las Vegas Review Journal: 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/deadly-force/142-dead-and-rising/las-vegas-police-rank-high-shootings

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/deadly-force/broken-system-shattered-lives/inquests-undercut-prosecutorial-inaction-deference

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/officer-involved-shootings

 

More coming soon, I hope.

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!!