(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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
This is the “Expert”:
This is some background:
The following are links to all the RFP responses so you can decide:
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!!!