Perhaps the most important thing the community, including our elected leadership, should have learned is just how poorly lead the Spokane Police Department has been and continues to be as well as why at this point it is impossible for SPD to fulfill the recommendations of the Use of Force Commission or COPS/DOJ.
Just a little Background:
I want to start by reiterating that the Gately obstruction case was a tough one for Deputy Prosecutor Stefanie Collins to prove BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. The case was your typical circumstantial evidence case which hinged on a conversation between Gately and Ennis in which only two people really know what was said and was complicated by Gately’s role as Guild President and the handling by SPD Leadership. The fact is, that conversation should never ever have taken place, and it was Jim McDevitt’s guy Assistant Chief Selby Smith that allowed it to happen. Collins was able, according to news reports, to convince four jurors there was no reasonable doubt, and eight others felt there was. Any IA Investigator worth their salt responsible for conducting the IA Investigation of Gately would make every effort to interview all twelve jurors, and it will be interesting to see if that IS done (explanation to follow).
Over and over there have been cases where SPD Cops have been tipped by other Cops regarding both criminal and internal affairs cases, most of the tipping was done by Guild Representatives. The most notable case was of course the Karl Thompson case in which some SPD Cops admitted in Grand Jury testimony that they were telling Thompson what was going on with the SPD “investigation” every step of the way. The Gately case makes it quite obvious that SPD Leadership under the Condon/Straub Administration did absolutely nothing to change the learn and tell culture of the SPD.
CALLING BULL STUFF BEFORE IT STARTS!
For the Cops and SPD Leadership, as well as the Elected Officials, that read my stories pay attention to this section. You won’t like it but it is FACT!
1) An SPD “employee accused of criminal conduct shall be provided with all rights and privileges afforded to any other person under the law.”. But as the Gately case shows SPD Leadership provided Gately and Ennis far more privileges than the law, policy manual, or Guild Contract affords, and far beyond what any other person would be afforded.
2) There is NOTHING anywhere in the SPD Policy Manual, or the Guild Contract which affords a SPD Cop the right or privilege of being informed by a union representative, or anyone else that they are the subject of a confidential criminal or administrative investigation during the evidence gathering process. Doing so is a clear violation of standard investigative practice, ethical behavior, and SPD’s own policy.
3) “If the nature of the allegations dictate that confidentiality is necessary to maintain the integrity of the investigation, the involved employee(s) need not be notified of the pending investigation unless and until the employee is interviewed.”
SPD Policy Manual:
1020.8 COMPLETION OF INVESTIGATIONS
Every investigator or supervisor assigned to investigate a personnel complaint shall proceed
with due diligence. Recognizing that factors such as witness availability and the complexity of
allegations will affect each case, every effort should be made to complete each investigation as
required by Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the nature of the allegations dictate that
confidentiality is necessary to maintain the integrity of the investigation, the involved employee(s) need not be notified of the pending investigation unless and until the employee is interviewed. All cases are entered and routed using Blue Team.
4) “Professional Courtesy”, which is the practice of one law enforcement executive informing an executive of another agency that his/her agency is investigating one of their cops, should not be extended until absolutely necessary, and ONLY after as much evidence as possible is collected.
5) NO COP has a right to have a union representative made aware of a pending search warrant, or have a union representative present during the execution of a search warrant
I could go on but five is enough for now…let’s see how the IA Case turns out. If I were the County Cop investigating the Gately case, there would be hell to pay and when the City’s IA Case was made public and my interview transcript read, the Oz Man would be making a new graveyard Detective position.
WHY DOES THE GATELY CASE PROVE SPD CAN NOT NOW FULLFILL THE RECCOMENDATIONS??
It is very plain…they can’t keep their mouths shut!
For some background you might want to read this.
One of the good things I feel came from the Meidl/Lundgren Q & A is that despite the tension that exists between the SR and myself, Rachel Alexander I feel is beginning to understand why I asked the pointed questions of both Meidl and Lundgren and why they were important for the community to get answered.
Both Rachel and Mitch Ryals will remember that I confronted Lundgren with the fact that SPD has made NO EFFORT to follow the UOFC, and the COPS/DOJ recommendations that SPD run parallel IA investigations with criminal cases. Lundgren’s explanation was to blame the prosecutor’s office for not having a separate Professional Standards Unit, therefore the prosecutor could not guarantee that information from the IA Case would not be passed on to the criminal prosecutor causing a “fruit of the poisonous tree” problem.
I think both Rachel and Mitch were surprised when I agreed to an extent with Lundgren…but not because of a lack of a PSU in the prosecutor’s office, which was of course was BS (S=Stuff). Although a PSU in the prosecutor’s office would be great, and was on the Breean Beggs to do list, the truth is, and the Gately case proves my point…it is impossible under the current Administration to prevent cops from talking and tipping, the culture is so ingrained no matter who the next Chief of Police is it will take at least two years and some harsh discipline to change the way they are. Rachel and Mitch will also recall that Lundgren made the mistake of trying to allude to his training in observing LAPD’s OIS process, which may have worked had not someone who is very, very familiar with LAPD’s process not been in the room.
WHAT WILL THE RESULTS OF THE IA CASE BE??
The answer is…” Who the hell knows?”
Anyone that has followed SPD IA cases knows that the end result entirely depends on who the cop or employee is, and that is why it was so important to obtain on the record for another time exactly what standard or burden of proof is required to determine if the evidence shows a cop done wrong.
As Rachel pointed out in her comment above, and I have pointed out a number of times, there is NO written burden of proof standard for SPD, unlike nearly every other law enforcement agency in the nation. Consequently, there is NO accountability to the public for the people that make discipline decisions. Aside from my forcing a recorded, and witnessed answer regarding the burden SPD uses there are other public statements SPD Administrators have made that clearly state the burden SPD uses is “Clear and Convincing Evidence”, so I hope no one would try to play the Brian, Rachel, and Mitch misunderstood game (fair warning).
A clear and convincing burden of proof means that the evidence presented must be highly and substantially more probable to be true than not. It must demonstrate a greater degree of believability than the preponderance of evidence burden and is one step below the beyond a reasonable doubt burden.
Is the clear and convincing burden used in all SPD IA cases? Hell No it isn’t! The Arleth Furniture-gate case is proof positive that it isn’t, and that is just one of many examples where the who you are and what you have done or haven’t done comes into play, which will make the Gately outcome interesting.
The question the public and the media should be asking is why SPD refuses to document their burden of proof. I of course would ask but for some reason no one at SPD or the Condon Administration will give me an interview so we will have to rely on other media outlets to ask the hard pointed questions.
I am going to throw in a few more examples from other Departments at this point just for the heck of it, you can find more yourself if you are interested.
Spokane Police Department
Not Sustained – When the investigation discloses that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the employee.
Sustained – When the investigation discloses sufficient evidence to establish that the act occurred and that it constituted misconduct.
1020.7 DISPOSITION OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
Upon completion of the investigative report, the investigator will include a recommendation of
finding for each allegation in the investigation report based on the preponderance of evidence.
The investigator’s recommended findings will be reviewed through the chain of command,
and the Chief of Police will determine a finding of disposition for each allegation based on the
preponderance of evidence as follows:
(c) Sustained – The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence that the act occurred and that
it did constitute misconduct.
(d) Not-Sustained – The investigation established that there is not sufficient evidence to either
sustain the allegation or to fully exonerate the employee. This includes situations in which
the reporting party and/or witness(es) fail to cooperate in disclosing information needed to
further the investigation, or they are no longer available.
***I’m throwing this one in for the benefit of other media outlets if they are interested. SPD went through the same process as Bremerton did and the SPD Report is available via PRR.
Loaned Executive Management Assistance (LEMAP) Report for the Bremerton Police Department
Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WAPSC)
14.2 All complaints of misconduct must be investigated, not sustained findings should be the exception and not the rule, and must be based on all available evidence and a preponderance of the evidence standard.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE IA CASE OF GATELY LEADS TO DISCPLINE?? (I’m throwing this in for a follower)
Who the hell knows!
SPD has NO “Discipline Matrix” like other Departments do so there is no telling what will happen or any way of telling if Golden Boys/Gals got special treatment. I’m sure by now Meidl and McDevitt know some dastardly citizen suggested they better get one so we don’t end up with more inexplicable Lydia Taylor cases.
*** Special note to my Irish Friend Fuller!
You sound like some of my old supervisors…it didn’t work for them either! If I were to “Behave” all the time and play by the PC rules…you wouldn’t be reading this! BTW…it ain’t always me. 🙂 🙂
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!