NO HIT NO FOUL???
I want to preface this story by stating that there isn’t a current or former cop out there that hasn’t driven far too hot to a call or back up. I sure as hell did many a time and was damn lucky I didn’t hurt someone. The evidence shows, and Sheriff Knezovich agrees, that Joe Bodman was doing what I and every other cop has done time after time. The difference is that this time a young kid died, something Bodman will have to live with the rest of his life.
What Bodman will also have to live with is the fact that his leader Sheriff Knezovich and some of his peers covered and shaded the truth about what happened to Ryan Holyk and his name will always be associated with the covering and shading. There is no evidence that Joe Bodman participated in hiding the truth, as a matter of fact the record shows he told investigators he believed he struck Holyk a fact that is often overlooked by the public, was tunneled completely away from by the investigators and never mentioned in public by Sheriff Knezovich. The question is, “Why?”. The answer is simple and is always the same; when a cop screws up it makes every cop look bad and the department’s leadership look even worse, such is true with the Holyk case, and many others in Spokane. Some people would like to compare the Holyk case to the Zehm case, there is a comparison but not in the actions of the two cops, it is the aftermath and investigation that is the same and will continue until such time as there is legitimate law enforcement oversight.
The public always questions why cops doing IA Investigations always believe what the cop says. Well this is one where the IA Investigators didn’t believe or didn’t want to believe what the cop said and look what happened.
Dissecting the Holyk Accident Reconstruction from start to finish would serve no purpose here nor do I have any investigative expertise in Accident Reconstruction. When we had a case involving an accident we got the best Accident Reconstruction Expert we could find and vetted them to determine their credibility. Reconstructing the accident was his/her job, mine was to vet the expert and get the facts based upon the reconstruction. Vetting your expert witness is extremely important for either side in a case, criminal or civil, because they are the ones you put on the witness stand to present your side of the case. To hire an expert whose credibility has been stained over and over is IDIOTIC if you want the jury to believe your side of the case.
As far as experts go in the Holyk case, only a fool would not ask why the SPD chose Grant Fredericks as the original Accident Reconstruction Expert the same Grant Fredericks who injected himself into the Zehm case and was discredited in that case as he had been in other cases. For those that are not aware the ONLY reason Grant Fredericks didn’t continue completely as the case expert is because DOJ contacted SPD leadership and said what the hell are you doing using Fredericks? That in and of itself reflects directly on SPD Leadership as well as Knezovich’s Leadership. It also reflects directly on the SPD Lead Investigator Cpl. Michael Carr. You would have one hell of a hard time selling me the story that Carr, Frank Straub, Selby Smith, Tim Schwering, Ozzie Knezovich, or Larry Haskell didn’t know who Grant Fredericks is. Maybe none of those individuals read the news, do you suppose?
Most of us knew who Grant Fredericks is including I’m sure Joe Bodman, but it wasn’t his decision to hire Grant Fredericks. The difference I suppose between me and Bodman is that if I were in his shoes I would have been screaming like a banshee including to the press to get rid of Fredericks because it severely taints the investigation. Of course if Bodman had done that he would have been threatened and intimidated to keep his mouth shut. That kind of stuff never bothered me back in the day nor does it now, but it does some cops just like it does some citizens.
Mitch Ryals from the Inlander has been doing a great job of covering the Holyk case.
Carr says he was told by former assistant Chief Selby Smith to vet other video analysts, citing concerns about Fredericks’ credibility given allegedly impeached testimony in another case — a decision Carr says he thought was “ludicrous.”
What is “ludicrous” Officer Carr is your use of Fredericks, and your response is very telling.
Carr says he disagreed with Smith’s assessment, and eventually Fredricks’ analysis was allowed to stand.
“Had Holyk stayed on the bike, this wouldn’t have happened,” Knezovich says.
When things aren’t looking good for you always blame the victim or the messenger…right?
I like Mitch Ryals style, he is one of the few reporters in this area willing to ask the tough questions of cops. During the “NEW EVIDENCE” Press Conference Ryals asked Knezovich “Where’s the hat?” Which forced Knezovich to admit that critical evidence in the case had been released. The hat of course is now in the hands of the plaintiff. Where’s the bumper? The hat question by Ryals got me to wondering if some of the evidence in my old unsolved cases has been released or destroyed, I sure hope not.
I will return to the intimidation aspect of the Holyk case later but at this point I want to cover the “NEW EVIDENCE” that really isn’t “NEW EVIDENCE”.
GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT!!
If you watch this KXLY story you will see that the Holyk family lawyer states that this “NEW EVIDENCE” really isn’t “NEW”, rather is an effort on the part of Knezovich to get out front on what would become the obvious truth during the civil trial.
Sadly, all too often here in Spokane the Citizens only get the truth when someone sues law enforcement and a real investigation is conducted by the law firm suing the law enforcement agency or defending a client in a criminal case. Just to name a few that have had media attention think about Zehm, Creach, Gerlach, Statler. There are others of course but you get my point. There is a big difference in being deposed under oath or cross-examined under oath and talking to the media or having a press conference, which law enforcement leaders know full well.
So just how NEW is the evidence? It is impossible to tell but one of the things any plaintiff investigator worth their salt would be doing is getting facts to prepare for the depositions of the investigators and their testimony on the witness stand. Always keep in mind that good lawyers have hold-back questions they don’t ask in depositions and are saved for trial where the impact is greater. I would guess it is very unlikely we will see any cops on the witness stand in the Holyk civil case as it likely will be settled out of court. We could see cops on the stand IF, and it is a big IF, Larry Haskell decides to charge Bodman with a crime. Haskell’s problem in charging Bodman is the investigation was so rotten, the public statements made by cops including the Sherriff so problematic that he might have one hell of a time proving a Manslaughter Case, on the other hand a Reckless Driving Charge would be much easier to prove and could result in a plea deal that would keep cops off the stand…so who knows what will happen.
The image below is but one of several media shots that depict the close scrutiny given the bumper area. Keep in mind I always maintain hold-backs just in case someone wants to take a shot at me including daylight close scrutiny of the vehicle bumper, which is evidence by the way (Just a friendly warning).
SPD’s final the expert Jarrod Carter came to his most recent conclusion based on an enhanced image of the well scrutinized bumper. The problem with after the fact experts is, if they get garbage in many cases they put out garbage, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way toward Carter whose background is stellar, it is just a fact. To his credit he changed his expert opinion.
Even to a lay person could figure out some of obvious questions for investigators.
1) You carefully viewed the bumper did you see the hatband impression?
2) How many photographs of the bumper did you take?
3) Did you have those photos enhanced?
4) You attacked the DNA findings what steps did you take to further investigate when you became aware Holyk’s DNA was on the bumper?
As is always the case in Spokane the only way of getting to the TRUTH when it comes to Officer Involved Cases is through litigation. Over and over I have stressed the need for utilization of Public Coroners Inquests in Spokane County where the public would have an opportunity to see, listen to, and evaluate the evidence as well as the testimony of those involved including the IA Cops doing the investigation. As it stands now the only way the public gets the truth is years past the incident when depositions are taken and the press gets access.
If the lead investigator in the case, Cpl. Michael Carr, had been asked the questions under oath in public years ago, including what his position was on dumping Grant Fredericks being “ludicrous” would we be where we are today?
Look…let’s be honest here…there is NO QUESTION the bumper was a strong investigative focus from the get-go…SO WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED…and what did hitting Holyk have to do with Bodman driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, or with a failure to exercise ordinary care, and was doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.
I don’t envy Larry Haskell as far as his decision regarding Bodman is concerned which ever direction he goes he will be wrong in some sectors and he is hindered by the garbage in garbage out concept. Whatever his decision is it would be a disservice to the Community if he doesn’t make the strong point that he was given GARBAGE to work with.
THE INTIMIDATION GAME AND A MEDIA DARLING!!!!
EVERY, and I mean EVERY, Sheriff or Chief of Police know full well that in order for them to keep their job they must become a MEDIA DARLING. Sheriff Knezovich has been allowed to become just that primarily because most of the local media refuses to point out mistake after mistake, untruth after untruth, made during his tenure as Sheriff. Frank Straub, knowing full well the necessity to become a media darling, once he hit town started weekly meetings with all the local (primarily female) news editors where he was able to sell his line of BS… How did that work out?
Sheriff Ozzie on the other hand has had his MEDIA DARLING status entrenched long before Straub got here and continues in that status to this day. The evidence is clear in that regard and can be found in many Spokesman Review Editorials and columns from the likes of Shawn Vestal and Doug Clark. What Media Darling Status allows a Chief or Sheriff to do is use the office for intimidation and belittlement of critics without having to worry about the media putting themselves in a bad light.
The Holyk case is but one example of how Knezovich works. When his critics including M. Scott Maclay, Ron Wright, and others tried to point out the obvious in the Holyk case he went after them including his usual threat of a libel suit or criminal charges.
To be clear, I don’t know Scott Maclay I have spoken on the phone with him 2-3 times when he was seeking some advice regarding the Holyk case. I do know Ron Wright and have had quite a bit of contact with him. Ron and I often disagree on issues and I wouldn’t consider him a “friend”. The point is no matter what you think of Maclay or Wright a public official using intimidation tactics against them is unethical no matter how you cut it. Beyond that a Sheriff maintaining Enemy Intelligence Files is not only unethical but possibly illegal. The files being maintained on Wright and Maclay were shown to more than one media folk by Knezovich in an effort to belittle, them and destroy their credibility, so there is no denying they exist/existed.
Ozzie even likes to use his County Provided website:
Ozzie likes Facebook where he can get his word out sometimes and stroke people he admires like the since past and infamous Ed LaStage:
A bit odd I would say…but you can decide.
I don’t know if Maclay or Wright will have an opportunity so I will say it for them:
I TOLD YOU SO!!!
The list of individuals that Knezovich has been confrontational with or tried to intimidate aside from Maclay and Wright is a long one but here is a short list in no particular order which is well documented and with just very little comment from me:
This could get interesting since Wiyrick has a shot at the Spokane Valley City Council and is aware that the last time the issue of the Valley having their own PD was looked into Knezovich gave the consultant bogus crime data.
ICMA Consulting Services
Members of “Integrity First”
Keep in mind this is just a very short list, and there is plenty more.
There are many members of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office who claim that all of Knezovich’s promotions within his department are based upon like-minded religious belief rather than ability. I don’t know if that is true or not but IF it is, in my opinion an individual’s religion or political ideology should never ever influence any law enforcement decision so I hope it isn’t true. Many also feel Knezovich is a not very bright egotist always seeking to get his face in front of a camera, and there sure is evidence of the latter. The crux of the matter here is simple, all of the media need to take a closer look at what is going on with Spokane Law Enforcement and we can’t continue to have MEDIA DARLINGS run roughshod over the truth. Hopefully the Holyk case will not only force the media to take a closer look, but also the Spokane County Commission and the Spokane City Council.
I wonder if this will thicken my enemies file? 🙂 🙂
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!