What the hell…since someone is apparently just going to read my questions to Meidl and have him answer without any follow-ups and since I will likely never have a multi-question shot at him why not just give him a heads up in this story… right?
I fully intended to quickly go through my 29 questions for “Meidl Show” which took place at the West Central Community Center, between 6-8 PM August 11th, 2016, but the format made it impossible so I will go through them here…you can decide. I had intended to ask questions like these at both “Shows” but there is no sense in bothering with the one at the East Central Community Center if it is the same format.
I have been told that my short story yesterday didn’t provide enough explanation regarding Meidl’s approved public statement. Just so you know I intended to clarify today, but you folks need to do a little Sleuthing on your own:
Of course the Salute was a long time ago, I know that there were a lot of emails back and forth, so even though it was a big deal perhaps Meidl just forgot the email to Mayor Verner.
Here is Meidl’s email to Verner:
Guess where this was posted, and note the date and time:
Note the dates and times on the email interaction.
So here is a question for you folks to answer… “Was the Salute clean-up public statement by Meidl made before or after his infamous “505 Facebook Post”? 🙂
It is important to remember that although Meidl and Mayor Condon want to “Move On” from the Salute and the “505” Facebook Page comments, what the Community and the City Council should be evaluating is how Meidl in his role as an SPD Leader and Third in Command at SPD handled those issues and not necessarily the issues themselves. The questions I had for Meidl were intended to primarily address how he as an SPD Leader reacted to and led in his role at that time. How a “Leader” has responded to issues in the past is one way to evaluate how they will respond in the future. Does the “Leader” have a history of confronting negative issues head on, or does he run away?
Some folks might remember all of the evidence available to Mayor Condon regarding Frank Straub’s inability to lead yet he completely ignored all the warnings and hired him anyway.
In Meidl’s case, does he have a long history of running away from issues or not? Is he capable of standing up to Union Pressure and Political Pressure in the interest of the Community and SPD or NOT? My own answer to the that question is a resounding NO! But you can decide for yourself.
I don’t have a copy of “The Meidl Show” yet but I will get one and may have more information later.
Okay let’s get started!
Forum Questions for Meidl
1) I have limited time and most of my questions can be answered with a yes, no, or a refusal to answer would you please show me the curtesy of not going into long detailed answers simply to use up my time?
With a packed room and only two hours for a big crowd to ask questions eating up time in long winded answers is a given, it is even easier to eat up time when a person can only ask one question so I anticipated that would be one ploy, with what limited chance I got to see of “The Meidl Show” at this point it is clear that those long winded answers Meidl provided ate up a lot of everyone’s time. One viewer told me they timed one response at 8 minutes.
2) Are you willing to go through a typical “Assessment Center” made up of Current and Former Experienced and knowledgeable Law Enforcement Officers who would evaluate your ability to lead SPD and provide their evaluation to the CC?
With the utmost respect to our Community knowledgeable and experienced Cops who know when the BS is being pitched are in a far better position to judge a Cops Leadership abilities, much like the Law Enforcement Panel that accessed Frank Straub and unanimously (Despite what McDevitt says) told the Mayor not to hire the Jerk. Were they right or not?
3) SPD needs a strong leader able to confront issues head on and NOT run away from the issues, would you be willing to withdraw your name from contention because of the tremendous controversy involved with your nomination, suggest that the Mayor and City Council utilize one of the many organizations that provide temporary Police Chiefs for situations like Spokane’s, renew the search, and if you truly are interested submit your application for consideration at that time?”
***My understanding is something similar to this question is being floated by the City Council as somewhat of a compromise…we shall see.
Salute/505 Facebook Questions:
4) You have admitted saluting Karl Thompson, was your wife present and did she also salute?
The answer to this one is YES, and my follow-up would have been… “How long was she in the Military?” Keep in mind that Craig Meidl recently promoted his wife to one of the most important SPD positions, Captain of Investigations, so despite being promoted over other candidates with far superior investigative experience she will be responsible for overseeing such things as SPD Cases on the Spokane Regional Investigative Response Team. Some of my old Captains of Investigations who suffered through having to supervise me had a pretty good laugh on this promotion. So at this point it must be Tracie Meidl who is running the third or fourth Ryan Holyk investigation.
5) You have publicly stated that after the salute took place you immediately went to the officer who yelled “Present Arms” and that officer was mortified to learn the Zehm family was still in the courtroom. Who was that officer?
The Officer was Detective Bryan Tafoya.
6) The Zehm Family and their lawyer were sitting directly behind you when the salute took place. How did you personally NOT know the Zehm family and their lawyer were NOT in the courtroom?
I would have liked to heard his answer to this…what happened to all those powers of observation cops are supposed to train on? I should note that I had fun last night “Reading the Room”, it is something most cops learn to do early on.
7) You publicly stated that your salute to Karl Thompson was instinctive based upon your military experience. How many officers were present and saluted that DID NOT have military experience?
There were a lot of cops there that just instinctively on que Saluted Thompson like Meidl says he did…pretty instinctive right? My follow-up would have been… Do you expect the Community to believe all 50 or so Cops “instinctively” saluted Thompson on cue?
8) Even though you have publicly stated the Salute was not planned isn’t it true that the salute was in fact organized and planned in advance by Detective Bryan Tafoya and others?
I anticipated an answer of NO to this question, so I was ready with email documents which are hold backs at this point.
9) You spent approximately two years as the Lieutenant in charge of IA, during that time you supervised then Sgt. Dave McCabe is that correct?
The answer is YES, and I’ve read some of their IA Reports. Dave McCabe is now the President of the SPD Union and Captains Association as we all know, and my follow-up would have delved into that relationship a little more.
10) You both received IA training?
The answer surely would have been YES!
The IA Training, I received back in the day apparently was a heck of a lot different than they get now days. My training empathized the importance of confidentiality during all stages of the investigation and especially in the beginning. The lack of SPD’s ability to maintain the necessary IA Confidentiality is legendary and well documented. It is also one of the BIG reasons SPD is incapable of running “parallel” Criminal/Administrative Investigations like the UOFC and Cops/DOJ recommended. There is an easy fix…but we won’t see it.
11) Isn’t it true that during that training you learned the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of complaints received by the department until such time as a preliminary investigation can be conducted?
See Question 10, and understand that question 11 was a lead in to Question 12. Keep in mind Meidl’s wife was his choice to supervise SPD Investigations. Also keep in mind that Meidl has stated the only one who can promote someone is the Chief of Police.
Craig Meidl won’t respond to me after our Q & anymore so needless to say I’m a bit suspicious of this whole new “Transparency” thing with folks at SPD they just don’t seem to want to answer the tough questions… and there are many that need asked and answered.
12) Isn’t it true that despite that background and knowledge as well as the fact that at the time of the salute you were an SPD Leader and Member of the Command Staff, on November 8th, 2011 immediately after you were provided a copy of a lengthy complaint by then City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi which had been made to the OPO regarding the salute you immediately informed your wife via email and provided her with a copy of the complaint?
The answer is YES!
13) Was doing so a violation of policy and procedure?
Read Anne Kirkpatrick’s Policy 1020 “Personnel Complaint Procedure”
14) Aside from the Salute have you told your wife about other ongoing IA Cases?
The answer is YES, how many times we don’t know. The time above is one but there are more. One of the more notable ones is when Meidl immediately informed his wife of the Scott Stephens Investigation. You might recall that one cost us a lot of money not only because of the lousy investigation but also the way it was handled from the get go.
When the Stephens issue was big news and I read this statement by Meidl in his report my first thought, aside from Meidl telling his wife, was what fool would put that in a Police Report. It has no bearing on the investigation and anyone on the Stephens side in a litigation would easily bring out that it’s intent was simply to portray Stephens in the worst light possible in the initial complaint.
“My wife and I discussed this event that evening. She was very concerned based on her experiences with Stephens over the years. That night she gave our children a warning about safety issues and would not allow them to remain home the following day while she ran errands. Under other circumstances, she would have allowed them to remain at the house; however due to the comments from Stephens, she took them to a different location while she ran errands. She explained to them in watered down terms about what had occurred (no names) and that this was the purpose behind the extra safety precautions. She also told me the following morning that she did not have a good night’s sleep as she was worried about Stephens coming to our house and hurting our family.”
Of course a number of aspects of Meidl’s report turned out to be BS.
Why do I feel it is important to point out the Stephens case? The answer is simple Meidl’s past judgments and ethics MUST be questioned in order to evaluate whether he is fit to lead SPD.
The handling of the Stephens case was classic Straub. Stephens, because of his popularity within the SPD represented a threat not only to Straub, but also Meidl, so Straub handled Stephens the same way he did time and again with people who were threats to his leadership. Simply find a Go Boy or Go Girl to handle the dirty work. In Indy Straub had a Go Girl named Ellen Corcella.
***Corcella’s lawsuit went nowhere by the way… the same way I suspect Straub’s will.
If you really want to know what went on in Indy…talk to the reporters and not just the cops like some of us actually did.
Besides making the high profile Stephens complaint Meidl also made the high profile Arleth complaint (Furniture-gate) …same story, a liked and respected cop who represented a threat, however this time Dobrow having learned from Straub used the same classic Straub move.
Here is the kicker on ethics, leadership and judgement as far as Meidl is concerned and Furniture-gate. Meidl who made the complaint against Arleth used extremely poor judgement by NOT recusing himself from the first step of Arleth’s appeal of his discipline regarding Furniture-gate. That first step is “Mediation” in the Arleth Mediation there were two people that were mediators for the City of Spokane, Craig Meidl who made the complaint against Arleth, and Meghann Steinolfson. Anyone with common sense would have to ask… “Did that demonstrate good judgement?” … “Was not recusing himself unethical?”.
Furniture-gate has now gone to Arbitration because Meidl and Steinolfson stood by the finding so it will be interesting to see what the Arbitrator has to say.
15) Did you inform your wife of a complaint made alleging she had a physical confrontation with Review reporter Tom Clouse?
I sure would like to know the answer to that question, given the allegation and the fact at the time he was a member of the SPD Leadership.
See emails here:
In my follow-up with Gary Graham he told me that the SR had decided not to make a formal complaint and Kirkpatrick was going to talk to Tracie Meidl. Understand that there may have been some confusion on whether or not it was Tracie Meidl or this Officer who obviously doesn’t know anything about RCW 9.73, as well as the requirement for an officer to identify themselves.
The Officer in the above video is John Gately’s wife Kellee Gately.
If I had follow-ups we could have cleared it up. We also could have cleared up what Meidl reveals in his recent press statements…like… “You recently stated that you volunteered to take a demotion, to whom did you volunteer to take a demotion?” … “If you were willing to take a demotion for being the ranking officer present and participating in the Salute obviously you felt your conduct as well as all those present was a big embarrassment to the Department and the City…isn’t that true?
16) After the Salute there was evidence which began to surface that although it was a national embarrassment to the City of Spokane and SPD, Officers under your command made a big joke of it, not only in email communications but also by awarding a Snickers Bar to an Officer at a roll call to mock Otto Zehm’s last words “I only wanted a Snickers Bar!”. Did you in your leadership role as a member of the SPD Command Staff make any effort to stop that type of conduct?
Here is just a couple of examples:
Boy I had some great follow-ups to this one, which was a lead in to some of the next questions.
17) The notorious “505” Facebook page where you posted your well-publicized comment in support of Karl Thompson was started by and administered by your newly appointed Major Kevin King isn’t that true?
He would have to answer “Yes”!
18) Isn’t it true that at the time the “505” Facebook page was running you were in a leadership role as member of the SPD Command Staff?
19) Did you as an SPD Leader and member of the Command Staff consider the “505” Facebook page an embarrassment to SPD?
I don’t know how he could not honestly respond “YES” but if he didn’t and went into a long winded explanation of Free Speech Rights as you read on you can see I was ready.
20) Many of the comments on the 505 Facebook page including your own as an SPD Leader and member of the Command Staff demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the Community as well as the DOJ and included de-policing comments isn’t that true? (“It could happen to me.”)
I Don’t know how Meidl could not answer YES to that one. But even if he didn’t my notation above “It could happen to me.” was a follow-up reminder for myself to ask “Wasn’t that statement a reference to your being in agreement with other cops who continually blamed DOJ for crucifying Karl Thompson, and that your friend Thompson was a victim?”
Other cops like Officer Rick Atkins who posted this as one example:
Officer Rick Atkins…505 Facebook Page.
“The Department of Justice that locked up Karl is the same DOJ that engaged in witness tampering and intimidation to do so. This is the same DOJ that refused to prosecute the black panthers for voter intimidation. The same DOJ that is locking up Border Patrol Agents. The same DOJ that supplied drug cartels with thousands of firearms leading to the murders of over 200 Mexican nationals, two Americans, and dozens of violent crimes here in the U.S. Now you tell me who the criminals are and who needs to be locked up”
21) Although there is NO EVIDENCE that the “We Support Karl Thompson Movement” filed as a non-profit they sold Bracelets to the public in order to collect monies for Karl Thompson, isn’t that true?
Yes, or I don’t know…either answer is damning from the perspective of Leadership.
22) Your newly appointed Major Kevin King lead that effort by hawking those Bracelets on the “505” Facebook page isn’t that true?
23) In your role as an SPD Leader and member of the SPD Command Staff did you purchase one or more of those Bracelets?
Follow-ups would be questions like:
“Who did you give the money to?” “Where did the money go?” “Was there a bank account and who set it up?” “did you wear the bracelet on duty?” … you know the usual type of follow-ups that need asking.
*** I don’t know if the City Council will take my suggestion to talk to Kevin King or not… but they should.
24) As an SPD Leader and member of the SPD Command Staff did you ever take steps to confront, discipline, or direct any of the Officers who were making those embarrassing public statements to cease and desist as well as remove them?
The answer would have to be NO. As the “505” Page stayed up even after Thompson was led away in handcuffs.
The “505” Facebook page wasn’t the only place cops expressed their vitriol toward the public and the DOJ. As one example here is just a few of some comments made by one SPD Cop, Detective Jeff Harvey who posted in the Spokesman Review Comments Section. Detective Jeff Harvey you may remember was also involved in the Thompson case and at that time was the Guild Vice President. Harvey wasn’t alone of course there were several others.
The last organization chart I saw had Harvey assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit, which given his background would have to make one wonder.
Did SPD leadership including Meidl know about the SR and 505 postings as well as who was making them? If they didn’t it sure as hell doesn’t say much for their leadership as nearly every law enforcement officer and associate in town did.
Did Meidl step up and say stop? Did Meidl inform the rest of the leadership how bad this was? Apparently not no one did a damn thing.
25) Isn’t it true that the case law at the time of the Salute would have would have allowed SPD to discipline the Officers involved as well as those making some of the comments on the Facebook page because it was a “National Embarrassment” to the City and SPD?
If I got a chance to ask this question, I know I would have to deal with the Free Speech BS that SPD was putting out at the time. I had some lawyer buddies back during that time look at the law, the FB Page and SR comments to see if they were actionable… they were!
26) Isn’t it true that in 2010 prior to the “505 Facebook” postings IACP along the Bureau of Justice Assistance established a “Model Social Media Policy” consistent with SCOTUS opinions that was adopted by most US Law Enforcement Agencies and was made available to SPD?
27) Isn’t it true that as a result of the ICAP/BJA Model Policy, SPD adopted SPD Policy Number 1060 which was in effect at the time and the Officers including yourself who took part in the Salute and some Facebook posts made by SPD Officers clearly violated that policy?
The truthful answer is YES.
28) Subsequent to the “505 Facebook Postings” have any SPD Officers ever been disciplined for posting something on Facebook?
And to top it off the case law hasn’t changed from the Salute/”505” Facebook/SR Comments days.
Here are both P & Ps: together so you can compare:
This is the IA case of Detective Stormi Koener, you might find this real interesting, and note the harassment claims.
29) Do you have any questions of me?
Probably a NO!!! 🙂
***I have lots more documents but this is enough for now.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!