This IA Case (C17-003) as far as the discipline of Officer O’Brien is concerned primarily boils down to two issues; First, did O’Brien lose his temper and unnecessarily reach out and grab a handcuffed, on his knees, controlled by two other officers, African American suspect who by anyone’s standard was not, and history shows, is not the epidemy of virtue.
I am offering portions of Body Camera Video from the incident at the STA Plaza so you can decide for yourself whether or not O’Brien should have been “Exonerated”.
My personal opinion is that exonerating O’Brien went a little too far and, IMO there should have been a finding of “Not Sustained”.
HERE IS THE IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THIS CASE!
Originally IA Sgt. Dan Waters wanted the case handled as an “Inquiry”, meaning the case would never have been investigated.
Waters obviously focused his attention, only on the False Arrest aspect of the case involving Officer Prim and apparently, and hopefully, did not review all of the Body Camera Video associated with the case. Yes, it is a pain in the ass to have to view ALL the video, but if I can do it anyone can.
What happened next is exactly what should have happened, the OPO reviewed ALL of the Body Camera Video and brought O’Brien’s questionable conduct to the attention of Director Jacqui MacConnell.
The still images below show the grab to the throat area, and in my opinion, appear to show that O’Brien did not attempt any kind of front choke. Benson’s own statements are consistent with that opinion. The question is, was it even necessary after a heated exchange to even make any kind of a grab under the circumstances. I think not, there wasn’t much Benson could have done handcuffed from his knees with Prim and Roy in control of him.
This link will take you to the BC Video, and what the OPO was concerned about, and you can draw your own conclusions.
Needless to say, there was some discussion amongst the SPD Brass regarding what the finding in this case would end up being, and at least at some point it appears that Captain Singley had a discussion with Major King about changing part of the findings from “Not Sustained” (Which IMO would have been appropriate) to “Exonerated” and “Unfounded”.
MIRRORING, VERBAL DEFENSE???
Repeating the last word or phrase the person said to show you’re listening and engaged. Yes, it’s that simple — just repeat the last word or two: For example, a subject may declare, “I’m sick and tired of being pushed around,” to which the negotiator can respond, “Feel pushed, huh?”
- Mirror words selectively. Repeat the last one to three words your counterpart just said back to them. This is one of the quickest ways to establish a rapport and make your counterpart feel safe enough to reveal themselves. The beauty in this is the simplicity. People love this. Use it with what I like to call the “late night FM DJ voice” and upward inflecting (sounds like a question). Tactics like this will slow the conversation down for you and allow you more time to think.
Come on Lt. Stevens, yes, most people haven’t been through a Hostage Negotiations class, but some have. This was not a Hostage Negotiations situation, was not mirroring, and was contrary to CIT Training.
To put things in perspective regarding battling the City and SPD for Public Records, it is important to keep in mind that I submitted my PRR regarding the O’Brien case back on March 21st, 2017. SPD was aware I knew about it long before I submitted the PRR. The actual incident took place on January 6th, 2017. I received the final response to my PRR yesterday (August 18th, 2017).
Even getting the complete IA report was a challenge.
JUST POST THE DAMN IA CASES ON THE WEBSITE PROPERLY REDACTED IN THEIR ENTIRETY AND SAVE THE TAXPAYERS, AND ME SOME MONEY AS WELL AS SAVING LAURIE FARNSWORTH A LOT OF TIME…I WILL ALWAYS FIND OUT ANYWAY!!!
I’m not going to go into any detail but the links below will take you to the incomplete IA casefile I originally, and the completed IA Casefile I received yesterday. You might want to take note of the dates and compare them.
THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT ALL OF THE BC VIDEO!!!
There will be obstructions and other problems that won’t show everything so you have to look at it ALL!!!
THE BOTTOM LINE!!!
1) The OPO did their oversight job and forced an investigation.
2) Hopefully this was a learning experience for Officer O’Brien and others including the Rookie. Word is O’Brien is a good cop.
3) The definition of law enforcement transparency is different in Spokane for some.
4) The OPO needs some type of voice other than “I have reviewed the completed investigation and determined that the investigation was completed through a timely, thorough, and objective process.”.
5) The OPO Ordinance stinks.
6) Mitch Ryals is correct, I am a “gadfly” and will continue to be a pain until SPD gets their act together.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!