When you get a response to a Public Records Request with Discs loaded with documents and hundreds of emails as an Investigative Reporter you have to carefully go through each piece of information and see how it relates to various battles going on within the City and County of Spokane.
Aside from the typical “Who will pay for the tater tots?”, you always find some things you just shake your head at, about a quarter of the way through the most recent response I came across this email disseminated by SPD Chief Craig Meidl stating the now somewhat infamous Phil Tyler was going to review SPD Policy as a result of the Dr. Ed Byrnes study of Disproportionate Minority Contacts by SPD.
The email was of course prior to all of the adverse information which was finally made public regarding Tyler, and also prior to the Ozzie/Buff Episodes where I told Ozzie that his Troops as well as Meidl’s Troops, many of whom knew about Tyler’s background had a concern about both of their relationships with Phil Tyler.
Ironically Phil reached out to his friend Craig Meidl to participate as one of the “Few Good Men” at his table at the YWCA Women of Achievement Luncheon where women received awards “for raising awareness for domestic violence”.
I think it is pretty easy to understand the concerns some Cops had with the relationship between Meidl and Knezovich, especially with Tyler being an individual Meidl would task with reviewing SPD Policy. Just a little vetting would likely have established it wasn’t a good idea. But perhaps Meidl considered Ozzie exonerating their friend Tyler enough vetting.
You might think I was kidding about “tater tots”:
PRRs almost always reveal some of the political infighting that goes on behind the scenes, like for example Council Member Stratton’s attempts to identify and rein in Mayor Condon’s exempt Crony hiring practices (no easy task), which fortunately she was able to somewhat accomplish through the passage of City Ordinances. One way to tell the battle is on is when the big boss tells his underlings to document all contacts with a Council Member.
Personally, I thought Council Member Stratton’s response to Mayor Condon on this issue was kind of cool. You can read it at its entirety at the link below:
If anyone has any idea how many SPD Cops are “Grant Funded”, I would sure like you to let me know, because getting that information is like pulling teeth, and the problem is that eventually those Grant Funds run out and you don’t get them back. With contract negotiations going on and the possibility of SPD Cops getting a big raise forcing layoffs, it would be nice to know what the exact numbers are.
Now, thanks to Rachel Dolezal’s (Nkechi Amare Diallo) friend and also a Hunter College Alumni, YWCA CEO Regina Malveaux, we might know a little bit…but then again Cote’s email seems to imply nobody really knows.
It was also interesting to learn that the individual who did nothing to point SPD in the right direction thinks local developer Dr. Marcus DeWood is “somewhat obnoxious”?
Interesting isn’t it how an individual who unlike the local Main Stream Media actually sees a need to expose misconduct, corruption, and ineptitude in the Criminal Justice System gets tagged with being a “frequent police critic”.
In reality I guess my career as a “frequent police critic” began back in the 1970s and continued for 26 years until I retired when SPD Chiefs continually tasked me with investigating misconduct, corruption, and ineptitude. Doing that type of work diligently and honestly always makes the person doing it a target for some, while at the same time gaining the respect of others. In Law Enforcement, the people that you expose when you do that type of work end up doing everything they can to try to make things difficult and discredit you, so it ain’t my first Rodeo folks.
Back in the day editors of Cowles newspapers even characterized some of my work as “gutsy”, but there wasn’t anything “gutsy” about it, I was just doing my job back then and taking the heat that went along with it, the same as I do today. Someone has to expose the truth, and just sitting on your duff and parroting SPD, or SCSO Media Releases doesn’t cut it.
So, what happened after I did the “gutsy” Coe Report to change the way SPD handled Rape Cases? The answer is not much of anything and when the City fell victim to a number of other high-profile serial rape cases then Chief of Police Terry Mangan called me into his office sat me down and said “Breen, I want you to go through every aspect of those investigations and do the same thing with them that you did with the Coe Case!” Well I did of course and found that none of the mistakes I identified in the Coe Report had been corrected, that report wasn’t made public because it would have been yet another “Black Eye” for SPD.
I suppose people might ask what the heck does all that old stuff have to do with Shawn Vestal’s article on Chief Meidl and the Unions stance on hiding critical information the public should know about?
It is quite simple really there is no way of knowing whether or not the same problems that existed back in my day still exist today and the only way to find out is for someone to do some investigative reporting. When you have spent well over four decades involved on the Criminal Justice System you gain a real understanding of just how difficult the System can be for victims.
As you can see from this “Sustained” IA Case which tells the public absolutely nothing it appears the same problems I exposed back in the day may well be continuing today, and someone needs to find out if they are, so who better than a “frequent police critic”? Certainly, the public can’t rely on the local MSM to get to the truth. I gotta wonder if the OPO Logue knows about this one? It seems that I always end up knowing bout IA Cases before he does.
Had this IA Case been posted in its entirety, naming the Officer and the Supervisor some of my questions may have been answered, and it wouldn’t have been necessary for me to bother the overworked, understaffed, and underpaid City Clerk’s Office to do this in order to get to the truth, nor would it have been as costly to the City and its taxpayers.
He noted that when the Department of Justice imposed a sweeping range of requirements on the Seattle Police Department, it recommended a summary system like Spokane’s.
If you are going to do Investigative Reporting, you have to know your subject matter and maintain records to identify when you are being fed BS. The statement above is one thing in the story that is not factual and there is plenty of evidence to establish it isn’t.
This email exchange between SPD Officer Shane Phillips and myself should pretty well some it up for you as far as transparency is concerned. You can read the entire email interaction between Officer Shane Phillips and myself at the link below. No, of course I didn’t get an “official” answer from Chief Meidl or anyone else, which should tell you something.
So why are we going through this whole exercise of creating a City Ordinance that will force SPD transparency? The answer to that is also quite simple; Mayor Condon who could easily direct his Chief of Police to post IA Cases consistent with Washington State Law refuses to do so because dirt makes the Mayor and his handpicked Police Chief look bad.
Use of Force Commission Report:
Okay Shawn, until such time as your newspaper gets back to doing real reporting like they used to do, or SPD gets some leadership that is willing to be honest and transparent I’ll just keep being a “frequent police critic”!!!