For those inquiring, because of the way the Fossum Investigation was conducted it has required me to confirm several areas that have come to light from the available documents, so it will take longer than I anticipated…but I will get there.
Back in the day when local MSM were diligent about their responsibility to inform the Public about local government misconduct there would have been a series of investigative articles delving into the problems associate with Spokane County Jail not only the issues surrounding all of the recent jail deaths but also the background of the who, when, where, and why the problems exist. You don’t see that diligence anymore, although there are few exceptions. It is difficult to tell whether the lack of diligence is due to the deep budget cuts some of the local media like the SR has suffered over the years;
or it could be the theory that the Public’s interest these days isn’t with hard investigative news reporting, rather with fluff and puff “hyperlocal, digital journalism”.
One of the theories being bantered around is that the young energetic local reporters would like nothing more than to do real investigative reporting but pressure from the local political structure keeps it from happening.
Curley also caught flack for bowing to pressure from a politician to revise a story written, coincidentally, by former Spokesman-Review reporter Meghann Cuniff. Journalism ethicists condemned the interference to the Voice of OC: “This is clearly an unethical overreach by the editors.”
As far as the Fossum Report and the battle between Knezovich and McGrath is concerned maybe it was the original $806.60 price tag to get the Public Records that scared other media off.
One of the more telling aspects of the Fossum notes is this one which involves an interaction between Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Kinn and Fossum which took place on 2/12/18.
As you can quite clearly see Mr. Kinn recognized the Knezovich’s intent in requesting the BoCC to investigate was to bring forward Knezovich’s allegation that John McGrath influenced women employees to make allegations against his friend Phil Tyler. The significance of the “2/12/18” date on Fossum’s notes becomes evident when you read the engagement letter dated the following day.
Unfortunately, the documents do not show exactly what the agreed upon “Scope of Work” was between the County and Ms. Fossum, but what they do show is a primary focus on Ozzie’s friend Phil Tyler and his interactions with Detention Staff throughout his career in Detention Services after he was transferred from “Juvenile Court Services” to “Sheriff/Jail” on 2/1/1999. That transfer could explain a lot of things regarding how Tyler made his way to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
“And for the life of me, I can’t explain how this history got missed,” Knezovich said. “It’s all in records.”
Tyler’s personnel records regarding the transfer have been redacted (properly) so there is no way of telling whether or not the SCSO relied solely on the Juvenile Court Services background check or did their own. Whatever was the case as far as Tyler’s hiring is concerned when allegations arose regarding Tyler’s treatment of women on Ozzie’s Detention Staff one would think since the history was “all in records” Ozzie and his Investigators would have looked at the records.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND:
It looks like Director McGrath, ain’t no dummy as Fossum’s notes reflect that my old Lawyer friend Mary Schultz was present during his interview with Fossum.
This revelation was something I had to confirm and was able to. Hiring Schultz, a good lawyer was a very good move on McGrath’s part because you would really have to be a dummy not to recognize that Knezovich is after him, and even a fool would be able to see that Knezovich’s request for a BoCC investigation was directed at McGrath.
Since McGrath has hired Schultz it presents a big dilemma not only for Ozzie, but also for the BoCC as I’m sure both can see where this will go if the BoCC decides to get rid of McGrath, and the Fossum Investigation provides one heck of a lot of evidence which could be used in a unlawful termination lawsuit. There has to be at a minimum one hundred deposition questions which could be formulated from the Fossum report, and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t mind seeing Schultz depose Ozzie or for that matter see Gail Bass’s lawyer depose Ozzie. Should the BoCC decide to fire McGrath, I can’t help but think that Mary Schultz would look into whether or not Knezovich has contacted any of the members of the BoCC in an effort to get McGrath fired and also depose those BoCC members he had contact with has as well as their records.
In June of 2014 McGrath placed Phil Tyler on paid administrative leave while he was being investigated by the WSP. Some might remember from my previous stories, that it was this administrative leave that Phil Tyler complained about the County taking his cell phone away from him, so he couldn’t contact his son. Apparently Tyler didn’t have his own cell phone. Tyler never returned to work and instead filed a lawsuit against Spokane County which was settled out of Court for $100K. In my opinion Ozzie helped his friend out in that lawsuit by basically alleging that the Jail Staff complaining about Tyler were motivated by a race bias.
One of the key statements for me in Ozzie’s deposition was “Phil may be able to get the exact verbatim.”
Anyone who might have read Tyler’s statement to the WSP probably could have predicted that Tyler would sue the County.
Phil Tyler Placed on Administrative Leave:
What is really interesting about this investigation of Tyler is that McGrath brought in the WSP to do the internal investigation because of Tyler’s relationships with Detention Services IA Investigators, and the SCSO IA Investigators.
Unlike the Fossum Investigation, WSP, as is standard practice, established a “Scope of Work”, or “Scope of Investigation”.
Fortunately for me WSP recorded their interviews making it a lot easier for me to go through and get the facts.
Some of the things I found of great interest in the WSP Investigation is that the investigation was into Tyler’s conduct between October 25, 2011 to June 19, 2014 which is during the time Knezovich was in charge of the jail and had exonerated his friend Phil Tyler in a number of IA complaints which were investigated by Ozzie’s SCSO IA Investigator Richard Gere.
The “investigation” or lack there of by Gere of the Gail Bass complaint and Union No Confidence letter has become an issue in the $1.2 Million Dollar Claim Gail Bass has filed against the County.
What is interesting about that aspect of the Bass claim is that it appears that the individual “OK” wanted to receive the Defensive Tactics Instructor position wasn’t a Detention Officer rather the Detective with the SCSO who investigated complaints against Tyler, something I’m sure Gail Bass’s lawyers won’t overlook.
Going through all these documents reminds me of this story I recently did! 😊
More in Part Three coming soon!
I REPORT HSS YOU DECIDE!!!
There is more than a bit of dysfunction going on at the Spokane Police Department and the battle between SPD’s Detectives and PACT is but one.
This is another one of those cases which was hidden from the Public and on the SPD IA Website, yet I learned of it through reliable sources, just as I did the Officer Chris McMurtrey debacle.
It looks like this time SPD isn’t going to conduct a full-scale expensive investigation into who my sources are, despite the fact that OPO Bart Logue made a request that SPD do so.
The response Logue received from SPD Director of Strategic Initiatives Jacqui MacConnell who oversees SPD IA is the same response Officer Chris McMurtrey should have received when he requested a leak investigation after I exposed his conduct and SPD’s efforts to hide it. Interestingly during the McMurtrey leak investigation now Lieutenant David Staben falsely accused OPO Logue of being one of my sources, and Staben happens to be one of the Officers involved in the Tofsrud case and is a target of a Human Resources Complaint made by Tofsrud which is not yet complete. Whether or not the fact that McMurtrey was an Officer and Logue is the OPO played into the decision not to investigate this one is anybody’s guess.
Perhaps it is my inquisitive personality, or maybe my long history of having to weed out BS from facts that scares Law Enforcement Administrators, but for some reason I do and when they refuse to be transparent for some reason it makes me even more suspicious. I don’t understand the lack of transparency in this case especially since I recently helped Chief Meidl with an unfortunate mistake one of his PIOs made, and it is always better to fess up and face up. But that is neither here nor there, I’m used to it.
The job of the OPO is to be transparent and to try and get SPD to be more transparent, or at least that is my understanding, so what is a guy going to do other than to go to the OPO to try and get answers?
Having said all that this is a developing story and I have reached an agreement with City Clerk Terri Pfister over some records I have requested regarding this case which I expect in the next 10-15 days.
NOW TO THE CASE:
The dysfunction as well as the battle is clearly outlined in this IA Case which resulted in Sustained allegations of misconduct against Detective Lonnie Tofsrud and Sgt. Terry Preuninger.
I likely look at this IA Case a bit differently than most folks would since I was tasked with having to clean up messes involving informant handling when I was on SPD and was tasked with writing policy and procedure to prevent mishandling, but the link below will take you to the IA Case and you can draw your own conclusions.
What I see is a number of questions especially since the folks that made the actual IA Complaint was the Spokane County Prosecutors Office.
There seems to be some question as to whether Tofsrud actually accused Cpl. McCollough of lying in his report.
The Dixs Office obviously doesn’t know who the PACT CIs are and vice versa.
The appears to be some confusion about what constitutes a pretextual stop.
It ain’t the first time.
The Prosecutor chose not to get involved.
Frank Straub’s decentralized supervisory span of control has reared its ugly head again.
And much more.
To quote Yogi once again!
As this story develops for those waiting for Part Two of “WHO WILL WIN THE BATTLE” although I have been able to corroborate most of what I am trying to, including from several sources a behind the scenes move by Sheriff Knezovich to try and get rid of McGrath I still have a couple of more things to corroborate.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!
The Fossum Investigation Documents are so disjointed, with the exception of the independent WSP Investigation into Phil Tyler’s conduct which McGrath wisely requested, and we paid for, that they are hard to get through and I have to corroborate many things in the report.
For example, this email Sheriff Knezovich sent to Jim Emacio and the BoCC isn’t true and even though the documents clearly show Gail Bass never dropped her complaint and Ozzie exonerated his friend Phil Tyler and they further show that people in attendance after the No-Confidence letter submitted against Tyler didn’t admit they had no evidence, I still have to look into it.
I also have to look into this:
It isn’t as easy as some might think, and a lot of things have to be corroborated. Hopefully sometime next week for those asking.
I REPORT HSS YOU DECIDE!!!
Sheriff Knezovich has once again fired Deputy Travis Smith. His first firing of Smith drew a lot of media attention because of the circumstances surrounding the firing and the fact that the Sheriff’s termination of Smith was overturned by an Arbitrator.
The reinstatement of Deputy Smith by the Arbitrator caused quite a bit of uproar and sent Ozzie on one of his missions to right the wrong by trying to have the Washington State Legislature enact a law making it easier to fire law enforcement officers.
Ozzie’s efforts to get a law passed went nowhere of course, and his desire to be in the spot light backfired on him when he ran into former Washington State Senator Pam Roach who brought up the allegation that was made that he stole Spokane County gas for his own use.
Ozzie’s testimony before the Legislature also resulted in the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs writing him a letter chastising Ozzie for his dishonest testimony before the State Legislature.
If you happen to watch the Ozzie/Buff Episodes where I confronted Ozzie on this issue you will find that Ozzie claimed he was setup by a group of dishonest former Deputies some of whom according to Ozzie had several IA Cases against them and were actively supporting Ozzie’s opponent Doug Orr in Orr’s bit to unseat him. Some of the names Ozzie mentioned were former Deputies with a group known as “Integrity First”.
Ozzie’s most recent firing of Travis Smith involves an allegation he illegally recorded a conversation during a Domestic Violence investigation, and Ozzie of course attempted to have charges brought against Smith by sending the case to Prosecutor Larry Haskell who did the right thing and sent the Criminal Case to the Spokane City Prosecutor for a charging decision and that is exactly where Ozzie could have a real big problem when this Travis Smith termination case goes before an Arbitrator.
As you can see from independent City Prosecutor Bingham’s letter to SCSO IA Investigator Tim Hines there will be no criminal charges against Travis Smith and Bingham attributes Smith’s actions as resulting from a training issue, so it will be interesting to see how all this plays out.
As most folks know because of a lack of transparency on the part of some Government Officials even though I may have copies of the public records I have received independent of the PRR process, I still have to do a PRR request for a number of reasons. I have of course done that in the new Travis Smith termination and will look forward to comparing what I have to what Spokane County actually gives me around Pearl Harbor Day. It will also be interesting to see if I have to go to Court again to a Nissen Affidavit from Ozzie and the emails regarding the Smith termination on his private email accounts.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!