THE FOSSUM REPORT
Will it be Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, or Ozzie’s former Detention Services Director John MaGrath?
The “Battle”, IMO, is over whether or not Knezovich will be able to convince the Board of County Commissioners to fire McGrath and give Ozzie back control of the Spokane County Jail.
At this point anyway, I would have to give the strategic and tactual advantage to Sheriff Knezovich because all of recent jail deaths are not being investigated independently, rather they are being conducted by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office giving Sheriff Knezovich overall control of those investigations, the problems with that should be obvious to almost anyone. It is likely that McGrath has concern that the results of those investigations could be used to point out problems with his inability to properly administer the Spokane County Jail. McGrath is also likely to be concerned that the Detective Ozzie assigned to investigate a Geiger Facility Rape case has a previous law enforcement history which isn’t very stellar, yet he was hired by Ozzie and has remained with the SCSO for a number of years.
Leaked media stories like the one below provide Sheriff Knezovich with the opportunity to take his best shot at McGrath.
I never have been able to figure out just exactly what causes AML (Administrative Memory Loss) but for some reason Sheriff Knezovich suffers from it quite often (especially when I pose a question to him) and the in the Inlander story above Ozzie for some reason seems to forget all of the problems he had with Detention Facilities when he was in charge of them after his appointment as Sheriff on April 11, 2006 up until June of 2013 when the BoCC took it all over and Knezovich told the press it was a move to restructure the criminal justice system. As is often the case with Sheriff Knezovich the story has changed since the BoCC took over the Jail and yesterday he offered a new explanation about how the takeover took place.
There were not only deaths, but also rape claims and good-sized civil lawsuit settlements.
Of course, I guess Ozzie could blame all of the Detention Problems during his reign on McGrath, but the question of course would be why he didn’t get rid of McGrath when McGrath was Ozzie’s Jail Guy?
I should point out that going through the 2,180 ages of documents I received from my Public Records Request hasn’t been easy since the documents aren’t organized very well, there are a lot of duplicates, it appears the Fossum interviews weren’t recorded so there are no transcripts and for the most part just her notes to try and decipher, but at the risk of being called lazy again by Inlander Reporter Daniel Walters I will keep at it.
The best place to start I would think is where the Fossum Report all got started, the link below should pretty well explain it:
Yes, Ozzie did indeed request the BoCC do an investigation but when you look at the actual letter Ozzie sent to the Board of County Commissioners, it sure appears to me that Ozzie’s intent was more to try and clear his name and take his best shot at McGrath. As you can see from the images below Ozzie of course first tries o pump his own tires, and then goes on to say what a rotten job Spokane County Human Resources did in investigating a case while he was at the helm that resulted in a “$500K judgement against the County”. Ozzie then goes on to state that the most disturbing allegation in the FB post was that McGrath approached a female jail Sargent directing her to set up a news interview with KREM wanting to expose sexual harassment by Ozzie’s good friend Phil Tyler. That isn’t quite the way it is reported as going down, and Ozzie’s attempts to make McGrath look bad may have backfired.
Trying to figure out where the big riff between Ozzie and MaGrath started is kind of difficult, but it could very well have begun with the 2012 Assault Report made against Phil Tyler while he was off-duty driving a County vehicle with all the fancy cop tuff on it and which resulted in an IA case that wasn’t resolved until April 15, 2013 a couple of months prior to the BoCC taking over the jail. Ozzie made a finding of “Not Substantiated” on his friend Phil’s case.
For those folks that watched the Ozzie/Buff Episodes you might note that this s one of the IA Cases against Phil Tyler I confronted Ozzie on and he disavowed any knowledge of. In fairness to Ozzie though I did use the term “soccer game” instead of “football game” just to see if he would try and dance around it…and he did (Thanks Scott Maclay!). This wasn’t the first off-duty run in Tyler had a previous one involved an allegation of Conduct Unbecoming and Accepting a Gratuity at Thirsty’s, 21 E. Lincoln Road. Tyler was exonerated of Accepting a Gratuity but got a one-day suspension for the Conduct Unbecoming charge.
There are always interesting things in these type of investigations, and it wasn’t surprising to me that Race was one of the issues.
Part Two of this series should be interesting and especially from the standpoint of McGrath’s move to bring in WSP to investigate Phil Tyler after the BoCC took over the jail, and Tyler’s relationship with Detective Gere who did the original investigation into the No Confidence letter submitted by the Union against Tyler.