When I agreed to take on this Investigative Journalism gig several years ago as an effort to fill in the gaps between what the local Mainstream Media was reporting and the facts surrounding what really goes on in Spokane and although my reporting has resulted in local MSM picking up on what I have reported in several stories the fact remains that in some cases what I report just isn’t considered newsworthy in the eyes of other Journalists who look down on me and basically consider me just another “blogger” with no journalism background or degree.
This is one of those stories you likely will never see reported in the local MSM because it involves some poor decision making on the part of several people and involves an exclusive deal between the Spokesman Review and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich which has resulted in a lawsuit against the SR for their coverage of the Jeff Thurman Case.
Back on September 6, 2019, I gave the local MSM and the Public a heads up on who the players were in the Thurman v. Ozzie case thinking there might be some follow-up other than just mine.
As part of my looking into the Thurman case I did the normal PRR thingy, received a copy of Ozzie’s IA Case against Thurman, carefully reviewed it as I have hundreds of others, and concluded that Ozzie is going to have one heck of a problem proving Thurman actually did what Ozzie accused him of.
I would have thought, knowing Ozzie Knezovich like I do that any SR deal with him for an exclusive would have included a complete copy of the Ozzie’s IA Case against Thurman prior to a story being written so the SR could make a sound judgement on exactly what to report, but apparently that was not a part of the deal. IMO Tom Clouse is a good reporter and did a stellar job of reporting on the Karl Thompson, Otto Zehm case but his reporting on the Zehm case resulted in a tiff with a previous SR Editor and Clouse was banished to Sports for a while. I think if Clouse had read the Thurman IA Case prior to the SR story he may well have come to the same conclusion I did, and the reporting might have been different.
As is often the case Thurman’s lawsuit against the SR is based upon facts obtained during depositions in another case and as you can see from Thurman’s June 14, 2021, Amended Complaint which is based up information obtained under oath Thurman may have a good case against the SR.
If you took the time to read Thurman’s Amended Complaint, you might wonder exactly what “The Price of Honor” actually is when you consider these sections.
Another quite interesting fact in the whole Thurman case is that Thurman’s alleged victim Andrew (Drew) Richmond, the son of former SCSO Deputy, and now Airway Heights Chief of Police Brad Richmond along with his EEOC complaint also filed a lawsuit against Ozzie and Spokane County.
Another part of the background is when I was alerted through sources about what was going back in October of 2020 and even though I knew it would be a battle with the City of Spokane started the investigative process so that the public would know what the facts are. Even though I have provided tips to the local Mainstream Media via Twitter and Facebook posts they have been ignored so as in the past it is up to me.
When I learned back in October 2020 that Officer Conrath was the subject of an IA Investigation and there were allegations of sexual harassment on that part of Conrath toward young Rookie female SPD Officers going through the State Basic Law Enforcement Academy, as well as an investigation initiated by Chief Craig Meidl into his conduct stemming from his interaction with domestic violence victims that were well over a year old and in violation of the Police Guild Contract to keep Conrath from becoming a Sergeant I knew from the get go it would be a battle to get to the truth, and it was.
If you take the time to read the IA Report initiated by Chief Meidl on September 11, 2020, (C20-074) it should become pretty clear to you that once again my sources were very accurate and the case was just to keep Conrath from being a Sergeant even though Meidl knew full well that the case violated Mayor Woodward and the City Council’s really bad Guild Contract and he could not sanction Conrath for anything because of the contract’s one year statute of limitations on investigating IA Complaints.
Another interesting aspect of IA Case C20-074 is that during Conrath’s Loudermill Hearing Woodward’s Director of Human Resources Meghann Steinolfson was present knew about the complaints from the female LEOs going through the Basic Law Enforcement Academy and like SPD did nothing to investigate the complaints or even try and determine if they were intimidated in any way after making the complaints.
The link below will give you an idea of just how hard Mayor Woodward, City Attorney Michael Ormsby, and SPD Legal Advisor Mary Muramatsu worked at trying to keep the secret.
One of the big questions I have regarding the issue is whether or not the OPO was ever made aware of the BLEA complaints, hopefully we will find out.
Another big question I have is why with all the women in City Government including the Mayor and City Council why there isn’t some type of outrage over this, needless to say I have passed on to the CC what has been going on in this case and others and there has been little or no interest from them.