When I was asked to prepare and write the questions submitted to the Washington State Attorney General because of my background and experience with RCW 9.73 in order to obtain an Attorney General’s Opinion regarding Body Worn Camera Laws, several times I expressed my fear that unless accompanying laws were established to punish the inevitable abuse that would take place someone listened.
Whether the agenda is a personal agenda or even a political agenda Conservative or Progressive it was bound to happen and it has here in Spokane with the leak of Body Worn Camera video alleging Africa American Spokane City Council Member Betsy Wilkerson “wasn’t too enthused to help with murder investigation” the allegation, as is often the case for things going on in Spokane got national attention this time on FOX News.
At this point Betsy Wilkerson has made a complaint to the Office of Police Ombudsman which will be forwarded to the Spokane Police Department Internal Affairs Unit and a determination will be made whether to investigate the case or not. IMO, Mayor Nadine Woodward, and Chief Craig Meidl from an ethical standpoint should call for an independent investigation of the issue because of the ramifications involved, or the Spokane City Council should use the power vested in them to have an independent investigation initiated. This is one of those cases where the OPO and OPOC are so hogtied by the Police Guild Contract with respect to what they can and cannot say or do it could end up with the Public not knowing the full details.
It is pretty darn clear that the Officer Brownell’s BWC video was leaked to a very select group of Conservative folks including Kent Adam’s brand-new News Director Sue Lani Madsen – Forthright at his Spokane Talks business, and who according to her own public statements received a copy of the BWC video and certainly would be a witness in any legitimate investigation as would, at least in my view, based upon information I have a few members of Chud Wendel’s Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council group, where the leaked video received a lot of attention.
Here is something Conservatives should think about, “IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!”
People that follow me know that for the last few years I have been looking into the operation of the Spokane Police Department’s Patrol Anti-Crime Team and some of the allegations of “Shady Shit” they have done.
To do this Investigative Journalist job correctly not only do you have to establish a pipeline of good intelligence sources, but you also have to spend hours reviewing BWC video, IA Cases, Police Reports and of course Court Records to see if there is any “Shady Shit” going on, over and over again I come up with records like this one, which sure looks to me like “Shady Shit”…somebody here in Spokane has to do this type of Journalism to try and fulfill the Media’s role in oversight.
On October 12, 2021, after the usual delays directly attributable to Mayor Woodward and Chief Meidl utilizing the Fade and Forget Strategy I finally received an incomplete response do one of my PRRs which of course demonstrates not only embarrassment to the Woodward Administration but also to SPD with respect to the continuing dysfunction at SPD you can read what I refer to as the “Shady Shit” IA Report at this ink.
If you take the time to read the IA Case I’m confident you will, among other things, identify the problems SPD has under the current City Leadership with proper staffing of the most important division and backbone of any police agency the Patrol Division in favor of so many Specialty Units not even SPD can keep good track of what they are and how they are staffed.
Just to give you some background on the “Shady Shit’ IA Case you probably should read the transcript of Lt. Staben’s complaint about SPD to the OPO which among other things is a result of IA Case C21-020.
So exactly where is Jacqui MacConnell the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Spokane Police Department who is in charge of IA in a high paying civilian position which was touted as a position which would provide a voice for the Citizens of Spokane? Well you got me but history and documents clearly show the voice of the Citizens of Spokane has always been mute.
Throughout the State of Washington the Media and Private Citizens battle to obtain Public Records with limited success, and all too often those battles end up in Court simply because the Public Records Act does not specifically define nor at this point has the Washington State Supreme Court addressed what the word “promptly” means in the PRA, as a result Government Agencies all over the State are using that fact to delay, and delay as long as they possibly can responding to Public Records Requests which are embarrassing to the agency under the “Fade and Forget Theory” which quite simply is the theory that eventually embarrassing information will Fade and the Public will Forget, and not really care.
If you do not believe me just follow the folks at The Washington Coalition for Open Government who do an outstanding job of keeping track of what is going on as far as transparency and public records are concerned.
As I have said it before, and will say it again, Spokane is no different than some of the other cities in Washington State and continue to hinder and delay embarrassing PRRs, by not properly funding and staffing the City Clerk’s Office who are responsible for responding to PRRs. Neither Mayor Woodward nor the City Council have any interest in changing the status quo for obvious reasons…it never looks good for any of them.
Yesterday more evidence of the Fade and Forget strategy surfaced with an email response from City of Spokane Public Records Officer Terri Pfister regarding a PRR I submitted On 2/19/2021 7:54:56 AM, because I had learned from several sources that the highly touted Police Guild Contract was anything but what the Mayor and City Council wanted the Public to believe it was.
Even when you receive old and delayed Public Records installments you really have to study them to see if there may be anything relevant to current issues. As it turns out there were several documents in the installment I received yesterday which shed some light on current events including this one where Mayor Woodward’s former Advisor Paul Warfield who along with many others left the Woodward administration fills State Senator Andy Billig with some malarkey.
One has to consider if the City of Spokane’s and other cities inability to negotiate good contracts with unions which contained legitimate oversight lead to forcing the State Legislature to enact laws that would provide some oversight.