I don’t think there is any question that Undersheriff John Nowels is the favorite candidate of both Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Inspector Kevin Richey for the job of Spokane County Sheriff.
There have been some assertions being bantered around that the IA Case which was brought forward by Inspector Kevin Richey to Sheriff Knezovich a few days after Richey apparently overheard a November 5, 2021, conversation between Craig Chamberlin and SCSO Detectives at the Spokane Valley Precinct was politically motivated, certainly something that can be difficult to prove but looking at the timeline easily established from the IA Case it sure would make one wonder.
After Inspector Richey informed Sheriff Knezovich of what Richey says he overheard on Thursday, November 11, 2021, 1:01 PM Sheriff Knezovich sent an email to Chamberlin in which Knezovich stated that it had been brought to his attention that Chamberlin had written a letter of reference to the court for an individual that had pled guilty to a crime and the individual was Chamberlin’s daughters soccer team coach, the email went on with Knezovich asking Chamberlin to provide him with copy of the letter and the name of the supervisor Chamberlin spoke with to gain authorization to write the letter.
On November 12, 2021, Inspector Richey submitted a report in which he stated that Deputy Chamberlin said he didn’t know what the crime was, and he didn’t do any research into the nature of the crime his friend was convicted of. Deputy Chamberlin did say he was concerned that is had something to do with “child pornography.”
On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 1:22 PM IA Investigator Lt. Andrew Buell emailed Assistant US Attorney David Herzog stating Buell obtained Herzog’s from FBI agent Lee McEuen and wanted a call about some federal court procedural questions.
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, 2:12 PM AUSA Herzog responded in an email to Lt. Buell that indicating that they had a nice chat and the current status of Rick Wright’s case at that time was that it was set for trial on January 10, and Wright had not yet pleaded guilty, but since Wright was gathering information it was likely Wright would do so. Herzog also stated he did not yet have any of the docs they discussed apparently during a phone conversation, and Herzog would continue to monitor the Wright case with his conversation with Buell in mind.
Based upon Inspector Richey’s information a formal IA Case (# 2021-0053) was opened on or about November 18, 2021, with Deputy Craig Chamberlin as the investigation target.
On November 23, 2021, one of the Detectives Chamberlin was talking to directly submitted a report contradicting information in Richey’s report by stating that because the person in question was a girls’ volleyball coach, the Detective immediately thought of a child sex crime and the Detective voiced his concern about writing a letter of reference for someone that may have been convicted of child sex crime or child pornography, further stating that Chamberlin reiterated that he didn’t know what the coach was charged with. The Detective went on to say that during the conversation Inspector Richey entered the room and that the conversation briefly continued until Deputy Chamberlin left the room. The Detective went on to state in his report that Inspector Richey, only heard a fraction of the conversation and asked the Detective if he (Richey) heard what he thought he heard. The Detective’s report goes on to state that because of Inspector Richey’s probative questioning and smile on his face, the Detective believed Inspector Richey would research the incident for political gain and it was the Detective’s understanding that Inspector Richey would be running against Deputy Chamberlin in an upcoming election for Sheriff.
*** In the SCSO Summary of Evidence report it points out that the two Detectives involved in the conversation with Chamberlin both corroborated Insp. Richey’s recollection of the conversation REGARDING THAT IT TOOK PLACE and that Chamberlin mentioned he wrote a reference letter for a friend, daughter’s volleyball coach, and that it involved in a criminal matter. The summary further points out that one of the Detectives was able to recall IT WAS NOT Chamberlin but the Detective who brought up the possibility of it being child porn and Chamberlin did not know what the charges were.
On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, 11:14 AM Lt. Buell contacted AUSA Herzog requesting that Herzog provide him with the name of the lawyer defending Richard Wright and Herzog did provide Buell with the lawyer’s name and phone number.
On January 31, 2022, Undersheriff John Nowels files his candidacy with the Washington State PDC.
On February 12, 2022, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announces his endorsement of Undersheriff John Nowels to replace him as Sheriff of Spokane County.
On or about February 19, 2022, the media gets wind that Deputy Chamberlin was terminated by Ozzie Knezovich.
On February 21, 2022, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich calls a press conference to justify his termination of Chamberlin.
On February 22, 2022, Sheriff Knezovich gives his close friend Kent Adams of Spokane Talks an exclusive interview where he again tries to justify his termination of Chamberlin.
On February 22, 2022, Deputy Chamberlin files his candidacy with the Washington State PDC.
At this point the timeline brings us to another the interesting aspect of the Chamberlin case.
On March 1, 2022, I posted a redacted Public Record on my Facebook page which was a report made by one of the Detectives that was having the conversation with Chamberlin when Inspector Richey walked into the room.
Interestingly the first person to comment on my post was Inspector Kevin Richey, who publicly stated that, “Inspector Richey was “not planning on running for sheriff” a lot of people, including the person who wrote this made a lot of assumptions. Must be cool to read peoples minds based on a “smile.”, and later commented he was not running for sheriff, nor have I made any such announcement.
When I asked Richey if the individual who wrote the report was seasoned, Richey’s response was that “This investigator is a very seasoned and exceptional investigator.” Whom Richey had a ton of respect for.
I thought it was interesting that even though Inspector Richey described the writer as seasoned and exceptional and that he had a ton of respect for the writer apparently Inspector Richey didn’t think much of the investigators IA Report regarding Chamberlin. I also thought it was interesting that Inspector Richey admitted that he had said in the past that he had “considered running” which is consistent with information I had received previously about people considering a run for sheriff.
As sometimes happens with Facebook comments can disappear, especially when the comments might provide people with a better perspective about what the truth actually is. Such was the case with Inspector Richey’s comments on my FB Post and somehow he must have deleted his pertinent comments when he was trying to correct a misspelling, however I was unable to find a misspelling in the screenshots of his comments, but then again I’m not a very good speller.
It is indeed an interesting timeline!