According to what transpired in the Office Of Police Ombudsman Commission meeting yesterday it appears it will work and there isn’t much that can be done about it.
When politics, religion, or corruption enter into the law enforcement function any credibility that function had is completely lost and now such is the case with the Mayor Woodward’s Spokane Police Department who have stooped to the lowest level of playing politics by using a Murder in an effort to discredit a City Council Member, in this case CM Betsy Wilkerson if this goes unchecked as it appears it will next time instead of a Progressive City Council Member it could easily be a Conservative City Council Member.
So what did those folks who watched learn from the April 19, 2022, OPOC meeting, quite a bit actually. During Assistant OPO Luvimae Omana’s detailed presentation we learned the following.
1) Mr. Chud Wendle a somewhat wealthy Conservative activist and purveyor of anti-progressive rhetoric on his “Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council” Facebook page which is shared on the “Spokane’s 8th Man” Facebook page and to whom, among other things, information about the existence of the Brownell body worn camera video was leaked so he could use it to try and discredit CM Wilkerson was obviously “not too enthused” about cooperating with the IA Investigation of CM Wilkerson’s complainant, since he apparently refused to identify exactly who leaked the information to him, only stating it was someone from the “City Administration”.
Ms. Omana demonstrated in her presentation how based upon the Public Records Requests made by Wendle and after his first request was denied as an ongoing investigation he was leaked exactly when the investigation was complete and submitted another PRR.
2) We also learned that SPD’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Jacqui MacConnell who oversees “the Internal Affairs Unit (which includes overseeing policies)” and was hired ostensibly to be the voice of the Citizens in the IA Process stopped the IA Investigation dead in its tracks.
DSI MacConnell, Public Records demonstrate is anything but the voice of the Citizens and works hard at keeping SPD misconduct investigations as quite as possible.
3) We learned that were several back-and-forth exchanges between her and SPD about who should and who should not be interviewed making it obvious that SPD would not do a legitimate IA Investigation especially if it meant interviews with any members of the “City Administration” which includes Chief Craig Meidl and who in a legitimate investigation would have to be a person of interest based upon his involvement with Chud Wendle’s “Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council” Facebook page.
There were other aspects of Ms. Omana’s presentation which piqued my interest based upon information I have received from SPD sources and which I should be able to confirm once I receive a response to my six-month-old Public Records Request regarding the CM Wilkerson complaint, but I suspect Mayor Woodward will continue to violate the City of Spokane Ethics Code, especially since in this case the Public Records will likely show what her administration is all about.
Once Ms. Omana’s presentation was complete OPO Logue did a very good job of explaining the options available to the OPOC with respect to the pros and cons of conducting an Independent Investigation since the OPO refused to certify the Wilkerson IA Case, including the fact that the OPO can not conduct a legitimate investigation without the ability to compel testimony from SPD Officers and City Employees under Garrity v. New Jersey. There is an option available for the OPO to conduct a legit investigation, but it would require Mayor Woodward and Chief Meidl to direct all the City individuals involved to cooperate with the investigation and provide compelled statements.
The likelihood of that happening is exactly the same as it was with former Mayor Condon when the Straub/Cotton Affair was exposed and he absolutely refused to invoke Garrity.
There is without question a lot more to this story, but whether you are a Conservative or a Progressive when considering what went on here you should be asking yourself if you really want a politicized Police Department, after all CM Cathcart and CM Bingle who knows someday there could be a Progressive Mayor…what goes around comes around.
According to the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission Agenda for April 19, 2022, the OPO refused to certify IA Case “C21-070” which is the IA Case involving the complaint made by Council Member Wilkerson regarding the leak by SPD of the existence of the now infamous “not too enthused” Body Worn Camera video to Chud Wendle which he used to try and discredit CM Wilkerson, and the video ended up making it to Fox News.
So without question the OPOC Meeting Flick will be interesting as there are only a few options for the OPO not to certify a case under the Guild Contract.
When I opened my email this morning and received a response to the request imaged below it became quite obvious to me that Council Member Betsy Wilkerson, a woman of color, is being targeted by Mr. Chud Wendle with the aid of members of the Spokane Police Department.
It all started with the now widely publicize “not too enthused” Body Worn Camera Video making national news thanks to Chud Wendle the out-front representative of the wealthy Downtown Spokane folks via his “Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council” Facebook page and with help from SPD as this Spokesman Review story explains
Council Member Wilkerson did exactly the right thing by making a complaint to the Office of Police Ombudsman who could monitor SPD’s Internal Investigation of the case, rather than directly to SPD IA since there was no question SPD was involved in the effort to discredit CM Wilkerson. I did of course submit a PRR for all records regarding that Wilkerson case but because it likely will be very embarrassing to Mayor Woodward and Chief Craig Meidl they will do everything they can to delay and delay the release of those records.
Wendle’s FB page is a private page frequented by not only some of the local wealthy folks but also some rather strange individuals most all of whom certainly have a very Conservative perspective, it is also frequented by local Cops including Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl who would certainly have to be a person of interest in the Wilkerson IA Investigation and I would assume was interviewed regarding the leaked information.
The primary focus of Wendle’s FB page is to portray the City Council and the State Legislature as the bad people responsible for crime in Spokane, even though they have nothing to do with how Mayor Woodward runs our Police Department, and as a matter of fact the City Council despite all the protestation about five of the seven City Council Members being “Defund the Police” advocates the facts speak for themselves.
One of the key pieces of evidence I find in Chud Wendle’s dirt digging quest is this Public Records Request he made which didn’t help him much but sure is evidence of his bias toward CM Wilkerson. It is however a good reminder to drive the speed limit in school zones because Chud is watching.
Now this PRR by Chud Wendle is really interesting and confirms that my sources are correct that OPO Luvimae Omana and Sgt. Uberuaga were involved in the IA Investigation. Interestingly Luvimae Omana, like Betsy Wilkerson is a woman of color and it would appear that she along with Sgt. Uberuaga likely interviewed Chud Wendle, so I’m anxious to see if Chud Wendle was “not too enthused” about cooperating with Ms. Omana and Sgt. Uberuaga during the IA Investigation.
Below you will find links to all of Chud Wendle’s PRR’s to date, and I’m sure someone must have noticed the timelines for the 3 different Wendle PRRs for the original “not too enthused” Body Worn Camera Video.
The war of course is the one going on very publicly between SPD and SPS.
Sources very close to the issue indicate that it started with the highly publicized case involving former Spokane County Deputy Sheriff Shawn Audie’s involvement with restringing a Ferris High School Student, and Mayor Woodard’s current PR person Brian Coddington was the PR person for Spokane Public Schools.
As Public Records slowly become available to the Media, those records seem to corroborate sources including this one which from Spokane Public Schools which somewhat outlines the Post-Audie moves made by SPS.
Which brings us to the question if this is all about an effort to restore School Resource Officers, armed or not in Spokane Public Schools which would be an advantage to SPD and some type of battle as to which taxpayer budget will pay the tab or is it really about the kids?
As far as the various turfs involved in all of this mess are concerned aside from SPS and SPD, there is a bunch including the Washington Education Association, Spokane Principals Association, Spokane Education Association, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, NAACP, ACLU, Stand for Children, Progressives, Conservatives, Libertarians…and on and on.
How long have people been trying to get some type of movement on this mess? At least back to 2012.
War of any type are always about turf and money, and regardless of whether or not it is a shooting war or the typical government turf war the kids are always the ones that get hurt the most. How long will this war go on. The best bet is that it will continue until every ounce of political fodder is extracted from the issue and the various turfs sit down and come up with an answer in the interest of our kids.