Goes to Terri Pfister and Laurie Farnsworth of the City of
Spokane Clerks Office.
Can you imagine having to deal with a Curmudgeonist like me
for all these years?
I think it is important to understand that their jobs cover
a multitude of different areas and not just the Public Records Game which is
difficult enough. They do an outstanding job of trying to professionally go
about their duties despite all the hindrances of being underpaid, understaffed,
and in many cases having to deal with uncooperative City Departments like SPD
and Human Resources who will make ever effort to withhold responsive but
embarrassing PRR documents if they can get away with it, and is not the fault
of the City Clerks Office because of the way the system is set up.
The way it works with City PRRs is that once the Clerk’s
Office receives a request from the Media or the public they send a copy of the
request to the proper City Department and then have to rely on that department
to provide them with all responsive records to provide the requestor. The
problem is some departments will withhold embarrassing public records
unbeknownst to the Clerk’s Office, as was done in this recent case.
As you can see from this email from Laurie Farnsworth the
City Clerk’s Office was unaware that the second Tom Michaud interview which
demonstrates possible policy violations by Lt. Dave Staben was withheld from me
and it wasn’t until I pressed the issue that I received the responsive
Obviously the conduct alleged by Crime Analyst Michaud
should have been investigated immediately, but it wasn’t and likely never will
be unless a formal complaint is filed with SPD IA. Any investigation of that
matter should be independently investigated outside of SPD because of Director
of Strategic Initiatives and Head of IA, Jacqui MacConnell’s direct involvement
in the case.
Investigative Reporters if they are diligent can not assume
that they have received everything in a PRR response and should always dig
Often times one set of PRR responses will lead to another
If you listened to the second Michaud interview carefully
toward the end of the interview you would have heard Michaud mention the IA
Case against SPD “Brady Officer” Lydia Taylor.
The interesting thing about this
somewhat new IA complaint against Lydia Taylor is that once again a member of
the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is involved, this time DPA
Mark Cipolla who during one of the once infamous Huckleberry’s Coffee Klatches
Cipolla supposedly brought up issues regarding Lydia Taylor’s conduct during
the former Officer Gordon Ennis Rape Case, and from those issues brought up by
Cipolla Lt. Dave Staben who was present at the Coffee Klatch initiated an IA
Case against Lydia Taylor.
Since Mayor Condon and Chief Meidl
are doing everything they can to withhold and delay a number of Public Records
Requests I have made which reflect directly on the how SPD is being run, I
wonder how long it will take for a response to this one.
Some people are speculating that many
of my requests won’t be filled until after the November election for Mayor
including the “horrific” Lesser Body Worn Camera Video, much like Mayor Condon
did with records associated with the Cotton/Straub Affair.
Politicians make all kinds of
promises they don’t keep, like the promise Condon made to properly fund the
Clerks’ Office after the settlement of my PRR Lawsuit against Condon and the
Since whomever becomes the new Mayor
of the City of Spokane will be directly responsible or cleaning up the
continuing problems with SPD as well as the continuing problems with not
properly funding transparency and Police Oversight I find it real odd that neither
Stuckart or Woodward seem to be interested in answering any direct questions
relating to solutions and clean-up. Of course, even though the problems are
well documented including this recent case involving Officer Kristopher
Henderson, but perhaps Stuckart and Woodward don’t think there are any
The answer of course is absolutely not without legitimate
The Otto Zehm case pretty well established you can’t, and
the documents in that case reflect that SPD Hero Karl Thompson was provided information
about the investigations by SPD Guild Members and others every step of the way.
Evidence that the same standards from the time of the Karl
Thompson case continue right up to present continue to mount and once again
some of the Golden Boys/Girls are being protected by SPD Command Staff.
Mayor Condon, Teresa Sanders, Chief Craig Meidl, Director
Jacqui MacConnell, and the Police Guild’s efforts to hide the truth from,
mitigate the limited powers of, and intimidate the OPO and the OPOC are well
documented, and here is some more evidence which reflects how things are done
with SPD HR/IA Investigations.
On January 3, 2019 I submitted a Public Records Request in
which I requested all documents relating to the Human Resources Complaint made
by Detective Lonnie Tofsrud against Lt. Dave Staben. On April 5, 2019 I
received an installment of records which included this.
After reading the above document (you do have to read this
stuff) it became obvious to me that there was a second interview with SPD Crime
Analyst Tom Michaud and that Lt. Staben had been made aware of at least some of
the details of Michaud’s first interview with HR Investigator Jennifer Jackson
and Director Jacqui MacConnell on August 8, 2018, so I did some of that
investigative reporting stuff.
On May 10, 2019 I received an installment of records which included the recorded statements of Officers Vigesaa, Turman, Stevens, Singley, Preuninger, Barrington, and Ombuds Logue.
On July 25, 2019 I received another installment which
included the recorded statements of Michaud, Officers Arleth, Staben and Wendt
as well as former SPD Officer Hensley.
After listening to the Michaud recording it became quite
clear exactly why Lt. Staben was very concerned about Michaud’s first HR/IA
statement as it very clearly supported Tofsrud’s complaint against Staben.
You can listen to the August 8, 2018 Michaud HR Statement
Interestingly for some reason the City Clerk’s Office wasn’t originally aware of the second Michaud interview and it wasn’t immediately provided to them by HR or SPD until it became apparent the records exist. Perhaps when you listen to the actual recording of the second interview linked below you will understand why some people, not the Clerk’s Office, wouldn’t want it made Public.
The important thing to remember if you listen to the above
recording is that Jacqui MacConnell SPD’s Director of Strategic Initiatives who
oversees Internal Affairs conducted the second Tom Michaud interview along with
HR Investigator Jennifer Jackson, and had to have know full well what Michaud
was expressing in the interview were clear violations on the part of Lt. Staben,
yet no action was taken against Lt. Staben.
There is considerably more to this story, but clearly when you have an investigative process that allows confidential HR/IA investigative information to be shared with the individual who was the target of the complaint and that individual, in this case Lt. Staben, is allowed to confront witnesses in an ongoing investigation, the investigation cannot be trusted.
I’m trying to help the Guild out here because for some
reason in their quest to identify my sources and at the same time try to
intimidate people they left a key player out of their PRR…Council Member Mike
Holy crap guys and gals if your going to do it do it
So, in order to help the Guild out I submitted my own PRR
just like the Guild’s but included Mike Fagan so we can all have the facts. Why
the Guild would exclude Mr. Fagan from their PRR may or may not be a mystery depending
on his communications with Guild President Kris Honaker, Vice President Tim
Schwering, other Guild members, Craig Meidl, and SPD Command Staff… we shall
see, but it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
I hate to add work to an underpaid, purposefully
understaffed busy City Clerk’s Office but just adding Mike Fagan to the request
shouldn’t be that big of a burden. Keep in mind that my request as well as the
Guild’s request won’t be filled for several months, and unless Chief Meidl can
find some way to continue to push back the release of the Lesser Body Worn
Camera Video neither I nor the Guild will get a response until well after the
This Public Records Request by the Spokane Police Guild
should give everyone a pretty good idea of the lengths the Guild is willing to
go to in order to protect Dan and Scott Lesser.
The question is was the PRR intended to intimidate, try and
establish wrongdoing on the part of elected officials, and the OPO, or is it a
legitimated effort to investigate and get ready to defend the Lessers in the
unlikely event that they will receive discipline from Mayor Condon and Chief Meidl.