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Posts tagged: Spokane Police

I Want the Same Rights as Spokane Police

So, the latest and oh so similar story (same ol' same ol') has come to Spokane AGAIN.   Thanks to Chelsea Bannach's article - once again I am amazed and angered that the City of Spokane has no spine!

Brad Thoma gets rewarded for acting badly - totally unprofessionally, totally contrary to the job description he failed to adhere to.  

How can a police officer break the law - whether or not he is on duty - and, after he is justifiably fired, get back pay???  This is outrageous!  Why can't city officials, including the new mayor, get a grip!  Enough of this!  

Clean up on aisles 78 through 159.  


Strike One-Half

Hallelujah!  No taser or gun was fired!  

I am pleasantly surprised that, in a struggle with a combatant citizen, the Spokane police officers were able to subdue him without firing their guns or using their tasers - and in this case, it would probably have been justified.  Read about it at KREM.  My philosophy regarding police action has always been that their training should (and does) involve resolving conflicts through a process that avoids at all possible the use of deadly force.  And I consider tasers to be deadly force.  In this case, the officers faced continuous attacks from the resident.


Spokane Police-involved shooting at the Special K Tavern…

Good morning, Netizens…

There has been a police-involved shooting at the Special K Tavern and Eatery on the corner of Market and and Garland in Hillyard at 9:34 PM last night. The police investigation resulted in Market being closed both north and south of Garland and Garland east of Market. Although details are still very sketchy at this hour, initial reports indicate there was a fight taking place outside the tavern, with one of the subjects being armed.

Police confronted the man with the gun and that is when he was shot.

There are several other police reports of criminal activities at the Special  K Tavern which can be found at

The police report states in part:

“We have been working the Special K tavern all week with several CFS have resulted in numerous fights both inside and out. There was a double stabbing on our days off there. Gang associates have the majority foot hold there and are mixed in with a few hard core criminals. All reports have been forwarded to liquor control board. ”

I would expect that by later on this morning more information will be forthcoming from the police department.


When can you judge a man?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

You probably should read Shawn Vestal’s piece on the police-involved shooting at Northwest Boulevard and Monroe which is to gain a different view of the perennial the police versus us contention that always seems to be present in our discourse. Then, read the story about three police officers who, in my opinion, went beyond the call of duty early this morning to rescue a suicidal man who wanted to jump off the Maple Street Bridge here

I just got off the phone with Shawn and in retrospect, I cannot help but remember one of the oldest lessons I learned as a young man growing up on my own in a harsh world. You cannot, history has taught me, judge a man until you have walked in his shoes.

I have never shot at a person. Had I done so, through years of having maintained good marksmanship through constant practice, I am relatively certain I would hit my target and thus take a human life, something I also am completely opposed to ever doing. But if it ever became necessary for me to do so to protect an innocent life, I could do so without a second’s thought.

However, to routinely strap on a weapon and be emotionally prepared to do that every day, to subconsciously keep in mind I might not be coming home that night because of a mentally-ill man with a shotgun, NO WAY. I reserve my deepest respect for those who can and do.


Otto Zehm vindicated at last?

Good morning, Netizens…

First, before I revisit the sordid tale of how Otto Zehm was killed by the Spokane Police Department, I’m going to point you in a direction which I feel everyone needs to read. First, browse to and realizing that it is a large PDF document and because it will take a considerable amount of time to digest, brace yourself and download the PDF file to your computer.

While you are at it, you might also read Thomas Clouse’s excellent article in the Spokesman relating to what we, prior to this time, have suspected but lacking evidence, could never prove. Browse to and take out your notebooks. There is a lot to be digested here.

Karl Thompson notwithstanding, there are a well-known cast of miscreants in the story listed above and especially in the PDF file. There are allegations of trickery, deception, outright lying and altered public records, and these are allegedly just the members of the Spokane Police Department. Then there is that despicable Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi, of whom it is alleged he directly ignored repeated attempts to obtain public records and perhaps may have even conspired with others to thwart the federal grand jury investigation. Read the PDF. It gets worse than that.

According to preliminary findings, there was no allegations of aggressive behavior shown by Otto Zehm against police. However, there is ample proof on the Zip Trip videotapes that police beat the crap out of Otto Zehm while he attempted to protect his head and face from repeated blows with a 2 liter Pepsi bottle. All he wanted was a candy bar and a bottle of pop. Instead he ended up dead.

Kudos to Mr. Clouse for going with this controversial story and to Jeanie for advising me while I was away at work. This all makes me even more hungry for the truth once the Grand Jury returns with an opinion.

Rest in Peace, Otto. At least., based upon the information we now have, you might actually have a chance at the justice you so richly deserve.


Mayor states Budget will result in cutbacks.

Good evening, Netizens…

It seems quite typical that anytime you have the Prosecutors, Fire Department and Police Guild involved in any public issue, you nearly always end up with facts that do not match. Mayor Mary Verner doesn’t seem to get her figures quite right, either.

Verner and the City Council agreed earlier this year that they would push for half the $7 million deficit to come through union concessions and that if unions didn’t choose to participate, unions that didn’t agree to cuts would face job loses equal to the amount demanded through concessions.

In her speech made before the City Council Monday, she stated that 22 police jobs would be eliminated from the City Budget in 2010 due to budgetary constraints. The multi-million dollar budget shortfall has been discussed both in and out of public meetings for several months, but to date, no one from the Guild has negotiated a solution that would avert personnel cutbacks.

When you begin looking closely at the figure of 22 police officers being laid off due to the budget cutbacks, Police Guild President Ernie Wuthrich says 19 of the 22 positions on the chopping block are already empty because most were left open after retirements. Therefore, only three current officers could be laid off. Why would Mary Verner omit that important detail, of 22 versus 3 officers laid off?

After the meeting Verner stated to various members of the news media that she was not ruling out a last-minute concession by the union, before she presents her budget to the City Council November 2.

That doesn’t sound very optimistic to me. In fact, I have a fairly difficult time being optimistic about the Police Guild. They seem like part of the problem, not part of the cure, regardless of the issues involved.

Portions from KREM-TV


Who is lying?

Good morning, Netizens…

I would have commented on the trial and acquittal of Rob Boothe yesterday, and how the Wall of Blue filled the court room and tastelessly applauded his acquittal after the jury had left the room, but to be frank, someone is lying, and I hate it when that happens. It simply diminishes my respect for the police in Spokane. It makes me contemptuous and quite fearful of their virtually unlimited authority, because by not telling the absolute truth, they are unworthy of wearing the badge.

We have two sworn officers of the law, Officers Erin Blessing and Shaidon Storch, who testified during the trial that they witnessed Boothe kick John Luna in the face while he was handcuffed in custody, supine upon the ground. Both Blessing and Storch were close enough to Boothe and the suspect, they reasonably would have have had a good view of things. John Luna said someone kicked him in the face but he couldn’t see who it was.

It takes a lot of guts for a police officer to testify against another police officer. There is an unwritten code among police officers that one does not contradict their fellow officers. One does not testify against them, even if what is being stated is the truth. This is why the Wall of Blue is so corrupt; it is historically difficult to get the truth when a police officer is involved in the commission of a crime.

Then, on the other hand, we had several other officers who testified they saw nothing of the kind, that Boothe did not kick the suspect in the face.

Someone is lying. Who?

Having been acquitted of kicking John Luna, the case of choir boy Rob Boothe is over, and he will slip into anonymity behind the Wall of Blue once again. He still faces an Internal Affairs investigation, and perhaps even the wrath of Chief Ann Kirkpatrick. I do not believe for a moment that Chief Kirkpatrick condones nor would willingly stand by when officers are lying, regardless of rank.

It is time to clean the house, to tear down the Wall of Blue. It is time, once again, for the unexpurgated, untarnished truth to come forth, and public disclosure take place lest my contempt and the contempt of every citizen in Spokane for the Police Department continues to grow unabated.


Why I did not attend Friday evening’s show…

Good evening, Netizens…

Thus far, I know of only one of the purported half-dozen people who attended last night’s first showing of the Police Ombudsman candidates, and the comments of this person regarding the process were not all that complimentary either. In fact, I haven’t heard from one person who was astronomically wowed by the first meeting. Although, as the Spokesman-Review has noted in a piece about the Ombudsman introductions here, the number of people who attended the protest regarding the Ombudsman role vastly out-numbered those who attended the 5:00 PM meet-and-greet session.

Why didn’t I attend?

One: I do not believe for a moment that an Ombudsman without any independent investigative authority over Police or their Guild is capable of doing their job. Barring the ability to investigate police, what good is the Ombudsman’s office to begin with? I have seen first-hand and read accounts where a vibrant, active Ombudsman, armed with the right to investigate charges against police, would be an invaluable asset to our community. However, without that right by law, my prediction is that an Ombudsman without investigative authority will result in the same runaround and half-truths that take place already.

Two: Planning a public meeting of this type at 5:00 PM on a Friday night virtually guarantees that few, if any people will bother to show up. Furthermore the lack of planning shows disdain for the common person who has to work for a living, make dinner and take care of their families, just the sort of grandstanding I have come to associate with Queen Mary Verner, Mayor of Spokane.

With the people already distrustful of the process by which the Office of the Ombudsman was created, and the apparent lack of trust they have in the Police Department, Spokane needs a more generic overhaul beginning at the top of the administrative towers of power.


Grant Money available to SPD…

Good evening, Netizens…

The Spokane Police Department is about to garner some fairly substantial grant money, and tonight we’re going to help them spend it. That isn’t officially what is expected to happen. In fact, I can hear the sounds of machinations taking place at the highest levels of the SPD on what complies with the terms of the grant, and how best to portray the need.

The money, part of the economic stimulus package, was added to an existing program known as the Edward Byrne Justice Assistant Grants, designed to get more police on the street, more training and equipment to agencies, and more help for crime victims, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said.

The White House has promised to review all requests and approve or reject them within two weeks, a Cantwell spokeswoman said.

The program divides the money between states and local governments. Under its formula, the city of Spokane could request more than $824,000,

No, this is about law enforcement, enforcing the laws of the State of Washington fairly and decently, something that seems to have fallen on hard ears in the last few years.

One priority: fix the incongruous public release of crimes that is released to the news media to where ordinary citizens can read it. Most of the police activity logs are worthless, at least to those unfamiliar with Police jargon. Plus half the time, the actual address or location of where the crimes took place are never published. Unless it happens to be a really big crime, the criminal reports, as seen in the Spokesman-Review, are not worth boiling in linseed oil. Fix it!

Create more police on patrol; less cops behind desks in City Hall. Some of the new technology in police cars is designed to reduce the amount of time police otherwise spend filing their reports. Is it truthful that these reports are still not being filed online? I want an Internet Tsar for the Spokane Police Department, someone who will help streamline the police and bring them into a new awareness of and full use of the Internet, making certain no cops are looking at indecent sites online.

Make the faces of the police as we know them to be more human, less like automatons programmed to suspect everyone in sight. Stop incidents such as the murder of Otto Zehm before they ever get started. We trust them. When will they learn to trust most “ordinary” citizens?

There undoubtedly are others. Feel free to contribute.


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