Officer John Gately just called Friday afternoon to say that the Nov. 3 event “An Evening with Karl” F. Thompson Jr. has been canceled.
“It was never intended to offend anyone,” Gately said. “It's canceled.”
Most of the officers who belong to the Spokane Police Guild have been invited to attend “An Evening with Karl” at the home of an officer and her husband, who is also union vice president.
While the Nov. 3 event for former officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. is not union sanctioned, Assistant Chief Scott Stephens said he worries that the event may counter efforts to rebuild trust in the police department following the department’s handling of the investigation of the Otto Zehm confrontation and Thompson's conviction in federal court.
“Our goal is to have behavior consistent with enhancing and rebuilding public trust and confidence in the department,” Stephens said. The scheduled event “could potentially harm that. I would hope that officers would keep that goal in mind in all of their actions.”
Officer Kellee Gately is hosting the event with her husband, Officer John Gately, in their home. She said she obtained approval to hand out the fliers in the inter-departmental mail system. She said Thompson just recently celebrated a birthday, but did not elaborate on the purpose of the event.
Guild president Ernie Wuthrich said no union funds will be used for what he described essentially has a potluck.
“It’s a private deal, even though I believe every (Guild) member was invited,” said Wuthrich, who said he won't attend because of a scheduling conflict.
Asked if he was concerned about community reaction, he said, “I would hope that the community would remember that anybody convicted of a crime still has friends and family and people who care about them and want the best for them. You can’t eliminate the human factor in any of these things.”