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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Brad Thoma

Thoma sues city after settlement rejected

The fired police sergeant who was caught driving drunk and leaving the scene of a collision filed a lawsuit against the city on Tuesday for wrongfully firing him.

 Bob Dunn, the attorney representing fired Spokane police Sgt. Brad Thoma (pictured), said the suit is a response to the Spokane City Council’s unanimous vote on Monday rejecting a negotiated settlement.

The deal the council rejected would have given Thoma a demoted position as a detective, $275,000 in back pay and $15,000 for his attorney’s fees.

Read the rest of Jon Brunt's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 27: City Council rejects Thoma settlement

Jan. 8, 2011: Change in DUI law means Thoma can be rehired

Nov. 14, 2009: Thoma avoids prosecution for hit and run

Dorn gets device that led to Thoma’s lawsuit

State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn received an automatic 90-day driver’s license suspension when he pleaded guilty last month to drunken driving.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t drive.

The Associated Press reports that Dorn (left) is driving with an ignition interlock device - the same device Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick wouldn’t allow now former Sgt. Brad Thoma to use in his patrol car after a DUI arrest last fall. Thoma is suing the city of Spokane, alleging wrongful termination.

The 2008 Washington Legislature adjusted drunken driving laws beginning in January 2009 to allow all offenders to regain their driving privileges if they install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, instead of simply suspending their driving privileges for a period of time. The devices test a driver’s blood-alcohol level and prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.

Even first-time offenders who chose an intensive, five-year deferred prosecution program, like Thoma, must use one.The option also is available for DUI suspects facing license suspensions because they refused blood or breath tests, like Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Darin Schaum.

It’s unclear what that could mean for a Sheriff’s Office policy that calls for employees to be fired only after their second drunken driving offense. Kirkpatrick wouldn’t allow Thoma, a first-time offender, to use one because she doesn’t feel its appropriate for someone in law enforcement to drive with the device on their patrol car.

Past coverage Feb. 3: Ignition device law a test for agencies

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