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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Colville Police Department

Rex Newport makes Alford plea

There were a few questions from readers about the article in today's Spokesman-Review reporting the guilty plea of Rex Newport, a Colville Police officer who had been accused of multiple sex crimes spanning a period from 2011 to 2013.

The Spokesman Review has obtained a copy of the pleading paperwork filed in Stevens County, which has been attached to this Sirens and Gavels blog post. The initials of victims and addresses have been redacted. No other changes have been made to the versions that appeared online.

Newport, 45, entered an Alford plea Tuesday, according to his statement made on page 16 of the attached document. The pleading means Newport admits the evidence against him may have convinced a jury to convict, though he continues to maintain his innocence.

According to court documents, Newport will have to surrender his badge and service weapon as a result of the felony conviction. He must also register as a sex offender with the state for a decade.

Wednesday's story indicated Newport faced a sentence of between 22 and 29 months. The pleading paperwork, which includes the terms of the deal, states prosecutors are recommending Newport serve his sentences concurrently for the five charges. That means the maximum amount of time he would spend in jail, if a judge accepts the plea, would be 22 months - the low end of the sentencing range. See page 13 of the attached document.

Finally, the Spokesman has reported Newport faces a civil case in which a pilot claims Newport used excessive force when detaining him during an arrest at a municipal air field in 2011. Newport and the City of Colville have denied the charges, according to court documents. The case is being heard in federal court and has a current trial date in September. There have been no new filings in that case since November.


Documents:

Colville officer under investigation for sexual misconduct

A Colville Police officer is on paid-administrative leave because of allegations of sexual misconduct, according to Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, who is investigating the matter.

Investigators began looking into the allegations against Officer Rex Newport earlier this month, but no criminal charges have been filed, Sheriff Kendle Allen said.

Newport has been with the Colville department for about 15 years.

In 1999, Newport was involved with an accident in his Colville patrol vehicle while responding to a burglary alarm at a police evidence-storage building, reports said. The alarm turned out to be false.

He destroyed a porch, fences, trees and a gas meter while avoiding a traffic collision, reports added. The damage was estimated to be about $4,000, according to Washington State Patrol’s investigation.

Dump truck joy ride strikes power lines

Police say a man stole a dump truck and took it on a drunken joy ride that destroyed light poles and power lines in the city of Colville.

Robert Gene Bankston Hartman, 28, told officers he didn't mean to knock down the lines when he stole the dump truck from a construction site and drove it through town. He said he'd had about 14 beers when police confronted him about 9:45 p.m. on July 23, but later told police he'd actually been drinking vodka.

Police had heard residents were trapped in their homes at South Wynne Street and West Columbia Avenue because of down power lines. They soon realized Hartman and the stolen dump truck were to blame. Hartman abandoned the truck at 1st Street and Railroad Street and ran, but an officer blocked his path with his police car.

About 1,400 people lost power for about two hours because of the melee. The area extended from Highway 395 at Pingston Creek to just south of Colville, from Valley Westside just east of Colville High School, police said.

One witness told police that Hartman was laughing while he was striking the power lines.

Hartman's blood alcohol level registered at .226 and .220. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Hartman is charged with first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and drunken driving.

No charges in fatal Colville cop shooting

A Colville police officer was justified when he shot and killed a 21-year-old car prowling suspect who investigators say was armed with a stolen gun last November, prosecutors recently concluded.

 Officer Dan Spring Spring feared for his life when Sean Bergstrasser (pictured) grabbed a stolen gun in a motel room Nov. 12, and his use of deadly force to stop the threat posed by Bergstrasser was legal, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen and Deputy Prosecutor Mathew Enzler concluded.

Andy Hydorn, president of the Colville Chamber of Commerce and owner of Benny’s Colville Inn, was in the motel room and watched Officer Dan Spring fire six shots at Bergstrasser after Bergstrasser picked up a firearm and pointed it toward the officer “as if to fire the weapon,” according to a report released Monday by the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Nov. 14: Man killed by Colville police a California native

Man, 21, shot to death by Colville police

A 21-year-old man shot to death by a Colville police officer late Saturday was raised by a computer analyst and an elementary school teacher in a small town near Bakersfield, Calif., before embracing what his father described as a “transient” lifestyle.

 Few details about the shooting death of Sean Joseph Bergstrasser have been released, including what prompted the officer to open fire.

Bergstrasser’s father, Mark Bergstrasser, a computer systems analyst who lives with his wife, a fifth-grade teacher, in Wasco, Calif., said he never knew their son to own a firearm.

“Sean has never owned a firearm,” he said. “Where the handgun actually came from is a question I have. I don’t know.”

Read my full story here.

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