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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Joe Shogan

Police pension group OKs hypnosis

A retired Spokane police officer will have his hypnosis weight-loss therapy paid for by city tax money.

Members of the Spokane Police Pension and Relief Board unanimously approved the unusual claim from board member Gary Gow at its meeting Thursday.

Gow, who retired from the Spokane Police Department in 1985 after 20 years of service, abstained from voting. He’s been a member of the pension board for 21 years.

Read the rest of my story here.

The story was posted on LawOfficer.com's Facebook page today. The comments are quite interesting.

Pot supporters halt City Council meeting

Supporters of marijuana legalization briefly halted last night's Spokane City Council meeting.

The protesters from Sensible Washington stood during the annual report to the council from Police Ombudsman Tim Burns, prompting City Council President Joe Shogan to order them to sit or leave. 

Rebeckah Aubertin, who said she is the Spokane recruiter for Sensible Washington, held two large signs.

One read: “Stop funding dirty cops.” Another said: “Prohibition hurts family.”

Jon Brunt has the full story at Spin Control.

Chief wants to shift focus in shootings

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said this week that she hopes to bring more public focus on the perception of officers involved in fatal shootings.

 ”We get so focused on whether a person is armed and is it a knife or whatever. We've got to change this focus. It's whatever the officer is faced with - is it life threatening to that officer?” Kirkpatrick said at a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee.” We need to continue to bring this forward, because officers do get killed when there was no gun.”

City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi said the media and public don't focus on that. 

“The public or the media will focus on, from the public's perspective, you know, what occurred,” Treppiedi said. “The law focuses not on what the public perceived or what the witnesses perceived or even what the shooting victim perceived. The law focuses on what the chief said, and that is what did the officer perceive?”

Treppiedi continued, “whereas a lot of the public's discussion comes from 'but witnesses said x and the editor says y.'”

The discussion took place Monday as Lt. Craig Meidl presented to committee members internal affairs investigation data that included the number of officer-involved shootings since 2006 (three in 2010, two in 2009, zero in 2008, four in 2007 and zero in 2006.)

Committee member and City Councilman Bob Apple asked if the department was revamping policies and questioned shooting suspects who are armed with knives and not guns.

Kirkpatrick said she once had an officer shot in the line of duty with his own weapon.

“No one was armed when he showed up, but…he lost the wrestling match and the guy grabbed his gun and shot and killed him,” Kirkpatrick said.

 She emphasized that the threat of grievous bodily injury - one justification for the use of deadly force - can differ from situation to situation.

“What is grievous bodily injury is going to be very unique in that particular event that that officer is faced with,” Kirkpatrick said.

City Council President Joe Shogan said situations could end differently if police were called sooner. He referred to the Dec. 4 shooting of Jeremy Groom by police outside a Hillyard tavern.

Groom was shot as he pointed a gun at a man who turned out to be one of his best friends. His friends say Groom never would have shot the man and say officers didn't give him time to drop the gun.

The dispute began inside the tavern. Shogan said options seemed limited by the time police were called.

“I would hope that citizens would say 'OK if we're going to involve the police, let's involve them sooner than later,” Shogan said. “Don't wait until this gets to be a flash point and then hope that there are a lot of options, which, at that point, I don't think there are.”

Elton gets credit for time served in jail

A man convicted of harassing the Spokane city council president and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review was sentenced today to credit for time already served in jail. 

David H. Elton, 44, will be on unsupervised probation for two years. He was sentenced to a year in jail with 351 days suspended. Elton already spent two weeks in jail after his arrest in February 2009.

A jury convicted him of misdemeanor harassment against Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. chairwoman Betsy Cowles for emails sent in December 2008 and February 2009.

Prosecutors had sought felony convictions against Elton for threats to kill, but the jury ruled the victims did not reasonably fear for their lives.

A third charge alleging Elton harassed his ex-wife has been dismissed.

This morning, Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy asked Judge Maryann Moreno to prohibit Elton from consuming alcohol while on probation, but the judge declined, saying there was no way to enforce the requirement.

Past coverage:

Oct. 8: Jury convicts Elton of 2 misdemeanors

Oct. 6: Shogan, Cowles testify against Elton

Oct. 5: Elton on trial for Shogan, Cowles threats

Shogan, Cowles testify against Elton

According to court testimony Tuesday, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan sent a mass email this week describing his near-death experiences at war.

“These look like, for lack of a better word, scary experiences,” said Mark Hodgson, lawyer for David Elton, who’s on trial for felony harassment against Shogan and Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles. “And David Elton didn’t make the list?”

“No,” Shogan replied. He then asked if he could explain why he was looking to rooftops after learning of threats from Elton in February 2009. Hodgson replied that he couldn’t.

“Oh? OK,” Shogan said huffily. A male juror smiled at the exchange.

Shogan later got a chance to explain his fixation on rooftops - saying he’d heard that “Mr. Elton considered himself a superb marksmen.”

The testimony came Tuesday afternoon, the first day of a trial that’s expected to end tomorrow morning. Shogan, city council president for five years, was the last witness to take the stand Tuesday. Read my full story on the opening day here. 

Here are a few additional tidbits:

Shogan recalled a confrontation with Elton at City Hall on Election night 2007. Elton ended his public comment by saying “May I say Mayor Vernor?” which violated council rules on political speech because Verner hadn’t yet been elected. Shogan banged his gavel and told Elton he was out of order, then was confronted by Elton outside council chambers.

“We talked really toe-to-toe together,” Shogan said. “He told me he didn’t like the way I run the meetings. I told him I didn’t like that he couldn’t follow instructions.”

Shogan said he feared for his life when he learned from Spokesman-Review blog contributor John Olsen that Elton had threatened Shogan.

“When I saw the line about decapitation, I really wondered whether there was someone else out there who sort of did this work for him,” Shogan said, referring to December 2008 email in which Elton said he would “enjoy the decapitation of Joey boy.”

Olsen had called Elton after receiving an email in February 2009 in which Elton listed seven poeple, including Betsy Cowles, he wanted to kill. Shogan was not mentioned until Olsen called Elton to discuss the email. The administrators of the Community Comment blog, Dave Laird also received the email and notified the Spokesman-Review.

 Hodgson emphasized the fact that neither email was sent directly to Shogan or Cowles, and that neither directly threatened to kill. In the February 2009 email, Elton writes, “That is the crux of the problem, I want to murder the following people,” and lists seven names, including Cowles and her brother, S-R Publisher Stacey Cowles.

“Does Mr. Elton say he will murder the following people?” Hodgson asked.

“No, he just says he wants to,” Olsen said.

In the phone call, Olsen said Elton never said he was going to kill Cowles or Shogan, nor did he saw he was going to harm them. He just wouldn’t agree to contact Olsen if decided to.

“I was still concerned,” Olsen said.

Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy asked Olsen if Elton can be “cunning.”

“Mr Elton has led me to believe that he could subvert the truth and pull things off in a wily way if that’s what you’re asking,” Olsen replied.

Elton on trial for Shogan, Cowles threats

Trial begins today in the case of a Spokane man accused of threatening to kill the Spokane City Council president and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review. 

David H. Elton, 44, is charged with two counts of felony harassment - threats to kill in connection with e-mails sent to Joe Shogan and Betsy Cowles in early 2009. UPDATE AFTER TODAY’S TESTIMONY: Elton did not send the messages directly to the two, rather they learned of the messages through concerned citizens.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno . A jury of 12 Spokane County residents, with two alternates, was selected Monday.

Elton, who was arrested Feb. 10, 2009, has said the emails were a joke and that he would never hurt anyone. Elton also was suspected of threatening to kill Cowles’ brother, Spokesman-Review Publisher Stacey Cowles, but the publisher declined to pursue charges.  (Stacey Cowles and Betsy Cowles are pictured.)

Spokane police Detective Corey Turman said in January that Elton said he wanted the Cowles family to sue him so he could use the evidence process to obtain company records. 

But Elton, who described himself as a “hyperactive political activist,” claimed “he was not willing to commit a crime just to get them in court,” Turman said.

Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy has read portions of the e-mails naming Shogan (left) and Cowles at pre-trial hearings. They discuss Elton’s knowledge of high-powered rifles and his intended victim’s schedules, Nagy said. Elton also advises that getting him locked up won’t do any good because he’ll tell experts everything they want to hear, then cause mass destruction when he’s released, Nagy said at a past court hearing.

The case has gone through seven judges and at least one defense lawyer. Elton faces a second trial on a charge that he threatened to kill his ex-wife, Robin Stewart.

In June, Moreno ordered Elton to undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial. She cleared him for trial in August.

Betsy Cowles and Shogan are expected to testify. Nagy said he expects to wrap up his side of the case by Wednesday. Elton is represented by Mark Hodgson.

Previous coverage:

June 16: Candidate will undergo mental evaluation

April 15: Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

April 3: Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Jan. 21: Trial set for Elton on threat charges

Feb. 12, 2009: ‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

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