Posts tagged: Spokane Police Ombudsman
Spokane’s first police ombudsman will keep his job for another year.
Mayor David Condon decided in August not to renew Ombudsman Tim Burns’ three-year contract. The move angered some City Council members, who questioned why Condon was willing to let the city go without an ombudsman even as the city works through recent scandals involving police misconduct.
Condon argued that it didn’t make sense to rehire Burns for three more years until the city’s Use of Force Commission makes its final recommendation about a new oversight model. The city’s ombudsman law only allowed for three-year terms.
After outcry from the City Council, however, Condon soon reversed course, offering to let Burns stay until the end of the year, and the council changed the law to allow flexibility in the length of ombudsman’s tenure.
On Monday, the City Council approved unanimously a deal between Condon and Burns that allows Burns to continue leading the city’s police oversight program until Aug. 2.
Tonight's Spokane City Council meeting was halted for about three minutes after a few protesters stood in the audience and initially refused to sit or leave the room.
The protesters were from Sensible Washington, a group that supports marijuana legalization. They 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.”
When they refused to comply Shogan asked Police Detective Ben Estes to remove them and the meeting stopped.
Referring to the money the city spends for a police ombudsman's office, Aubertin told the crowd, “Fiscal responsibility would be nice, as well.”
Shogan responded: “I don't know what the hell you're talking about, lady, but that's fine.”
After talking with the protesters for a couple minutes, Estes persuaded them to leave and he escorted them outside the council chambers peacefully. About ten people from Sensible Washington stayed in the lobby of the chambers for most the rest of the meeting.
Tim Loe, who also was escorted from the meeting, said he was protesting because he has been repeatedly harassed by police as a result of his use of medical marijuana.
At one point during his negotiations with the protesters, Estes told Aubertin that signs were not permitted in the hearing.
Aubertin claimed that she wasn't holding protest signs: “These are art projects,” she said.
Shogan overheard the conversation.
“Yeah, and I'm Leonardo da Vinci,” he said.
Burns' report is available here.