May 24, 2009

Spokane police earn praise from city critic

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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A fixture of Spokane City Council meetings and frequent critic of city government praised police officers Sunday afternoon after he was robbed and the suspects were apprehended.

Hank Valder, who often testifies at the council’s Monday meetings, was attacked just outside the Divine’s 76 station at Second Avenue and Walnut Street about 2:10 p.m.

Valder said a shirtless man confronted him and stole his backpack. In the meantime, a Divine’s clerk ran out to help Valder, and was punched in the shoulder by the man’s accomplice.

Senior Police Officer Paul Watson said the man who confronted Valder “appeared to be intoxicated.”

The clerk, Bryan Husband, said he went back inside to call police. While on the phone, the robber followed him, tried to pull a gun from a back pocket and warned him not to finish the call.

“He goes, ‘I’ll be back to shoot you later,’ ” Husband said.

Valder and Husband said the two men fled on foot west along Second Avenue.

Police searched the area and soon apprehended Michael D. Templet a few blocks away, said Spokane Police Officer Tim Moses. Valder said that a few minutes later he phoned 911 after seeing the accomplice outside the Browne’s Addition Rosauers store. Police arrested the man and identified him as Jason J. Sorensen, 27.

“They were good cops,” Valder said. “It was a good job.”

Templet was booked in the Spokane County Jail on charges of second-degree robbery, harassment and possession of a controlled substance. Sorensen was booked on second-degree robbery.

Police were unable to recover Valder’s backpack.

Valder, a downtown resident who has been homeless, frequently talks to the City Council on issues related to homelessness and poverty. He’s often reprimanded by City Council President Joe Shogan for wearing a hat when approaching to speak or for breaking Shogan’s time rules.

Jonathan Brunt can be reached at jonathanb@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5442.


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