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Doug Clark: Latest scandal is deja blue

What? Not another Spokane Police Department scandal.

It’s deja blue all over again.

Our latest episode involves an SPD sergeant, Bradley N. Thoma. The veteran officer was arrested last week for drunken driving. Hit-and-run charges may follow.

Thoma has been put on a paid administrative leave, which is a sweet deal considering that Thoma rakes in $91K and change a year.

Oh, well. Look at the bright side.

No innocent mentally ill janitors died after being clubbed, shocked and hogtied by Genghis Cop.

No off-duty gunplay was involved as in Jay Olsen’s boozy rundown and shooting of Shonto Pete.

No down and handcuffed suspects were kicked in the face. Allegedly.

From what I gather reading the paper, Thoma was “cited and released for misdemeanor DUI following a hit-and-run crash” that occurred Wednesday on the Newport Highway and …

Oh, brother. I’ve written so many columns about local cops acting out that I think I can now predict how the ensuing Thoma case will unfold. Such as:

• Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks holds a press conference to claim Thoma acted in self-defense. He only plowed into the stopped Ford Ranger after the vehicle’s plastic taillights lunged at him.

• Asked where he got his information, Nicks said he can’t remember, but it might have appeared on a blog.

• Assistant Spokane City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi interrupts a prepping and debriefing session with Thoma to vehemently deny he’s been prepping and debriefing the accused officer.

• Hoping to raise funds for Thoma’s legal bills, Spokane Police Guild members offer “Team Thoma” shot glasses to the public for $20 each.

• I head to the Cue11 studios with Joe Brasch to record a parody song about the Thoma case.

• After much giggling we settle on “Brad to the Bone”

• A reporter asks Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker what he thinks of his chances of convicting Thoma. Tucker shows the reporter his new 9-iron.

• A turning point in the Thoma trial comes on day two. The defense calls in a highway department official to analyze traffic patterns at the intersection of the Newport Highway and Farwell Road •Six hours later, the judge and all jurors are sound asleep.

• Thoma is cleared on all charges on day three. Police officers packing the courtroom jump out of their seats at the verdict and pump their fists and begin performing a spirited rendition of YMCA.

• Several hours later, a forlorn-looking Spokane police chief is spotted speeding out town with suitcases piled in her backseat and a U-Haul trailer hitched to her car.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at