Assault count filed as ex-jailer fights dismissal
A former Spokane County Jail deputy fighting his dismissal over use of force has been charged with misdemeanor assault in the same incident.
Wayne S. Green is accused of grabbing an inmate by the throat and pushing him in a Nov. 4, 2008, dispute that jail officials said Green provoked because of perceived disrespect.
Green was fired last summer; an arbitrator is reviewing his dismissal.
Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Brian O’Brien received the sheriff’s investigation a couple weeks ago after the internal review of Green’s dismissal was complete.
Green is accused of assaulting Daniel W. Clinger, 34, in the jail’s booking area just after Clinger was released from a holding cell.
“He went out of his way to start an argument,” according to court documents filed this week in Spokane County District Court. Green is to appear in court within the next two weeks on a fourth-degree assault charge.
Clinger was in jail on an assault charge after a bar fight and police chase. His father, former Spokane Fire Department Capt. Ron Clinger, was arrested with him.
According to an affidavit prepared by investigators, Clinger reportedly kicked his jail cell door because he needed his inhaler. Another deputy let Clinger out to use the inhaler, and Green called Clinger “Mr. Banging on the Cell Door.”
Green claims Clinger flipped him off, and at least two jail deputies said they saw Green grab Clinger by the throat, including Deputy David Pukitas.
“Pukitas will testify that Deputy Green’s actions were over the top and not necessary,” according to documents. “If Deputy Green had left Deputy (Shawn) Smith alone to deal with Clinger this would not have happened.”
Green told investigators he felt it wasn’t safe to have Clinger in the booking area after he flipped him off so he grabbed Clinger and tried leading him back to a holding cell. Green reportedly said “that this is a common occurrence in the jail and that he could not see why Clinger was complaining,” according to court documents.
The sheriff’s expert on the use of force, Detective Richard Gere, said “a reasonable deputy would have kept his composure after being flipped off and de-escalated the situation by ending the conversation.”
Clinger suffered minor bruising and small cuts.
Three months later, he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was credited for four months served in jail.
His father, a 27-year Fire Department veteran accused of driving his son from the fight and fleeing police, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors last summer and retired from the Fire Department the day he was to be demoted.
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