October 7, 2010 in City

Woman shot by officer faces charges

Police identify suspect; infant in protective custody
By The Spokesman-Review
 

An unarmed pregnant woman shot during a drug raid in Spokane nearly two weeks ago faces felony crack cocaine charges under a police recommendation announced Wednesday.

Keamia D. Powell, 24, gave birth shortly after she was shot in the shoulder Sept. 24 at 1405 N. Lincoln St. Apt. 11, where she lives with her mother, Aletha A. Robinson, 41.

Investigators are recommending Powell and Robinson each be charged with felonies after detectives found crack cocaine in their apartment as part of an ongoing probe into drug dealing in the Moscow-Pullman area.

Robinson has refused to speak with reporters other than to say she’s been in contact with an attorney.

Members of the Quad Cities Drug Task Force were searching the apartment early Sept. 24 when Powell was shot in the shoulder area. Washington State Patrol Sgt. Lee Slemp, a 25-year veteran, said he accidentally fired his gun as Powell was trying to escape out a window.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation into the shooting, said the probe is ongoing.

Slemp said Powell, who was 39 weeks pregnant, was trying to swallow drugs as she was escaping. That allegation led social workers to take her baby boy, who was born the weekend after the shooting. Doctors became concerned about the baby’s health shortly after his birth, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators found crack cocaine, marijuana and hydrocodone in the apartment. No weapons were located.

Spokane police were familiar with the apartment. They arrested Powell’s aunt, Keyana L. Key, there on Nov. 20 after surveillance video at the downtown Spokane Transit Authority bus plaza showed her assaulting her 3-year-old son. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Members of the Spokane County gang task force participated in the raid.

“The crack cocaine was packaged in individual bundles for sale and had been thrown into the back of a closet,” according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. “Drug scales were found next to a baby bassinet in the room.”

Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers said the women have long been suspects in the distribution of large amounts of crack cocaine in the area.

Powell has previous convictions for residential burglary, third-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance.

The Spokane County Regional Drug Task Force took over the cocaine investigation after Powell was shot. Slemp is a member of the original investigative team.

Investigators are recommending Powell be charged with three felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance and a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. Robinson faces two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Powell has two other young children who were in Robinson’s custody, according to court records.

The state Department of Social and Health Services had objected to a judge’s decision to place the children with Robinson.

Documents included in the Superior Court case file show police arrested Robinson’s boyfriend on a state Department of Corrections warrant at the home in September 2009 and found cocaine and marijuana.

Police also found drugs in the apartment when they arrested Key in November.

Court documents say Robinson “has a lengthy CPS history, with five referrals of physical abuse and neglect spanning from 1996 to 2008.”

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