October 15, 2012 in City

City apologizes to fired detective

By The Spokesman-Review
 

City leaders have apologized to a police detective fired last year for what officials described as a “troubled work history.”

The Spokane City Council voted 5-1 on Monday to approve a $350,000 settlement with the Detective Jeff Harvey, who was rehired earlier this year.

The settlement stipulates that Harvey will not be disciplined for the episode that led to his termination.

Harvey argued that then-Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired him in retaliation for his leadership of the Spokane Police Guild. But city officials at the time said the last straw was an alleged confrontation he had with a state Fish and Wildlife officer who had pulled him over on suspicion of violating hunting laws.

The decision not to discipline Harvey and the apology were kept secret from the public until after the vote.

“The city states its regret for any harm that may have occurred to Detective Harvey’s reputation as a result of his termination from employment, as well as any negative effect that Detective Harvey’s family may have suffered as a result of Detective Harvey’s termination,” said a statement released after the vote.

Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin cast the lone vote against the settlement. Councilwoman Amber Waldref was absent.

“I just believe that we should have stood behind Chief Kirkpatrick,” McLaughlin said. “I personally don’t believe that retaliation had anything to do with Harvey’s termination. After all, that termination letter had been vetted by several of our previous mayor’s administrative staff and signed by more than just the chief.”

No other council member commented on the case during the meeting. Council members approached after the meeting said that they were not allowed to talk about the settlement.

City Attorney Nancy Isserlis said the settlement was mediated by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon, who also mediated the city’s settlement in May with the family of Otto Zehm.

Officials said Harvey’s deal prevented some details from being being released until after the City Council vote.

Harvey was charged with obstruction for his interaction with the game officer during the stop in January, 2011. A jury couldn’t reach agreement. Prosecutors declined to retry the case.


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