The city of Spokane will pay Assistant Chief Scott Stephens $190,000 to leave the department under a deal reached this week even though the judge who investigated alleged threats Stephens made against the department agreed that Stephens likely made comments that could result in discipline.
Stephens, who served for nine months as the interim police chief, was placed on paid leave in late December after he allegedly told a friend within the department that “he did not think anyone would blame him if he took action,” in the immediate aftermath of him being demoted, according to the two-page investigation into the incident.
That colleague perceived Stephens’ comments as a threat. Her name was not released in the report.
Bob Dunn, Stephens’ attorney, said Stephens committed no wrongdoing. Attempts made to reach him were unsuccessful Friday morning. Stephens filed a $750,000 claim with the city for violating his rights last week.
Mayor David Condon hired in March retired federal Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon, to investigate the allegations against Stephens. He will be paid up to $15,000 for his work.
“The chief and command staff reacted appropriately given the nature of the perceived threat. Stephens did then seek counseling and received clearance,” Hogan wrote in his report, which was released Friday afternoon. “The finder of fact believes that such statements were made; however, taken in the context of the events of the day and the colleague to whom Stephens was speaking, there is consideration that should be given, even though such statements are arguably actionable.”
Stephens served as interim chief for nine months last year until he was replaced by Frank Straub on Oct. 1. The alleged incident occurred soon after Stephens was informed that he would be demoted to captain, a position ranked below assistant chief and the newly created position of commander.
Dunn said in March that after Stephens was told about the demotion, Stephens had a private conversation with a friend who works within the department. “The story is that this friend went to (newly appointed Assistant Chief Craig) Meidl and Straub and indicated that Stephens was so distraught that he was going to go home and get his weapon,” Dunn said.
Dunn has alleged that Stephens’ colleague lied about what he told her.