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In brief: Ex-officer’s claim rejected by judge

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014

Former Spokane police Sgt. Brad Thoma’s claim that City Hall violated discrimination laws by failing to accommodate his alcoholism has been dismissed.

However, two other complaints Thoma lodged against the city and former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick in his civil suit, including an allegation that his firing was retaliatory, were left intact by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Edward Shea’s ruling Monday pending further arguments over whether they, too, should be dismissed.

Thoma was fired after rear-ending a car and fleeing the scene while driving drunk off-duty in 2009. He accepted a deferred prosecution deal to avoid conviction on the drunken driving charge but the city refused to waive a requirement that he only drive vehicles equipped with breathalyzer ignition locks, instead offering him a job that didn’t require him to drive while on duty.

Spokane Mayor David Condon later negotiated a proposed out-of-court settlement that would have returned Thoma to the police force as a detective and paid him $275,000 in back pay, but the City Council unanimously rejected the plan.

Officers involved in gunfight identified

The names of the 12 police officers who exchanged gunfire with suspect Marcus A. Rael on Interstate 90 on June 22 have been identified.

The officers remain on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. Rael is being held at the Kootenai County Jail on $1 million bond.

Police have said that Coeur d’Alene police officers tried to pull Rael over on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, but he fled. Rael stopped on I-90 at the Spokane Street exit in Post Falls and allegedly exchanged gunfire with officers from four agencies.

The officers and deputies who fired shots are: from the Idaho State Police, Cpl. Joshua Kagarice; from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Paul Mead and Deputy Erik Hedlund; from the Post Falls Police Department, Senior Officer Brett Chapman, Officer Jason Mealer and Senior Officer Alexander Sporleder; and from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, officers August Wessel, Joshua Schneider, Dustin Taylor, Nate Petersen, Jordan Noble and Andy Tenney.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, which is in charge of providing information during the investigation, released only the officers’ last names and first initials and declined to provide first names. Those were determined through newspaper staff research.

Most public pools will be open today

Most public pools across the Inland Northwest will be open today.

Spokane Valley’s three municipal pools offer open swim sessions from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $1 per person, but on Saturday and Sunday the city is letting each adult swimmer bring a child under 12 for free. Kids under 5 are always free with a paying adult. Valley pools are located at 906 N. Park Road, 11123 E. Mission Ave. and 13525 E. 24th Ave.

The city of Spokane’s six aquatic centers are keeping regular hours during the holiday as well. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children and those under 3 are free. Spokane’s municipal pools are located at 1900 W. Mission Ave., 600 W. 29th Ave., 2600 E. Columbia Ave., 1300 E. 5th Ave., 2005 W. Wellesley Ave. and 1300 E. Mission Ave. The city also has free splash pads in several parks.

Spokane County’s two aquatic centers will be open as well. They are located at 18120 N. Hatch Road in Colbert and 3724 E. 61st Ave. in Spokane. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children. On Saturday, the film “Despicable Me 2” will be shown at dusk at both county aquatic centers. The county also has a swim beach at Liberty Lake Regional Park, 3707 S. Zephyr Road, where admission is $2 for everyone over 6 years of age.

Deer Park woman faces fraud charges

An investigation by the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner alleges that a Deer Park woman falsely filed 18 medical claims in 2011.

Hollyanne E. Davis, 31, allegedly submitted 18 fraudulent claims for medical costs under an Aflac policy. The claims were for Davis and her three children, ranging in age from 2 to 18.

In one instance Davis told Aflac that her 18-year-old daughter was treated at Deer Park Family Clinic for car accident injuries on Oct. 25, 2011. Clinic records showed that her daughter was not seen on that date and her last visit at the clinic was on June 22, 2011, according to court documents.

The 18 claims added up to $2,815 in benefits that were paid to Davis. She is facing a charge of second-degree theft.


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