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Breean Beggs picked to represent ombudsman commission

A local attorney who has pushed city leaders for stronger police oversight has been selected to represent Spokane’s new ombudsman commission.

Breean Beggs, who lost a bid for Spokane County prosecutor in November, was selected by the commission to provide it legal advice in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, said commission chairwoman Rachel Dolezal.

Beggs was selected over former Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession and Stanley Schwartz, who has represented many local governments.

Dolezal said the commission was impressed by all the finalists, but Beggs’ knowledge on the topic – as well as his low bid – stood out.

“We felt like he had so much homework already done and his level of readiness was superior,” Dolezal said.

Beggs, a partner at Paukert & Troppmann, said he submitted a proposal to charge $195 an hour.

“I did it because it’s for the public and it’s something I care about,” he said.

As the ombudsman commission’s representative, Beggs said he won’t be able to have clients who sue the city, and he will avoid conflicts of interest. Beggs represented the Otto Zehm family in a lawsuit against Spokane after Zehm died after a police confrontation in 2006. During his work on the case, Beggs pushed city officials to create the ombudsman position and, later, to strengthen it.

“I believe that we’re close to a new era of positive police and civilian relations,” Beggs said.

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