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Troopers in Chism case not punished

The two Washington State Patrol troopers whose botched child pornography investigation cost taxpayers $2.4 million have been transferred off a sex crimes unit but have not faced any discipline for providing false information to a judge.

WSP Sgt. John Sager and Trooper Rachel Gardner are back on patrol and will not be placed on what’s known as a “Brady” list for officers known to have lied on the job, WSP spokesman Bob Calkins said.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

WSP settles Chism lawsuit for $2.4mil

A botched search for child pornography at the home of a Spokane firefighter will cost Washington taxpayers $2.4 million.

 The Washington State Patrol and the attorney for Spokane Fire Department Lt. Todd Chism have settled a lawsuit stemming from the January 2008 search of Chism’s home that found nothing.

Chism and his attorney, Bob Dunn, had filed a $10 million suit against the WSP, which arrested Chism on the charge of child pornography possession. However, the investigation soon revealed that purchase was traced to Chism’s wife’s stolen bank card and the Chisms had done nothing wrong.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 18: Jury clears Chism of all charges

April 23, 2010: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

Chism filed $10M claim as suit proceeds

A suspended Spokane firefighter’s wrongful arrest lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol over a botched child pornography investigation is headed to trial after an appellate court ruling Wednesday.

A three-person panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says false statements made by WSP investigators amounted to intentional and reckless conduct that infringed on Spokane fire Lt. Todd Chism’s civil rights. The two WSP employees named in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, Detective Rachel Gardner and Sgt. John Sager, shouldn’t be granted immunity because of their actions, the court ruled.

The ruling was issued the same day $10 million claim was filed against against the state of Washington alleging WSP Troopers Greg Birkeland and Greg Riddell used excessive force when they arrested Chism in a separate incident in April 2010.

Read the rest of my story here.

Jury acquits Chism in WSP assault case

COLVILLE – Embattled Spokane firefighter Todd Chism won his latest legal battle with the Washington State Patrol on Thursday when a jury cleared him of all charges stemming from a violent 2010 confrontation that injured him and two Washington State Patrol troopers.

 A Stevens County jury exonerated the suspended Chism of four felony counts and a misdemeanor resisting arrest, stemming from an early-morning melee outside his Nine Mile Falls home on April 6, 2010.

But the jury not only found him not guilty, they ordered the state to pay for his attorneys’ fees.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

May 19, 2010: New prosectuor named in Chism case

April 23, 2010: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

April 9, 2010: Firefighter Tasered in DUI arrest

Justice for Todd Chism?

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture of Todd Chism from KREM-2 News]

Let me be absolutely clear about this: in no way can I condone nor tolerate persons who drink and then drive. Todd Chism should be held to the same standards that would apply to you or I if we were caught driving while intoxicated. I do not want to know nor speculate about the number of men and women that have been killed by drunk drivers. Were it not for our local law enforcement, Todd Chism could have been convicted of a far more serious crime than Driving While Intoxicated.

This is Todd Chism’s second arrest in a very short curve of time for being drunk behind the wheel.

Just so I can live with the outcome, I hasten to point out that Todd Chism was once falsely arrested by members of the Washington State Patrol for possession of child pornography. Todd Chism, rather than a perpetrator of a crime, was a victim of a far more-heinous crime, in that his rights were denied him, and that a flawed investigation cast his entire life into question.

Had I endured the kinds of publicity that Todd Chism has endured, had I been questioned and had my personal property seized under false pretenses, I would still be fighting to regain my life. Given my personal history of borderline alcohol abuse, I probably would be arrested for driving drunk. My life all but gone, I would be killing the pain with alcohol.

So perhaps once Todd Chism comes to trial for his two charges of driving while impaired, I am hopeful that the judge places part of the blame for his errant behavior where it belongs. For if we are going to extract justice from Todd Chism for driving while intoxicated, we need to extract justice for Todd Chism for the injustices done to him by the Washington State Patrol.

Your thoughts, of course, may differ.


Rasmussen may testify for Chism defense

Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen is out of the Todd Chism case after Chism’s lawyer said he intends to call him as a witness.

Judge Al Nielson appointed Ferry County Prosecutor Mike Sandona today to prosecute Chism on felony charges related to a brawl with Washington State Patrol troopers April 6. Chism pleaded not guilty today to the charges in Stevens County Superior Court.

Chism’s lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, expects Rasmussen to testify about his prior prosecution of a hit-and-run suspect in 2004, who is one of the arresting WSP troopers in the Chism case. WSP is the same agency that arrested Chism two years ago on child pornography charges that were later dropped.

Chism, a lieutenant, was placed on unpaid layoff status from the Spokane Fire Department last week pending the resolution of the charges. He had been on paid leave since April 8. Chism earned $93,535 per year. His trial is set for Aug. 2.

Past coverage:

April 23: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

April 9: Firefighter Tasered in DUI arrest

City of Spokane no longer paying Chism

Spokane firefighter Todd Chism has been placed on unpaid layoff status pending the resolution of felony charges that he assaulted Washington State Patrol troopers in Stevens County last month.

City Administrator Ted Danek informed Chism, a lieutenant, of the change during an afternoon meeting at City Hall today, said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist. The change takes effect Friday. Chism earned $93,535 per year.

Chism had been on paid leave from the Spokane Fire Department since April 8, two days after an early-morning confrontation with two troopers alongside Highway 291 just outside the driveway to Chism’s home.

Unpaid layoff status means Chism is no longer employed by the city of Spokane but could be reinstated if felony charges are dropped or reduced to misdemeanors. That happened to Spokane police Detective Jay Mehring and Officer Jay Olsen, but Olsen then resigned before Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired him.

Mehring and Olsen both received back pay for their time on unpaid layoff status because neither was convicted of a felony.

Past coverage:

April 23: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

April 9: Firefighter Tasered in DUI arrest

WSP: Chism threatened to kill troopers

A Spokane firefighter exonerated in a child pornography investigation two years ago threatened to beat a state trooper “to death” in a confrontation that led to felony charges Friday in Stevens County Superior Court, prosecutors allege.

New court documents show two Washington State Patrol troopers told investigators that Lt. Todd Chism’s anger during the April 6 arrest began after one told Chism he seemed familiar, then erupted into a profanity-laced tirade following a brawl in which he was stunned with a Taser several times. One trooper broke his thumb; another severely injured a hand.

Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen filed the documents Friday when he charged Chism with two felony counts of third-degree assault and two misdemeanors: resisting arrest and being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Chism, a Spokane Fire Department veteran, has been on paid leave since April 8.

“There were some aspects of this decision that were very unusual,” Rasmussen said. “Certainly the history of Mr. Chism and the things that had happened between him and the state patrol warranted careful examination of the material.”

Chism’s lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, said his client’s version of what happened “is substantially different from the summary we see from the state patrol.”

He emphasized that the charging document “indicates Mr. Chism was cooperative until a second trooper arrived and made reference that he knew who Mr. Chism was.”

Read the rest of my story here

Past coverage: April 9: Firefighter Tasered in DUI arrest

Firefighter on leave after brawl with WSP

A Spokane firefighter exonerated on child pornography charges two years ago is on paid leave again after an apparently violent confrontation with state troopers during a drunken driving arrest.

Lt. Todd Chism was jolted with a stun gun several times after troopers found him trying to drive his truck out of a ditch along Highway 291 about 2:45 a.m. Tuesday, said Bob Calkins, a Washington State Patrol spokesman.

Troopers performed field sobriety tests, but Chism “began to more actively resist,” which led troopers to use the Taser, Calkins said.

But the high-voltage jolts had “surprisingly minimal effect,” Calkins said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Click here for past coverage

Fireman Fights WSP Troopers, Jailed

Spokane Fire Department Lt. Todd Chism was arrested early Tuesday morning following a brawl with two Washington State Troopers during a traffic call in Stevens County. LT. Chism was arrested and booked into the Stevens County Jail on charges of DUI, resisting arrest and assault following the incident. State Patrol spokesman Bob Caulkins in Olympia says troopers were responding to a collision call in Stevens County around 3:15 AM Tuesday and found Chism’s vehicle in a ditch. “As troopers tried to take him through the DUI process he physically resisted,” Caulkins said/Erik Loney, Jeff Humphrey and Rob Kauder, KXLY. More here.

  • Meghann Cuniff via Twitter:The firefighter exonerated in a WSP child porn investigation in ‘08 is suspected of assaulting WSP troopers during a DUI arrest early Tues.” Meghann’s SR story.

Question: I’ve been in Coeur d’Alene 25 years and can’t remember something like this happening. I can’t imagine the local police and firefighters in the Coeur d’Alene area putting up with the weird stuff that Spokane cops and firemen seem to do regularly. Can you?