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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sirens & Gavels

Ex-Center for Justice spokesman files complaint against police chief

Tim Connor, a longtime independent law enforcement watchdog and former spokesman for the Center for Justice, filed a complaint with the police ombudsman today against Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub for misrepresentation.

According to Connor's complaint, the chief said at a public City Council meeting in March that the Center for Justice was working with the police department in developing procedures and policies for the use of body cameras on officers. Connor, who left the Center in late 2013, said this is not true.

"Because the Chief either knew, or should have known, that these statements were untrue he either misrepresented the facts or was negligent in his misrepresentations," Connor wrote in the complaint.

Rick Eichstaedt, the Center's chief executive director, said earlier today the Center is not involved in the complaint, even if he agreed that his group wasn't involved in development of body camera policies when Straub said they were. The police department will begin a pilot implementation of the cameras next week.

Read an excerpt from the complaint below:

I realize that, pursuant to SMC 4.32.030, paragraph Q that this complaint will be referred to the Mayor and to the City’s Human Resources department for investigation and resolution.

The incident took place on March 27, 2014 during the Chief’s presentation to the Mayor’s Use of Force Commission. Chief Straub was reporting back to the Commission (and the public) on the SPD’s progress to deploy body-worn cameras. A recording of his testimony is available on City Cable 5, and it will verify that the Chief said he was working with several parties, including the Center for Justice “to get their input in terms of what is an appropriate policy, procedure and practice relative to body cameras.”

This complaint alleges this statement was not true, that the SPD was not actually working with the Center for Justice to get input and advice on the policy. The complaint also alleges that the Powerpoint slide being displayed while the Chief was speaking was also untrue in reporting that SPD was “currently working to develop body camera policies, procedures, and training in coordination with City Legal, the Guild, the Spokane County Prosecutor, the ACLU, the Center for Justice, and other groups.”

Because the Chief either knew, or should have known, that these statements were untrue he either misrepresented the facts or was negligent in his misrepresentations.

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