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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Internal investigation of Sgt. John Gately goes to administrative review panel

Spokane Police Sgt. John Gately was arraigned in Superior Court on  Dec. 21, 2015, on rendering criminal assistance. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Police Sgt. John Gately was arraigned in Superior Court on Dec. 21, 2015, on rendering criminal assistance. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Sgt. John Gately hasn't been in the news for a while, but an internal Spokane Police Department investigation into Gately allegedly tipping off a fellow officer suspected of rape is nearing its end.

Internal Affairs Lt. Dave Staben said this week Gately's investigation is complete and has been forwarded to an administrative review panel, which will make recommendations on discipline.

As the internal affairs lieutenant, Staben decides whether a completed investigation goes through a chain-of-command review or an ARP to recommend discipline. The panel is generally used in cases where allegations are more serious.

Following a panel review, any discipline for Gately will ultimately be up to Chief Craig Meidl.

Gately was suspended from the department and criminally charged in late 2015 with rendering criminal assistance and obstructing the investigation of fellow Sgt. Gordon Ennis, who had been accused of raping a female officer at a party.

Felony charges against Gately were dropped, and a May trial on the misdemeanor obstruction charge ended in a hung jury, with a majority of jurors voting to acquit. The Spokane County Prosecutor's Office did not refile charges.

At issue were two phone calls Gately made to Ennis following the rape accusation last October. Prosecutors argued those calls tipped Ennis off about the investigation against him and led him to trim his nails, preventing Spokane County Sheriff's Office detectives from collecting DNA evidence.

The department began an internal investigation after a mistrial was declared. Gately returned to duty following the trial and received back pay for the time he was suspended.

Staben, who reported Gately's phone calls to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and testified for the prosecution at Gately's trial, said he was not personally involved in the internal investigation to avoid a conflict of interest. Internal affairs Sgt. Mike Carr conducted the investigation.

Staben said the panel reviewing Gately's investigation will be Capt. Brad Arleth, Lt. David Singley, Lt. Joe Walker, Lt. Steve Wohl and Lt. Jon Anderson. The review will likely take at least a few weeks because of the difficulty of getting the entire group together at the same time, he said.

Rachel Alexander
Rachel Alexander came to the Spokesman-Review in 2014 after working for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She covers social services, health and science for the City Desk and writes a monthly data-focused column, Know Spokane.

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