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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Deputy placed on leave following assault charge

A seven-year Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy was taken off patrol Thursday after being charged with fourth-degree assault over a dispute with his wife last month. Thomas M. Litts, 31, will be doing administrative work while department officials investigate whether he violated office policy after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife March 25 at their Medical Lake home. “It drives us crazy to pay someone to sit at home when they could be doing actual work,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s office spokesman. “At least we get some value for our salary.” Sheriff’s officials learned of the incident shortly after Litts’ wife reported it to Medical Lake police but waited until the city filed a fourth-degree assault charge to take Litts off patrol, Reagan said. The criminal investigation was handled by Medical Lake and Spokane police, Reagan said. “Obviously we wanted to be out of the criminal investigation because we need the community to know that this is an above-board, honest investigation,” he said. Prosecutor Cindy McMullen said the incident and subsequent charge “were pretty straightforward.” The alleged victim, however, is confused by the charge. In a prepared statement to The Spokesman Review late Thursday, Kathryne Litts said her husband “did not physically assault or attack me. He has never laid a finger on me.” She said she was told two weeks ago that an investigation by Spokane police concluded no criminal charges were warranted, and that the sheriff’s department determined no policies had been violated. Kathryne Litts, went to the Medical Lake police station March 25 and said her husband had threatened to kill her that morning after she’d confronted him about text messages from another woman on his cell phone, then called the other woman. The couple is going through a divorce, according to the police report. “Our four-year-old daughter ran next door and told the neighbor to call 911,” Kathryne Litts, 33, wrote in a statement to the police. “The neighbor came over while I was upstairs and Tom told him everything was OK so he left.” Medical Lake Police Officer Chris Johnston described Kathryne Litts as “visibly emotional and shaken from the incident” when she spoke with him at the police station. Litts was notified of the charge Thursday and has 14 days to respond to the charge in Medical Lake Municipal Court, McMullen said.
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