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Saturday, May 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

In brief: Acting police chief will be paid to resign

The city of Medical Lake will pay its interim police chief $20,000 to resign, the City Council decided Tuesday night.

Sgt. Joseph Mehrens’ last day on paid administrative leave will be Friday, city finance director Pam McBroom said.

Mehrens entered an Alford plea last month to fourth-degree assault for touching a female co-worker’s breast in January 2008, meaning he admitted no guilt but acknowledged he could be found guilty if taken to trial. He’d been on paid leave since August.

Mehrens, who made $48,734 a year, was a 12-year veteran of the Medical Lake Police Department who’d been named interim chief the month the encounter occurred.

The resignation agreement approved by the council calls for Mehrens to receive the money within two weeks, McBroom said.

The council voted 5-0; two members were absent.

Meghann M. Cuniff

Spokane County

Injured suspect pleads not guilty in robbbery

A 26-year-old robbery suspect pleaded not guilty Wednesday to several charges.

Thomas A. Butler and co-defendant Derrick D. Taylor, 29, face charges in Spokane County Superior Court of first-degree kidnapping, burglary, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and assault in connection with a reported home-invasion robbery that turned into a shootout March 30.

According to police reports, Taylor and Butler forced their way into a home at 4113 E. 16th Ave. at gunpoint, but Butler was shot when a resident opened fire with a 9 mm pistol. Defense attorney Dennis Dressler said Butler, who is using a wheelchair, faces at least two more surgeries for the injuries suffered during the confrontation. Judge Ellen Kalama Clark set Butler’s trial for July 20.

Read the investigating officer’s report.

Thomas Clouse

Tri-Cities

Spokane group aiding in rescue of dogs

A Spokane-based animal rescue team has been deployed to help with the seizure of about 300 dogs from an alleged puppy mill in Kennewick.

Members of the Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team, operated by the Spokane Humane Society, will be in the Tri-Cities for two weeks providing care for the animals. The dogs will be temporarily housed at the Benton County Fairgrounds, HEART officials said.

The dogs were recovered from a residence in Kennewick, where they lived in “horrifying conditions,” officials said.

Sara Leaming

Spokane

Forums to introduce ombudsman finalists

Public forums Friday and Saturday will introduce the community to the three finalists vying to be Spokane’s first police ombudsman.

The first session will begin at 5 p.m. Friday in the Chase Gallery at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. On Saturday, forums will be at 10 a.m. at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St., and at 2 p.m. at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St. The candidates:

•Tony Betz, 60, a retired FBI official and current instructor at Texas A&M University.

•Tim Burns, 55, neighborhood preservation officer in Visalia, Calif., and a retired police officer.

•Greg Weber, 42, a Spokane attorney and former deputy director of the Washington attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

From staff reports

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