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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Clark: Click heels and repeat: There’s no disgrace like Thoma

One day Spokane Mayor David Condon declares there’s no good way out of the Brad Thoma tar pit.

The City Council, he says, must vote to put Thoma back on the police force as a detective and reward the drunk-driving, hit-and-run disgrace to the badge with a quarter million-plus in back pay and lawyer bucks.

Next day the mayor is hyperventilating a new edict:

Payoff? Did I say payoff?

Never mind, council puppets. The Human Rights Commission needs more time to examine this Thoma fiasco.

I haven’t seen such waffling since my last breakfast at IHOP.

This sort of whiplash wasn’t supposed to happen anymore, was it?

Last year Condon the Conqueror campaigned successfully for mayor with tough talk about strong, decisive leadership and the need to restore our faith in local law enforcement.

I want that guy back.

We need that guy back.

Are you as fed up as I am? I’ve hit the wall when it comes to corrupt cops and weak-kneed leaders who put politics over principle.

And now comes yet another bozo in blue making headlines.

Alan D. Edwards, to be precise.

The senior officer supposedly met a woman in a bar, misused official resources to track down her address, and then showed up at her home uninvited in the deep dark of the night.

Is this a real news story or the log line to a teen horror flick?

Place your bets now as to whether Edwards will:

• Be promoted to become the SPD’s “senior dating consultant” or …

• Sue the city for a pay raise and a cool new set of wheels.

But returning to Thoma.

Whether this so-called mediated settlement is studied by the Human Rights Commission or probed internally by visiting space aliens, the citizens of Spokane don’t want anything more to do with Thoma.

In 2009, a tanked Thoma banged his Dodge Ram into the rear end of a woman’s Ford Ranger and took off like a criminal he’d been trained to catch.

He was arrested soon afterward and put into our injustice system, where, in a greasy lawyer move, the Ford owner was duped into writing a letter asking the judge to dismiss the leaving-the-scene count against Thoma.

The victim later expressed her regrets, but the deal was done.

Thoma received a deferred prosecution with court orders preventing him from operating motor vehicles unless they came with a special blow-start device designed to measure a driver’s Scotch and Thoma level.

This is not standard equipment on police cars, although in Spokane you could make a case for it.

Then-Chief Anne Kirkpatrick used this to give Thoma his walking papers, which were quickly turned into litigation.

Namely, a civil suit from Thoma, a Police Guild grievance and a complaint with the Washington Human Rights Commission.

So let ’em sue. Let ’em grieve.

Maybe Mayor Condon and the council don’t realize this. But letting a tool like Thoma wear a badge again is intolerable no matter what the economics are.

Sometimes you have to draw a line in the grime and fight.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at
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