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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

‘Police ruined my identity’: Woman plans suit against Spokane police after she says her sister stole her identity in viral theft case

A video of two citizens holding a Spokane woman at gunpoint in a parking lot for allegedly shoplifting went viral in June.

As news of the video spread outside of Spokane, so did the information that someone identified as Annamarie Kirkpatrick, 36, had been cited for shoplifting. But the real Annamarie was actually in Seattle that day, according to her lawyer, Doug Phelps.

Annamarie Kirkpatrick said it was her sister, Amy Michelle Kirkpatrick, who was in Spokane, allegedly stealing from a Ross store in the Manito Shopping Center on the South Hill. That’s where a couple pulled out handguns and held her at gunpoint until police arrived.

When they did, police didn’t charge the couple with assault for aiming their weapons and verbally threatening to shoot Amy, as the viral video showed. They did, however, cite Annamarie for theft. Amy gave police her sister’s name and birthdate, and didn’t produce a license, Annamarie Kirkpatrick said.

Further complicating matters, Annamarie alleges police didn’t ask Amy to remove her mask to check that she matched the driver’s license photo of Annamarie they pulled up. Annamarie said police also didn’t ask her sister to verify her address.

“My spotless record is still showing a theft charge,” Annamarie said. “They didn’t charge the people who held somebody hostage and then they charged the wrong person for shoplifting. None of it makes any sense.”

The mix-up has cost Annamarie jobs, Phelps said, and that’s why they’re filing a civil suit against the Spokane Police Department for failing to check Amy’s identity when she didn’t provide a license.

Spokane Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Terry Preuninger said he could not comment on the case as it is pending civil litigation.

Annamarie said she has receipts and eyewitness statements – she went to a chiropractor in the morning, a massage therapist in the afternoon, plus stops at the grocery store and gas station, all in Seattle.

It’s not the first time Amy Kirkpatrick has given her sister’s name to the police, according to Annamarie. She said earlier this year, Amy tried to tell police in Idaho that she was Annamarie, but fingerprints revealed her true identity.

Kootenai County District Court records show Amy Kirkpatrick was charged with possession of a controlled substance and providing false information in May .

Amy has not been charged with shoplifting in the June incident in Spokane. Annamarie said police can’t find her. Amy’s latest case in Spokane County is from July, when she was suspected of possessing a stolen car, according to court documents.

Court records show Amy has a warrant out for her arrest since she failed to appear in court in that case. Prior to that, she had a 2015 conviction in Spokane County for possession of a controlled substance and third-degree theft.

As Amy’s life spiraled into drug addiction during her teens, Annamarie said she went to college and became a drug counselor at a psychiatric hospital. Annamarie stuck with it for 12 years before she decided she wanted to dive into the business world. She graduated with a master’s in business from Seattle University in August and started applying for jobs.

She said she was marking on applications that she had no criminal charges in her background but getting rejected out of the gate. Many applications specify that anyone who lies on the job application will be disqualified. Annamarie believes she’s lost several job opportunities due to her now dirtied record.

Annamarie said she knew something was wrong when she didn’t move forward in the hiring process for a human resources position at a hospital. Between her new degree and background in health care, she said it would’ve been a perfect fit.

“It’s very upsetting and disturbing to me that there’s nothing I can do to prevent her from doing this in the future,” Annamarie said of her sister. “So I guess I just feel like I have no hope or no options at this time.”

Annamarie thinks her sister will do “anything to stay out of prison.” But she mostly blames Spokane police.

“Police ruined my identity, not my sister,” she said. “Yes, my sister told the police my name; however, the police ruined my identity by not doing their job and following protocol. All they had to do was ask for her address to verify where she was from or ask her to remove her mask and match her face to my driver’s license.”

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