Airway Heights police officer Curtis Tucker remains on administrative leave as the Spokane Police Department investigates allegations he abused multiple women.
Allegations that Tucker was abusive to multiple women go back nearly two decades, according to an Inlander article that first made the allegations public earlier this month.
Tucker’s ex-wife Heidi Starr told the Inlander that Tucker had abused her for years, leading her to file a domestic violence protection order in 2017. The order was later denied because the Judge felt there was not enough evidence Tucker was still a threat after the couple divorced.
At that time, the Airway Heights Police Department did not conduct its own investigation into the matter and in 2019 chose him to be its board representative on the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition, the Inlander reported.
Tucker’s previous ex-wife documented similar allegations of physical and sexual abuse in court records. Three other women who had personal relationships with Tucker say he was abusive as well, according to the Inlander.
Tucker denied the allegations, telling the Inlander that someone would have reported his abuse if the allegations were true.
“I don’t think it’s true that years and years of abuse can go unwitnessed and unreported,” Tucker said. “It just simply didn’t happen, and that’s why it didn’t get reported.”
It’s common for victims of domestic violence to be hesitant to report the abuse; in fact, two-thirds of women said they were afraid police wouldn’t believe them or do anything to intervene, according to a study from the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the University of Kentucky.
One in 4 women who reported abuse said they wouldn’t call police in the future, and more than half said calling the police would make things worse, according to a study by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The same study found that law enforcement families experience domestic violence at rates as high as 40%, with sexual abuse the second-highest in all forms of police misconduct.
Due to the Inlander article, Tucker has been removed from the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition and a criminal investigation has been opened against Tucker, who is now on paid administrative leave.
Airway Heights Chief of Police Brad Richmond released a statement saying Tucker was placed on leave pending the outcome of an “internal investigation” conducted by the Spokane Police Department.
The Spokane Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation, Julie Humphreys, a spokesperson for the department, confirmed. SPD is asked “on occasion” to help in a criminal investigation of a police officer when it would be a conflict of interest for another agency to investigate one of their own, Humphreys said.
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