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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

[WA] Article " Chief releases disciplinary details" includes a disappointing update on Detective Mehring (who other cops bothered to testify against)

...An internal affairs report quoted [City of Spokane Prosecutor Jim] Bledsoe as saying his job was to pursue criminals, “not law enforcement officers demonstrating a temporary lapse in judgment”... [Detective] Jay Mehring was reported by fellow officers to have made death threats against his estranged wife and was arrested in March 2007. A jury acquitted him of a felony harassment charge in October 2008.
He retained his job at the advice of the city attorney’s office...


Previous entries:

Chief releases disciplinary details
The Spokesman-Review
Meghann M. Cuniff
April 20, 2009
[Excerpts] In response to criticism over two recent cases of alleged misconduct by law enforcement, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on Monday released details of Spokane police disciplinary cases since she joined the department in September 2006. Criminal charges were filed in four cases; none resulted in criminal convictions. The admission came at the city’s Public Safety Committee meeting after City Councilman Bob Apple questioned the internal investigation process used by the department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in the cases of sheriff’s Sgt. Pete Bunch and police Officer Jay Olsen, who each resigned before being fired. The cases fueled a discussion between Apple, Kirkpatrick, council President Joe Shogan and City Administrator Ted Danek. Danek and Kirkpatrick took offense at what they called a public misperception that police officers can get away with anything; they blamed the media and Apple for contributing to it. “We are accountable. We are making tough disciplinary decisions,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m not going to have reckless talk of this agency. I’m not going to have it.” A jury acquitted Olsen of reckless endangerment and first-degree assault charges. No charges were filed against Bunch after a woman reported him prowling in her yard and city police said he resisted arrest. Danek said he finds it “personally distressing” that people think the city condones criminal acts by police. He staunchly defended the decisions by City Prosecutor Jim Bledsoe and City Attorney Howard Delaney not to file charges against Bunch. An internal affairs report quoted Bledsoe as saying his job was to pursue criminals, “not law enforcement officers demonstrating a temporary lapse in judgment.” But Bledsoe has said “that what he said was not what he intended,” Danek said Monday... Saying “the prosecutors do not work for me,” Kirkpatrick read a list of employees who have been disciplined, fired or resigned in lieu of firing. But Apple said that doesn’t change his belief that there’s a problem, noting that of the 11 cases, none resulted in criminal convictions... The following is a list of the incidents involving Spokane police that Kirkpatrick detailed Monday, not including the Olsen case: Detective Jeff Barrington was arrested for drunken driving... Barrington received a letter of reprimand. Officer Rob Boothe is accused by two officers of kicking a handcuffed suspect in the face... that’s pending in Spokane Municipal Court... Detective Jerry Hensley was accused by eight officers of using excessive force when he kicked a restrained man in the chest... He was fired, then rehired... A grand jury was convened, and a U.S attorney said “there was strong evidence to support probable cause but no charges would be filed,” Kirkpatrick said. Officer John Elam rear-ended a vehicle... police determined he lied when he said he’d worn his seat belt, and he was fired... David Freitag rented a basement room in his home to a registered sex offender... an FBI investigation resulted in no charges against Freitag... Jennifer Nist, a 16-year veteran, was accused of insubordination and chose to be fired... Jay Mehring was reported by fellow officers to have made death threats against his estranged wife and was arrested in March 2007. A jury acquitted him of a felony harassment charge in October 2008. He retained his job at the advice of the city attorney’s office. Jennifer Montgomery was accused of insubordination... She resigned before being fired. Len Ward, a supervisor in the records division, was investigated for lying and resigned before being fired... Senior Police Officer Jason Uberuaga was accused of rape... The Spokane County prosecutor’s office declined to press charges... Uberuaga was fired... but reinstated in February at the direction of an arbitrator. [FULL ARTICLE HERE]

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