September 23, 2012
Internal affairs investigators for the Spokane Police Department have sided with officers accused of brutality and excessive force in every single complaint filed by citizens over the past five years, a statistic that troubles several community leaders, including the city’s new top cop.
Longtime brass within the police force, however, say the community needs to look beyond statistics alone and consider that the Spokane department does a better job of training and weeding out potential problem officers early in the recruiting process.
New Director of Law Enforcement Frank Straub brings 12 years of experience investigating allegations of misconduct by federal and state police officers. He said he’s keeping an open mind but the fact that Spokane police found no problem with all 492 uses of force from 2007 to 2011 raises serious questions.
The Spokane Police Department’s use-of-force practices have come under increasing scrutiny as evidence was trucked out leading up to and during the trial that resulted in the conviction of former Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. for using excessive force and lying to investigators about his deadly confrontation with Otto Zehm in 2006.