Friday, January 13, 2017

SPD stiffed, Def Leppard booked (again), Roy Murry sentenced and other headlines

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 9:36 AM


ON INLANDER.COM

NEWS: Spokane Police billed the campaigns for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They haven't received a dime for more than $100,000 of police overtime.

MUSIC: Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla are all coming to Spokane this summer.


ART: Check out the Mary Crosses exhibition in downtown Spokane for free this evening. Ross Coates, the Moscow-based artist, says his work pays tribute to female deities, icons and goddesses.

IN OTHER NEWS:

• The U.S. Department of Justice released today a scathing report on the Chicago Police Department's systemic violation of citizens' rights. Among the investigation's most significant takeaways is the fact that police target minorities — specifically black and Hispanic people — with excessive uses of force. The "pattern and practice" is a result of failure to train officers in de-escalation, the DOJ investigation found. And the city of Chicago has policies in place that "impede investigation of officer misconduct." Read the entire report here. (Chicago Tribune)

• Barring a successful appeal, Roy Murry will die in prison. The triple murderer was sentenced to three life sentences, plus 35 years, for killing the family of his ex-wife. (Spokesman-Review)

• Mukilteo shooter Allen Ivanov was sentenced to life in prison for killing three young people at a house party last year. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to the murders, requiring the judge to impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. (Seattle Times)

• Washington's newly elected superintendent of public instruction removed the department from a lawsuit against school districts across the state, including Spokane Public Schools. The lawsuit, filed by Chris Reykdal's predecessor, Randy Dorn, claims that the districts paid teacher, administrator and other salaries with local levy dollars, and argues that doing so is a violation of the state Supreme Court's 2012 McCleary decision. (Columbian)

• Two members of the soul/funk band Tower of Power were hit by a train while walking to a gig in Oakland last night. Drummer David Garibaldi and bassist Marc Van Wageningen were treated at a local hospital. Doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that both men will recover. (LA Times)

• FBI Director James Comey is under internal investigation for his handling of Hillary Clinton's emails and the decision to call a news conference 11 days ahead of the election. The (New York Times)
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Def Leppard, Poison, Tesla coming back to Spokane this summer

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 3:09 PM

Def Leppard
  • Def Leppard

British classic-rockers just can't get enough of the Lilac City.

Hot on the heels of Elton John booking a gig at the Spokane Arena for the second time in less than three years, hard-rock heroes Def Leppard will do the same. They've scheduled a show for the arena on Wednesday, June 7, and will bring along Poison and Tesla for the show as well.

Tickets for the Def Leppard show are $29.50, $59.50, $79.50, $99.50 and $125, and will go on sale Saturday, Jan. 21, at the arena box office and at TicketsWest locations.

Def Leppard visited Spokane in the fall of 2015, delivering a solid show of old favorites. Tesla was on that bill as well. The addition of Poison is noteworthy as its the band's first tour in more than five years, a pause necessitated by drummer Rikki Rockett's battle with cancer.
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SPD billed Trump, Clinton and Sanders over $100,000 for police overtime — but didn't get a penny

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 2:59 PM

Trump spent plenty of time praising police in his big rallies, but won't pay the Spokane Police Department back what his rally cost the department - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Trump spent plenty of time praising police in his big rallies, but won't pay the Spokane Police Department back what his rally cost the department

$100,000 is enough to pay the base salaries for two entry-level police officers. But last year, the Spokane Police Department spent more than that in overtime costs to help provide security for three presidential campaigns that held rallies in Spokane.

Hillary Clinton's appearance by Bill Clinton cost the city $2,793.28. Bernie Sanders' multiple rallies cost $33,318.73. And Trump? A whopping $65,124.69.

In June, The Spokesman-Review reported that the Spokane Police Department billed all three candidates who held major rallies in Spokane, asking for reimbursement.

But, ultimately the Clinton, Sanders and Trump campaigns didn't pay back a dime. Spokane Police Department Spokeswoman Michele Anderson says, as far as the police department knows, none of the campaigns even responded.

Police departments across the country tell similar stories. Dave Levinthal, reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, contacted numerous municipalities that attempted desperately to get the presidential candidates to reimburse them for their costs.

"They sent invoices, they sent bills, they called, they followed up," Levinthal says in an interview with The Inlander. "I don’t think Spokane is unique."

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Questions about a Spokane police shooting, sexism in Idaho House and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 9:30 AM


ON INLANDER.COM

NEWS: The family of a man shot by Spokane Police in 2011 remains unconvinced of the officers' accounts of what happened. Was James Rogers pointing a shotgun at the cop who killed him or trying to comply with police commands to surrender?

MUSIC: In times of turmoil, the arts flourish. This week, music editor Laura Johnson looks at ways in which local musicians stick it to the man with their music.

The River City Roots (et al) is playing a Standing Rock Benefit Concert at the Big Dipper this Saturday. $5 to get in, proceeds to the Oceti Sakowin Camp, where many protesters have lived since spring of last year.


A LESSON IN FAKE NEWS: How Spokane schools teach students to identify fake and biased news.

IN OTHER NEWS:

If you're reading this, it might already be too late. The snowplowing in Browne's Addition started at 9 am today. Any cars not moved from the north and south streets were towed. Tomorrow, east and west streets will be plowed. (Spokesman-Review)

• Spokane is rolling out a risk assessment tool that will assist judges in their decisions to release people accused of crimes, or hold them in jail. The tool was made possible, in part, by a $1.75 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation. (KXLY)

The repeal of Obamacare is inching closer after the Senate voted today on a resolution that clears the way for dismantling major sections of the universal healthcare law. (Washington Post)

• Ten key moments in President-elect Donald Trump's first post-election news conference, via the New York Times, in which Trump called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage," CNN "fake news" and compared the release of unverified documents to a Nazi tactic. The documents contained (again, unverified) details of Trump's connection to Russia.

• Idaho Rep. Heather Scott is at it again. The North Idaho representative could face punishment for an outburst in which she said women in the Idaho House only obtain leadership positions if they "spread their legs." (Spokesman-Review)
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What We've Been... Reading

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:38 PM


Welcome back to the Inlander staff's biweekly rundown of the cool and worthwhile things we've been into lately: words we've been reading, series we've been watching, music/podcast we've been listening to, and tasty treats we've been drinking/eating. This week, we're nerding out about the great blogs, books and journalistic works we've come across lately.

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here.

BE MORE WITH LESS
Capsule wardrobe bloggers can show you how freeing decluttering your closet can be.
  • Capsule wardrobe bloggers can show you how freeing decluttering your closet can be.
Every two weeks, I get obsessed with something different. Scroll through my Internet history and you’ll find the everyday Google searches then stumble upon 65 entries over three days wondering, “How to breathe properly” or “Best way to sleep.” Well, lately, it’s all about a capsule wardrobe: a compact, versatile collection of 30 items or fewer, typically to save money, closet space and reduce time spent looking through the contents of your closet, 90 percent of which you have no intention of wearing ever again. There are blogs upon blogs offering advice on how to streamline your wardrobe — that is, the “magic number” of items per season, 3, 5, 10, 20 basics you “must have” in your capsule, or “buy our $5/mo app or you’ll fail,” etc.

Be More with Less has been my go-to blog. It has a veritable ton of methods to declutter everything, positive posts on how to de-stress in general, and the ever-present reminder from blogger Courtney Carver that she is there to help, but no one knows what will work for you better than yourself. I have found I care less about the magic number of clothes, and more that nowadays I can actually remember every piece of clothing I own, so that’s a step for me.

If you’re ready (and it may hurt a little), also check out Tokyo-based organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a best-selling decluttering and organizing guide that took the world by storm in 2014. (RAVEN HAYNES)

SI DOES TRUE CRIME
true-crime-sports-illustrated.jpg
Sports Illustrated is best known (duh) for its photography, but the weekly mag has had its share of excellent writers and ripping good yarns during its decades of existence. And while the magazine is constantly trying new things to stay relevant in the modern media environment — hello fitness columns and ever-increasing dose of “charticles” — the Jan. 9 issue presented a new-ish feature called "SI True Crime" that really is just another name for what the magazine does best — combining some compelling storytelling with stellar photography and some interactive features online.

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Share your West Central stories for a new, interactive art installation

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 12:31 PM


screen_shot_2017-01-11_at_11.37.31_am.png
Payphone booths are a relic of the past — yet another victim to technology's rapid advances — but an upcoming community art project seeks to give the booths new purpose through storytelling.

The West Central Dial-A-Story Project is spearheaded by the Kendall Yards literacy and resource nonprofit Spark Central, with support from Spokane Arts, Laboratory Spokane and the Spokane Civic Theatre. But before this exciting, original project can become a reality, contributors of all ages are invited to submit their West Central-centric stories.

February 19 is the deadline to submit true, first-hand experiences set in or associated with the neighborhood. Then, 30 stories will be chosen and made available for public listening at three phone booths installed in the historic West Central neighborhood.

Project organizer and executive director of Spark Central Brooke Matson says the project seeks to share stories from West Central residents past and present, as well as students, employees, business owners and anyone else who spends time there. You don't have to be a resident of West Central, however your story should have an obvious connection to the place. Specific requirements for Dial-A-Story submissions are outlined in more detail online.

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Trump's Russia Connection gets grody, Obama bids farewell, berms return

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 9:31 AM

Some may see this as a simple tweet. But I — I see this as the first chapter to a beautiful love story.
  • Some may see this as a simple tweet. But I — I see this as the first chapter to a beautiful love story.

HERE
Berms, baby, berms
Snow berms are back, baby, and bigger than ever! (Spokesman-Review)

Spokanites park anywhere they damn please

The government wants to tell us we can only park on one side of the street so the plows can plow? I thought this was America! (Spokesman-Review)

Republican senator gives a shoutout to a Minority.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo starts trending online when he references Minority Report in a question to Sen. Jeff Sessions. (KREM)

THERE

Locker Room Talk

So: First, CNN reports that intelligence chiefs presented Trump with reports that the Russian government may have tried to compromise him. And then Buzzfeed published the entire dossier full of, shall we say, puerile allegations, which we won't summarize here because this is a family aggregation post. Security experts immediately began casting deep skepticism on the allegations. And media critics savaged Buzzfeed for posting a pile of rumors that even they knew was very much unverified.

Then Trump himself  denied the reports at a press conference, noting that he was a "germaphobe." And then NBC jumped in, with reports that maybe Trump wasn't told about the dossier at all.

(CNN, etc.)

From Russia With .EML

In his first press conference since July, Donald Trump admits that Russia probably hacked the DNC's emails.

Let Him Be Clear

Obama gives one last Obama speech, for old times' sake.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Clemson beats 'Bama, AG pick says he's not a Klan supporter and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 9:40 AM


ON INLANDER.COM


NEWS: Despite overwhelming evidence that a deputy hit a 15-year-old cyclist with his patrol SUV, the deputy will not face criminal charges for his involvement in the teen's death.

NEWS: The Coeur d'Alene Press named the victim of an alleged rape partly because the paper thought the fact that no charges were filed meant she wasn't a victim. This is why that's a problem.

NEWS: Staff writer Mitch Ryals requested confidential informant policies from 17 different law enforcement agencies in Idaho and three in Washington. What he found was a lack of uniformity and contradicting interpretations of the law.

IN OTHER NEWS

Why are the streets so bad?
With the streets in miserable shape as the snow continues to fall, it's worth asking: Do all cities struggle keeping the streets clear this much? In fact, other cities, like Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Coeur d'Alene, plow the streets when 2 inches of snow are recorded, not at 6 inches like Spokane. Mayor David Condon says the city looked at places like Boise, Idaho, and Madison, Wisconsin, for snow removal policies. (Spokesman-Review)

Albertsons leaving
Two Albertsons in Spokane— the one on 37th and Grand Boulevard and the one in the Wandermere Mall — will close next month because of low sales. The company plans to transfer employees in those stores to other Albertsons and Safeway stores nearby. (Spokesman-Review)

Drastic measure?

According to the parents of a kindergartner at Balboa Elementary School, the district failed to protect their daughter from a classmate who was harassing their daughter. Eventually, the family filed a restraining order against a six year old. (KXLY)

Trump's AG pick: "I abhor the Klan"
The confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions to become attorney general is happening right now. Already Sessions has defended decades-old allegations of racism by saying, "I abhor the Klan and what it represents, and its hateful ideology."

Clemson wins the title
The college football championship started like we might expect, with Alabama in control throughout most of the game. But then everything went crazy: Clemson scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning touchdown with 1 second left to win the title and avenge last year's loss to 'Bama in the title game.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

No charges for Spokane County Sheriff's deputy who hit teen cyclist with police vehicle

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 3:44 PM

Ryan Holyk's family is still searching for closure in his 2014 death. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak Photo
  • Ryan Holyk's family is still searching for closure in his 2014 death.

A Spokane County Sheriff's deputy will not face criminal charges for his involvement in the death of 15-year-old cyclist Ryan Holyk, a news release from the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office says. The decision comes despite overwhelming evidence that Deputy Joseph Bodman hit Holyk with his patrol SUV.

Bodman was driving more than 70 mph with no lights or siren as he approached the intersection of E. Sprague and Vista Road in Spokane Valley nearly three years ago. Holyk crossed in front of the deputy against the light and died in the hospital of severe head injuries 10 days later.

Initial investigations by the Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol determined that Bodman's SUV did not hit Holyk, missing him by about a foot, despite the presence of Holyk's DNA on the police vehicle's bumper. The news release from the Spokane County Prosecutor makes no mention of Holyk's DNA on the bumper.

Another analysis of surveillance video by forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks also concluded that Bodman's SUV did not hit Holyk. Fredericks previously analyzed video footage in the death of mentally disabled janitor Otto Zehm, who died after a violent confrontation with SPD.

Based on those investigations, officials concluded that Holyk's injuries were a result of his own recklessness and attempts to avoid the police vehicle, pointing to the fact that his bike didn't have brakes or reflectors and that he wasn't wearing a helmet. Witnesses, however, said they saw and/or heard the SUV hit Holyk.

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The Idaho State Police won't release its confidential informant policy; what about other Idaho agencies?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 12:54 PM

cvr_informant_11-17-2016_2.jpg

Officially, the Idaho State Police policy manual does include a section that guides its use of confidential informants, but we can't see it. And neither can you. In response to a public records request, ISP refused to release Section 08.04 of its policies, citing a provision in state law that exempts "investigative techniques" from public eyes.

That means we have no idea how the state's police agency tells its detectives to navigate the controversial world of confidential informants.

"This is government transparency 101," president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation Wayne Hoffman writes in an email. "The public should be able to examine the policies, practices and spending of all government agencies. How else can we tell whether the agency is doing the right thing, whether its practices are appropriate or effective, or whether the money is properly allocated?" The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a libertarian government accountability group.

ISP's refusal to release its policies is out of line with most other area agencies in Idaho and Washington. The Inlander requested confidential informant policies from 17 different law enforcement agencies in Idaho, including ISP, and three in Washington. Those responses reveal a lack of uniformity among the agencies that released their policies and contradicting interpretations of the Idaho open records law for those that didn't. Last year, we wrote an in-depth piece about Isaiah Wall, a 19-year-old from Coeur d'Alene who died 11 days after he started working as an informant for the Idaho State Police. ISP brass would not confirm whether Wall worked for them despite overwhelming evidence. The Coeur d'Alene Police detective investigating Wall's death, however, did confirm his work for ISP.

Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at Loyola University in Los Angeles and a leading expert on confidential informants, calls ISP's refusal to acknowledge their role in Wall's life as "quintessential aspects of that culture of secrecy.

"That a police department feels entitled to withhold that information after someone has died seems to be contrary to public policy," she says.

Eleven agencies in Idaho released their policies on confidential informants. Three Idaho agencies (ISP, the Bannock County Sheriff's Office and the Ada County Sheriff's Office) refused to release that specific section of their manuals. The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office does not have any CI policies on the books, according to their response to our records request. The Kootenai Sheriff's Office assigns some of its detectives to a regional task force, which may use CIs, says spokesman Det. Dennis Stinebaugh.

"The detectives assigned to that (task force) may use CIs and would do so following the policies and guidelines set forth by the FBI," Stinebaugh says.

Benewah County Sheriff David Resser says his agency doesn't use CIs and therefore has no policy.

All three Washington agencies released their confidential informant policies, and in fact, the Washington State Patrol even sent over a redacted copy of the contract with a CI (discussed in more detail below).

As far as the policies in Idaho that we are able to see, here are some major takeaways:

• Most policies direct police supervisors to consider at least three criteria — age, maturity, and risk of physical harm — before approving someone as a confidential informant. However, policies do not give officers any metric by which to evaluate the criteria.
Boise and Idaho Falls police departments do not list any such criteria.

• Most policies also talk about protection for confidential informants and officers. The Coeur d'Alene Police policy, for example, tells officers to consider whether giving informants tax forms to document their payments will jeopardize their safety.

The Meridian Police policy reads: "The department is extremely concerned that no person be placed in undue jeopardy. Realizing informing on criminal activity is dangerous, all safety precautions must be implemented." The policy also requires that informants receive the same level of surveillance and cover as commissioned officers.

The Boise Police policy, likewise, authorizes the use of a special unit for CIs' protection.

Pocatello and Sandpoint policies, on the other hand, explicitly say that absolute safety and confidentiality is not guaranteed.

From the Sandpoint policy: "Members of this department should not guarantee absolute safety and confidentiality to an informant." The policy manual does not talk about informant safety anywhere else, but it does give guidelines for when informants endanger the safety of officers.

• Most policies require some sort of written agreement, signed by the informant and at least one officer or supervisor.

• Most policies reviewed by the Inlander include a section on the use of juvenile informants. Bonneville County Sheriff prohibits the use of individuals under 13, but lays out no other restrictions.

The Pocatello Police policy manual says kids under 13 are not allowed, but the use of those 13 and older requires permission from a parent/guardian, an attorney, the court and the chief of police.

Idaho Falls Police bars juvenile informants except in "extraordinary circumstances," but does not define such situations. Juvenile informants must also be approved by a supervisor and have written permission from a parent or guardian.

Coeur d'Alene Police do not use anyone under the age of 13, but the policy gives no other restrictions for juveniles.

The Boise Police policy makes no mention of juvenile informants at all.

• The Boise Police policy manual stands apart from all others reviewed by the Inlander because it does not contain a specific section on confidential informants. The 211-page manual mentions CIs at various points throughout, but guidelines are sparse. For example, the policy authorizes the use of a special unit to protect CIs during undercover investigations. It also states that officers do not have to report the arrest, detention or handcuffing of a CI if it's done as a part of a drug sting.

• Almost all of the policies include a list of criteria to consider in deciding the amount an informant will be paid, including the extent of the informant's involvement in the case, the risk taken by the informant, the amount of drugs and/or assets seized and the informant's criminal history.

The Pocatello Police manual (and others) specifically tells officers not to promise informants a specified dollar amount before the job is done.

Some policies go as far as spelling out a percentage of the current market value of drugs or contraband seized in order to determine the maximum amount an informant can receive.

For the Meridian Police, "the amount of payment will be based on a percentage of the current market price for the drugs or other contraband being sought, not to exceed 15 percent."

In Bonneville County, the narcotics unit supervisor and patrol lieutenant come up with an appropriate payment. "The amount of payment will be based on a percentage of the current market price for the drugs or other contraband being sought, not to exceed 15 percent," the manual reads.

• Generally, officers are not allowed to meet with CIs in private without another officer present or approval from a supervisor. Social meetings and intimate relationships are also forbidden in policies that discuss such interactions. Again, Boise Police policies give no restrictions.

As a comparison, the entire Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff's Office policy manuals, including sections on confidential informants, are available online. The Washington State Patrol sent over their manual along with a redacted copy of a contract with a CI, offering a peek into the inner workings of a traditionally clandestine practice.

According to the contract, the unidentified individual agreed to assist in vehicle and identity theft investigations and drug investigations. In exchange, WSP would recommend prosecutors go easy on the individual's hit and run and vehicular assault charges.

As part of the agreement, the individual was required to check in with a WSP detective on a daily basis, show up in person within two hours of WSP's request, wear a wire and introduce detectives to suspects at the whim of WSP and give permission to record the individual's phone conversations.

The deal required the individual to produce "THREE search warrants leading to THREE arrests involving felony level possession of stolen motor vehicles, possession of stolen property, identity theft of drug manufacture/trafficking/possession."

Natapoff, the law professor and proponent of informant reform, advocates for more transparency. She argues that the police should be required to collect non-identifying demographic and case type data so that the public can better understand who's being used as an informant and what kinds of cases they're making.

"If we require them to behave like any other public policy and hold them accountable in very standard ways, I think the culture would change," she says. "Police and prosecutors would no longer be operating in the shadows and they would have to justify their decisions. And once you have to justify them, you might have to start making different decisions."
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