Pin It
Favorite

And So It Begins... 

A federal lawsuit alleges Spokane County withheld meds for a mentally ill inmate; plus, who's running for office?

Lawsuit challenges jail policy

A newly filed federal lawsuit alleges that Spokane County, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and jail officials violated a 19-year-old bipolar inmate's civil rights by failing to provide essential mental health medications for nine days despite repeated attempts by the man's family to arrange treatment. The family argues that jail medication policies contain widespread delays and contradictions that result in unnecessary suffering and safety risks.

Danny Lee, who has bipolar and other impulse disorders, was booked into the Spokane County Jail in May of 2013. His family says they had notified the jail in advance of his medication needs, obtained a court order approving meds and supplied pharmacy-sealed bottles of his prescribed medications. The lawsuit states that jail staff refused the meds, citing security protocols.

The family's attorney, Jeffry Finer, says several others have come forward with similar complaints about delays in receiving medical or mental health medications while incarcerated at the county jail or Geiger Corrections Center.

John McGrath, director of county Detention Services, has acknowledged inconsistencies in jail medication policies and launched a review of practices. Knezovich, who oversaw jail operations until June of 2013, says he considers the lawsuit legal retaliation for the son's incarceration.

"I don't really believe that it is that big of an issue," Knezovich says. "We have one individual who is trying to make it an issue."

— JACOB JONES

Tightening the purse strings

When Councilman Steve Salvatori decided earlier this year to gift $15,000 to the city's warming center program for the homeless, the reaction was almost universally positive. But then came the rest of the details. Among other expenditures, Salvatori had also transferred $5,000 to the Spokane Angel Alliance, an entrepreneurship group of which he is a board member. That spurred complaints that Salvatori and Council President Ben Stuckart, who signed off on the spending, had violated the city's code of ethics. In a 3-3 tie last week, the city's ethics committee dismissed those complaints, but changes to council policy may result from the controversy.

The money Salvatori allocated had been set aside for a full-time legislative assistant, which the councilman says he doesn't need.

Last month, former Council President Joe Shogan complained that Salvatori's role on the Angel Alliance board created a conflict of interest. The city's code of ethics bans both conflicts of interest and their appearance. Despite the complaint being dismissed, the council is now discussing changes to its internal policy that would prevent councilmembers from spending money allocated for assistants on other things, except through emergency budget ordinances, which are voted on by the entire council. A vote on the policy change is expected next month.

— HEIDI GROOVER

Who's running?

Filing week for candidates running for office in Washington state began on Monday. Statewide, 10 U.S. Congressional seats will be up for grabs on this year's ballot, as are all 98 state House seats and roughly half of the state Senate's 49 seats. Candidates have until Friday to officially enter the 2014 race. Here's a look at some of the local candidates who've filed so far:

In the 5th Congressional District, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is officially seeking her sixth term in office. Independent Dave Wilson, the founder and former president of Interface College in Spokane, has filed to run against McMorris Rodgers.

Rep. Leonard Christian, R-Spokane Valley, who was tapped to fill former Rep. Larry Crouse's seat after his retirement from the legislature, is running for his 4th District House seat. Bob McCaslin Jr., son of late 4th District Sen. Bob McCaslin, also filed to run.

The primaries will be held on Aug. 5. The general election will take place on Nov. 4.

— DEANNA PAN

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Briefs

  • All in the Family
  • All in the Family

    Spokane looks for an interim police ombudsman; plus, a nepotism scandal
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Idaho Against the World
  • Idaho Against the World

    Idaho lawmakers weaken child-support efforts; plus, who really believes in climate change?
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • 'Western Culture'
  • 'Western Culture'

    Otter backs "instant racing" in Idaho; a judge orders Washington to speed up mental health evaluations
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Pacifying the Future
  • Pacifying the Future

    A local homebuilder has embraced a design strategy that could be the future of buildings
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Surge Protectors
  • Surge Protectors

    Solar and wind power need batteries to be reliable; Demand Energy's software makes those batteries more efficient
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Innovation Station
  • Innovation Station

    Toolbox is a space for innovative products to grow
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Spokane Gives Week

Spokane Gives Week @ Spokane

Through May 3

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jacob Jones

More by Heidi Groover

  • Brachytherapy Breakthrough
  • Brachytherapy Breakthrough

    A new option for treating skin cancer skips the scalpel
    • Dec 1, 2014
  • It's Exploding
  • It's Exploding

    Why lawmakers and cops are worried about people blowing themselves up
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • GU Shake-Up
  • GU Shake-Up

    The woman overseeing reports of sexual assault at Gonzaga resigns; plus, a new study on Lakeland Village
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • More »

More by Deanna Pan

Most Commented On

  • Restore the Honesty

    Re-establishing trust with the public will require courage on the part of our elected officials
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • Don't Test Me

    The Smarter Balanced standardized test has sparked a rebellion in Western Washington — and it's spreading
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation