Pin It
Favorite

Under Review 

When will we know what happened in last week’s officer-involved shooting?

click to enlarge Deputy Brian Herzel is on paid leave while the shooting is investigated.
  • Deputy Brian Herzel is on paid leave while the shooting is investigated.

The name of Deputy Brian Hirzel — who fatally shot Pastor Wayne “Scott” Creach in Spokane Valley last week — was not to be made public for 72 hours, as stipulated by the sheriff’s policy on officer-involved shootings.

But it was almost a full five days before he was identified as the shooter and it was made public only after questions were raised about why officials were slow to provide details of the fatal encounter.

To date, this much is known: Some time after 11 pm on Aug. 25, Hirzel shot Creach in the chest, killing him after a confrontation at the Plant Farm, a Greenacres nursery owned by Creach.

Many questions remain.

What words were exchanged between the men? A gun was found next to Creach’s body — was it pointed at Hirzel? Were there witnesses?

When answers to these and other questions will surface is unknown. As the lead investigative entity, the Spokane Police Department’s records policy dictates how information about the shooting will be released. A recent Inlander report (“Strong Arm of the Law,” 7/1/2010) called into question why the department keeps certain records secret, a practice that is at odds with agencies across the state, including the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The Police Department is leading the investigation due to a critical incident protocol between local law enforcement entities that ensures other agencies assist in investigations involving shootings by officers, to maintain the investigation’s integrity as well as to guard against charges of internal corruption. Along with the Police Department, investigators from both the Washington State Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office are involved in the investigation.

According to department spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe, in an e-mail exchange with The Inlander, information from the case will be released “in compliance with Public Record Disclosure Laws.” She added, “Redaction requests go through the Records Division, so whatever practices they use when releasing public records will be followed.”

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, meanwhile, has said in a statement, “as soon as all of the facts surrounding this incident are known, the community will be provided with a full account of those facts.”

“Once everything has been completed and the investigation is complete and thorough, and the review protocol is finished, then the complete file with redactions will be made available,” says Lt. Gary Smith of the sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards, which deals with the office’s records.

Smith says records produced by the Sheriff’s Office will ultimately be made public; however, it’s up to the policies of the city and Spokane Police
whether they will release department records generated during its criminal investigation of the shooting.

“We don’t have a set timeline,” says sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Beeman. “It’s going to be a couple weeks at least before we even have an idea when the investigation will be complete.”

When the criminal investigation is finally finished, the findings will be handed off to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, which will determine whether a crime was committed.

Late last week, it was reported that more information about the confrontation would be released today. But DeRuwe wrote on Monday, “This was a statement made by Major Stephens at Friday’s press conference, in anticipation of completion of the deputy’s interview; however that does not mean the contents of the deputy’s statement will be released.”

 

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in News

  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • No License to Kill
  • No License to Kill

    Task force says officers should be held responsible for police shootings; plus, state auditor clears Spokane Valley firing of city manager
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trumped-up Education
  • Trumped-up Education

    Could the President-elect's support of school choice trickle down to Spokane?
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Gaiser Conservatory Holiday Lights

Gaiser Conservatory Holiday Lights @ Manito Park

Dec. 9-18

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Nicholas Deshais

  • Rehab Reality
  • Rehab Reality

    Toys are stacked on the front porch of the Isabella House, but the kids are nowhere to be seen. Inside the front door and behind a red, velvety curtain in the imposing 113-year-old house on the edge of Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, their playroom is also abandoned.
    • Jun 3, 2013
  • Studying Spokane
  • Studying Spokane

    One third-year med student relishes his time at UW East
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • Ever Ready
  • Ever Ready

    What happens after you dial 911?
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • A Loner's Legacy
  • A Loner's Legacy

    What a homeless veteran in Coeur d'Alene left behind after his sudden death
    • Oct 22, 2015
  • SPOKANE: TIME TO GIVE BACK
  • SPOKANE: TIME TO GIVE BACK

    Spokane Gives Week kicks off Saturday, April 25
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation