Friday, October 8, 2010

CFJ weighs in on the Treppiedi-Beggs fracas

Posted on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 10:22 AM

The local nonprofit Center for Justice published a story yesterday about the conflict between Assistant City Attorney Rocco "Rocky" Treppiedi and local attorney Breean Beggs.

The story takes on Mayor Mary Verner for not forcefully reeling in Treppiedi, who is attempting to stop Beggs from communicating with members on the City Council. 

The CFJ isn’t the first to pick up on The Inlander's ongoing coverage of the fracas between Treppiedi and Beggs (pictured right).

To refresh your memory, we first wrote about Treppiedi's attempts to prevent Beggs from communicating with Spokane City Council members on Aug. 4.

In that story, we reported that Treppiedi had warned Beggs in a letter to "please cease immediately any and all contact with the City’s representatives, including elected officials … [or] I will have little choice but to forward this matter to the Washington State Bar Association as a formal complaint.”

"From my perspective," Beggs told us, "the intent is to limit involvement in government reform issues, especially if it’s related to police practices.”

Treppiedi, who would not speak to us for the article, said in his letter to Beggs that his involvement with the Otto Zehm case prevented Beggs from talking with city leaders. Zehm died after an encounter with Spokane police in 2006. 

We followed up on Sept. 21 with a blog post regarding the American Civil Liberties Union jumping into the fray. In a letter to City Attorney Howard Delaney, the ACLU of Washington argued that Treppiedi's actions against Beggs were "improper and should stop immediately."

Two days later, the Spokesman-Review picked up on the story.

In the meantime, the ACLU of Washington launched a letter-writing drive, asking citizens to fill in a few simple fields in an online form letter essentially protesting Treppiedi's actions and imploring the city's higher-ups to protect the First Amendment.The ACLU will automatically send the letter to Mayor Mary Verner, all City Council members and Delaney.

Treppiedi has defended the Spokane PoliceDepartment for more than 20 years, and in those decades has earned a tough-guyreputation for his aggressive defense of police. He’s been credited credited with crafting the city's disputed records policies, also recently detailed in The Inlander.

Check back here for continuing coverage. 

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