Wednesday, January 26, 2011

INJUSTICE PROJECT: Welton exonerated

Posted on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Jeff Welton, a detective in the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, was exonerated today for a 2006 traffic stop in which he was accused of using excessive force.

Welton, who was written about in a July Inlander cover story called "Strong Arm of the Law," pulled over Daniel Strange and then used a Taser on Strange. Strange had filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the county for Welton's actions.

A unanimous jury agreed with Welton that the force he used during the confrontation was acceptable.

For our story, we requested “all complaints, records of internal investigations and any disciplinary actions” against Welton and received a stack of 832 pages. Our count — admittedly imperfect due to the amount of redacted information in the records — revealed some 30 complaints against Welton, and he never received any disciplinary actions for any of them.

When Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich later disputed the number of complaints against Welton, he argued that he could only uncover five "investigations" of Welton. Complaints many times never turn into an investigation, which is what the story looked in to.

Read the Spokesman's coverage of today's jury decision here

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