Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Police Ombudsman Commission offers the job to Raheel Humayun

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 9:31 AM

The Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission voted last night to offer the job to Raheel Humayun, a Canadian investigator with the British Columbia Office of Ombudsperson. The unanimous decision is contingent on Humayun's ability to obtain a visa allowing him to work in Spokane within 75 days.

"One thing that impressed me during the interview process is how excited he would be to come into the position and help create a really great oversight process in Spokane," says Commissionchair Deb Conklin.

Humayun was offered the permanent job after Robert Breeden, a former assistant special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined an offer for a four-month appointment in October. The commission offered Breeden the temporary position to give themselves time to investigate complaints of his abusive and domineering management style toward employees at the FDLA. Although Breeden has denied those accusations, results of the commission's investigation indicated that he is no longer a viable candidate. 

Commissioners declined to elaborate on specific details of the investigation.

The third original candidate, Allen Huggins, was disqualified early in the process after concerns about his criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Wall Street Journal's comment section.

Allen's early disqualification and the controversy surrounding Breeden's past raise questions among some commissioners about what they perceive as a flawed selection process. But Conklin says the offer to Humayun shows the commission's confidence in his abilities as an ombudsman. 

Of all three candidates, Humayun was the only non-police officer and has experience in public oversight. In addition to his role as investigator in British Columbia, Humayun has worked as a forensic investigator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and an instructor at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. 

"An ombudsman needs to be independent and free from the pressures that are going to be exerted from a police department and equally independent from pressures from a political standpoint," he told the Inlander in August. He added that one change he would support is lowering the standard of proof for administrative investigations from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to a "preponderance of the evidence," a lower standard.  

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Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.