Monday, December 4, 2017

THE FUZZ: SPD officer arrested for DV, a constitutionalist in Mexico and more

Posted By on Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 2:46 PM


Welcome to The Fuzz, featuring a rundown of law-enforcement related news from Eastern Washington, North Idaho and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This week: Another Spokane police officer is accused of domestic violence, how Wyoming police tried to take $91,800 from a man during an otherwise routine traffic stop, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole will step down, Grant County police provocateur fled to Mexico in a case that raises important privacy questions, and more.

1. Spokane police officer accused of domestic violence
A woman has accused Officer Nicholas Spolski of slapping and punching her, the Spokesman-Review reported Friday. Spolski was arrested by Spokane County Sheriff's deputies and is facing 4th degree assault charges. The 37-year-old officer was placed on administrative leave while the criminal case proceeds. He was booked into jail, but as of Monday, has been released, according to the county's jail roster.

2. Police in Wyoming snatched a man's life savings — $91,800 — during a traffic stop
Phil Parhamovich dreamed of buying a music studio. For years, he flipped houses and fixed cars and musical instruments to make his dream a reality. In March, the $91,800 he was able to save was taken by Wyoming police during a minor traffic stop (Parhamovich was ticketed for improperly wearing his seatbelt), Vox reported.

Hours after the story was published online, a judge ordered police to give back the money.

3. Gavin Seim goes to Mexico
The Ephrata man who has racked up millions of views on YouTube of himself stopping and harassing police officers has fled to Mexico amid obstruction of justice charges, S-R columnist Shawn Vestal and the Columbia Basin Herald, reported last week.

Seim's case is raising essential questions about the government's ability to force a citizen to provide access to his or her cell phone. The Grant County prosecutor is asking for access to Seim's cell phone, which apparently contains evidence of the encounter that led to the obstruction charges.

4. Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole will step down
Mayor Jenny Durkan's office announced that O'Toole will vacate her position at the end of the year, the Seattle Times reported. O'Toole was appointed in 2014 by Durkan's predecessor, the embattled former mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray.

5. Oregon corrections officer had sexual contact with female inmate
Edgar Mickles was sentenced to almost two years in prison for "repeated sexual contact" with an inmate at the women's prison where he worked, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The woman, who is no longer in custody, is also suing Mickles and his supervisors for failing to protect her.

6. Man says he was arrested by ICE out of retaliation for statements in the newspaper
Baltazar "Rosas" Aburto Gutierrez was arrested last week by immigration enforcement, he says, out of retaliation for his comments in the newspaper.

Speaking to the Seattle Times after his arrest, Aburto Gutierrez said an ICE agent told him that he was being detained "because of what appeared in the newspaper."

The 35-year-old Mexican man was not identified in a Times article about heavy-handed immigration enforcement in Pacific County, but was quoted under his nickname in a Chinhook Observer article about his girlfriend's immigration arrest.

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley says the agency does not retaliate, generally, but declined to comment when pressed by the Times about Aburto Gutierrez's case.
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