Ever since former U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt was tapped to be Spokane's next interim director of law enforcement, local activists have circulated a guest editorial he wrote for the Spokesman-Review responding to the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and controversial police shootings. In that editorial, he criticized protest leaders as forgetting the "real problem" — black-on-black crime, driven partly by high levels of poverty, unemployment and single-parent households.
"As a result of this high instance of crime on the part of young men of color in some areas, law enforcement there develops a 'convenient shortcut,'" McDevitt wrote. "This mental shortcut becomes almost irresistible. It is a somewhat rational form of profiling."
That editorial became a particular item of contention during last week's Police Leadership Advisory Committee meeting. In particular, committee member Naima Quarles-Burnley, the local NAACP president, was bothered by his line about a "rational form of profiling."
"I think that's abhorrent," she later said. "He just doesn't have an understanding of racism in this country, and how that affects who ends up in jail and who gets charged."
McDevitt took offense.
"I think that you're ignoring a long career in law — and the military and in the Justice Department — of fair and equal treatment for everybody," he said. "I'll stand on my record and I won't have my integrity be questioned."
After the dispute over the editorial, McDevitt gathered his things, resigned from the committee, and left. McDevitt says the primary reason why he stepped down from the committee had more to do with a conflict of interest. As the current interim director of law enforcement, playing a role on the committee that outlines the criteria for choosing the next police chief might create complications, he says.
Later that day, the committee raised their concerns about McDevitt's appointment with Mayor David Condon. (DANIEL WALTERS)
POT AND PRIVACY
Information about marijuana-related business could become EXEMPT FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE thanks to a couple of bills passed in both chambers of the Washington State Legislature.
Both the Senate and House passed legislation earlier this week that would withhold from the public's view financial records and building security information, as well as data that would allow requesters to track shipment and delivery information such as driving schedules.
Those applying for new or renewed licenses for marijuana businesses must provide this information to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Nearly all the information is currently available through a public records request. Both bills are very similar, and it's now up to the respective sponsors to decide which one will be sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.
The Washington CannaBusiness Association has been pushing for the new exemptions, saying they would protect those in the business of growing and selling pot.
Sen. Andy Billig, a Spokane Democrat who voted for Senate Bill 6207, called the exemptions "common sense."
"There's very detailed and personal information required to be submitted by marijuana licensees," he says. "It's reasonable for the state to have that information, but it could pose a safety risk if personal details like checking-account information is released."
Republican Sens. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane and Ritzville's Mark Schoesler also voted for the bill, which passed the Senate 42-6. Sens. Brian Dansel (Republic) and Mike Padden (Spokane Valley) voted against it.
The House version, HB 2584, passed 89-8 with bipartisan support from Democratic Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli, both from Spokane, and Republicans Jeff Holy (Cheney), Joel Kretz (Wauconda), Bob McCaslin and Matt Shea (both Spokane Valley), Kevin Parker (Spokane), Joe Schmick (Colfax), and Shelly Short (Addy); Mary Dye of Pomeroy voted against the measure. (MITCH RYALS)