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I attended this press conference this morning in front of the side entrance to the City Hall. The Mayor delivered her prepared speech expressing sympathy to the Otto Zehm family and acknowledging the citizens have a right to transparency in this investigation. The Mayor said their hands were tied until after the federal criminal case concludes. The Mayor and Council will then appoint an commission that will both internally and thoroughly investigate this incident. The Mayor would not take any questions. KHQ has the Mayor’s speech and press handout she gave to the media.
Please forgive me if I thought the the Mayor’s words were disingenuous. There has been an active cover up of Zehm’s death since the night of the incident that has been condoned and aided and abetted by high level police officials including the City Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Mayor. Please see my previous post of what is the most practical means of doing this investigation that will not cost the City a nickel:
Councilman Bob Apple was obviously steamed as he did not receive the notification of this press conference that was sent to the media at about 8:30 PM last evening. Councilman Apple to his credit took questions from the media and dropped several bombshells. As quoted by the S-R in its preliminary article:
But after the mayor’s briefing, City Councilman Bob Apple addressed reporters with harsh words for the city and police. Apple, who said he wasn’t notified of the mayor’s briefing, said the federal trial of Thompson will be “an indictment” on the city’s policies and procedures.
Mr. Apple when asked agreed it would be appropriate for the US Attorney’s Office to expand it’s criminal investigation. Mr. Apple said the City was attempting to cover up the Zehm case. Mr. Apple when asked about Asst. City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi’s action in this case would not give a specific statement but it was obvious Apple’s contempt for Treppiedi. Mr. Apple confirmed he had personal knowledge that emails to him from constituents have been intercepted, delayed, filtered or never delivered. Mr. Apple said he’s complained about this to no avail on numerous occasions.
From previous reporting by the S-R the Mayor, the Council President and the City Attorney are claiming plausible denial of receiving an email from the US Attorney’s Office requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the Zehm case.
I provided this backgrounder giving context to this important aspect of this case the media regarding the filtering of emails from City elected and appointed officials. Decide if the Mayor, the Council President and the City Attorney are telling the truth? At the very least they should not be involved in the process of reviewing this case because in my opinion they were complicit and or abetted and abetted the cover up that was an obstruction of justice in the current federal criminal case:
To All Media Members:
First I have to commend S-R reporters Brunt, Clouse, Vestal and columnist Clark’s willingness to dig on this cover up and excellent reporting. While the actual incident raises cause for concern the ensuing cover up by high governmental officials both elected and appointed are of grave concern to the citizens of Spokane e.g. many similarities to Nixon’s Watergate.
I promised some of the reporters in attendance to provide background re Mr. Apple’s response to my question re the delivery of email messages to elected representatives. I alerted Jonathan Brunt to this earlier in the week. It’s only fair that I give you the additional information re the interception, filtering and delaying of emails to elected representatives by order of City Attorney Howard Delaney under the guise of protecting against spam and DNS attacks.
During my inquiries into the Creach OIS I discovered my emails were being blocked. I filed a PDR to determine how this was occurring and received this letter from City Attorney Howard Delaney (attached) In short by direction of Delaney emails from certain individuals are filtered before they are delivered to their intended recipients. Both former Sheriff Bamonte and I were building a paper trail of Chief Kirkpatrick’s malfeasance in office. By holding these emails in abeyance the Chief can claim plausible denial. The Chief Kirkpatrick accused me of libel in that I accused her of having my emails blocked. She denied this however admitted she did have IT Director Grave Brakel to block Larry Shook’s emails (Shook an award winning investigator reporter).
Up until that time I didn’t realize my emails were being blocked much earlier in the year by Delaney when I was investigating the misuse of the professional title “CPA” on the City’s website by CFO Gavin Cooley I believe Delaney acted to prevent Cooley from responding and making incriminating statements to me. Read my previous post on this http://tinyurl.com/ylmmodu. The City’s IT Director is the focal point of this email filtering. I have a very reliable source that Brakel admitted he has destroyed emails in the past under the guise of computer storage issues. If anyone would like the technical forensic nuances on how this was done please give me a call.
See my attached email to City Clerk Terry Pfister putting her on notice regarding this practice after I filed a PDR to determine why my emails were being blocked. Also see my email (below) to Mayor Verner & City Council regarding this practice that I sent to OPO Tim Burns re my ongoing complaints against Chief Kirkpatrick.
I alerted the US Attorney’s Office to this email filtering last week after reading Brunt’s latest article involving the Mayor, the Council President and the City Attorney not receiving the US Attorney’s Office email requesting an urgent meeting. I believe once the City failed to respond the US Attorney filed its proffer in federal court where it laid out its case of a cover up n April of 2006 regarding their very serious concerns of serious unethical practices by Asst. City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi and the serious legal counsel conflicts of interest issues re representation of the involved officers. The US Attorney was acting to protect their criminal case from reversible errors on appeal. Such interception of emails before they reach the intended recipients is tantamount to a violation of the Federal Wire Tap and Electronic Communications Act. This scheme gives these public officials the defense of plausible denial.
I don’t know if any in the media have filed PDRs for these emails. I’m guessing the City Attorney will raise issues of privilege were none exist. If PDRs are filed I would specifically request the meta data headers of these emails. These are public record as ruled by the WA Supreme Court in Oneill v. City of Shoreline late last year. I would refer this info to your 1st Amendment counsel to pry this info loose from the Spokane City Attorney.
For background on why the best solution to this problem of an active cover up and culture within SPD would be to request the US Attorney’s Office expand its current criminal investigation using its federal grand jury and also to request a US DOJ pattern and practice investigation of SPD see my post:
I would also direct you to Tim Connor’s excellent report where the City appears to have tanked their case with PERC on the Ombudsman ordinance:
Published on September 8, 2011
In a scorching letter, a state labor relations official not only rejects the City’s challenge to an arbitrator’s July 11th ruling on Spokane’s police ombudsman, but questions whether the City sought arbitration in good faith.
[Attachments – Email to City Clerk Terry Pfister re email blockage, Email from Asst. City Attorney Pat Dalton and letter from City Attorney Howard Delaney ]
Email to Mayor Verner, City Council and OPO Tim Burns
Tim Burns SPD OPO
City of Spokane
Re: Previous complaints by Sheriff Bamonte and me re alleged malfeasance in office by Chief Kirkpatrick
Dear Mr. Burns:
Please either consider this a new official complaint or because it could be considered related to Sheriff Bamonte’s and my earlier complaints please consider this a supplementary complaint. Also this may be related to the complaint that the Creach family has already initiated on the Creach OIS investigation.
Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ron Wright <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 2:29 PM
Subject: Mayor Verner – Complaint re email blockage by Spokane PD
To: “Verner, Mary” <MVerner@spokanecity.org>
Cc: CityCouncil@spokanecity.org, “Danek, Thomas” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Pfister, Terri” <TPfister@spokanecity.org>, “Delaney, Howard” <HDelaney@spokanecity.org>, “Dalton, Pat” <PDalton@spokanecity.org>, “Kirkpatrick, Anne” <email@example.com>, “Giannetto, Theresa” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
, “Quick, Jennifer” <email@example.com>, “Burns, Tim O.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Stum, Jennifer” <email@example.com>, “Knezovich, Ozzie” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Emacio, James” <email@example.com>, “ken. wade” <Ken.Wade@wsp.wa.gov>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Larry Shook <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Tony Bamonte <email@example.com>, “Timothy J. Connor” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Breean Beggs <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Donna McKereghan <email@example.com>, “Farnsworth, Laurie” <LFarnsworth@spokanecity.org>
December 16, 2010
Mayor Verner and Councilmembers
Re: Complaint re email blockage by Spokane PD
Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:
Please see the attached email I sent to City Clerk Terri Pfister re my emails from my firstname.lastname@example.org being blocked as spam. I won’t go into specific detail here but I believe this was intentional and deliberate. I don’t believe this was a benign automatic function of the City’s email firewall program. From my research I believe this selective blocking of my email required a manual action within the City’s Baracuda firewall program at the administrative server level by the MIS Department . Such an action normally would require someone with root level admin access/privileges to initiate such a software preference setting.
Asst. City Attorney Pat Dalton’s email regarding this issue is disingenuous at best (See attached). I filed my PDR directly with the City Clerk after confering with Ms. Pfister. My PDR was routed to SPD to handle. My emails to Ms. Quick were in reply to questions she posed in hard copy letters re my PDR. I sent two emails, 11-26-10 and 12-07-10. After not hearing from her I called her on 12-10-10 at which time the blockage of my emails was discovered.
I notified City Clerk Terri Pfister in my email it is her duty/responsibility to preserve the forensic computer records re this matter. I further filed a PDR for this information to identify by terminal and operator code the person responsible for these actions. This should reveal whether this was intentional or not. I have knowledge of the previous action by Chief Kirkpatrick to block emails from Larry Shook. Chief Kirkpatrick contacted Grav Brakel, the MIS director, to block Shook’s emails. As I understand it, this block was global across all City’s email addresses. This block was later rescinded or at least that’s what we thought after Mr. Shook lodge a complaint with Mr. Brakel.
I am assisting the Creach family in obtaining information relative to the Creach OIS investigation that was conducted by SPD pursuant to the critical incident protocol. It was during this research that I discovered my emails were selectively being blocked/filtered/quarantined to SPD internal IP/email addresses. I have further learned that my messages to SPD addresses that were cc’d to other City addresses including Councilmembers were not received. Only when my messages were unquarantined on Monday, did these messages go through to their intended recipients.
This is very chilling as I addressed in my email to Ms. Pfister. The effect is that the official record is being distorted, manipulated and or concealed from elected representatives and citizens.
As I wrote Ms. Quick earlier today:
Further I would expect no harm will come to Ms. Quick re her frankness in her emails to me as she was just doing her job as I would expect her to do.
I’m currently preparing a letter to the Mayor and City Council on this chilling revelation.
For the record to all recipients of this email, both former Sheriff Bamonte and I have separate pending complaints with SPD OPO Tim Burns alleging malfeasance in office by Chief Kirkpatrick. Sheriff Bamonte and I are both continuing to compile an evidenciary record to substantiate our complaints. The interference/manipulation/quarantining of our emails could be construed as specific intent to alter the official record to conceal evidence of our charges.
Mayor Verner and Councilmembers I demand that an immediate investigation be launched re this matter to identify if this was simply a benign effect/artifact of the City’s firewall program or if it required a manual action. If this was a manual action – by whom and who authorized it. Because this potentially involves senior level MIS officials, this investigation be managed/conducted by an outside computer forensics expert. I am officially requesting a copy of that report/findings. And lastly that my email address email@example.com be unblocked.
Thank you in advance for your expeditious consideration and action in this matter.
Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Note: This email will be reformatted and sent as a hard copy letter by US certified mail.
Coverage of the news conference by the media:
KREM has the flavor of the Mayor’s new conference and Councilman Apple letting the cat out of the bag:
Council member throws wrench in Mayor’s news conference
KXLY’s report by Jeff Humphrey including a portion of Mr. Apple’s scathing remarks.
KHQ report and also raw video of the complete statement by Mayor Verner:
My photos of the news conference go here.
There is a newer version of S-R Clouse’s article on the Mayor’s news conference:
Councilman Bob Apple posted these comments on KXLY Rick Rydell’s FaceBook Page:
Our City has a long internal attitude of deciding to cover-up bad employee situations and rather than correcting the problem. The City staffers always claims, that due to liability potential constraints, labor contract restrictive language that the unbelievable direction set is to burry and even ignore, evidence and common sense policy violations. These situations are always handled by our highest levels of bureaucrats at City Hall who are always willing to shift fault and even crimes away from responsable people who should be made to answer for and clearly in hopes of, what really had gone on. Was told a few years ago that two detectives, ordered to recover camera and pictures (of accused rape scene of minor on City property and preformed by an on duty City employee) that they subseqently and intentionally destroyed the evidence and even admitted it so if those internal reports were ever released to the public, there would be a big public relations problem. Last week City Council was informed that two City employees (East Central Community Center) conspired to steal City funds and had to be fired with on going investigation however in this weeks news reports the employees were allowed to quit and that means pension benefits remain there’s as a parting gift and would like to know how much was stolen and what could possibly be the mitigating circumstances involving the theft? I am aware of other allegations of jobs contracted for by our city (Contract for cleaning and maintenance annually of old City Hall system heating and cooling air handler) though apparently found to have never been preformed however claimed to have been paid and that makes me ask who is really running, our Cities affairs and looking out for the taxpayer? Just some examples of hundreds of such situations. Our City is just about the only one left in the State that, will not provide from public Freedon of Information Act requests Police Internal Investigative Reports once complete and still refuses after the WA State Supreme Court recently ruled that, these documents are public. I’ve asked and never received by multiple requests for released to me, police internal shooting investigations and policies, never provided. Even asked for, the maintenance contract on old heat exchange system but not provided and that demonstrated to me the real problem at City Hall that needs to be changed with prejudice and to stop this mentality of cover-ups and sweeping City dirt, under the carpet!
Tim Connor of the CFJ a national award winning investigative reporter was also in attendance at this press conference and has this in depth analysis on Mayor Verner’s refusal to take questions and claim the City can’t act until the criminal case is resolved:
Mute the PressPublished on September 9, 2011
In a no questions allowed “media briefing,” Spokane Mayor Mary Verner proposes a future investigation as she tries to allay public criticism of her handling of the Otto Zehm controversy…