UPDATE: Stephens On Administrative Leave Over ‘False’ Reports Of Workplace Violence
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, Wash. - Scott Stephens'
attorney, Bob Dunn, told KHQ the circumstances surrounding Stephens'
administrative leave go back to the hiring process for current Police Chief
According to Dunn,
Mayor Condon asked Stephens to step in to the role of Interim Chief, and said he
would be considered for the permanent position.
However, he never got it.
"The rumor at the time
that was swirling around Straub's appointment was that it was a preordained,
done deal. That the mayor had cut an
inside deal with Straub and he was the Mayor's choice all along," Dunn told
Spokane Mayor David
Condon told KHQ that was absolutely not true, and that a number of panels
supported Straub throughout the hiring process.
Dunn also said
Stephens – and many others – were on a selection committee for police chief
candidates, and that his client had voted ‘no confidence' for the final
candidates – including Straub. But now,
Straub's his boss.
"We believe that from
that point on, it was preordained that they were going to retaliate against
Assistant Chief Scott Stephens and that's what they've done," Dunn
Dunn said he met with
Mayor Condon as recently as Thursday in the ongoing discussions over possible
severance packages for Scott Stephens' retirement. He was demoted from Assistant Chief to
Captain at the beginning of the investigation, and is now listed as a
Lieutenant. Dunn says Stephens is
received pay at the Lieutenant level while he's on leave, which is a significant
difference from Assistant Chief, when he was earning $155,806.56
Mayor Condon maintains
that Stephens is being paid the rate of Assistant Chief.
Mayor Condon is
bringing in retired Federal Judge Michael Hogan to investigate the circumstance
surrounding Scott Stephens' administrative leave; in essence, he'll investigate
the Internal Affairs Investigation that's already been completed within Spokane
Police. His name may sound familiar, as
Hogan helped in the resolution of the Otto Zehm matter. His contract has not been finalized yet, so
it's not clear how much his services will cost taxpayers.
It's the first time in Mayor
Condon's administration he's brought in an outside investigator for an Internal
Affairs matter. He called it the "most
transparent, most effective" way to move forward in a transition process that
has been "difficult."
"At the end of the
day, the public should judge me, judge Chief Straub and his command staff, on do
we have a safer community?" Mayor Condon added.
"At the end of the day, I want a safe community and as we go through this
process we need to be fair to our employees, and balance that at the same time
with the information needed for our citizens."
SPOKANE, Wash – Former Spokane Police Interim Chief Scott Stephens was placed on administrative leave in late December because of a "false" report he was disappointed over his demotion, and had threatened workplace violence, saying he was "going to go home and come back with his weapon," Stephens' lawyer Bob Dunn told KHQ Tuesday.
However, Dunn says there's "not a sliver of truth" to that accusation. He says Stephens did have a conversation with a friend acknowledging his disappointment, but that anything beyond that is simply untrue.
Dunn says that report was forwarded on to Police Chief Frank Straub and newly appointed Assistant Chief Craig Meidl. Dunn says Straub wanted Stephens out of the department from the very beginning, and that this false report is retaliation.
This story is developing right now; stay here with KHQ for updates throughout the day.
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