Human Rights Commission not apologizing to SPD - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Human Rights Commission not apologizing to SPD

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Jacina Scamahorn Jacina Scamahorn
SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane City Council member Mike Fagan is asking for the Human Rights Commission to apologize to the Spokane Police Department.

This comes after the department was cleared of any improper conduct when responding to the assault of a transgender woman, Jacina Scamahorn.

Members of the commission say there's no way they're going to apologize for advocating for Jacina.

KHQ spoke with Jacina several times about what she says happened on Friday, January 30.

She's also been in court to see her alleged attackers be charged with her assault.

Jacina says she was attacked by two men at Boot's Bakery when they made derogatory comments about her clothes and called her expletives.

When police arrived on scene, Jacina says officers were disrespectful to her and referred to her as a man several times.

This sparked the Human Rights Commission to ask the public to come to the next City Council meeting and support Jacina, which dozens of people did.

This also sparked a police Internal Affairs investigation.

When police completed the investigation, they found there was no evidence to support improper conduct by Spokane police officers.

In an email, City Council Member Mike Fagan is now asking for the HRC to apologize, saying it acted too quickly, and the situation put a negative light on the police department's reputation.

Blaine Stum with the HRC responded saying there won't be an apology, and at no point did the commission defame or degrade the police department when they advocated for Jacina.

The assault on Jacina Scamahorn happened in Council Member Jon Snyder's district last month.

"I think Councilmember Fagan is trying to create a rift where none exists. The Human Rights Commission and the police have a good working relationship. Matter of fact, I think if you talk to either of them, they would say that it's better than it's been in a long time. There's good open communication there and there's a desire on both sides to keep making this a better city for law enforcement and for citizens," said Snyder. "I don't think council member fagan has pointed out anything that needs to be apologized for. You know, I think whenever we get to the point where we need to apologize for highlighting in justice there's something wrong with our community."

Read the email exchange between Fagan and Blaine Stum of the HRC below:

Blaine,

Good Morning!

You and I have had this conversation previously regarding the completion of the investigation surrounding the allegations made against the Spokane Police Department. I believe that it is time for the Human Rights commission (HRC) to issue a statement.

As you recall, the incident, the subsequent testimony, and all of the media coverage that occurred really put a negative light on the reputation, policy and procedure of the Spokane Police Department.

You also know that the council, the Mayor, the Chief, and many others have worked our tails off in trying to reform, restructure and re-brand the Spokane Police Department after years of negativity.

Now that the investigation has been completed and the police officers on the scene were not acting inappropriately, It has become obvious that the HRC acted to quickly. By doing so, all of the aforementioned efforts have been impacted by this incident, and I am sure that those who saw the coverage, have had their opinions of the Police department shaken.

At your earliest convenience, I would respectfully request that you issue a public statement apologizing for the action you and/or your commission took without first waiting for the investigation to be complete. I believe that those actions put our city in a bad light with the rest of the nation, and have impacted and damaged the reputation of our Police Department.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

Mike Fagan


---

CM Fagan,

With all due respect, no such apology will be forthcoming. At no point during our advocacy for Jacina did the Human Rights Commission defame, slander or otherwise degrade the Spokane Police Department. In fact, in all interviews that I conducted with news media, I made it clear that I and other Commissioners were reserving judgment of allegations of improper conduct on the part of the police officers until after Internal Affairs conducted its investigation and we were privy to more information. We cannot (and should not) control how victims choose to relate their side of the story, nor how the media chooses to report such incidences or allegations.

You may not know that I have been intimately involved with bridging the gap of trust between the LGBT Community and the Police Department for years now. These efforts have included hate crime forums, community discussions with law enforcement, in-service training and numerous outreach efforts that have taken place over the last 5-6 years. Despite my best efforts, and the commendable efforts of Chief Straub and Director Schwering, that gap still exists whether I or anyone else likes it or not, and no amount of press releases will help bridge it.

As a Commission, we are dedicated to continuing to work collaboratively with law enforcement on the issue of community trust; whether it is within the LGBT community, communities of color or the disabled community. As we have in the past, we do so with the utmost respect for the honorable men and women who serve our community as Police Officers.

Thank you,

Blaine


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