Condon on Police Department Personnel: 'Had we aired this public - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Condon on Police Department Personnel: 'Had we aired this publicly sooner that would have meant going back on my word '

Posted: Updated:
New documents released Tuesday shed more light on the former Spokane police chief’s departure from the department. New documents released Tuesday shed more light on the former Spokane police chief’s departure from the department.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

New documents released this week shed more light on the former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub's departure from the department. 

One of them shows that Mayor David Condon knew in April of the alleged sexual harassment of a female city employee. Monique Cotton, the former police spokesperson, told city administrator Theresa Sanders she had spoken with Condon about the issues she was having with Straub. Those documents of a conversation show that Cotton told Sanders that Straub “grabbed her a** and tried to kiss her.” The conversation took place on April 13.

Chief Frank Straub resigns from the Spokane Police Department

In a text message to Sanders, Cotton wrote, “My transfer into a new position has to be viewed as advancement; without any hint that it is for any other reason other than as a promotion for my past performance…I want and need this ugliness behind me.”

Cotton specifically cites an incident on March 31, when she says she was berated.

Separate documents, which were notes written by Lt. Mark Griffiths, detail that March 31 incident. Griffiths writes he was meeting with Straub, Cotton, and Capt. Eric Olsen regarding his overtime issue. He says Straub started accusing them of withholding information and making him look bad, yelling at them. Griffiths ends his notes, writing, he hadn’t ever been addressed in “such a disrespectful and colorful manner by any SPD supervisor, much less the Chief of Police.”    

We reached out to Cotton, who issued the following statement:

I have made significant efforts to discreetly and professionally navigate this extremely difficult work situation.  I sought legal counsel because I feared for my safety and the security of my employment.

In addition to the harassment I reported to city leaders, my concerns mirror those outlined by the current Executive Staff and the Lieutenants and Captains Association. 

My goal has never been to profit from this terrible situation and to date I have not filed a claim for damages.  Rather, I am trying to survive these awful circumstances, maintain my employment and continue to productively contribute to the City of Spokane.

We also reached out to the city to see if the mayor had a comment. A spokesperson told KHQ Tuesday the documents speak for themselves. On Wednesday, after this story was first published, Mayor Condon issued the following statement: 

“Personnel matters can present difficult challenges. Ms. Cotton raised concerns in April and made it very clear at that time that she did not want to pursue a formal complaint or investigation. We committed to Ms. Cotton at that time that her employment was safe and that we would honor her request.

Our concern from the beginning has been for the employee and respecting her request to not place additional attention on her. When other members of the Spokane Police Division expressed broader behavioral concerns in September we took steps to investigate and confirm those allegations.

Had we aired this publicly sooner that would have meant going back on my word to Ms. Cotton and bringing more hurt and stress to an already difficult situation. We are always going to offer our employees a safe place to air their concerns without bringing extra attention that may discourage them from coming forward.

Ms. Cotton’s move to the Parks Division communications role filled a need to support the significant public investment in Riverfront Park. She has done great work in that role and we support her ongoing efforts there.”

Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, called the documents preposterous. In a statement, she wrote, in part,  "This is a salacious and methodical diversion by the City from the real issue. If the City gave Ms. Cotton a “job advancement” because she springboarded from a reprimand into a new job description by threatening false claims of harassment, then that has nothing to do with merit, and everything to do with why Spokane is now seen nationally as a City that can’t keep its police chiefs."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Amazon.com to bring more than 1,500 jobs to Spokane

    Amazon.com to bring more than 1,500 jobs to Spokane

    Friday, July 20 2018 1:51 PM EDT2018-07-20 17:51:43 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Seattle-based Amazon.com is opening a fulfillment center in Spokane, promising more than 1,500 full-time jobs.    The company announced on Friday that it was opening its first fulfillment center in eastern Washington.    The 600,000-square foot center will be built near the Spokane International Airport.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Seattle-based Amazon.com is opening a fulfillment center in Spokane, promising more than 1,500 full-time jobs.    The company announced on Friday that it was opening its first fulfillment center in eastern Washington.    The 600,000-square foot center will be built near the Spokane International Airport.

    >>
  • Death toll from Missouri duck boat accident climbs to 17

    Death toll from Missouri duck boat accident climbs to 17

    Friday, July 20 2018 3:51 PM EDT2018-07-20 19:51:29 GMT

    BRANSON, Mo. - Divers found four more bodies Friday in a Missouri lake where a duck boat packed with tourists capsized and sank in high winds, bringing the death toll to 17 in the country-and-western town of Branson, authorities said.

    >>

    BRANSON, Mo. - Divers found four more bodies Friday in a Missouri lake where a duck boat packed with tourists capsized and sank in high winds, bringing the death toll to 17 in the country-and-western town of Branson, authorities said.

    >>
  • Hayden man arrested for hate crime following fight with youth pastor

    Hayden man arrested for hate crime following fight with youth pastor

    Friday, July 20 2018 2:36 AM EDT2018-07-20 06:36:38 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - On July 12, officers responded to a large fight at a Coeur d'Alene McDonald's. Court documents say a Hayden man was charged with battery and malicious harassment, which is considered a hate crime in Idaho, following an investigation by police.  When officers arrived on scene, the fight had broken up, but witnesses were interviewed at the scene.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - On July 12, officers responded to a large fight at a Coeur d'Alene McDonald's. Court documents say a Hayden man was charged with battery and malicious harassment, which is considered a hate crime in Idaho, following an investigation by police.  When officers arrived on scene, the fight had broken up, but witnesses were interviewed at the scene.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Crews nearing containment of Old CC Fire near Colville

    Crews nearing containment of Old CC Fire near Colville

    Friday, July 20 2018 6:29 PM EDT2018-07-20 22:29:05 GMT

    COLVILLE, Wash. - The Old CC Fire is nearing full containment, reaching 80 percent in the Northeast Washington Interagency's final update on the fire southwest of Colville. Crews are working towards 100% containment, planning to mop up and patrol the fire through Saturday. There are approximately 150 personnel assigned to the fire. The fire began Wednesday evening and has grown to 29 acres. The cause is under investigation.

    >>

    COLVILLE, Wash. - The Old CC Fire is nearing full containment, reaching 80 percent in the Northeast Washington Interagency's final update on the fire southwest of Colville. Crews are working towards 100% containment, planning to mop up and patrol the fire through Saturday. There are approximately 150 personnel assigned to the fire. The fire began Wednesday evening and has grown to 29 acres. The cause is under investigation.

    >>
  • Duck boats linked to more than 40 deaths since 1999

    Duck boats linked to more than 40 deaths since 1999

    Friday, July 20 2018 5:58 PM EDT2018-07-20 21:58:09 GMT
    Cropped Photo: SounderBruce / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0Cropped Photo: SounderBruce / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    (AP) - Duck boats like the one that sank in Branson, Missouri, killing 17 people, have a long history of safety problems and have been linked to the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999. The deadly sinking in Missouri brought back painful memories of a similar accident nearly two decades ago in Arkansas. 

    >>

    (AP) - Duck boats like the one that sank in Branson, Missouri, killing 17 people, have a long history of safety problems and have been linked to the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999. The deadly sinking in Missouri brought back painful memories of a similar accident nearly two decades ago in Arkansas. 

    >>
  • Court docs: Kootenai Behavioral Health therapist charged with rape, abuse of underage patient

    Court docs: Kootenai Behavioral Health therapist charged with rape, abuse of underage patient

    Friday, July 20 2018 5:55 PM EDT2018-07-20 21:55:59 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A therapist at Kootenai Behavior Health is accused of having sex with an underage patient "hundreds of times" according to court documents. He's been charged with rape and sexual abuse, and is currently on administrative leave from the hospital during the investigation.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A therapist at Kootenai Behavior Health is accused of having sex with an underage patient "hundreds of times" according to court documents. He's been charged with rape and sexual abuse, and is currently on administrative leave from the hospital during the investigation.

    >>