SPOKANE, Wash. - A group of over 20 community organizations have called for the Spokane Chief of Police Craig Meidl to resign and for Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward to change practices.
In a letter from the Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), they say Chief Meidl used city resources to benefit a specific group of business owners, which gave those businesses more power than the average local business.
The letter references two incidents where the police chief allegedly used his office to provide additional services to specific community members: The Ombudsman’s Report and an article published from The Spokesman-Review, “Shawn Vestal: Probe details extensive communications, favors between police chief and business group.”
Both The Ombudsman’s Report, published in Dec. 2022, and the recent article from The Spokesman-Review detail the chief's communication with Chud Wendle, the Executive Director at the Hutton Settlement.
"Chief Meidl of the Spokane Police Department has failed to uphold the impartiality expected of the position of Chief of Police. His favoritism towards Chud Wendle and associates has shown that he not only favors this group, but uses his position of power within the city to push this group's agenda forward," said the letter.
In addition to the chief's resignation, organizations are calling for Mayor Nadine Woodward to start the search for a new police chief while "instructing the city attorney to negotiate a contract between the City and Spokane Police Department that allows the Police Ombuds to write reports with the full freedom to explain findings and make recommendations based on their investigation and expertise."
They also call on the Spokane City Council to "use its subpoena power to fully investigate the degree to which Chief Meidl and other members of the Spokane Police Department used positions or public resources to advance the political agenda of Chud Wendle and SBCPOC, and to what degree members of local government were unduly influenced by Chud Wendle, SBCPOC, and their associates."
The Spokane City Council Meeting will be held on March 27 at 6 p.m.
Updated: March 27 at 11:15 p.m.
Mayor Nadine Woodward and Spokane Chief of Police Craig Meidl have released the following statements in regards to the call for Craig Meidl's resignation:
From Mayor Nadine Woodward:
Chief Meidl has been a tireless advocate for community policing in Spokane and our state. He has worked very hard to engage all members of the community in conversation about continually evolving the department to meet the changing needs of our community. That includes leaders of underrepresented populations, the faith community, neighborhoods, organizations, higher education, and many others to ensure he hears and understands the important perspectives, voices, and resources they bring to the public safety discussion. The community expects, demands, and is appreciative of that level of engagement from the department and its chief. Requests come in daily from the community. Being responsive to those requests is part of the engagement and customer service commitment the department has made to the neighborhoods it serves. He and the department have my full support for the work they do every day to engage our community in making Spokane safer.
From Chief Meidl:
I am aware of a vocal group of individuals who desire my resignation. This desire is based on the inaccurate belief that I engaged in preferential treatment regarding the dissemination of information to the detriment of others. The basis for this request is unfounded.
Transparency is one of the Spokane Police Department’s core values, and some members of the group now calling for this action have been the beneficiary of my open communication. The disputed communications did not involve privileged information.
I firmly believe the safety of Spokane is everyone’s responsibility, which is why I have invested so much time in cultivating relationships with neighborhoods, organizations, under-represented groups and individuals; ensuring everyone has a voice. I will continue to proudly serve the City of Spokane, and in doing so, continue to be open and honest about issues impacting public safety.