Truthful allegations

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

The article, "Probe of Sitka police finds no wrongdoing" (Empire, May 30), while containing some truth, is a misrepresentation of the facts. The fact is that the allegations made by myself and John Baeza were supported; the D.A. agreed that the conduct which had been alleged had in fact occurred (despite the D.A.'s perceptions regarding what fueled the allegations).

Related Link:

Probe of Sitka police finds no wrongdoing

According to the article in the Sitka Sentinel on May 28, the D.A. concluded that "the allegations concern police department administrative or policy matters which should be reviewed in a civil or administrative context...". The D.A. found that criminal charges were not supported, not that the Sitka Police is exonerated of all wrongdoing. There is a great difference.

For example, the article in the Sitka Sentinel, from which this release was apparently drawn, provided that allegations regarding destroyed police credentials was true: the credentials were missing/destroyed but the D.A. felt that it could not be proven how this had occurred or who was responsible. The fact that only the chief's administrative assistant and the chief of police have access to the area and the files where the police IDs were kept should be a clue, and the fact that the chief's administrative assistant was the person who first alerted Sitka City Administrator Tony Zimmer to this fact should be another.

For further example, the D.A.'s letter, quoted in the Sitka Sentinel, stated that "the failure to make an arrest on an alleged domestic violence incident in March 2001" was appropriate. The fact is that the police were called, evidence of terroristic threats and property destruction was found (and taped), a restraining order was immediately filed by the victim (apparently the judge felt, at the time, that the victim's fear was valid), and the D.A. was not consulted about whether to prosecute the offender until several days after the incident had occurred - that is to say - several days after the mandatory arrest should have taken place.

It would be interesting to place this letter from the D.A. in front of any domestic violence victims' group or women's shelter director and ask whether the police, in failing to make a mandatory arrest dictated by law, were acting in accordance with current domestic violence laws.

So, again, the allegations were found to have merit despite the D.A.'s perceptions of how they may or may not have been fueled. The allegations were true, they just weren't criminal in her opinion. This opinion is not a surprise, as the D.A.'s office was named in two of the allegations, and district attorneys are not in the habit of finding themselves or their colleagues criminally responsible for their actions.

The fact that the allegations themselves were truthful was not made clear in the article run in the Empire. This is, in my view, an attempt to deride the credibility of those of us who witnessed the wrongdoing and had the character to report it. Very one-sided and very inaccurate reporting.

Brent E. Turvey


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