SPD suspends all cases involving Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal has admitted to filing numerous police reports as the victim of threats and hate crimes.

In the five week series that focuses on justice issues facing Spokane, Dolezal has talked about the mail threats and being part of an ethnic group.

SPD Suspends Case

Officers Question Origin

Leaders with the Spokane Police Department suspended all cases involving Rachel Dolezal Friday afternoon.

The decision came one day after Dolezal's claims of harassment and race came under internationally scrutiny with the help of the internet.

SPD tweeted that all cases involving the leader of the NAACP in Spokane were suspended.

"If new information comes to light we can investigate that information," wrote SPD leaders.

Rachel Dolezal has admitted to filing numerous police reports as the victim of threats and hate crimes. She told officers she believed letters received in the NAACP PO Box were threats directed at her and her sons.

When Dolezal reported a letter sent to her in March, it was the ninth hate crime in less than a decade for her.

A police report filed in March questioned how hate mail ended up in the PO Box for the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. On Wednesday, the Spokane Police Department released an eleven page report into their findings thus far.

Spokane NAACP President Rachel Dolezal claimed she found an envelope with pictures of lynchings and references to local cases concerning race in March.

The envelope containing the letter was found in the NAACP mailbox at the Rosewood Post Office along North Monroe.

However, investigators later noticed important marks missing from the package.

It was delivered to a post office box. But it did not have a date stamp or barcode according to an on-going police report by SPD.

Postal officials told SPD officers that a letter or package would never be put in a mail box purposefully without those things even if it was hand delivered to the post office. Postal workers said it is possible that the letter could have gotten stuck to another letter and thus missed the scanner and postal marking. But they said the chances of this happening were extremely low.

Staff said the only other way for a unprocessed letter to land in a PO Box would be if it were placed there by someone with a key or a USPS employee was involved.

Security cameras at the Rosewood Post Office were not working at the time the letter was received according to the police report. But police said they have ruled out postal employees as suspects.

WATCH: A look at what was inside the envelope

Rachel Dolezal said she does not believe anyone within the NAACP could be responsible.

Forensic specialists processed the mail in question. They found numerous smudges according to the police report, and one partial print. Dolezal admitted to opening the letter. As of March 4, forensic specialists had planned to pull Dolezal's print and compare it to the partial.

Police are still processing the envelope as well as its contents for any clues to help identify who sent it. At the time she reported the letter, Dolezal told officers that most of these types of incidents were caused by people affiliated with right wing groups in our area.

Representatives from the NAACP said that all mail sent to their PO Box has been automatically forwarded to their new location since it opened in January. But, Dolezal reported receiving the letter at the PO Box after that move.

WATCH: See the second letter sent to the NAACP

In May, Dolezal claimed she had received another racially charged letter.

She said the latest one looked like it is from the same person. Dolezal said she wrapped the letter in a grocery bag to avoid getting fingerprints on it so it can be given to detectives. It also made reference to the first letter and was signed 'War Pig' according to Dolezal. She told officers that she had heard the term "War Pig" and she believed that they are a hate group associated with meth dealers and that they are violent, according to police records.

The second letter was sent to the NAACP's Downtown Spokane office.

Previous Threats

No Suspects Found

KREM 2 News has covered Dolezal previously for work in human rights and when she had received opposition in North Idaho and Spokane. She said she has been the victim of burglary, death threats and in two cases, nooses left on her property.

2010:

Rachel Dolezal resigned from her position as the Director of Human Rights Education Institute in Kootenai County in July 2010.

She claimed she had been the target of discrimination. Dolezal told KREM 2 News that was why she had decided to leave.

Dolezal took the position in 2008.

Within her time at the Human Rights Education Institute, police investigated hate crimes targeting Dolezal twice. Nobody was ever found or arrested.

In June of 2010, she claimed a noose was found at her North Idaho home.

"A lot goes through my head in terms of being a mother and community member, just assessing and reassessing what kind of stand I'm taking and why, and reevaluating what that means in terms of counting the cost, " Dolezal said in an interview at the time with KREM 2 News.

The Coeur d'Alene Police Department was investigating the incident.

2009:

"It is disappointing more than surprising to see again that human beings are capable of the worst and not the best," Dolezal said on September 23. Dolezal claimed a noose was also found at her home in September 2009. She lived in Spokane at the time, so officers with the Spokane Police Department investigated the claim.

The week prior, Dolezal reported that someone had burglarized her home.

2009: Swastika put on door of CD'A Human Rights building

In April of 2009, a group of neo-nazis came to the Human Rights Education Institute where she worked.

Family Questions Rachel

Troy, Montana

A recent investigation into racially charged threats made toward the president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane have raised questions beyond who made the threats.

On Thursday, Rachel Dolezal's parents claimed she had been deceiving people.

Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said Thursday that they want people to know the truth including that their daughter is Caucasian. The Dolezals sat down with KREM 2 News and said their daughter is specifically German and Czech.

Dolezal#39;s parents, who live in Troy, MT, say Rachel has been deceiving people

Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said their daughter has always identified with the African American culture and had black siblings who were adopted. They said she went to school in Mississippi and was part of a primarily African American community.

The Dolezals said Rachel married and later divorced a black man. They said after the divorce in 2004 Rachel began identifying differently. She started claiming to be partially African American and the daughter of bi-racial parents. They said they have noticed her change in physical appearance but do not know how she did so.

"Rachel has wanted to be somebody she's not. She's chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that's simply not true," said Ruthanne Dolezal.

The Dolezals said they do not have a problem with Rachel advocating for a civil rights group for African Americans, rather that she is being deceptive about it.

Rachel's parents said she distanced herself from them and has not talked to them recently.

The same day her parents were interviewed, Rachel Dolezal told KREM 2 News that she does not speak to her parents because of an on-going legal issue.

"There is a lawsuit that's been going on for almost a year, once I supported my sister and allegations against her older brother," said Rachel.

Rachel said she does not consider her biological parents her real parents.

KREM 2 News asked to address the public sentiment that she misrepresented her race.

"I can understand that. And like I said, it's more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don't think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity," said Dolezal.

A long-time friend of Dolezal spoke out on her behalf Friday. Kass Welchlin has been friends with Dolezal for 16 years and met her at the church they both attended in Jackson, Mississippi.

"Rachel is the type of person that identifies with all of her heritage -- from the beginning of time, from now, from the last 50 years to the last 500 to the last 1,500. She is a very intelligent woman," said Welchin.

He added that she is being shed in the wrong light.

City Investigates

Spokane's Police Ombudsman Commission

The allegations that Rachel Dolezal has been misrepresenting her race could have repercussions when it comes to her position on Spokane's Police Ombudsman Commission.

City of Spokane officials said they are investigating whether she may have violated any city policy or code of ethics when she applied to lead the commission.

The commission was formed last fall with Dolezal as the group's leader.

The application asked for the race or ethnicity of the person applying. Dolezal said she believed it was an optional choice. But, city officials said she still checked four boxes on the application, including Black/African American, White and Native American/Alaska Native.

Mayor Condon selected Dolezal as the leader of the commission. City staff said race was a factor during selection.

"It certainly could have been a consideration at that point," said Brian Coddington of the City of Spokane.

Staff said they hope to have an update on the investigation early next week.

NAACP releases statement on Dolezal

Friday, June 12, 2015

The National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People released a statement Friday regarding the controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal's racial identity.

Dolezal's parents said Thursday that she is a Caucasian woman and has been misleading the public for years, claiming that she is the child of biracial parents instead of Caucasian parents. Dolezal later came out and expressed that she and her parents do not speak due to ongoing legal issues.

On Friday, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP said anyone can be a leader in the organization.

"I didn't look into her background or anything. She won the election and I moved on," said James Wilburn, former president.

Wilburn said he did have concerns about the effect this controversy could have on the NAACP.

"I'm concerned about the branch and it's credibility and it's viability -- if it can survive this," said Wilburn. "It's like an old African proverb; when elephants fight, the grass gets killed. And in this case the branch is the grass."

Wilburn also said he received threats during his two years as president.

"I didn't make a big deal of it," said Wilburn.

Wilburn said it did not matter to him what race the leader of the NAACP is, especially in a county like Spokane with a small percentage of African Americans. He said his concern is that the issue could harm the NAACP's relationships with the City of Spokane and Spokane Public schools.

"I'm doing what I can to not let it hinder or hurt the organization," said Wilburn. "It's the oldest, boldest, biggest, baddest, civil rights organization in the history of this nation."

Dolezal was a regular participant of many NAACP events.

Videos show her hosting a national trend called "Moral Mondays" at the Spokane branch. The five week series focused on justice issues facing Spokane.

During the talks she referenced the hate crimes and death threats she said she and others in the NAACP received. She also referred to being part of an ethnic group.

"Also having the idea of citizenship, in terms of character being questioned and criminality being associated with with our people," said Dolezal at one of the talks.

TWEETS: People respond to NAACP incident with #wrongskin

Earlier in the day, the NAACP released the following statement:

"For 106 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has held a long and proud tradition of receiving support from people of all faiths, races, colors and creeds. NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter. One's racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal's advocacy record. In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational, and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.

Hate language sent through mail and social media along with credible threats continue to be a serious issue for our units in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. We take all threats seriously and encourage the FBI and the Department of Justice to fully investigate each occurrence."

Late Friday night Dolezal released the following statement to members of the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP:

"As you probably know by now, there are questions and assumptions swirling in national and global news about my family, my race, my credibility, and the NAACP. I have discussed the situation, including personal matters, with the Executive Committee. I support their decision to wait until Monday to make a statement. the Executive team asked that I also release my response statement at the same time, which will be during the 7-9 p.m. monthly membership meeting.

The national and regional NAACP have recommended this same strategy. I ask that all members of the NAACP respect this process as well. there are many layers to this situation. The Executive Committee would like to open up to paid members the opportunity to have questions submitted by email. The Executive Committee would vet and then choose which questions to address after my personal statement. My sons and I would appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support during the interlude. I will see you Monday!"

EWU Releases Statement

Dolezal Teaches Part-Time

Eastern Washington University released a statement Friday regarding Rachel Dolezal after news broke of her portraying herself as African American when she was born Caucasian.

EWU said in a statement that Dolezal is a part-time instructor employed on a quarter-by-quarter basis and that Dolezal is not a professor. However, when viewing Dolezal's faculty biography page, she is listed as a quarterly professor at the university.

According to EWU's website, Dolezal holds a Master's degree from Howard University, and has taught The Black Woman's Struggle, African and African American Art History, African History, African American Culture, and Intro to Africana Studies all at EWU. The biography states that her research focuses on the intersection of race, gender and class in the "contemporary Diaspora with a specific emphasis on Black women in visual culture."

As of Friday morning, Dolezal was slated to speak at EWU's graduation ceremony for the students in the Africana Studies department. Dolezal did not give the speech.

The director of the Africana Studies program said they decided earlier Friday that Dolezal would be a distraction, and that they wanted to keep the attention on the students graduating.

"What we wanted to do tonight -- and she felt the same way -- is what's the best support action we can take to make it their night," said Director Scott Finnie. "This is their completion and their families are here. So we felt it would be best -- she agreed -- for her not to come."

Some students disagreed. They said they voted Dolezal to be the key note speaker and some were upset she would not be attending.

"Whether she's white, black, Asian, whatever her racial identity is, I think that should not be the main focus. The main focus should be her leadership ability and what she has accomplished in the Spokane area," said Satori Butler, the President of the Black Student Union at EWU.

EWU's site states that Dolezal's passion for civil rights was influenced by the time she spent in Mississippi, where she advocated for equal rights and participated in community development. It also states that Dolezal had been appointed by the Mayor of Spokane to serve as a police commissioner for the Office of the Police Ombudsman to oversee fairness and equity in law enforcement.

According to EWU, Dolezal's experiences include working with African dance, culinary arts, ethnic hair styling, modeling, managing a political campaign, and has 14 years of experience as an exhibiting artist.

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Chapters

Family Questions Rachel

2015

NAACP Releases Statement

2015

SPD Suspends Case

2015

Previous Threats

2010 & 2009

City Investigates

2015

EWU Releases Statement

June 12, 2015