City reaches $190,000 settlement with former Interim Police Chief

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 6:22 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The city of Spokane has reached an agreement with the former Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens. The $190,000 settlement stemmed from Stephens being placed on administrative leave in late 2012 over accusations that he made a workplace threat.
 
Mayor David Condon announced the settlement on Friday. However, Spokane City Council leaders must approve the deal. They are scheduled to vote on the settlement on May 6th.


Condon named Stephens interim chief when Anne Kirkpatrick left in January 2012. Stephens was later demoted to captain when City leaders hired Police Chief Frank Straub. Shortly after, Stephens was placed on administrative leave.

Stephens’ lawyer Bob Dunn told KREM 2 News that his client was put on leave because of claims that he made a workplace threat. The claim alleged Stephens threatened to use his weapon because he was angry over the demotion according to Dunn. Stephens’ lawyer insisted that the claim was false.

City leaders hired a retired U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan to investigate the matter. Hogan issued a report about the case on Friday. The report stated that one of Stephens’ colleagues reported that he made the threats. The female colleague perceived the threats as violent according to the report.

“He didn’t think anyone would blame him if he took action,” said the colleague in the report.

Hogan’s report did not detail the specifics of the alleged threat. However, the report stated that Stephens’ told Straub that his words were taken out of context and he would never threaten himself or others.

Stephens was placed on administrative leave following the accusations and ordered to seek counseling. Stephen’s lawyers confirmed that their client followed commands, was cleared and deemed fit for duty.

His lawyers made the first step toward suing the city in early April. They were seeking damages of $700,000. City leaders and Stephens’ lawyers eventually settled for $190,000.
 
Stephens’ will retire from the Spokane Police Department with the rank of Assistant Chief.
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub sent an email to officers Friday about the matter. The email included this statement:

"You may see and hear news coverage regarding a settlement that has been reached with former Assistant Chief Scott Stephens.  I appreciate Asst. Chief Stephens many years of service to the Department and the community, his leadership during a transitional period in the Department’s history and wish him well in the future."  

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