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Spokane Ombudsman worried about transparency amid controversial K9 arrest

Ombudsman Bart Lugue was involved and reviewed the investigations of Officers Scott and Dan Lesser when they arrested Lucas Ellerman in February.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Ombudsman confirms the police officer involved in a suspect's arrest last winter resigned from the K-9 Unit.

The Ombudsman Office oversees conduct-related matters in the police department. It is tasked with ensuring conduct investigations are timely, thorough and objective.  

"I think our end goal always has to be that there won't be another incident like this that we have to look at," Police Ombudsman Bart Logue said.

Police Ombudsman Bart Logue said his office is allowed to be involved throughout the investigation process, but not the findings. Lugue was involved and reviewed the investigations of Officers Scott and Dan Lesser when they arrested Lucas Ellerman in February.

"When I reviewed the video, I was concerned that there may have been an intent concern on whether or not the officer was operating with malice, whether or not the officer had deployed force in a punitive manner and the obvious demeanor concerns," Logue said.

He said investigative documents reviewed by his office mentioned closed door meetings several times. Logue said the docs also show Officer Dan Lesser voluntarily resigned from the K9 unit following one of those meetings.

These closed meetings raised concerns of transparency for Logue.

"Anytime there's a meeting where there could be some talk about misconduct, you have to be concerned about due process rights for the officer," Logue said. "If there's misconduct involved it should always be very transparent. Everything should be documented when you're talking with people, different investigative steps that you're taking..all that should be documented."

He said moving forward, his office hopes the message is clear that it will set the standard high when it comes to misconduct concerns.

"I think the standard should always be, if there's perceived of alleged misconduct that we're going to look at it closely," Logue said.

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