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SCAR drafts letter calling for Spokane police chief's resignation

SCAR claims police chief Craig Meidl is using city resources to advance the agenda of a narrow group of powerful business owners in the Spokane area.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR) has drafted a letter to Spokane City Council and Mayor Nadine Woodward calling for the resignation of Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.

In the letter, SCAR says Meidl is using city resources to advance the agenda of a narrow group of powerful business owners in the Spokane area, giving them more power than the average Spokane resident.

SCAR pointed to Chud Wendle and his associates in the Spokane Business and Commercial Property Owners Council (SBCPOC) as the ones receiving this preferential treatment from SPD.

"Instead of serving the public impartially, Chief Meidl has weaponized accountability policies he dislikes to excuse a lack of police response to specific communities and reserved the highest level of public service for his friends," SCAR said in the letter.

In a list of community demands, SCAR called for Meidl's resignation and for Mayor Woodward to begin an open search for a new police chief "with meaningful and inclusive community involvement."

Meidl responded to the calls for his resignation with the following statement:

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. 

Mayor Woodward responded to the call for Meidl's resignation with the following statement:

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.

SCAR also called on city council to use its subpoena power to fully investigate the degree in which Meidl and SPD used positions and public resources "to advance the political agenda of Chud Wendle and SBCPOC."

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