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Tag: Eric Anderson

May
5th

Tacoma: Former cop on Citizen Review Panel confronts chief for “lying” about Amber Alert

The only former police officer on a citizen panel charged with reviewing the Tacoma Police Department’s policies and procedures said Wednesday that she told Police Chief Donald Ramsdell this week that she believes he “lied to the community” about why his department delayed issuing an Amber Alert in the Zina Linnik case.

Don Ramsdell, Tacoma Chief of Police

“I told the chief that I was disappointed in his behavior,” Trisha King Stargel said about the discussion with Ramsdell on Monday.

“I believe he lied to the community. I pointed out that if he had been one of his own police officers lying during an investigation, not only would he lose his job, but he’d lose his (state) police certification for up to five years.”

King Stargel’s comments to Ramsdell came on May 3, during this month’s regularly scheduled public meeting of Tacoma’s Citizen Review Panel. The  six-member, City Council-appointed body was formed in the aftermath of the Chief David Brame murder-suicide scandal.  Charged with providing advice to city officials on police policy issues, the review panel’s mission is  “to ensure transparency and accountability in the way that the City of Tacoma Police Department operates,” according to the city’s website.

King Stargel, a 24-year-cop-turned-Seattle University criminal justice lecturer who also works as a national police training consultant, said she requested that a discussion of Ramsdell’s actions in the Linnik case be put on the panel’s agenda this month.  Her request came after reports in The News Tribune recently revealed the chief and TPD spokesman Mark Fulghum had misled media outlets about why it took the department 12 hours to issue the alert following Linnik’s abduction in 2007.

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May
1st

Tacoma: 6th council member can’t recall being told sleeping cop delayed Zina’s Amber Alert

Former City Councilwoman Julie Anderson said Saturday she has “absolutely no recollection” of being told two years ago that Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum fell asleep after he’d been asked to issue an Amber Alert when Zina Linnik disappeared in 2007.

Julie Anderson

She added that if she had heard such information, she would have taken action.

“If I had been made aware that what actually happened — that an officer fell asleep and caused the delay of the Amber Alert, and that that had all been misrepresented in public — I would have acted, yes,” she told me in phone call Saturday morning.

Julie Anderson is the sixth member of the 2009 city council who could not corroborate statements made Friday by City Manager Eric Anderson that both he and City Council members knew about the reason for the Amber Alert’s delay since 2009 (Here’s our story from Saturday about what other council members recall).

Eric Anderson told The News Tribune Friday that he and the council first learned about Fulghum’s sleep-induced delay simultaneously, during a closed-door executive session in 2009 with city attorneys. The meeting was called to discuss a legal claim against the city by the Linnik family, he said.

Eric Anderson said that during the meeting, he and the attending council members were clearly told about Fulghum, yet the information did not spark him or anyone else to take further action, such as seeking any kind of internal investigation.

That’s because there were no obvious signs of policy violations, Eric Anderson said. He added that, because executive session discussions are legally confidential, he did not feel he could use any information that emerged from them to separately launch such a probe.

The city manager’s statements are significant because they would mean that several other city officials besides himself knew for nearly two years about the true reason why the alert was delayed in the Linnik case. Until news stories in the TNT last week, police officials had previously told the press and public they had delayed issuing the alert so investigators could gather more  information to put in it.

In her phone discussion with me Saturday, Julie Anderson keenly recalled details from the 2009 executive session now in question.
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April
29th

Tacoma police chief reprimanded in Zina case

Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson has reprimanded Police Chief Don Ramsdell for not telling him the department’s spokesman was being paid to be on-call the morning he fell back to sleep instead of issuing an Amber Alert for 12-year-old Zina Linnik.

Anderson also ordered Ramsdell to initiate an internal affairs investigation to determine if spokesman Mark Fulghum violated department policy the morning of July 5, 2007, by taking something to help him sleep. Police department personnel are forbidden from being impaired when on-call, Anderson told The News Tribune this morning. (Click here to see reprimand and related documents.)

Fulghum said in a deposition filed in a wrongful death suit brought against the city and other governments that he took an Advil PM before going to bed about 1 a.m. that day.

“We do not know that he violated policy,” the city manager said. “The issue has been raised.”

Don Ramsdell, Tacoma Chief of Police

The city also will hire an independent, outside consultant to review the way the Police Department investigated Linnik’s disappearance and murder “from beginning to end,” the city manager said.
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April
28th

Tacoma: Ethics board reaches conclusions on complaints against mayor, city manager

Tacoma’s citizen Board of Ethics met late Wednesday and announced it had reached decisions on separate ethics complaints filed against Mayor Marilyn Strickland and City Manager Eric Anderson.

But the board didn’t announce what it has decided. The panel will issue written findings at a later, unspecified date.

“Regarding those complaints, the fact-finding process has concluded, we have deliberated and we will be issuing a written order in the near future on all three of those complaints,” board chairman Sean Armentrout said during the meeting.

The complaints against Strickland center on whether she violated the provisions in the city’s ethics

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April
26th

Tacoma City Council: No further discipline, investigation needed in Linnik case

After a closed door meeting for more than an hour today, Tacoma City Council members stood with their city manager, telling reporters that misleading information from city police officials about the Zina Linnik investigation four years ago has damaged the city’s credibility.

“Whether it was done intentionally or not, public trust was violated,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said.

“We had a long conversation with the city manager and we made it clear to him that communications need to be better.”

But, speaking on behalf of the council at large, Strickland added the matter has been “thoroughly investigated and vetted,” saying that no further personnel or disciplinary action needs to be taken to restore the city’s relationship with its citizens.

“We repair (public trust) by moving forward,” Strickland said. “Looking back at what’s past isn’t going to change anything. It’s not going to bring Zina Linnik back to us.”

The council called today’s executive session with City Manager Eric Anderson, after The News Tribune revealed in news stories last week that Police Chief Don Ramsdell and department spokesman Mark Fulghum misled reporters about why it took the department nearly 12 hours to issue an Amber Alert after Linnik disappeared in 2007.
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April
26th

Tacoma: Council to question Anderson today about revelations in Linnik case

The Tacoma City Council will meet behind closed doors today with City Manager Eric Anderson to discuss recent revelations that Police Chief Don Ramsdell and police department spokesman Mark Fulghum misled the public four years ago about the Zina Linnik investigation.

“Eric Anderson and the Chief have a lot of explaining to do,” Councilman Ryan Mello said Monday. “First and foremost, I want to know why the public was misled and why we, the council, hadn’t heard about it until The News Tribune brought it out.”

Today’s executive session will be the first meeting about the case between the full council and Anderson since last week’s news stories by reporter Adam Lynn revealed Ramsdell and Fulghum withheld information and lied to the media about why the department delayed issuing an Amber Alert for nearly 12 hours after Linnik disappeared in 2007.

As Lynn reported on Wednesday, court documents recently filed in a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the city by the murdered girl’s family stated that Fulghum had fallen asleep early on July 5, 2007, after being requested at about 4 a.m. to issue an Amber Alert in the case. The alert ultimately wasn’t issued until about six hours later, at 10 a.m. on July 5 (Linnik disappeared about 9:40 p.m. on July 4).

But instead of publicly revealing that Fulghum had fallen asleep and failed to immediately follow through with the requested Amber Alert, Ramsdell and Fulghum later told reporters in 2007 the department delayed issuing the alert so detectives could gather more information to use in it.
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April
1st

Tacoma: Ethics board to continue “fact-finding” in complaints against Strickland, Anderson

Tacoma’s citizen Board of Ethics announced late Thursday it will push ahead with its fact-finding into Mayor Marilyn Strickland’s recent trip to Asia by issuing formal questions to the mayor and an area businessman who covered her airfare expenses.

“The board has deliberated and our next stop in our formal fact-finding process is we will be … directing the staff to acquire certain documents and records, along with a set of interrogatories to Mayor Strickland and Mr. (Ron) Chow,” board chairman Sean Armentrout said. “And we will reconvene at a later date to review those items.”

Strickland

The board’s review was triggered by two citizens’ complaints based on a News Tribune story last month about Strickland’s trip.

The board also decided Thursday to seek more information about a complaint made by local gadfly John Hathaway against City Manager Eric Anderson that raises conflict-of-interest concerns. The complaint cites Anderson’s ties to a nonprofit retirement corporation and a city committee’s recent decision to contract with the same firm to handle an employee pension plan.

The Deferred Compensation Committee seeks to award a single-vendor contract with the International City/County Management Association Retirement Corporation to handle the city workers’ pension plan. Anderson has voluntarily served on the ICMA-RC’s directors’ board since 2004.

Anderson

“The board has determined that further information is necessary to reach a resolution on this matter,” Armentrout said.

“…The board will be seeking that information in the form of written interrogatories to members of the Deferred Compensation Committee that report to the city manager and to City manager Anderson himself.”
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