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Tag: Zina Linnik

June
21st

Tacoma police union president: We’re OK with outside Zina probe

I just spoke with Det. Terry Krause, president of Tacoma Police Union Local 6, who says leaders for the police union and city labor officials will be meeting today to discuss a planned outside investigation of the Zina Linnik case.

As we wrote about here last night, the union has taken issue with the city’s plans to hire a third-party investigator to conduct a review of Tacoma Police Department’s handling of the Zina case.

Krause said today the issue from the union’s standpoint is strictly one of bargaining — Local 6 has no problem with the city conducting the third-party probe, he said.

“We’re not trying to be obstructionist about it,” Krause said. “There’s procedure that needs to be followed.  If they had talked about it with the union first, as they should have, it wouldn’t be an issue.”

At tonight’s council meeting,  the City Council is set to consider spending up to $50,000 from the council’s contingency fund to pay for the outside probe. Mayor Marilyn Strickland announced last month that Mark S. Simpson, a former Arlington, Texas cop-turned-consultant who specializes in child abduction cases, will lead the review.

Though union officials will discuss the issue with city labor negotiators today, those discussions should have no bearing on tonight’s City Council action, Krause said.

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June
20th

UPDATED: Tacoma: Police union warns city about hiring outside investigator in Zina case

Original post:

Tacoma’s police union is demanding that a planned third-party review of the police department’s handling of the Zina Linnik case four years ago must first be bargained with the union — or the city will face legal action.

In a letter sent June 8 to City Manager Eric Anderson, Tacoma Police Union Local 6 Vice President Christopher Tracy contends the third-party review of the Zina case called for by Mayor Marilyn Strickland last month is subject to negotiation with the police guild.

“Hiring an outside consultant to perform any work in this context – essentially an after-action review – is work that has traditionally been conducted within the Police Department by members of our bargaining unit,“ Tracy wrote.

“As such, the City’s hiring of a third party to conduct this probe, without bargaining with Local 6 to do so, would amount to an unlawful removal of the Union’s work to a contract employee outside the bargaining unit, a change both in working conditions and past practice. These are mandatory conditions of bargaining.”

In May, Strickland announced her choice to conduct the third-party probe as Mark S. Simpson, a law enforcement consultant who specializes in child abduction cases. Among other experience during his 30-plus years in law enforcement, Simpson led an Arlington (Tex.) Police Department task force in charge of investigating the unsolved 1996 abduction and homicide of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, whose case led to development of the AMBER Alert.

The formal proposal “to engage a third-party investigator to conduct an objective and unbiased review” is set to go before the city council on Tuesday.

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May
17th

Tacoma: Mayor to offer recommendation for outside investigator in Zina case

Mayor Marilyn Strickland plans to offer details this afternoon for an outside investigation of the Tacoma Police Department’s handling of the Zina Linnik case.

“I’ll have a recommendation of a very strong candidate that has the ability to be fair and unbiased in this investigation,” Strickland told me after the council’s noon study session today.

The details will come at the council’s 3 p.m. Committee of the Whole, the mayor said.

For the past few weeks, Strickland has been working with the City Attorney’s office in trying to find candidates to lead a third-party probe of the city’s investigation of

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May
12th

Tacoma police union’s letter to City Council blasts citizen volunteer’s criticisms of chief in Zina case

The new president of Tacoma’s rank-and-file police officers’ union this week sent a “letter of concern” to the mayor and city council, denouncing a citizen volunteer on a police review panel who publicly chastised Chief Don Ramsdell last week for “lying” in his public statements about the Zina Linnik case.

In his letter dated May 10, Det. Terry Krause, the recently seated president of Tacoma Police Union Local 6, wrote that by his assessment, Citizen Review Panel member Trisha King Stargel “is not capable of performing her duties as a member of the panel.”

“If it was simply the fact that she exceeded her authority as a member of the panel, that would be one thing,” Krause’s letter states. “What Trisha King-Stargel did however was arguably both unprofessional and unethical; and to be blunt, grandstanding. In my opinion, the use of the panel meeting as a bully pulpit was wholly inappropriate and calls her judgment or lack thereof into question.”

Krause’s letter stops short of requesting that the council remove King Stargel from the review panel.  Instead, it asks council members to listen to the recording of the May 3 meeting and “decide for yourselves if Trisha King-Stargel should be retained as a panel member.”

But the letter clearly implies the police union wants King Stargel off of the board.

“Based upon her actions and bias, I am not comfortable with her having input into any of the policy decisions affecting day to day activities of Local 6 members,” Krause wrote. “It is my position that her actions have brought the credibility and professionalism of the panel into question.”

Reached by phone at the police union’s office, Krause declined comment today.

In a written response sent to The News Tribune today, King Stargel, who is in the final year of her tenure on the board, said she believes Krause “is in error to state that I acted unprofessionally or ethically.”

“One of the stated purposes of the Human Rights Commission for creating the Citizen Review Panel was to provide a means to `improve communication between TPD and the community,’” she added.

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May
4th

Tacoma councilwoman won’t say when she learned of cop’s delay of Amber Alert

As we’ve reported in recent days,  nearly every member of Tacoma’s 2009 City Council has told The News Tribune they do not recall ever being informed two years ago that an Amber Alert for Zina Linnik was delayed in 2007 because an officer awakened by a call requesting he send out the alert instead fell back to sleep.

Every council member, that is, except Lauren Walker, who had not responded to the newspaper’s requests for comment for several days.

I finally spoke with Walker yesterday afternoon and again today.  I will get to her response a bit later in this post.

First, a little context: The council members’ recollections are important because City Manager Eric Anderson has recently said that both he and the council first learned of the detail about Officer Mark Fulghum‘s sleep-induced delay during an executive session in the summer of 2009. The meeting was held to discuss a potential legal claim from Linnik’s family.

That closed-door meeting took place at least 20 months before anyone from the city publicly acknowledged the true reason for the Amber Alert’s delay.  For nearly the past four years until that recent acknowledgment, the only public reasons given by Police Chief Don Ramsdell and Fulghum have been that the alert wasn’t sent out for 12 hours because police had to gather more case details before sending it.

Only after the TNT reported details about Fulghum garnered from recently filed court records did city officials acknowledge the truth.  The revelation quickly led to an admission and apology from Ramsdell, and an about-face by Anderson, who — along with the support of the current city council — initially had said no further action needed to be taken.

A few days after the TNT requested Fulghum’s pay records for the day he delayed the alert — records that show Fulghum was on “standby” duty at the time — Anderson announced he had reprimanded Ramsdell, would investigate Fulghum and seek an outside probe of the entire Linnik investigation.

While telling the newspaper about the new course of actions last Friday, Anderson also said he first learned about Fulghum’s involvement in the delayed alert during the ’09 executive session with council members.

But later, when asked one-by-one, seven members of the 2009 council could not recall ever being made privy to those details about Fulghum during the meeting.  Those with no recollection included former members Julie Anderson, Bill Baarsma, Connie Ladenburg and Mike Lonergan, and current members Jake Fey, Spiro Manthou and Marilyn Strickland. An eighth member from the ’09 council, Rick Talbert, said he missed that particular executive session.

That left Walker as the only member who hadn’t responded.

Yesterday afternoon, when I asked Walker for her comment in person following the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting,  she read for me this brief prepared statement:
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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
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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