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04/16/2019 09 Police Chief Position; Authorization of Two Additional Months Base Salary as SeveranceBUSINESS OF THE CITY COUNCIL YAKIMA, WASHINGTON AGENDA STATEM ENT 1 Item No. 9. For Meeting of: April 16, 2019 ITEM TITLE: Resolution authorizing two additional months base salary as severance for the Police Chief position SUBMITTED BY: Jeff Cutter, City Attorney SUMMARY EXPLANATION: The Yakima Municipal Code gives the City Manager authority to offer up to four months of base salary upon termination of an employee following execution of a general release of the City. With the consent of the City Council, the City Manager's authority may be increased. This Resolution will authorize the City Manager to offer two additional months base salary as severance for the Police Chief position if terminated without cause within the first five years of employment. ITEM BUDGETED: NA STRATEGIC PRIORITY: Public Trust and Accountability APPROVED FOR SUBMITTAL: City Manager STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Adopt resolution. BOARD/COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION: ATTACHMENTS: Description Upload Date resolution 4/11/2019 Type Co'er Memo 2 RESOLUTION NO. R -2019- A RESOLUTION authorizing two additional months base salary as severance for the Police Chief position. BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF YAKIMA: The City Manager is hereby authorized to grant two additional months of base salary as severance pay for the Police Chief position if terminated without cause within the first five years of employment consistent with the Yakima Municipal Code 2.20.060(B). ADOPTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL this 16th day of April, 2019. Kathy Coffey, Mayor ATTEST: Sonya Clear Tee, City Clerk Distributed at the Meeting N- 21(i'l KAPP-KVEW investigation: New Yakima Police Chief's record clean despite allegations By: Emily Goodell 0 Posted: Apr 09, 2019 05:12 PM PDT Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray record clean Yakima's selection for police chief is a 28 -year law enforcement veteran YAKIMA, Wash. - A comprehensive review of a Denver-based investigation of incoming Yakima police Chief Matt Murray shows he didn't do anything wrong in looking into allegations of sexual assault against a fellow officer. KAPP-KVEW's review of documents and interviews with sources close to the investigation of Murray when he was a deputy police chief in Denver shows initial allegations against him stemmed from miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinformation — not misconduct. Multiple sources interviewed by KAPP-KVEW took it a step further, saying not only was Murray cleared of misconduct in the legal realm and exonerated in the administrative realm, he also did nothing wrong. Several years ago, a former Denver district attorney expressed concern and dissatisfaction about a sexual assault case against a Denver police officer he believed was mishandled. Investigators dismissed some of the DA's allegations based on incomplete information; others were negated by the fact that some of the issues stemmed not from Murray, but from people at the DA's office. Subsequently, the Denver Police Protective Association filed a complaint over what it said was a mishandling of a public records request for the letter the DA wrote outlining his concerns. While the various agencies that handled the legal and administrative reviews of the case agreed the request could have been handled better and that departmental policies regarding the Colorado Open Records Act needed work, no one found that Murray had violated the law or any administrative rule. Murray was cleared by the police chief he served under, the district attorney's office, the independent agency that reviewed a third -party investigation and the current police chief. In investigating this case, KAPP-KVEW reviewed: • A 25-page conduct review of Murray by the Denver Sheriff Department's Conduct Review Office • A 28-page conduct review of former Denver Police Chief Robert White by the Denver Sheriff Department's Conduct Review Office in relation to the same case • A summary of an independent investigation of White published by the Denver Mayor's office • A summary of the independent investigation of Murray published by the Denver police department • A statement by the Denver District Attorney's office on the decision not to charge Murray after the office's investigation into a complaint filed by the Denver Police Protective Association alleging open records violations • Articles from Colorado media organizations who reported on the allegations, investigations and exonerations. KAPP-KVEW also spoke with: • Jess Vigil, Deputy Director of Police Discipline for the Denver Department of Safety, who worked extensively to review the independent investigation into Murray • Sonny Jackson, Denver Police Communications Director, who spoke on behalf of current Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen • Cliff Moore, Yakima City Manager, who chose Murray to be Yakima's next police chief Murray himself also spoke with KAPP-KVEW to share his side of the story. The Denver Police Protective Association did not respond to numerous requests for comment. SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE On April 26, 2016, a woman told police officers in Avon, Colorado — about two hours west of Denver — that she had been sexually assaulted by a Denver police officer and another woman, telling officers she reported it to them because she feared retaliation in Denver. The woman showed officers a lewd video of the accused officer she had on her cell phone, which she gave over to police as evidence; investigators found the phone contained more than 12,000 messages, texts, photos, videos and posts. On May 2, 2016 the case was referred to Denver police and Murray — then a deputy chief. Chief Deputy District Attorney Adrienne Greene assisted. The officer was identified, arrested and charged with seven felonies the next day. The day after that, a press release went out proclaiming, "Denver Police Officer Arrested for Investigation of Sexual Assault." Also on that day, investigators identified the female suspect, arrested her and charged her with six felonies. The next day, May 5, 2016, a press release went out saying, "Second Suspect Arrested in Sexual Assault Investigation," and officers received new information that conflicted with the victim's statements. By May 6, 2016, the case was dismissed. Information found on the woman's cell phone showed the sexual encounter was consensual. The woman and officer were released from jail and a new press release was issued. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S LETTER OF CONCERN Then -District Attorney Mitch Morrissey had numerous concerns about the handling of the sexual assault investigation and wrote to then -Denver police Chief Robert White, saying he felt the investigation had strayed from protocol by moving so quickly and playing out in the public forum. However, subsequent investigations into Murray's conduct during the case found his involvement after the officer's arrest was limited and many of Morrissey's allegations pertained instead to Greene: one of Morrissey's own employees. Here's a list of Morrissey's concerns in the May 17, 2016 letter and how they were addressed by investigators: • On-call protocol: Morrissey said Murray violated established "on-call protocol" by contacting Greene, rather than using the go -to person for Internal Affairs cases: District Attorney Doug Jackson. He said although Jackson was sick that day, there was a backup list of district attorneys to call in Jackson's absence, which was not followed. Morrissey also took issue with the police department's failure to notify him that they were using a district attorney. Investigators found there was no formal policy or rule that would preclude Murray from calling someone else and that it was the responsibility of the on-call district attorney, not investigators, to keep Morrissey informed. • Special requests: Morrissey took issue with investigators making "special requests" of the crime lab and asking for specific crime lab technicians. Investigators found the aforementioned requests were made by Greene, not Murray, as Morrissey had believed. • Pace of investigation: Morrissey said he's heard the investigation was "off the rails" and that a "rush to judgement" sparked the female suspect's arrest. He said she would not have been arrested had investigators gone through "exonerating" evidence from her phone. Investigators found that Murray was away camping when the arrest of the female suspect took place and that it was Greene who moved to arrest her. They found the officers working on the case had agreed at the time that there was probable cause to arrest the female suspect. Additionally, while investigators did have cell phone records, there were thousands to go through and the evidence that eventually set her free was not readily available at the time of her arrest. • Press releases: Morrissey said it was "highly unusual to prosecute cops for sexual assault" and was upset the female suspect's picture and identity had been released. Investigators found Murray was not involved with the press release about the female suspect's arrest. However, Murray told investigators he agreed with the release of information nonetheless because it was appropriate to the case and necessary to foster "accountability and transparency." • Murray's "attitude": A week after the conclusion of the sexual assault investigation and shortly before sending the letter to White, Morrissey confronted Murray about his concerns with the case. The confrontation happened at the police department's annual Fallen Officers Memorial Ceremony. After the ceremony, but before the meeting had truly concluded, Morrissey outlined his concerns. Murray told Morrissey the PD had probable cause to arrest the female suspect and that he didn't think it was the time or place for the discussion and walked away. Morrissey told investigators he thought Murray's attitude was "cavalier". Investigators — after hearing Murray's side — said it was "understandable that Chief Murray chose to walk away to de-escalate the situation," as Murray was still surrounded by the families of fallen officers and thanking them for coming. PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST & COMPLAINT The Denver Police Protective Association sent separate open records requests in July and October of 2016 to the Department of Public Safety's records coordinator — Mary Dulacki — asking for documents related to the investigation in question. Dulacki responded and provided records. On December 28, 2016, the union sent Dulacki a request for all electronic and written communication exchanges between the District Attorney and Chief White related to the sexual assault investigation. Dulacki forwarded the request on to numerous internal staff members — including White and Murray — asking if they were aware of any records that matched the request. White did not respond. Murray and several others indicated they had no records responsive to the request. On January 3, 2017, Dulacki replied to the union and told them there were no records responsive to the request. That same day, the union sent a modified request for the same records and Dulacki again responded that there »ere nb responsive records. Still on the same day, the union sent the same request to the district attorney's office. About a week later, the union received a copy of Morrissey's May letter to White and White's June 3 response. On January 27, 2017 — which was a Friday —a reporter in the Denver area contacted Dulacki to inform her he had copies of both Morrissey's and White's letters. The reporter's producer sent copies of the letters to Dulacki that afternoon, near the end of the business day and week. On the following Monday, Dulacki brought the letters to White and asked why they weren't previously provided to her. White's executive assistant looked for the letters in her files and was able to find copies of both letters, which Dulacki sent that same day to the union. The union filed a complaint with the district attorney's office alleging White and Murray had violated the Colorado Open Records Act — a misdemeanor criminal offense at the time — and in March, the district attorney's office opened an investigation. INVESTIGATIONS On May 25, 2017, District Attorney Beth McCann declined to file misdemeanor charges, citing the lack of sufficient evidence to prove there was a "knowing and willing" violation of the open records act. While McCann was critical of what she said was a "careless" handling of records, evidence was not produced that would have proved "beyond a reasonable doubt" that a violation was committed. "The public has the right to expect a quick and thoughtful response to CORA requests by city officials, particularly by its police leadership," McCann said in a news release. "I urge the leadership of the Denver Department of Safety and the Denver Police Department to examine and improve the process for responses to CORA requests." When the district attorney's office concluded its criminal investigation, the case was sent to an independent investigator — Employment Matters, LLC, Flynn Investigations Group — for an administrative investigation. The case was sent to an independent investigator in lieu of Denver Police Department Internal Affairs, which typically handles such investigations — because White and Murray were higher ranking officers. The investigation was also overseen by the Office of the Independent Monitor, a civilian oversight agency for sheriff and police departments throughout Denver County. The investigation found that while White's and Murray's treatment of open records was "careless" and needed reform, mitigating factors explained some of the concerns stemmed from miscommunications. In particular, the investigation found: • Murray's response: Murray responded to the request saying he didn't have records responsive to the request, when he knew of the letter's existence. Investigators found that Murray did not have the letter or the response to the letter in his possession and other command staff sent the same reply to the email. When White received the letter, he showed it to Murray but told him to stay out of it. Murray told investigators that directive prevented him from any involvement in the records request. • Dulacki's records search: Dulacki was not able to locate the letter although it was in the department's possession. Investigators found Dulacki was not made aware of White's directive to Murray to stay out of it. Dulacki's typical procedure when receiving a request was to forward them to a large group of recipients who could have the records or know where to get them. She took the lack of response as indication that they did not have records responsive to the request and did not include administrative assistants — such as White's executive assistant, who had the letters in her files — because of the sometimes sensitive nature of the requests. When the investigation concluded, it was sent to the Denver Sheriff Department's Conduct Review Office, which found enough evidence to recommend disciplinary action for "Conduct Prejudicial," which Vigil said is a minor rule violation. However, the recommendation was made before Murray had a chance to respond to the allegations in full, provide additional evidence or tell his side of the story. Officials said putting forth a recommendation prior to a person's testimony at a pre -disciplinary meeting is standard procedure. Murray was able to respond before the investigation was forwarded on to the Denver Police Department's Conduct Review Office. The office decided there was not enough evidence to prove the conduct violation and recommended no disciplinary action. The investigation results and the conduct review officials' recommendations were forwarded to the Denver Department of Safety for a final decision. That agency oversees discipline for all Denver public safety agencies. Department of Safety Deputy Director Eric Williams decided to exonerate Murray. When White subsequently retired, now -Chief Paul Pazen was selected to lead the department. Murray reverted back to his previous status as a lieutenant and went into the Public Affairs department. Some took this as a sign that Murray was demoted, possibly in relation to the investigations. Multiple sources, including Pazen's Communications Director Sonny Jackson, confirmed Murray's change was not a demotion. Jackson, speaking on behalf of White, said it's common procedure for new chiefs to appoint their own deputy chiefs and for previous deputy chiefs to go back to their old jobs. Jackson added he had never seen a new chief retain an old chief's leadership appointments and that the entire department was restructured under Pazen. Murray will replace former Yakima police Chief Dominic Rizzi, who was fired by Moore last fall. Rizzi now works as the Wapato police chief. Moore released a memorandum Tuesday detailing the process he went through in choosing Murray as Rizzi's successor. Be the first to know with the YakTriNews app. Breaking news alerts, watch live newscasts and get the most up- to-date local news on the go. Click here to download for iOS and Android. COPYRIGHT 2019 YAKTRINEWS.COM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION. haps://www.yaktrinews.com/news/kapp-kvew-investigation-new-yakima-police-chief-s-record-clean-despite-allegations/1067400374 5/5