King County Sheriff’s Workplace investigates misplaced texts of Durkan, Finest

learn about King County Sheriff’s Workplace investigates misplaced texts of Durkan, Finest

The King County Sheriff’s Workplace is investigating whether or not former Mayor Jenny Durkan, former Police Chief Carmen Finest or others broke the legislation when hundreds of doubtless key textual content messages have been exchanged through the metropolis’s raucous 2020 racial justice protests. have been faraway from their city-issued telephones, Axios has discovered.

Driving the information: The Sheriff’s Workplace opened the investigation on July 28 on the request of King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, his spokesman mentioned in an e-mail to Axios on Thursday.

What they’re saying: “The case was by no means referred to us and we usually don’t request an investigation,” Satterberg mentioned in a press release to Axios on Thursday.

  • “However over the previous few weeks and months, I’ve heard from individuals in the neighborhood that this matter was necessary to them and I felt it was my duty to submit this request to the sheriff earlier than the tip of my time period.”

Individually, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Workplace informed Axios in an e-mail Thursday that the company was “within the early levels of reviewing this matter.”

  • “We sit up for sharing common updates as acceptable,” the spokesperson added.

Why it issues: Anybody who willfully destroys or conceals a public report is responsible of a felony in Washington.

  • Till Satterberg did so, metropolis, county and state officers had averted asking for or opening a felony investigation into the lacking textual content messages.
  • The textual content messages are public data that should be stored beneath state legislation and will have served as potential proof in a number of pending lawsuits in opposition to the town for its dealing with of the 2020 protests.

The opposite facet: Durkan has mentioned he by chance dropped his cellphone in salt water and denied setting his alternative cellphone to mechanically delete messages.

  • Finest testified in a deposition earlier this yr that he periodically deleted textual content messages en masse from his city-issued cellphone after independently deciding the messages contained no significant info that required saving.

Context: From the general public first discovered concerning the lacking textual content messages as of Might 2021 as of a metropolis ethics investigation, nobody has been held accountable for eradicating them.

  • In Might, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Performing Police Chief Adrian Diaz and Metropolis Lawyer Ann Davison individually informed Axios that they didn’t plan to launch an investigation.
  • Lawyer Normal Bob Ferguson’s workplace additionally mentioned it was not his duty to research the matter and mentioned that obligation belonged to native police.

Stand up to hurry shortly: The lacking texts overlap with a interval in June 2020, when police used violence to quell protesters and left the East Precinct, and the town allowed protesters to take six sq. blocks of Capitol Hill.

  • Durkan and Finest’s messages may very well be essential to understanding how metropolis officers responded to the tumultuous interval.
  • Lacking texts have already been expensive for taxpayers: the town lawyer’s workplace spent over $400,000 in a forensic evaluation to try to get them again $200,000 for The Seattle Occasions to settle a public data lawsuit about them.

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