Chism To Sue State Patrol Over Arrest
SPOKANE – Spokane Firefighter Todd Chism has announced his plans to sue the Washington State Patrol for false arrest after his arrest on child pornography charges last January.
Chism’s attorney Carl Oreskovich confirmed Thursday their intent to pursue a civil claim in the wake of the release of a 1,300-page report that shows that State Patrol detectives knew Chism might have been the victim of identity theft before the arrested him.
“The devastating effect of the Washington State Patrol’s actions will never go away from my family and me,” Chism said on May 1st after being cleared by the WSP and the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office.
“While the Task Force moves on, we are left to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives. How tragic that the law enforcement agency empowered to protect children could abuse that power,” he added.
Their first step will be to file a tort claim against the State Patrol. If the State Patrol fails to respond it opens the door for Chism to file a lawsuit.
According to the State Patrol report, last January the State Patrol did not want to arrest Todd Chism in front of his children and so detectives set up surveillance on his home waiting for the kids to go to school.
Chism spotted the unmarked car in front of his driveway and ironically asked investigators if they needed help. Detectives then lied about having engine problems and later pulled over Chism in front of a Nile Mile Falls store.
He was then taken in handcuffs to a nearby ranger station and interrogated inside, a recording of the 47-minute interview showing that Chism adamantly denied purchasing or ever viewing child pornography.
Chism also told investigators about someone using his Bank of America credit card to make unauthorized purchases, however this wasn’t news to detectives, who already knew the account may have been stolen before Chism was arrested.
In one internal report the lead detective in Chism’s case said she “was aware of the report of possible fraudulent activity on the account.”
However that same detective did not mention the possibility of fraud when she asked a Thurston County judge for a warrant to search Chism’s residence.
That omission is just one reason one Oreskovich is moving forward with plans to sue the State Patrol on Chism’s behalf.
“It’s very hard for us to accept the fact that this agency, knowing that there was computer fraud, finding that there was no information on that computer, finding additional information in the search of the home that credit cards had been fraudulently used, hearing the protests of both Mr. and Mrs. Chism that the State Patrol acted in good faith,” Oreskovich said during a May 1st press conference.
Another concern of Chism’s: Despite putting his family through tremendous emotional anguish to this date the State Patrol has never given him or his family anything that amounted to an apology for what happened.
Oreskovich back in May went as far as calling a State Patrol statement issued by Captain Jeff DeVere a public relations campaign for damage control” and not a sincere attempt to apologize for arresting Chism.
Chism said Thursday the State Patrol in his opinion cut corners on a botched investigation that ruined his reputation and is now seeking a public apology from the State Patrol, changes in the State Patrol’s policies to make sure incidents like what happened to Chism’s family don’t happen to others and unspecified damages.