The Vancouver Police Department is looking into whether one of its sergeants acted inappropriately when he shared his stance on Patriot Prayer and Black Lives Matter during an interview with a defense attorney.
According to emails obtained through a public records request, Vancouver City Attorney Jonathan Young emailed Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain on Aug. 28 to inform him the city was closing its files in the case against Kelly C. Carroll — who was accused of violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order by reopening her pet grooming shop in May.
The city tossed the case against Carroll due to newly discovered evidence that showed she had taken proactive steps to make her business essential.
Young continued the email, stating that in closing out the case, he needed to share information about Special Investigations Sgt. Pat Moore and comments Moore made during a defense interview.
First, Moore said he “had not read or familiarized himself with any of (Gov.) Inslee’s emergency proclamations, did not know what the governor’s proclamations say, and could not tell defense counsel — even generally — any of the conduct that they prohibit,” Young wrote.
Second, Moore said he was familiar with Joey Gibson, the founder of right-wing group Patriot Prayer, and something to the effect of, Gibson is “not the problem.” The sergeant elaborated further, stating Gibson attracts an unwelcome crowd, specifically antifa and Black Lives Matter, according to the emails. (Gibson and others organized protests in front of Young’s and another city attorney’s homes while the criminal case against Carroll was pending.)
Young said that his attempts to get a recording of the interview from Carroll’s defense attorney had been unsuccessful, but he was present during the interview and believed his typed notes were accurate.
“Please understand that having worked with your department for nearly a decade, I hold the men and women of the Vancouver Police Department in the very highest regard. That said, the statements above were inconsistent with the degree of knowledge, preparation, and neutrality that I have grown accustomed to observing from members of VPD,” Young wrote.
McElvain responded, first addressing the emergency proclamation orders. He said he could ensure his officers were aware of the proclamations, because the information was shared through an internal bulletin. He also said he’d attempt to obtain a copy of the defense interview.
On Sept. 30, Sgt. David Krebs emailed defense attorney Angus Lee to address the complaint received by Young. The sergeant noted that he’d been assigned as the internal investigator for the complaint, and he wanted to get a transcript or audio of the defense interview.
“I know I cannot compel you to release the interview, but it will be helpful in determining if our employee engaged in any misconduct,” Krebs wrote.
Police department spokeswoman Kim Kapp confirmed in an email that there is an ongoing internal investigation into Moore’s alleged statements. The department declined to comment further.
Lee told The Columbian he has not responded to the police department’s request. He said the investigation into Moore’s comments were retaliation for his “willingness to tell the truth when I interviewed him.”