King County Deputy Sheriff Deputy Amy Shoblom has been fired after after an internal investigation determined she falsely accused a bus driver of using a profanity during an argument with her sergeant. It is an interesting case where the question turned on whether a bus driver used profanity. The case is one of honesty and integrity as the basis for termination of one and possibly two officers.
There had been tensions building for months between Sergeant Lou Caballero and bus driver Kelvin Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick had been complaining about Caballero’s deputies on the overnight shift.
Kirkpatrick has complained that the police do little to protect drivers. Kirkpatrick is particularly sensitive about those dangers after being shot. A moviegoer shot him after Kirkpatrick asked him to shut up during a showing of the Robert DeNiro gangster comedy “Analyze This.”
Caballero then filed a complaint against Kirkpatrick that accused him of suing the f-word while they spoke behind Kirkpatrick’s bus in downtown Seattle. Caballero alleged Kirkpatrick yelled and said: “You got three (expletive) deputies out here that don’t do nothing.”
Shoblom then wrote a report supporting Caballero’s account — allegedly at the request of Caballero. She used the same quoted language in the report. However, Kirkpatrick was wearing glasses with a built-in video camera that disputed both accounts. It shows him saying “I’m expressing how frustrated I am at the fact that I got three deputies that don’t do anything when I need help!”
Caballero and Shoblom repeated their allegations when questioned during the internal investigation.
Notably, another driver accused Caballero, 50, of berating him and suddenly telling him not to “cuss” at him when the driver said that he had used no foul language. The suggestion is that Caballero uses the allegation to create a basis for complaints against drivers.
Shoblom, 34, has also been mired in controversy at the department. She was accused of exchanged sexually charged text messages with a sergeant she accused of sexual harassment, Dewey Burns, who was fired in April for sending racist and anti-gay texts to Shoblom. While she was not found to have committed misconduct, she was given 20 days off without pay for sending insensitive comments about the use of lethal force. In April, she and two other female deputies then filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office, alleging sexual harassment, bias and retaliation.
She is now out of job. The reason given was a lack of honesty. Sheriff John Urquhart (right) wrote in his termination letter to Shoblom that an officer’s integrity “stands on its own, backed only by the badge and the hard-earned goodwill of the department the officer represents.” He added:
“Rather, it stands on its own, backed only by the badge and the hard-earned goodwill of the department the officer represents . . . Both the public, in general, and this office, in particular, grant you this broad authority essentially on a single condition, which is that you exercise it honestly, that you can be trusted. In the final analysis, it is the breach of this fundamental bargain that warrants, if not compels, discharge.”
Notably, however, Caballero has not yet been fired. It is unclear why one officer would be fired but not the other when it was Caballero who first made the allegedly false allegation. In the meantime, Caballero has filed a claim for up to $3 million in damages against the county last week, citing retaliation for also alleging the sexual harassment of Shoblom.
Source: Seattle Times