By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press – 1 hour ago
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — It was the salute that shocked Spokane.
About 50 Spokane cops stood and saluted a fellow officer as he left a federal courtroom in custody last month after being convicted of using excessive force in the death of a mentally ill janitor.
That salute was quickly denounced by the mayor and chief of police as insensitive to the victim's family. And critics saw it as yet another sign that Spokane cops are estranged from the citizens they are sworn to protect.
The Spokane Police Department is under fire on many fronts.
The outgoing mayor is asking the federal government to investigate the practices of the department. Efforts to create a citizen ombudsman to hear complaints against police have been stonewalled. Some residents have even suggested the department should be dissolved and merged with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.