- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The investigator looking into the firing of former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub pushed back Tuesday against accusations that her investigation is flawed.

Former federal prosecutor Kris Cappel is facing public criticism that the three-month investigation she is conducting for the city is incomplete due to some witnesses’ unwillingness to participate in the probe, including Straub. The police chief was forced to resign in September amid accusations he sexually harrassed a police spokeswoman and launched into tirades described by some of his top administrators as abusive.

Cappel said Tuesday she normally doesn’t comment on investigations, but needed to respond to incorrect information.

Cappel acknowledged in a press release that Straub, his former spokeswoman Monique Cotton and five members of the police department have not yet been interviewed. But she said the lack of participation has not stymied the investigation as some city officials have suggested.

“Most of the SPD witnesses we requested to interview, however, have made themselves available,” Cappel said.

City Hall has been in turmoil since Straub’s forced resignation last September, which prompted the former police chief to file a lawsuit against city officials, contending his civil rights were violated. Straub sued Condon, city Administrator Theresa Sanders and city Attorney Nancy Isserlis.

City officials denied for months that there were any troubles between Straub and Cotton, though the mayor knew of the allegations last April.

The lawsuit contended that Condon and his administrators made “a series of contrived and uninvestigated accusations” against Straub. Straub contended he suffered permanent and irreparable damage to his reputation and the opportunity for future gainful employment.

“We understand and fully appreciate the public’s interest in this investigation,” Cappel said in a statement. “But we also must protect the integrity of the process to ensure it is fair.”

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