Politics

Spokane County sheriff fires deputy running against him in upcoming election

On Thursday, a seasoned Spokane County sheriff’s deputy was fired just less than a week after filing his paperwork to run for sheriff in the city.

Current Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he terminated Deputy Craig Chamberlin for giving falsified testimony during an internal investigation that occurred last year, which is an allegation Chamberlin denies.

But Chamberlin said he believes the firing was motivated by politics, even though Knezovich said he is not looking to run for a fifth term in this year’s upcoming election. Knezovich has, though, endorsed Spokane County Undersheriff John Nowels to be his replacement.

Knezovich added that the internal investigation was the second that took place during 2021, intended to examine actions taken by Chamberlin.

The current sheriff said that Chamberlin lied about the circumstances surrounding a character reference letter Chamberlin wrote for his daughter’s club volleyball coach, who is currently facing a child pornography charge at the federal level.

Knezovich said that the internal investigation into Chamberlin started late last year and finished up in the last week, ending with Chamberlin’s termination.

Knezovich went on to say that Chamberlin recognized in his letter, which is dated September 5 according to Chamberlin, that he knew about the charge the coach was facing prior to his writing the letter. But Knezovich said Chamberlin changed his story each time he spoke with investigators.

Chamberlin has consistently denied that he was untruthful, and he said that a handwritten letter he received from the coach early in July of 2021 was “very vague” in requesting a positive reference. He added that the coach did not indicate what he was charged with or how far along the case was in the judicial process.

“The thing I can’t wrap my brain around is I was terminated for something that I had absolutely nothing to do with,” Chamberlin commented regarding the criminal investigation into the coach.

“I was not part of the investigation. I had no knowledge there was even an investigation until I received the letter from coach.” Chamberlin said he still plans to run a positive campaign for sheriff. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: KXLY.COM

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