Brame investigation: City Council approves waiving attorney-client privilege; okays citizens advisory panel

Here are the latest developments in the case of David Brame, the police chief who shot and killed his wife and then committed suicide.

Attorney-client privilege waived
In seven days, the city attorney and assistant city attorneys will be released from attorney-client privilege and confidentiality. The waiver relates to any information concerning matters relevant to the David Brame investigation. The seven City Council members present at Tuesday night’s meeting unanimously voted to waive that privilege after hours of discussion and advice from outside legal counsel.

“By waiving the attorney-client privilege, all relative facts will come to light,” said Mayor Bill Baarsma. “This is the right thing to do for the broader public good and to restore public confidence.”

The council approved the waiver with a stipulation that it will go into effect in one week. The stipulation gives any individual who may seek individual attorney-client privilege separate from the city’s privilege the opportunity to assert that claim and seek appropriate judicial protection.

The waiver allows for public disclosure of the information by the city attorney and assistant city attorneys.

Citizen advisory panel established
In response to citizen pleas for involvement in the administrative investigation of issues surrounding David Brame, the Tacoma City Council voted Tuesday night to establish a Citizens Advisory Panel.

Through the panel, the council hopes to involve citizens in the administrative investigation and will look to the group for recommendations on factors to consider when responding to the results of the review. The 21-member Citizens Advisory Panel will also:

– Provide names of potential non-law enforcement experts to the WASPC investigators as requested. Requests will be communicated through the City Council liaison, Douglas Aukland, to the panel facilitator.

– Provide any input into how the investigation may be conducted to the City Council liaison, Douglas Aukland, until the conclusion of the investigation.

– Share the results of the investigation with various organizations and community members and gather input to share with the Citizens Advisory Panel.

“Some citizens of Tacoma may have given up on the council,” said Deputy Mayor Bil Moss. “The council, however, has not given up on the citizens.”

The council stipulated that the panel will cease to exist four weeks after the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) concludes its investigation and reports its findings and recommendations to the City Council.

Douglas Aukland, the City Council’s liaison to the WASPC investigation, will also serve as the liaison to the Citizen Advisory Panel. The resolution calls for a non-city employee to serve as the Citizens Advisory Panel facilitator. Who will fill that role has yet to be determined.

The members on the panel will represent a wide range of professions, interests and communities in Tacoma, including:
– Neighborhood Councils
– Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
– National Organization for Women – Tacoma/Pierce County chapter
– Washington State Commission Against Domestic Violence
– Pierce County Central Labor Council
– Associated Ministries
– Central Latino SER
– Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective
– Asian Forum
– League of Women Voters
– Municipal League of Tacoma
– Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association
– Pierce County Society for Human Resource Management
– Tacoma United for Fairness

Who will serve on the panel has yet to be determined. Each of the organizations will forward a representative’s name to the City Council for consideration.

City to hire outside lawyers
City attorneys will no longer represent Tacoma’s Human Resources Department on legal matters related to the investigation of Brame.

Carol Mathewson, spokeswoman for the city, said Friday the decision was made to remove “any potential for the perception that we’re not being impartial.”

Acting City Manager Jim Walton has given senior department approval to spend $10,000 to hire the Seattle firm of Winterbauer and Diamond, which specializes in labor law.