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Curtis Tucker, in his abounding badge uniform, rises from his bench aback his name is called. At a celebratory breakfast in 2013, the YWCA presents Tucker, an Airway Heights badge officer, with a affidavit of acknowledgment thanking him for how he responded to a calm abandon call.
It’s admiral like him, a presenter says, who advance the lives of calm abandon survivors.
As the allowance applauds her husband, Heidi Starr watches in disbelief. Surrounded by badge admiral committed to arresting abusers and advocates adherent to allowance abused women, Starr wants them to apperceive the truth. She wants to acquaint them the man they’re praising has been abusing her for three years. She wants to address that Tucker has hit her, abashed her, raped her and captivated a loaded gun to her head.
But speaking up, she tells the Inlander today, didn’t feel like an option.
“Who was activity to accept me?” Starr says.
For two added years afterwards that breakfast, she says the verbal, concrete and animal corruption by Tucker connected until she filed for annulment in May 2016. She never declared the police, she says, because Tucker himself was a badge administrator and she feared they’d booty Tucker’s side.
Airway Heights Badge Administration abstruse of Starr’s allegations adjoin Tucker in 2017, aback she abundant them in cloister abstracts requesting a calm abandon aegis order. But the Airway Heights administration never conducted its own analysis into the matter. Instead, in 2019 the badge administration chose him to be its lath adumbrative on the Spokane Regional Calm Abandon Coalition.
An Inlander investigation, however, has begin a arrangement of declared calm abandon by Tucker. A antecedent ex-wife, who asked to be referred to by her average name of Lynn, authentic in cloister annal agnate allegations of violence, including both concrete and animal abuse. Three added women who’ve had claimed relationships with Tucker in the aftermost decade say he was calumniating as well, the Inlander found. Their allegations accommodate instances of choking, threats with his gun or added concrete abuse. All of these women, who requested to abide bearding for this article, say they were abashed to address the abandon because Tucker was a badge officer.
Airway Heights Badge Arch Brad Richmond says 47-year-old Tucker — who’s been an Airway Heights administrator for 15 years — does an “exemplary job day in and day out.” In an account with the Inlander, he questioned whether the allegations adjoin Tucker are racially motivated, as Tucker is Black.
Tucker, in an account with the Inlander, denies all allegations of calumniating behavior adjoin women. He says if he absolutely was a accepted calm abuser, again absolutely accession would accept appear it.
“I don’t anticipate it’s authentic that years and years of corruption can go unwitnessed and unreported,” Tucker says. “It aloof artlessly didn’t happen, and that’s why it didn’t get reported.”
Officer Curtis Tucker, afterwards accused by assorted women of calm abuse, accustomed a affidavit of acknowledgment from the YWCA in 2013.
Domestic abandon victim advocates and law administration experts, however, say statements like that are abiding in a confounding of abuse. Norm Stamper, above Seattle badge arch and columnist who’s brash systemic issues aural badge departments, says badge admiral apperceive the arrangement able-bodied abundant to apperceive how to get abroad with calm violence.
“They apperceive area on the anatomy to hit, they apperceive how to corruption or contrarily alarm their victims in adjustment to ensure that no address is accustomed to bounded law enforcement,” Stamper says. “Domestic abandon offenders who appear to be badge admiral are in a position to apply astronomic ability and influence… and calm violence, we know, is at affection a abomination of ability and control.”
Starr says Tucker acclimated that ability activating to his advantage.
“It’s all a ability game, and it’s all a brainy game. And he was actual acceptable at acceptable me there was no option, and that my activity was in crisis [if I report],” she says. “And because he was a cop, I absolutely had no abstraction who I would address it to, or what that would attending like, or if they could get to me afore he dead me.”
Tucker affiliated Lynn, his additional wife, in 2003. But in 2008, Lynn filed for divorce. In those bristles years, there’d been “multiple instances of calm abandon and animal assault” inflicted by Tucker, she would afterwards address in annulment papers.
Lynn beneath to be interviewed for this article, but says that what she wrote in the cloister abstracts is accurate.
After one incident, she wrote that she had bruises on her close that her bang-up noticed aback she went to work. In accession incident, she wrote Tucker threatened to sexually advance her afore he “cornered me in the alley and began hitting me.” She continued: “I fell to the attic at which point he connected to bite me in the back.” Tucker denies both of those incidents of declared corruption declared in the cloister documents.
Tucker and Lynn afar afterwards that. She wrote in annulment affidavit that she didn’t address the abandon at that time partly because he was a badge administrator and could accept absent his job.
She recorded a alarm with Tucker in 2008, however, in which Tucker admits that he exhausted her. The Inlander has acquired that recording.
On the buzz call, Tucker is affronted because he fears Lynn ability book for a calm abandon aegis order. At the time, he’d been an Airway Heights badge administrator for two years, and he says it would amount him his job and appulse their children. He asks if he should aloof abdicate his job now so he doesn’t accept annihilation on his record.
He urges her not to “play that game,” insisting that she no best has to anguish about him.
“When I hit you and actuality like that, that’s aback I absolutely cared about you a little bit, but now you f—-ing allocution bits to me. So don’t anguish about me accepting to blow you, attending at you, or annihilation abroad like that,” Tucker says on the call.
“You exhausted me up aback you adulation me and don’t blow me aback you abhorrence me?” Lynn asks.
“Right. Right,” Tucker responds. “You’re annihilation but shit. I don’t blow shit. So don’t anguish about it.”
When the Inlander plays the recording for Tucker, he says he doesn’t bethink that conversation, aback it took abode years ago. But he doesn’t abjure he said it. Instead, he says he was acceptable apropos to their animal relationship.
“We did things sexually,” he says. “That’s apparently what those conversations were about.”
The 10-minute recording, however, never discusses sex. It ends with Tucker adage he feels like he’s “failed” at life. Lynn responds by adage that he bootless aback he absitively to bluff on her and “put easily on me.”
Lynn didn’t address the corruption during their alliance but referenced “significant concerns” about Tucker in the 2008 address for divorce. It’d be several years later, in 2012, afore she wrote in cloister declarations that Tucker was physically calumniating adjoin her.
By that time, he was allegedly abusing his abutting wife.
Heidi Starr remembers what Tucker told her the night they got married. It was June 2010, and they eloped in Post Falls. Tucker abashed her while they were accepting sex, she says, and he said that she “was his” and “he could do whatever he wanted.”
It wasn’t the aboriginal time he threatened her, Starr says. A ages earlier, he captivated a loaded gun to her arch — while on assignment — and affected her to accomplish articulate sex, according to allegations in her 2017 address for a aegis order.
That address capacity abounding allegations of corruption or animal advance over their relationship. She declared that Tucker abashed her assorted times, sometimes during sex. She declared he slapped her at a affair in June 2011, that he came home bashed assorted times and raped her, and that he threatened to aching her if she did not beddy-bye with added men while he watched.
She writes that on Dec. 5, 2015, Tucker “threw me bottomward afterwards sex and kicked me breaking my ribs.” In the cloister documents, Starr included medical annal and a photo assuming a aphotic abrasion area her ribs were broken.
Tucker admits he visited Starr while on duty, but he says he doesn’t anamnesis any “intercourse.” Tucker denies the concrete abuse, and aback asked about the declared animal assault, he tells the Inlander that it was all consensual. But Starr maintains that it wasn’t. In fact, she says aback she told him she didn’t like something, like choking, that would accomplish him do it more. She says at times she feared she would die, and that already Tucker abashed her to the point of alarming out claret argosy in her eye.
Other women accomplished by the Inlander call agnate behavior. One woman says that, in accession to asthmatic her, Tucker approved to burden her into sleeping with added men admitting her again adage she didn’t appetite to. She declared Tucker “diabolical” and added that she feels advantageous she got out of the accord afterwards adversity added abuse.
Another woman says Tucker never hit her, but she describes locking herself in a bedchamber during an altercation and Tucker aggressive to use his gun if she didn’t let him in, adage “nobody’s activity to believe” her if she said annihilation because he was a badge officer.
When Starr wrote the allegations bottomward in her 2017 address for a aegis adjustment — a year afterwards their annulment — Tucker wrote a acknowledgment to the cloister absolution them as “gangster like storytelling,” acquainted he has no bent record.
Today, Tucker credibility out that the adjudicator denied the calm abandon aegis adjustment in 2017. He additionally adds that no woman has anytime filed a badge address alleging violence.
But the adjudicator who denied the calm abandon address — Spokane County Superior Cloister Commissioner Tami Chavez — said that the address wasn’t actuality denied because she doubted the claims of calm violence. In fact, Chavez said she didn’t altercation their accord may accept been “volatile to the point of calm violence,” according to audio of the cloister hearing. But she said the allegations were apropos accomplished events, and with the two divorced, Starr bootless to prove an approaching blackmail was ongoing.
At the aforementioned time, Chavez addled bottomward Tucker’s altercation that the abridgement of badge letters meant no calm abandon took place.
“Domestic abandon doesn’t charge a badge report. You can go decades afterwards accepting a badge report. Or you can accept 20 badge reports, and it doesn’t beggarly there’s calm violence,” she said. “A badge address isn’t absolute affirmation for or adjoin calm abandon actuality present.”
Airway Heights Badge Administration knew of the allegations that Starr fabricated adjoin Tucker in 2017. According to Tucker, the badge administration — led at the time by Arch Lee Bennett — placed Tucker on abeyance aback the address was filed.
“They brash me that if the aegis adjustment was to break in abode that I would be fired,” Tucker tells the Inlander.
But aback it was dismissed, he was able to accumulate his job. The administration did not conduct its own investigation, both Tucker and his ex-wives say.
The administration of the allegations goes adjoin recommended practices categorical by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Badge Chiefs, which says a archetypal action would absorb “thorough investigations into any accusation of a law administration agent complex in calm violence.”
For comparison, Spokane Badge Administration has advised allegations of calm abandon amid admiral alike aback the courts didn’t acquisition them guilty. In July 2017, SPD Administrator John “Jay” Scott was arrested for calm abandon and had his accuse dismissed. But SPD conducted its own analysis and accursed him in March 2018. Similarly, aback Administrator Nicholas Spolski was accused of calm abandon in December 2017, he was accursed afterward an centralized analysis admitting a lath accolade him not accusable in the bent case. In adverse to the allegations adjoin Tucker, however, both of those cases complex the admiral actuality arrested.
Today, Richmond says that aback he took over the Airway Heights Badge Administration in December 2019, he was told the allegations of calm abandon adjoin Tucker were “unsubstantiated.” He defends that position now, based on the actuality that the adjudicator denied Starr’s calm abandon aegis order.
“It was counterfeit by a cloister of law,” Richmond says. “I’m not a judge, and there’s a adjudicator for that.”
Kevin Richey, who was the Airway Heights ambassador from 2015 until December 2020, says he heard of some affair involving Tucker about 2017 but wasn’t absolutely briefed. Richey has formed as a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detective specializing in calm abandon and animal advance investigations, and now is a belt administrator and abettor badge arch of the Spokane Valley Badge Department. He says there should accept been some analysis by law administration into the allegations, finer by an alfresco agency.
“I anticipate allegations of calm abandon should consistently be advised fully,” Richey says.
And that can assignment both ways, he says. If the allegations are begin to be true, again the victims can get some of the amends they may be seeking. If an analysis proves the allegations false, again it’s not blind over the officer’s head.
Stamper, the above Seattle badge chief, agrees that a abounding analysis should be conducted aback a administration learns of any allegations. Holding alone admiral accountable, he says, can advice body assurance in the badge department.
Any administration action should authorization that “you never about-face your aback on an accusation of badge misconduct, or declared bent behavior,” he says. “The institution’s continuing in the association demands it.”
Yet afterwards an investigation, Tucker was called by Airway Heights Badge Administration to represent the bureau on the Spokane Regional Calm Abandon Coalition, which aims to “eradicate calm violence.”
“I anticipation there was some affectionate of action area that badge administrator was at atomic investigated, or commodity would happen, area they would at atomic account the victims to see what happened,” Starr says. “And none of that was anytime done, alike admitting [Lynn] and I both abundant out that there was calm abuse.”
“You never about-face your aback on an accusation of badge misconduct, or declared bent behavior. The institution’s continuing in the association demands it.”
Annie Murphey, the controlling administrator of the Spokane Regional Calm Abandon Coalition, says that if the affiliation heard any array of accusation adjoin one of its bureau representatives, a affiliate would acquaint that bureau — in this case, Airway Heights PD.
But in an account with the Inlander, Murphey beneath to acknowledgment whether she knew of any allegations adjoin Tucker. She would alone say that the allegations presented by the Inlander were the aboriginal she heard of a “pattern of behavior.” She additionally wouldn’t say whether she or anyone abroad who was allotment of the affiliation had notified Airway Heights of any allegations.
A anniversary afterward the account with the Inlander, however, Tucker was removed as an bureau adumbrative for the coalition. A account issued by the affiliation says it’s “been fabricated acquainted of allegations of violence” apropos the adumbrative from Airway Heights.
“We requested the bureau abolish this alone from their role on the SRDVC lath and this appeal has been granted,” the account says.
Tucker tells the Inlander he hopes to abide to do his job as a badge officer. As he denies all of the allegations adjoin him, he says he’s consistently responded to calm abandon calls with professionalism. He argues that this commodity is alarming and will amplify racist stereotypes of a Black man “terrorizing White women.”
“This commodity isn’t actuality done, and [Starr’s] statements aren’t actuality done because of a blackmail to the community,” he says. “This article’s actuality done as a way of accepting animus on me.”
Starr, meanwhile, says that aback she and Tucker breach up, she approved counseling and battled animosity of shame. She still remembers aback she got dressed up and sat abutting to Tucker as he accustomed the accolade from the YWCA, absent to acquaint accession the accuracy but activity stuck. To this day, she doesn’t assurance that anyone would accept taken her seriously. Afterwards all, she says, cipher took it actively aback the allegations were accounting in cloister documents.
Bryonna Figueroa, a above YWCA bent advocate, presented Tucker his affidavit that day in 2013. Today, she stresses that women in calumniating relationships shouldn’t feel like cipher can help. Advocacy organizations like the YWCA would sit bottomward with victims and do assurance planning, for example.
But she understands how black it may feel to see your abuser captivated up as an accessory of calm abandon survivors.
“I accept how it could be discouraging,” she says. “These situations do pop up, and they accomplish us catechism our systems and what is there to assure us.” ♦
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