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Spokane mayor calls for Rachel Dolezal to step down as head of police oversight board

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FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, center, Spokane's newly-elected NAACP president, smiles as she meets with Joseph M. King, of King's Consulting, left, and Scott Finnie, director and senior professor of  Eastern Washington University's Africana Education Program, before the start of a Black Lives Matter Teach-In on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, at EWU, in Cheney, Wash. Dolezal's family members say she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)
FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, center, Spokane’s newly-elected NAACP president, smiles as she meets with Joseph M. King, of King’s Consulting, left, and Scott Finnie, director and senior professor of Eastern Washington University’s Africana Education Program, before the start of a Black Lives Matter Teach-In on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, at EWU, in Cheney, Wash. Dolezal’s family members say she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)


Rachel Dolezal, a white NAACP leader who purported to be black and the center of a fierce debate about racial identity, was asked to resign her post as head of the city’s police oversight board.

Spokane Mayor David Condon called for Dolezal, born white but has long claimed black heritage, and two others on the city’s volunteer Police Ombudsman Commission to resign amid allegations they behaved rudely and unprofessionally during an interaction with a city employee.

The whistleblower investigation, unrelated to the Dolezal controversy, also found breach of confidentiality, officials said. If they refuse to resign, the Spokane City Council could remove all three.

Screen shot from video showing two photos of Dolezal, one as a child and another of a recent image of her.
Screen shot from video showing two photos of Dolezal, one as a child and another of a recent image of her.

“We are deeply disturbed by the facts contained in the report of findings from the independent investigator,” Spokane Mayor David Condon and Council President Ben Stuckart said in a joint statement. “The conduct is unacceptable and falls far short of the community’s expectations of volunteers who sit on city boards and commissions.”

The investigation found Dolezal, Kevin Berkompas and Adrian Dominguez all began serving on the board on Sept. 15, 2004. Dolezal’s term expires in 2016. The city hired attorneys to conduct an independent investigation into the three following complaints from a city employee alleging harassment and improper government actions. The employee alleged the three “collectively and individually behaved via email, in person interactions and in public meetings, in a very rude, disrespectful and degrading manner directly and indirectly to me.”

The investigation found the three created a negative workplace for the employee, attempted to adopt new policies before a new ombudsman could be seated and altered meeting minutes, among other things.

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