- Shawn Audie
The school district last night accepted the resignation of former Ferris school resource officer Shawn Audie, who was put on paid leave when the district learned he had been accused several times of excessive force as a Spokane County Sheriff's deputy.
Audie was hired by Spokane Public Schools in September, earning an annual salary of $50,118, according to district spokesman Brian Coddington. When video surfaced last month of Audie pinning down a black teenager during an altercation, some students and community members were outraged at what they felt was excessive force. Spokane Public Schools continues to review that incident and his prior allegations of excessive force.
Audie submitted his letter of resignation on Friday, choosing April 30 as his final day with the school district. That means he'll earn $10,441 without having to work again as a resource officer.
Coddington says the resignation agreement does not include a severance package. Though Audie is leaving, Coddington says the investigation into how the district hired him and what happened during the altercation at Ferris will continue.
"We're still reviewing the entire situation," he says. "We're looking to learn as much as we can from what went on all the way from August — from recruitment — all the way to January."
Audie was sued three times as a deputy. One case was dismissed, while another was settled and then dismissed. In a third lawsuit, involving a man named William Berger who died as the result of an arrest by Audie and another deputy, a jury cleared Audie of wrongdoing but had "reservations" regarding his actions. Audie left the sheriff's office in lieu of termination following an internal affairs investigation that found he violated the use-of-force policy during a traffic stop. According to the school district, a supervisor at the sheriff's office gave Audie a "favorable" review.
Kurtis Robinson, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, says the entire situation is indicative of implicit bias that students of color face in Spokane Public Schools. While Robinson is OK with the school district accepting his resignation — "whatever it takes to get the guy out of there" — Robinson says whole agreement represents a structural issue in schools and in government.
"You see it time and time again. They act out against persons of color and get this huge kind of payout while it's determined if they're going to face consequences," Robinson says. "There needs to be a higher level of accountability with law enforcement."