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Rachel Dolezal Accused of Misconduct on Spokane Police Oversight Board

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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The Washington state woman who resigned from her NAACP leadership post after questions were raised over her racial identity has been accused of misconduct while on a Spokane commission that oversees police conduct.

Rachel Dolezal, 37, is accused in an independent report commissioned by the city of creating an intimidating workplace environment and with improperly revealing the names of people involved in police misconduct investigations during public meetings.

"If people are going to bring complaints forward, it needs to be kept confidential, and to break confidentiality is just flat out wrong," Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart told reporters Wednesday.

Dolezal’s alleged misconduct stems from her time as a commissioner on Spokane’s volunteer Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, which is tasked with civilian oversight of police conduct.

Spokane Mayor David Condon called the alleged misconduct a "serious violation of the public trust" and said Dolezal and the other two commissioners named in the report have been asked to resign.

Dolezal has been at the center of a controversy over her racial identity since her parents alleged she is "Caucasian by birth," and that she has been misrepresenting herself as black for years.

On Monday, Dolezal resigned from her position as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. She also lost her job as an African studies instructor at a Washington university.

On Tuesday, in interviews with NBC News, Dolezal denied she had deceived anyone and said "I identify as black."

The investigation report released Wednesday was carried out by a law firm in response to complaints of harassment filed by a city employee back on April 16, before Dolezal made national headlines.

The report also found that Dolezal and another commissioner allegedly tried to manipulate meeting minutes; they are accused of trying to exceeded their authority; and the three commissioners allegedly created an "intimidating, hostile, and offensive" work environment. City Council could take action to remove the three commissioners on Thursday.

Dolezal said Wednesday she is "disturbed" by the request that she resign from her position as chair of the police oversight commission, and said, "I standby [sic] my work on behalf of the citizens of Spokane to further justice and promote civilian oversight of law enforcement."

"I am sincerely troubled by the short sided [sic] conclusions that have so quickly been made with this report," Dolezal said in a statement. "I urge the people of Spokane to take a close look at the timing and intentions of the investigation and request for my resignation."

The report does not deal with the racial controversy, but Stuckart appeared to reference it when bemoaning the recent media attention on the city of Spokane.

"We’re spending five or six days talking about this woman that didn’t even have the guts to apologize to her own community and flies to New York on national television," he said.

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