A news release from the City of Boise Friday afternoon announced that Boise’s Office of Police Accountability Director Jesus Jara had been put on administrative leave “effective immediately.”
The action was at the direction of Mayor LaurenMcLean, City Council President Elaine Clegg, City Council President Pro Tem Holli Woodings, and City Council Member Jimmy Hallyburton. There was not a quorum of the council present, but council members Lisa Sanchez, Luci Willits and Patrick Bageant, were informed of the move and none of them objected. That move circumvented Idaho’s open meeting law.
Jara had previously recommended that former Chief Ryan Lee be placed on administrative leave during an investigation of Lee’s conduct with another officer which allegedly resulted in a neck injury. Lee was subject of nine complaints from within the department. The surprise move to bench OPA Director Jara is the latest round of unsettling action involving Boise PD. In the city press release announcing Jara’s suspension, “ongoing concerns with professional judgment and lack of confidence in the actions of the office” were cited as reasons for the suspension.
Insiders speculate that Jara, who by city code has access to all police records and body cams, may have “bombshell information.”
Last week the office of City Attorney sent a memo to city staffers and coppers warning them to preserve any potential evidence in the investigation surrounding the revelations of racist allegations against retired captain Matt Bryngelson who had attended a white supremacy meeting and made racist remarks. Bryngelson was one of the nine who filed complaints against Lee.
The city memo was seen by some officers as an intimidation. They felt the memo was an attempt to gain access to officer’s private phone and computer records. The city said it was only to preserve evidence.
HERE IS THAT MEMO:
TO: Boise Police Department Employees
Jesus Jara, Director of Police Accountability Sarah Borden, Human Resources Director Alex Winkler, Chief Information Officer Lynda Lowry, ex officio City Clerk
FROM: Megan Larrondo, Deputy City Attorney
CC: Jayme Sullivan, City Attorney
Doug Tyler, Chief Admin Officer
Kimberly Smith, Public Safety Division Sr. Manager Alison Berriochoa, Paralegal
Investigation into Discriminatory Policing and Conduct at BPD
PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION AND ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT
ALERT: DOCUMENT RETENTION/LEGAL HOLD NOTICE
This Memorandum is to inform you about an internal investigation being conducted into Boise Police Department and your legal obligation to preserve documents and data related in any way to the Investigation. We must preserve all documents and data related to the Investigation, and you have been identified as a person who may possess relevant documents and/or data. You are responsible for complying with the instructions in this Memorandum promptly.
You are directed to preserve documents and data relating to the Investigation as provided in this Memorandum. These obligations will remain in effect until you receive a subsequent written notice that this Legal Hold has been updated, modified, or released. Failure to preserve documents and data relating to the Investigation may jeopardize the Investigation, expose the City to liability, and cause you to be subject to discipline. Accordingly, please contact the City Attorney’s Office if you have any questions or concerns about the obligation to preserve documents and information.
In addition, you should share this Memorandum with anyone in your department and/or the City you have reason to believe has or might have documents or data related to the Investigation. You have an obligation to ensure that all employees that you supervise adhere to the obligations in this Memorandum. Please notify the City Attorney’s Office if you identify any other persons who you reasonably believe may have documents or data relevant to the Investigation.
The Investigation stems from racist statements made by former BPD Captain Bryngelson. The Investigation will investigate whether discriminatory policing and/or conduct has occurred at BPD. This includes investigating whether a culture of discrimination exists at BPD, whether any rights within the community have been violated by discriminatory policing practices, whether any rights within the department have been violated by discriminatory conduct, and whether Bryngelson or any other BPD employee used any BPD resources to advance racist beliefs.
You are obligated to preserve all documents and data that pertains to the Investigation generated between November 2017 to present.
II. Documents and Data
We ask that you take any steps necessary to ensure that you preserve and retain all documents (including duplicates and drafts) and data as they currently exist and going forward until further notice. The terms documents and data should be interpreted broadly and are not limited to hard copy documents. The terms include all records and information, including electronically stored information. They include audio recordings, video in any form, email, instant messages, word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, calendars, telephone logs, internet usage files, and all other electronic information created, received, and/or maintained by the City on its computer systems. Sources include all hard copy and electronic files, computer hard drives, network drives, removable media (e.g., CDs and DVDs), laptops, iPhones or other smart phones, backup tapes, backup media, and anywhere else data is or could be stored. Note that this list is not exhaustive and is provided only by way of example. If you use a home computer or personal laptop to perform work on behalf of the City, you also must preserve any relevant information from that computer. If you use a personal email account to send work-related emails, you must preserve those emails. If you use a personal phone to send work-related text messages, you must preserve those text messages.
You must perform a diligent and reasonable search of all locations where potentially relevant information may be found. Failure to follow this directive may result in serious legal and other consequences for you as well as the City.
If you are unsure of the relevance of a document or category of documents, preserve it and contact the City Attorney’s Office for more information.
DO NOT DISCARD ANY DOCUMENTS (INCLUDING ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS) RELATING TO ANY OF THESE TOPICS. This request applies to documents currently in your possession and those you may create or receive after the date of this Memorandum. Your only obligation at this time is to identify and preserve relevant documents as they are kept in the ordinary course of business. You need not sort, summarize, or otherwise index these documents.
Do not mark up or edit any documents, and do not create any new documents in response to this Memorandum.
III. Special Considerations for the Preservation of Electronically Stored Information (ESI)
Electronically stored information (ESI) may be an important source of discovery and/or evidence in this matter. You must take every reasonable step to preserve relevant ESI until further notice.
The City must preserve all ESI related to the Investigation and suspend the deletion, overwriting, or any other possible destruction of relevant electronic documents and data. Automatic data-destruction protocols also must be suspended, and failure to do so could result in legal liability. These obligations apply to all relevant ESI, no matter when it was created. This is a continuing obligation to preserve all newly created ESI until further notice.
Typically, such ESI may be located in or on one or more of the following:
• Computer(s), meaning any programmable machine, including, but not limited to, network servers, desktops, laptops, home and office computers, mainframes, personal digital assistants, other handheld computing devices, and mobile phones;
• Hard drive(s) or hard disks, meaning the primary hardware that a computer uses to store information;
• Network(s), meaning a group of one or more computer systems connected to enable people to share information and equipment (e.g., local area network(s), wide area network(s), home area network(s), metropolitan area network(s), etc.);
• Email servers;
• Other storage device(s) or media, meaning any component that is used to store
• Magnetic storage media, including but not limited to, hard drives, stick drives, Zip
drives, and floppy disks;
• Optical storage media, including but not limited to CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs;
• Voicemail and/or voice messaging systems; and
• Archive(s) and/or backup tapes, meaning long-term storage area(s) for data and
hard copy documents.
IV. Suspension of Document Destruction Policies
Recipients of this Memorandum must suspend any routine business practice likely to alter or destroy the documents and data described herein until further notice. Such business practices may include, but are not limited to, shredding, disposal, or other destruction of documents; server backup tape rotation or overwriting; electronic data deletion;
The IT staff has been notified of these requirements and will assist Legal in locating and preserving documents necessary for use in the case. scheduled destruction of backup media; re-imaging of drives; drive hardware exchanges; sale, gift, or destruction of computer systems; disk defragmentation; and/or other disk maintenance routines. You should not resume these routine business practices until further written notice.
This direction supersedes any contrary instructions in the City’s policies and procedures (including records retention and destruction schedules established by state law, ordinance, or resolution) and any other guidelines or direction you may have received concerning the retention or destruction of records, documents, and other data.
This direction includes a duty to preserve documents and data maintained by departing employees.
V. Obligations of Third Parties
Our legal obligation to preserve information extends to any documents or data within the City’s control. If you are working with third-party vendors or other entities that may have documents or data covered by this Memorandum, please notify the City Attorney’s Office immediately so that we may determine whether to inform these third parties of our document preservation obligations.
In order to protect the City’s Attorney-Client privilege and rights of confidentiality, we request that you refrain from discussing or otherwise communicating about this matter with anyone (whether inside or outside the City) without first contacting the City Attorney’s Office.
Finally, you must acknowledge receipt of this Document Retention/Legal Hold Notice by signing the attached Certification and delivering it to Alison Berriochoa at the City Attorney’s Office (email@example.com) confirming that you have received the Document Retention/Legal Hold Notice and will comply with it within 10 working days of receipt.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this request, please do not hesitate to contact the City Attorney’s Office.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and prompt attention to this matter.
Certification of Compliance with Document Retention/Legal Hold Notice
I have read the Document Retention/Legal Hold Notice Relating to the Investigation into Discriminatory Policing and Conduct at BPD and agree to comply with its terms. I certify that since receiving the Document Retention/Legal Hold Notice, I have not altered, discarded, or destroyed any responsive documents in either paper or electronic form and that I will abide by the terms of the Notice.
_____________________________________ Printed Name _____________________________________ Signature ______________________________________ Date
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Dec 2, 2022, 10:27 pm
Very interesting. But is Jara who recommended Chief Lee be put on administrative leave looking at a bigger picture? The city council is moving a little too quickly, especially, when they did nada for how long???
Lauren McLean makes horrible appointments but the voters made the worst one by electing her.
Dec 2, 2022, 11:25 pm
It sure looks like the mayor is trying to stir the pot so much that everyone forgets she is the cook that created this disaster.
Dec 3, 2022, 1:33 pm
Saw an article this morning where Jara’s lawyer is claiming this is retaliation and several other things. I have heard through the grapevine that the Mayor’s chief of staff is very much of a vindictive and retaliatory nature, and that a lot of the excessive staff turn over at City Hall is due to that and a micro-management style. An independent police oversight office runs counter to that type of management style. I also don’t think it’s credible to believe that only after Bryngelson (sp. ?) was exposed did the city become aware of potential racists on the Force. And last, it’s disgusting that the City has 3 Council Members on a police committee on purpose to make these decisions – because that way they claim they can avoid Idaho’s Open Meeting law. In this morning’s news article, Elaine Clegg seemed quite happy about their ability to shut out the public. Seems like there’s a whole lot that has gone behind closed doors in City hall related to this. The more sunshine that can be shone on it, the better.
Dec 3, 2022, 3:41 pm
Regarding the council, placing an employee on administrative leave is not the type of decision that requires notice or a public meeting.
EDITOR NOTE–No argument about authority to suspend outside a meeting. Our concern was the claim the councilors and mayor constituted an oversight committee seems a stretch. Has this group ever met in the past and is there any record of membership, minutes, etc. There is little doubt they skirted the open meeting law.
Dec 4, 2022, 2:50 pm
We need to be both saddened and disgusted with the behavior of our elected, appointed and hired public servants. Saddened by the ignorance from our elected public servants in regards to safety, housing and spending decisions. Disgusted with the lack of transparency in general.
We have to remind public servants they work for their constituents. Not unions, developers and investors.
Dec 5, 2022, 11:45 am
Editor says The city memo was seen by some officers as an intimidation.
Sounds like a good way to get a subpoena.
And Insiders speculate that Jara, may have “bombshell information”
Insiders, you mean, your friendly retired coffee cops?
And says That move circumvented Idaho’s open meeting law.
So we can expect a formal complaint from the guardian soon?