Longview, WA - An otherwise boring campaign for Longview City Council got a lot more interesting after candidate Megan Richie fabricated a story about being victimized by police brutality at the hands of Federal Way Police Department, and the newspaper ran it with no apparent fact checking.
The Federal Way Police Department caught wind of the story, and issued a savage takedown of the claims, which ended with the department saying that the city council candidate is a "very troubled woman with a lifetime of mental health issues with a documented propensity to exaggerate things to manipulate those around her."
The issue started on Wednesday when The Daily News published an article with information about City Council Candidate Megan Richie. In the piece, The Daily News reported that Richie has anxiety campaigning door-to-door because "Federal Way police officers assaulted her after one solicited her for sex."
Richie told the newspaper that five officers dislocated her jaw and then held her in jail for three days in SCORE jail without processing. She went on to claim that after suing the department in federal court, she forced the city to create de-escalation training in lieu of paying her money.
A federal lawsuit against a city should be pretty easy for a reporter to fact check, right? Well, that was apparently too much for The Daily News, because the entire story that they published was fabricated.
The incident, as it really occurred, according to Federal Way PD, involved Richie getting pulled over in 2013 for cell phone use while driving. While on the stop, Richie tried to leave the scene and walk away from her vehicle. As the officer repeatedly told her that she wasn't free to leave, she became extremely agitated, prompting the officer to call for backup.
After Richie continued to refuse to comply with the officer's commands, she was told that she was under arrest for obstructing a law enforcement officer. When the officer went to take her into custody, she attacked.
A second officer arrived on scene and Richie tried to punch him in the face, she clawed the arrested officer in the neck, injuring him. To stop the attack, one of the officers struck her once in the face.
Richie was then booked into jail and later released.
After the incident she claimed that she had "cognitive and hearing disabilities." Newspapers even went so far as to claim that the police department beat a "deaf woman" "because she didn't hear their orders." The claims of being deaf should have raised any red flags to her latest story, had anybody bothered to check.
Richie isn't deaf, but if she claims that she's mentally disabled, we won't disagree.
She later pleaded guilty to obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Richie later filed a federal lawsuit against Federal Way Police Department, and the court dismissed her claims of being unlawfully held in jail without process, because it clearly wasn't true. The court allowed claims of excessive force to go to jury trial, and a jury unanimously decided that the officers did not use excessive force.
There was never any evidence that Richie had a "dislocated jaw," only bruising (a black eye.) There had never even been any allegation that the officer had solicited her for sex; that appears to be a newly fabricated part of the story.
Furthermore, Richie did not compel the agency to add de-escalation training; the agency later did that on its own. No officer was ever disciplined or received remedial training, because it was determined that they acted appropriately.
“There was no settlement, or concession of any kind from our department,” Federal Way Police Department said. " [Richie] is very troubled woman with a lifetime of mental health issues with a documented propensity to exaggerate things to manipulate those around her."
Once the Federal Way Police Department sent this information to The Daily News, the newspaper published a follow-up where they released another statement from Megan Richie saying, “Megan herself was not solicited for sex, but the investigation into her beating turned up evidence that officers were engaging in these activities with other women, and at least one officer lost his job.”
She's apparently referring to the backup officer who was later fired in for lying to internal investigators about sexting a hotel employee.
As of this writing, The Daily News still their unedited original story up online, with no reference to the latest information that they've received on the incident.