Special Reports

The Brame Investigation: Questions and answers

Q: How much has the Brame investigation cost?

A: The investigation has cost the Washington State Patrol $203,440 to date. The City of Tacoma has been billed for another $177,000. The State Patrol has paid for investigation costs; the city is picking up the tab for overtime and expenses. State Patrol investigators also plan to help with Tacoma's Internal Affairs investigation, but no cost estimates have been discussed.

Q: How does the state attorney general's report affect Tacoma assistant police chief Catherine Woodard's retirement?

A: It doesn't. Woodard qualified for a disability retirement after the city's police pension board approved her application because of a back injury. State investigators could find that Woodard violated department policies and procedures, but by law she earned her retirement, and it can't be taken away.

Q. What's the difference between the criminal investigation by the Washington State Patrol and the upcoming administrative one?

A. In a criminal investigation, witnesses can refuse to help, saying they don't want to incriminate themselves. Prosecutors must be able to prove crimes beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction.

An administrative investigation is a workplace matter. Employees must cooperate with investigators or face losing their jobs. The standard of proof is lower: To show wrongdoing, investigators need only show it's more likely than not that the employee broke a workplace policy.

Q: How did the Washington State Patrol's investigation come to be?

A: On May 2, Pierce County Prosecutor Gerald Horne asked the state attorney general to begin a criminal investigation into possible criminal misconduct by assistant chief Catherine Woodard. Then, in a May 5 letter, Horne broadened the scope of the investigation to include "all aspects" of David Brame's suicide and the fatal shooting of his wife.

- News Tribune staff