Special Reports

FBI sees no active role in investigation of chief

FBI agents are keeping an eye on the outside investigation of Tacoma Police Chief David Brame's career but have no immediate plans to get involved.

"There does not seem to be a federal violation," said Ray Lauer, FBI spokesman in Seattle. "We're going to monitor it and should a federal violation pop up, we would reconsider."

Several people, including a representative of the National Organization for Women, have asked the FBI to take part in the outside review of Brame's career and what city and police officials knew about his tainted past and marital problems.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Washington State Patrol are taking part in that review.

A federal investigation might start if local detectives find civil rights violations, Lauer said.

"The thing that comes to my mind is if somebody in a position of authority uses that authority to squelch an investigation on himself or uses people underneath him to do that," he said.

The local NOW chapter has asked state Attorney General Christine Gregoire and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for a federal investigation.

So far, Gregoire has been asked only to review any criminal allegations arising for the WASPC and State Patrol investigations, spokesman Fred Olson said.

The state Attorney General's Office has been asked to review allegations that the president of the Tacoma police officers and sergeants union threatened a Tacoma man.

The attorney general's criminal unit will review possible criminal violations - if asked by a county prosecutor or the governor - to decide whether charges should be filed, then prosecute them.

The office did not receive a formal request to conduct the administrative review now under way by WASPC.

"There are agencies like the State Patrol and all that are in a better position to do some of those internal affairs-type of investigations," Olson said.

The investigations began after Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and committed suicide April 26 in Gig Harbor.