Special Reports

Union leader's e-mail investigated

A Tacoma man who first disclosed Police Chief David Brame's messy divorce is seeking an investigation after receiving a what he called a "death threat" from the president of a local police union.

John Hathaway, 57, also wants Patrick Frantz, president of the union that represents Tacoma police officers and sergeants, put on administrative leave.

Hathaway, a local bartender and lane manager at Lincoln Lanes bowling alley, publishes The New Takhoman, an online publication that routinely criticizes city government.

Frantz sent Hathaway an e-mail Monday night stating, among other things, "If you want to throw stones, you had better live in a bullet-proof glass house."

Hathaway said he and his wife took the message seriously.

"I sat up all night with my wife, who had stomach problems to begin with," he said. "She is scared to death."

Frantz, who has been publicly critical of media decisions to report abuse allegations in David Brame's divorce, said the e-mail was not meant as a threat.

"If I could recall it, I would have recalled it," he said Tuesday. "I made a mistake, and I probably shouldn't have sent it out there."

In his e-mail, Frantz also threatens to "air other factual dirty laundry on others."

The message lists only the first names "Joe" and "Charlie." Joe apparently refers to Tacoma police Lt. Joe Kirby, a friend of Hathaway.

Kirby's attorney, John L. Messina, sent a letter to the City Attorney's Office on Tuesday.

"Lt. Kirby is off today," the letter states, "and does not feel safe in returning to work until he sees his counselor and officer Frantz is relieved of his firearm and placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of this perceived threat."

Acting Police Chief Catherine Woodard has asked the Pierce County Sheriff's Department to review the e-mail and decide whether a criminal investigation is needed.

"It's not OK when you do stuff like this," Woodard said. "We are going to deal with things appropriately and swiftly."

Stefano Esposito: 253-597-8644