Sheriff frustrated with revolving door at the jail, says recent case exemplifies change needed
SPOKANE, Wash. — As of Tuesday afternoon, Jordan Knippling was sitting in the Spokane County Jail, charged with two counts of third degree assault on a healthcare provider, second degree attempted murder and first degree assault with a deadly weapon.
The first two charges stem from an incident on April 27th when Knippling was at the Spokane Valley Hospital requesting an X-ray for a broken rib. According to court documents, he came out of his room swearing, almost threw an EKG machine at nurses and then attacked them.
The remaining charges stem from a stabbing on May 10th, in which he admitted to stabbing his house-mate multiple times. According to law enforcement, nine times. Knippling said the stabbing was done in self defense.
Nonetheless, this type of scenario is one that Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said can be difficult to digest for his deputies.
“There is a lot of frustration within the law enforcement community,” Knezovich said. “Because we arrest people, and this arrest was for two violent felonies, and the next day they are on the street.”
Knezovich said all they can do is their job.
“We’ve had people who have been arrested that have looked up at deputies when they were being put in the back of the car and said, ‘I will be out in 72 hours.'” Knezovich said. “They understand that there is no accountability for a crime.”
Knezovich said that is how Knippling’s case comes across on paper. Arrested for assault, goes to see a judge, then let out on his own recognizance.
“There had to be a packet that went in front of the judge that listed of the things that this individual had done, and the fact that he had a mental health issue,” Knezovich said.
KXLY looked at the pre-trial report; it showed that Knippling had a number of previous violent convictions, including several assaults and animal cruelty.
It also noted that Knippling suffered from schizophrenia and was not taking medications.
That report said that Knippling had between a 91.6 and 92.8 percent chance of returning to court without any new violent criminal history. The report also noted that the previous convictions were old.
But Knezovich was not surprised that Knippling ultimately landed back in jail.
“It is the system’s fault that this wasn’t prevented,” Knezovich said.
Knezovich said balancing mental health can be a tough spot for judges, but they need to still hold people accountable.
“One or two things are going to happen. They become the victim or they start victimizing,” he said, “if you commit a crime, if you’re high on drugs, you’re drunk, you have a mental health issue, we need to hold you accountable for your actions, and at the same time get you help for the overarching issues you are facing. You don’t do that by dumping someone on the street.”
Knezovich said a part of the problem in Spokane County, though he said this is a statewide concern as well, is that the jail is overcrowded.
“The elect-eds of this community need to realize that they need to fix the system and the lynchpin is fixing that jail,” Knezovich said. “We need to change this before more people get hurt.”
Knippling is now being held on $1 million bond for the attempted murder charge and $25,000 for the previous assault charges.
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