Tensions grow after termination of Spokane deputy running for sheriff

SPOKANE, Wash. — Despite his recent termination, a former Spokane County deputy says he’s still running for sheriff.

Craig Chamberlin was terminated late this week because of a three and a half month long investigation regarding a volleyball coach charged with possession of child pornography.

“Craig Chamberlin wrote a character reference for an individual charged with possession of child pornography,” said Ozzie Knezovich, the Spokane County Sheriff.

Chamberlin doesn’t deny this, saying he knew the coach for decades since they went to high school together. The person charged also coached his daughter’s volleyball team. He still says he didn’t know the details of the investigation and didn’t ask.

“Wrote the letter, sent it on Sept. 5,” Chamberlin said. “I had abolsutely no idea what this case was about whatsoever.”

Sheriff Knezovich says he was supposed to ask for permission to make this kind of reference. He didn’t do that, and after an internal investigation, he’s out of a job.

“When he made false and misleading statements to the internal investigator, he was fired for making those false statements,” Knezovich said.

Despite his termination, he says he isn’t backing down on his run to be the next sheriff.

“I have a vested interest. I’m going head first into this campaign,” Chamberlin said. “I’m all in.”

Knezovich says during his time at the department, there have been numerous disciplinary issues.

“This wasn’t the first time in 2021 that Craig Chamberlin was before me in reference to discipline,” the sheriff said.

Chamberlin says he upholds high standards, despite these claims and his firing. He says he isn’t letting the termination affect his campaign.

“I have nothing to hide. I have zero to hide. Deputy Chamberlin, Craig Chamberlin was not involved in the investigation of my daughter’s volleyball coach in any way, shape or form,” Chamberlin said.

The sheriff has endorsed Chamberlin’s opponent John Nowels for the position of sheriff. 4 News Now has submitted public records requests for documents related to this investigation. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is released.

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