SPOKANE, Wash. -"To our brothers, fathers, sons and friends. Stand with us and end sexual harassment and end sexual assault."
City of Spokane Mayor David Condon and former Spokane NAACP President Phil Tyler, in partnership with other local leaders, released a video Thursday, urging an end to violence against women.
Following the release of the video, allegations of domestic violence are coming to light against Tyler himself, in claims made by Tyler's ex-wives. The revelation is causing backlash from local women's groups and beyond.
The political storm started with Thursday's article posted by the Inlander. The newspaper revealed court records from Tyler's ex wives, also reviewed by KHQ and our partners at the Spokesman-Review. The documents include allegations of harassment and abuse, resulting in restraining orders filed against Tyler. The claims date back as far as the 1990's, and Tyler has denied any criminal conduct. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped controversy from spreading to Spokane's political elite.
Spokane's National Organization for Women (Spokane-NOW) posted on Facebook Thursday morning, calling on Tyler to "take accountability for your actions."
As for the video, Spokane-NOW also requested that all of the local leaders who appeared with Tyler, which includes Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl, County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, and Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer, along with Mayor Condon, to issue new statements of support for women- absent of Tyler.
Thursday afternoon, the Mayor, Chief Meidl and Chief Schaeffer did just that, issuing a joint statement:
“As local leaders we support giving victims a voice. It is our jobs and responsibilities to make sure we provide a safe place in our neighborhoods, communities, places of work, and other places we congregate for victims to speak up and advocates to speak out.
The allegations are very serious. Violence against women is a problem plaguing our country and dominating headlines nationally, and Spokane is no different. Too many women are victims and we have more speaking up every day.
This is not an easy discussion. It will take time and many more steps forward, but we must continue to stand against violence and for the voice of victims in our community."
As leaders of a city government, police department and fire department, we have taken steps to increase reporting options, make victims more comfortable coming forward, and protecting them when they are courageous enough to speak up. The police department has partnered with the YWCA to open the Family Justice Center, a center of excellence that puts victim assistance, advocacy, enforcement, and prosecution together in one location. Police officers visit offenders in jail and follow up with victims in their homes to make sure they continue to get the assistance and support they need through the prosecution process.
As much as we would like, change does not happen overnight. It will require a determination and diligence that we will continue to lead and demand that others join.”
Their joint statement does not specifically acknowledge Phil Tyler or the Inlander.
Our news partners at the Spokesman-Review have reached out to Tyler's ex-wives to get their stories first hand - but as of news time we have not heard back. However, Tyler said yes to an interview with KHQ- and in the meantime, he and his current wife just released a personal response to their friends on their Facebook page.
We're sharing part of their message with their permission:
"To be clear, I've known about each one of these women and these unhealthy relationships. I know about how he left each relationship to better himself and remove the toxic nature of these circumstances," Tyler's current wife explains.
Here's what Phil Tyler had to say about it:
"Let me be clear. I am not and have never claimed to be a perfect person; there is no such thing. To all those that would quickly point fingers and make comments- do some self assessment about what you are doing to widen the divide."
To hear Tyler's and his wife's full statements, click on the video attached to this article.
Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me common sense and a discerning spirit. You allow me to see through the smiles, handshakes, fancy formal attire and smooth words. That includes the so called black leaders who some try to force on me. Coming out screaming only when a black person is violated by someone of another race while ignoring all forms of black on black violence, that is a red flag for me. I am still in therapy and on disability with a diagnosis of ptsd. That trauma came from growing up with dysfunctional and sick family members who were black and biracial. It still goes on while self appointed "black" leaders remain silent waiting for racial incidents to put notches on their belt. A true leader is impartial and has no favorites.
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No idea if Tyler has an abusive past or not, but it's gotten to the point where people are guilty until proven innocent related to politically charged and media inflamed hot button issues these days. Aside from the right or wrong aspect, the problem with that is the mere accusation of one of those issues is enough to completely compromise a persons effectiveness/functionality in a particular role. This man is in one of those roles and can in no way remain an effective leader of a group charged with carrying a human rights banner. Sadly, other politically motivated people out there know that too...
Also, the article amusingly mentions "Spokane's politically elite." Didn't realize we had any of those and would be curious to see a listing of them, just for fun.
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