Hearing regarding firing of former city police officer open to public

LEWISTON, ID - A public hearing regarding the termination of a Lewiston Police officer lasted eight hours on Friday at the Lewiston City Hall.

Detective Andrea Thueson was terminated on September 6th for charges of dishonesty and insubordination after the department discovered she'd obtained documents in correlation with the two-year-old disciplinary matter pending against Lewiston Police Officer Rick Fuentes.

"It's very unusual that somebody requests a public hearing," said defense attorney Richard M. Cuddihy. "I do a lot of these and there's a reason for it, you'll see that by the end of the day."

Cuddihy claims that a written contract between the Lewiston Police Department and the City of Lewiston was violated when Lewiston Police Captain Tom Greene and Communications Commander Cindy Felton questioned Thueson regarding the documentation without notifying her in writing of any wrong doing which would provide her the opportunity to have representation.

"The fact that you didn't look into any of this had the affect of circumventing her rights under this contract didn't it?" said Cuddihy.

"No I don't believe so," said Greene.

"Well she's terminated and she didn't get representation and you didn't do an internal investigation," said Cuddihy.

"She's terminated because she lied, and how was I to know she was going to lie?" said Greene.

Greene said the department did not conduct an internal investigation but an inquiry which would be the gathering of facts instead of an investigation into a violation of policy or law. According to Greene and Felton, Thueson admitted to lying about where she'd received the documentation and the issue then fell under Article 23: Disciplinary action of the written agreement.

"To my knowledge I had been given a task and it was an inquiry to talk and find out where this documentation came from," said Greene.

Members of the police department said at any time Thueson, who allegedly lied because she was told it was not a formal investigation, could refuse questioning and leave. Because the issue was labeled as an inquiry, there's no recording of what happened at two different meetings with Thueson, and other members of the department.

The public hearing will be continued on Monday at 9 a.m. at Lewiston City Hall.