Panel upholds firing of former Lewiston police detective

LEWISTON, ID - Detective Andrea Thueson spoke before a panel on Monday, expressing her concern regarding documents she'd obtained in connection with a two-year-old disciplinary matter pending against Lewiston Police officer Rick Fuentes.

Thueson was later terminated on September 6th. Fuentes remains under investigation following his alleged misconduct at a Halloween party in 2010. Thueson contends that she'd helped plan the party and felt partially responsible for what had allegedly taken place and looked further into the issue.

"An Internal Affairs investigation was conducted and that's where this documentation that I got, after Idaho Police Officers Standards and Training investigated, came from," said Thueson. "Once the Internal Affairs Investigation was conducted, there was a lot more rumors that came out that the department administration did not conduct a proper investigation."

Thueson said that on July 24th, just ten days after the defense contends the document related to the disciplinary action was made public, she received a third party email that a recommended order per the Attorney General's Office was a matter of public record.

"I received it, I read it, I was very concerned because the findings in that implicated that command staff did not do what they were supposed to do," said Thueson.

After reading the document, Thueson said she shared it with another woman within the department and six days later was called into a meeting with Captain Tom Greene and Communications Commander Cindy Felton for what Greene said was not an internal affairs investigation, but rather an inquiry. Thueson said initially she refused to release where she got the documentation but panicked once she was informed her supervisor was unavailable and lied that she'd received the information from P.O.S.T.

"I wasn't willing to put somebody else out there. I wasn't willing to put somebody here where I am right now because I gave up their name," said Thueson.

Because Thueson lied, she was terminated. But defense attorney Richard Cuddihy said the City of Lewiston and the Lewiston Police Department violated Artilcle 23: Disciplinary action of the written agreement because she was not notified in writing of any wrongdoing which would provide the opportunity to have representation.

Attorney's gave their closing statements Monday afternoon. The panel made a unanimous decision to uphold the firing of Thueson.