A “small but significant” amount of racism was reported to Boise City Council today by the company who was paid $500,000 by the City of Boise to investigate BPD.
During the City Council meeting, Washington DC firm Steptoe & Johnson presented their findings in the investigation of potential racism in the Boise Police Department. The investigation stemmed from allegations of white supremacist commentary and writings by retired BPD Officer Matt Bryngelson. While the findings of the investigation were very disapproving of the words of Bryngelson, the report revealed there is not widespread racism or widespread white supremacy within BPD.
Michael Bromwich of Steptoe detailed the methods used, the hourly billing, the interviews conducted, and an overall summary of what was done in the investigation.
He also mentioned what was not able to be done. Namely, the company was not able to review the 105,000 documents they accumulated as part of their information gathering. They also were not able to follow through with a trip they had planned to Boise in March 2023 for additional interviews. Bromwich explained that those items could not be completed because Steptoe had already billed the City of Boise for the $500,000 that was allowed by the contract the city signed with them.
On behalf of Steptoe, Bromwich was willing to offer only what he called “provisional findings,” and cautioned “these conclusions are deliberate with not a high level of confidence.” He noted, “no investigation is complete without reviewing all the relevant documents.”
Bromwich told the Council,
“We interviewed 18 current and former minority members of the department… Most of the minority members that we interviewed said that they had not experienced discrimination in the department, that they had not experienced racism or white supremacist ideology in the department…. “
Conclusions offered by Steptoe:
- People were surprised by Bryngelson’s views, including a close African-American friend in BPD. The majority of racial minority groups within BPD reported that they have not experienced racism.
- A “small but significant number (a half dozen or so)” of racial minority employees have experienced racism at BPD.
- There were a large number of internal affairs complaints about Bryngelson as an individual over his career.
- Bryngelson was an ‘extremely poor supervisor.’ Frequently absent, lazy, unavailable, liked but not respected by his peers.
- Bryngelson was not good at interacting with the public.
Steptoe also offered a list of recommendations on what the training should look like at BPD going forward. They addressed what the requirements of candidates for promotion should be and how people should be selected for promotion.
Mayor Lauren McLean wrapped up the meeting by saying to Bromwich,
“I deeply appreciate the work you did… the offering of provisional findings in this report, and also the recommendations you provided for us today. I’m relieved and really grateful that you couldn’t point to clear evidence of widespread racism and white supremacy… This look into the department was key to ensure that our officers haven’t experienced racism.”
“You gave us a lot to think about with regard to the robust set of recommendations you gave us…. I’m confident with the resources we have, with the leadership team we have…. that we can handle and address these recommendations.”
David with the Idaho Dispatch captured the Council meeting today, and had the opportunity to ask Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar two questions at the end of the meeting.
What are your feelings about Bryngelson’s First Amendment protections under the Constitution?
How do his HIPAA rights apply to what was revealed today with Bryngelson’s medical records?
You can view the entire video here:
The conversation with Chief Winegar begins at about 1:25:55.
Photo courtesy of City of Boise.
Tags: Boise City Council, Boise Mayor, Boise Police Department, BPD, Lauren McLean, Matthew Bryngelson, Michael Bromwich, Racism, Ron Winegar, Steptoe and Johnson, White Supremacy