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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 1/31/2006 10:17:48 PM EDT
Deputy's gun used in rape, records show
Sheriff's Office was aware of troubled felon
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

By ERIC NALDER, LEWIS KAMB AND PAUL SHUKOVSKY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTERS

Two days before a King County deputy sheriff's live-in lover allegedly shot and killed a convenience-store clerk, he used the deputy's handcuffs and gun to rape a man in their Kenmore home while the cop slept upstairs, according to police reports.

The incident in August is one of many revelations regarding King County Sheriff's Deputy Ferenc Zana's disastrous affair with a mentally ill felon. They were contained in more than 900 pages of documents the Sheriff's Office was forced to produce Monday under a court order obtained by the Seattle P-I.

Also, the documents reveal that although the gun allegedly used by Christopher Bistryski to kill store clerk Mohammed-Imad "Dimitri" Harb was Zana's private weapon, the fatal bullets were issued by the Sheriff's Office. That could significantly increase King County taxpayers' liability for damages to the dead man's wife and four children.

"That changes everything. That's significant," said Janet Rice, a prominent Seattle litigator who in an interview earlier Monday had indicated the county might escape liability because the shooting was done with Zana's private gun rather than his service weapon.

The documents describe how Zana, a veteran King County deputy, contacted teenager Bistryski on the Internet and started a dating relationship with the schizophrenic felon with suicidal tendencies. They moved in together in June 2004.

Eight months before Harb lay dead in the Plaid Pantry, Seattle police had warned the King County Sheriff's Office that Bistryski had a criminal background and that he was driving around Seattle's Central Area in Zana's personal car with another felon. Such a relationship would run counter to Sheriff's Office rules. A few months later, King County sheriff's deputies had twice responded to Zana's home after Bistryski had attempted suicide by slashing his wrists.

"This is an ongoing pattern (of) suicide attempts and dangerous confrontations with citizens and police," wrote Deputy Cary Coblantz, in an incident report after the second suicide attempt on April 23, 2005. "Christopher is clearly a major danger to himself as well as to others."

Despite these warnings and opportunities to step in to end the relationship -- and perhaps to save Harb's life -- two top commanders in the Sheriff's Office did nothing more than counsel Zana that his relationship with Bistryski might embarrass the department, and extract a promise from Zana that he would kick Bistryski out of his house if he continued to act out and abuse alcohol.

Two months after the shooting, both commanders, Rebecca Norton and Robin Fenton, were promoted to major and chief.

Only after the high-profile slaying did the Sheriff's Office hold a formal investigation into Zana's questionable relationship with Bistryski. The Sheriff's Office then decided to fire Zana because of his rule violations, but he resigned instead.

"It could have been prevented easily, if there were some people who really care," said Tarek Harb, the dead man's younger brother. "Each one of those parties was very responsible for this crime."

"The Sheriff's Office did as much as it could by warning Zana," said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart in an e-mail message to the P-I. "There is only so much any employer can do (especially a government employer) to delve into the private life of one of its employees. There is a limit on our authority to control the off-duty relationships of our deputies, like spouses, domestic partners or children. Remember, Chris (Bistryski) wasn't just a roommate. He was Zana's domestic partner, much like your wife or girlfriend."

Records show Bistryski had medical insurance from the county as Zana's domestic partner.

The incident two days before the shooting started in a nearby tavern, the Empire Bar and Grill, where Bistryski picked up a 22-year-old man whose name was redacted from the documents released to the P-I. The young man willingly went to Zana's townhouse with Bistryski, expecting the possibility of oral sex, according to the documents.

What he didn't expect was to be handcuffed face down to a bed at gunpoint and be anally assaulted.

"I was terrified," the young man told a King County sheriff's detective in an interview six days after the convenience-store shooting.

"I honestly thought he was gonna shoot me," the man told the investigator. "I remember, you know, thinking, oh God, what the hell did I get myself in to?"

Zana acknowledged in a later statement that the handcuffs used in the incident came from his gun belt upstairs, and that the gun was likely his, too. He was in the townhouse when the incident occurred, and awakened at one point to ask the two to keep down the noise, according to the documents.

Later in the morning, "I came down, I made myself some coffee, and I figured, OK, well, you have some kinky play there with this guy," Zana told investigators.

The man said every time he tried to leave the townhouse, Bistryski would wrestle him and at one point bit him on the neck. It was then that Zana finally intervened and told his roommate to let the young man go.

Zana was incredulous at the notion that a rape could have occurred while he slept upstairs.

"That Chris (Bistryski) handcuffed him and threatened him with a gun ... I just don't see that happening at all. I mean it's like I was fully armed, a police officer in uniform, getting ready for work and he doesn't say anything to me?" Zana told investigators. "If that happened, come on."

Urquhart said the sheriff's office didn't learn of the incident until it was investigating the homicide, and it has turned the case over to the King County prosecutor.

"We are aware of the case and the deputy prosecutor handling the homicide has interviewed that victim," said Daniel Satterberg, chief of staff in the King County Prosecutor's Office. He said he does not know yet what will be done with the case.

Daron Morris, one of Bistryski's public defenders, has declined comment to the P-I about the case. In a court hearing last week regarding the disputed documents sought by the P-I, Morris told the judge the defense is "exploring all avenues of defense" for Bistryski.

Bistryski, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in Harb's death and remains in custody in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He allegedly admitted to deputies that he shot Harb, and the convenience store's surveillance camera also recorded the shooting, documents say.

Jack Connelly, president of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, said the Sheriff's Office might additionally face liability in the case of the man who was allegedly assaulted.

Fawzieh Harb, the wife of the dead convenience store clerk, quit her job after the shooting to care for her four children, ages 5, 6, 15 and 16, because she could no longer work and care for them, said her attorney, Roger Hawkes of Seattle.

The family income has shrunk from nearly $6,000 a month to a third of that amount, since the widow now relies entirely on Social Security and workman's compensation, Hawkes said.

Her lender is in the process of foreclosing two loans on the Harb's 1,500-square-foot Lynnwood home, and she is trying to sell it to cover some of the loan proceeds, but it won't cover it all, Hawkes said. She has moved with the children to Southern California to be near one of her brothers.

Two prominent attorneys who specialize in such cases said the Sheriff's Office could be facing as much as a seven-digit liability for Harb's death. .

"If it had been a service weapon involved, I think there would be no question of liability," said Connelly of Tacoma, who has litigated numerous cases against government agencies.

"It sounds to me that they were almost more worried about being embarrassed than stopping that guy from hurting someone," Connelly said of the Sheriff's Office. "That's bothersome."

When on Dec. 1, internal investigations Capt. Ken Wardstrom wrote a memorandum detailing why the two commanders, Norton and Fenton, recommended that Zana be fired, he emphasized the embarrassment.

"After Chris' second suicide attempt, you promised Major Fenton that if Chris (Bistryski) had one more drink or quit his counseling, (both of which he did), you would kick Chris out of your house," Wardstrom wrote.

"You continued to tolerate Chris' drinking, despite the obvious and potential problems that existed when Chris consumed alcohol, to include self-mutilation, aggressive and or violent behavior. All of which ended in Chris being charged with murder, with the use of your firearm.

"The result of all of this has brought embarrassment to both you and the King County Sheriff's Office," Wardstrom wrote.

The Sheriff's Office regulations were changed a number of years ago to prohibit relationships that might bring embarrassment to the office. Previously, there had been an outright ban on associations with known felons.

Both Connelly and Rice said police agency regulations are often made vague in a belief that might help the office avoid liability when members make mistakes. Both also said police internal investigations are sometimes steered in ways that are intended to avoid liability.

Urquhart responded: "Your sources seem to make a blanket statement that IIU (internal) investigations steer away from areas where departments might be liable. What is their proof? What do they know about the Sheriff's Office when they say that? That is not the case in the King County Sheriff's Office. The purpose is to determine the facts. Regulations are not written to avoid liability."

Former Sheriff Dave Reichert had just been elected to Congress, and current Sheriff Sue Rahr was preparing to take over from him, when the Sheriff's Office got its first warning about Bistryski.

Seattle police Officer Joel Guay had pulled over Zana's car in a high drug-crime area of Central Seattle on Dec. 23, 2004, near 23rd and Union. He found Bistryski and another felon in the car. Guay learned that Bistryski was Zana's roommate, and that he had a violent criminal history, so five days later he alerted Sgt. Joel Provenzo in the King County Internal Investigations Unit. Provenzo couldn't be reached for comment.

His captain instructed him to alert Norton, who talked with Zana on Jan. 3, 2005. Norton declined to comment, but said in her brief interview after the shooting with internal affairs that she simply discussed it with Zana, and that he was upset.

The Seattle Police Department alerted King County to Bistryski's criminal record, which included cases where he, as a teenager in Puyallup, had stolen guns and threatened to shoot up his junior high school, and set a fire.

After the shooting, both Fenton and Norton were interviewed by an internal investigator and asked how they handled the warning from Seattle police, as well as the two suicide attempts. Both described how Zana was counseled to be aware that his relationship might violate rules by embarrassing the Sheriff's Office. The interviews took only five to eight minutes each, and the investigators asked no follow-up questions regarding the Seattle police warning.

Urquhart said that's misleading, because internal investigators nearly always interview witnesses such as Fenton and Norton off tape, before recording their statements. The unrecorded statements aren't documented or on the record, Urquhart acknowledged.

"Fenton and Norton promptly took appropriate steps, limited by our authority, by warning Zana about the consequences he faced by having Chris as a partner (domestic partner). In fact, their actions were significant enough that it was possible for Sheriff Rahr to fire Zana, which she would have done had he not quit," Urquhart stated.

After the second suicide attempt, Sgt. Steven Keeney, knowing of Bistryski's past criminal record, warned Zana to keep his weapons in lockboxes. The department had earlier offered lockboxes to deputies, free of charge, but Zana didn't accept the offer, the documents show.

In one of the five transcribed interviews between investigators and Zana released Monday, Zana told them that on the night of Harb's killing, he knew Bistryski was drunk -- and that Bistryski had a propensity to black out while drinking. In fact, Zana told them, he'd even taken steps to hide alcohol in the apartment from Bistros. Zana admitted he didn't take the same precautions in hiding his gun from Bistryski that night, instead leaving it in a fanny pack on the kitchen counter.

Zana told investigators he was in bed when he heard gunshots.

"All of a sudden it dawned on me ... oh, Jesus Christ. He's got my guns and he blew his brains out," Zana told them. "I was just hoping he fired at a squirrel or something."

Urquhart said Monday, "Sheriff Rahr felt Zana used incredibly poor judgment."

In the wake of P-I investigations of the Zana case as well as a number of others, two King County Council members, Bob Ferguson and Julia Patterson, have introduced legislation to create two independent civilian offices that would oversee internal investigations and regularly audit the Sheriff's Office.
ON THE WEB

To read the entire Conduct Unbecoming report, plus added information and documentation of this series, go to seattlepi.nwsource.com/conductunbecoming/

P-I reporter Eric Nalder can be reached at 206-448-8011 or ericnalder@seattlepi.com.


seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/257658_zana31.html
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 10:33:24 PM EDT
crazy homos.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 10:47:40 PM EDT
gotta love any article that contains the phrase
"anally assaulted"
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 10:49:01 PM EDT
WTF, Over? That is one of the sickest things I have ever heard of. I was going to say something profound about the direction this country is headed, but I can't seem to find the words.


IBTGJBTA
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 10:54:07 PM EDT
And these are the people the citizens of Martin Luther King County are supposed to call rather than defend themselves.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 11:04:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
And these are the people the citizens of Martin Luther King County are supposed to call rather than defend themselves.



Are they calling homosexual felons instead of the police?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 1:15:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
And these are the people the citizens of Martin Luther King County are supposed to call rather than defend themselves.



Are they calling homosexual felons instead of the police?


The homosexual felons ARE the police!

This puts a new light on why a Seattle cop asked me for my home phone number during a traffic stop one time. I'm not joking.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 1:17:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 71-Hour_Achmed:
The homosexual felons ARE the police!


Where does it say any of the police involved are felons?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:01:34 AM EDT
Man that is sick.

Max
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:08:56 AM EDT
Holy fuck...
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:14:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By 71-Hour_Achmed:
The homosexual felons ARE the police!


Where does it say any of the police involved are felons?



I dunno, but his service firearm and issued ammo were used to kill a clerk at a store by his felon butt buddy.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:23:38 AM EDT
Free prostate massage with every 911 call!
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:24:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 2:31:00 AM EDT by gardenWeasel]

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
And these are the people the citizens of Martin Luther King County are supposed to call rather than defend themselves.



Are they calling homosexual felons instead of the police?

and

Where does it say any of the police involved are felons?

You must have missed the link. Here it is again.

seattlepi.nwsource.com/conductunbecoming/

Good thing this doesn't happen anywhere else.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 2:40:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 2:42:46 AM EDT by gardenWeasel]

Zana admitted he didn't take the same precautions in hiding his gun from Bistryski that night, instead leaving it in a fanny pack on the kitchen counter.



OMG!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!


Yeah, I bet he showed him his gun and gave him a fanny pack on the kitchen counter.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 4:20:30 AM EDT
NCPatrolAR

The actions of the (former) deputy were contrary to his department's regulations and possibly criminal. He was and is not, yet, a felon (i.e., a person convicted of a felony) though he committed probably criminal acts and should probably be more accurately described as a "criminal".

He failed to prevent a felon from having access to his firearms and was through that failure, complaisant in a rape (forcible sodomy). His failure to secure his personal firearm from said known felon led to the convenience store clerk's death, which may be felony murder.

The whole thing is just not right.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 4:48:29 AM EDT
That is one of the most messed up stories I have ever seen.

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:13:13 AM EDT
Beyond bizarre.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:15:07 AM EDT
squeal pig!
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE­EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:20:59 AM EDT
I love how the fact that a felon stole a gun, which happened to contain taxpayer bought bullets somehow means the taxpayers are civily responsible for all this. Also, the documents reveal that although the gun allegedly used by Christopher Bistryski to kill store clerk Mohammed-Imad "Dimitri" Harb was Zana's private weapon, the fatal bullets were issued by the Sheriff's Office. That could significantly increase King County taxpayers' liability for damages to the dead man's wife and four children.

"That changes everything. That's significant," said Janet Rice, a prominent Seattle litigator...


How do lawyers sleep at night?

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:22:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gardenWeasel:

Zana admitted he didn't take the same precautions in hiding his gun from Bistryski that night, instead leaving it in a fanny pack on the kitchen counter.



OMG!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!


Yeah, I bet he showed him his gun and gave him a fanny pack on the kitchen counter.



Fanny packs, even the holster ones, are gay.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:23:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
I love how the fact that a felon stole a gun, which happened to contain taxpayer bought bullets somehow means the taxpayers are civily responsible for all this. Also, the documents reveal that although the gun allegedly used by Christopher Bistryski to kill store clerk Mohammed-Imad "Dimitri" Harb was Zana's private weapon, the fatal bullets were issued by the Sheriff's Office. That could significantly increase King County taxpayers' liability for damages to the dead man's wife and four children.

"That changes everything. That's significant," said Janet Rice, a prominent Seattle litigator...


How do lawyers sleep at night?




They sleep very well knowing they are going to rake in some $$.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:25:52 AM EDT
Sounds like a Tarantino film.

"Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead."
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:36:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
How do lawyers sleep at night?



The issue bullets in that gun were at the disposal of the shooter only because the officer was violating department policy by hanging around with this felon. The department knew what was going on, BUT TOOK NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION.

That is enough to make the department liable.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:39:20 AM EDT
The documents describe how Zana, a veteran King County deputy, contacted teenager Bistryski on the Internet and started a dating relationship with the schizophrenic felon with suicidal tendencies
'nuff said
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:49:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
How do lawyers sleep at night?



The issue bullets in that gun were at the disposal of the shooter only because the officer was violating department policy by hanging around with this felon. The department knew what was going on, BUT TOOK NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION.

That is enough to make the department liable.




bet they <the dept> weere scarerd to mention it to this man in fear of a lawsuit . gay man claims job is intruding into his home life because he is gay >
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:54:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cluster:
bet they <the dept> weere scarerd to mention it to this man in fear of a lawsuit . gay man claims job is intruding into his home life because he is gay >



You are most likely right.

There is absolute paranoia in govt. circles about lifestyle issues because of all the idiot lawsuits, especially in government realms. States and localities have even adopted non-discrimination about sexual preference (which is not protected under Federal law), making things that much more complicated in this case.

My first thought when reading the article is that the department officials took no action because they were afraid of litigation. Command was parylized and kept from making the proper decision by fear of lawsuits and PC nonsense, leading to a very bad situation.

Rest assured that they would have been hammered for being too agressive just as they will be hammered for not being agressive enough.

Often in the realm of public administration, you can't win.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:51:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 9:00:33 AM EDT by Da_Bunny]

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
And these are the people the citizens of Martin Luther King County are supposed to call rather than defend themselves.



Are they calling homosexual felons instead of the police?



It seems the homosexual felons are the police.

The gay cop's gay lover is downstairs raping a gay man at gunpoint with the gay cop's gun and handcuffs and the gay cop comes downstairs and tells them to keep the noise down.....


ETA, and his supervisors say they can't do much of anything about it and are promoted...
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:19:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:

It seems the homosexual felons are the police.

The gay cop's gay lover is downstairs raping a gay man at gunpoint with the gay cop's gun and handcuffs and the gay cop comes downstairs and tells them to keep the noise down.....




And the POS hooked him up with medical insurance for being his domestic partner, yet he knew he be butt fucking other dudes



He was Zana's domestic partner, much like your wife or girlfriend.-Sgt. John Urquhart


I don't think so pal.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:29:32 AM EDT
Is there no law that makes it illegal for a felon to have access to a firearm?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:41:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tim84K10:
Is there no law that makes it illegal for a felon to have access to a firearm?

There is, the deputy would be an accomplice in the eyes of the feds.

Kharn
Link Posted: 2/2/2006 5:55:58 AM EDT
tag for url use...
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