In early December 2018, a video of Officer Sarah Boggs was released showing her taking food from a Tribal Center supply. Sarah had been warned several times about doing so and reminded to reserve such resources for less fortunate community members.
Though Tribal Council were informed about the video and some had received a copy, the video had not entered the community until around the fourth of December; by that time the surveillance video had been captioned in a way that alleged open theft by an officer of the law.
The tribal administration as well as a close family member of Scott Johnson, the Education Director at Shoalwater Bay, were informed about the leaked video and derogatory caption.
According to evidence gained and reported on by local news sources, within a few days and possibly hours after news of the video entered the Shoalwater Bay community, Sheriff Scott Johnson heard about the video and later contacted Officer Sarah Boggs over the phone, clearly to advise Sarah on how she should handle it. The following day after speaking with Johnson Sarah filed a complaint with Johnson’s offices and had her grievance directly handled by the Pacific County Sheriff’s Department under Johnson’s leadership.
Confirmation that Scott Johnson called Sarah about the video comes from the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Voluntary Statement Form dated December 10, 2018.
Sarah Boggs’ written complaint to the Pacific County Sheriff’s office on December 10, 2018:
Sarah Boggs: “On 12/9/2018 Sheriff Johnson called me as he had heard the rumor “Sarah steals from the food bank.”
Sarah Boggs’ written complaint on December 10, 2018 continued: In her written statements to police Sarah took great pains to create an elaborate reconstruction of what the video showed her doing. Most people familiar with the video can identify a fire extinguisher in Sarah’s left hand and a bag of onions or similar produce in her right hand.
Despite the obvious visual evidence, in her written statement Sarah claimed to be holding a, “Quart box of C&H sugar” and a “reusable Safeway bag” containing her lunch. Sarah then went on to make an overly elaborate detailed explanation about the background of the sugar; a way of framing events that would seem consistent with knowingly deceptive behavior aimed at creating the illusion of innocence.
Sarah Boggs: “The sugar and bag belong to me and I purchased them on my own time with my own money. I had brought coffee supplies to work and was taking my left over sugar home. The tribe does not buy or have sugar packaged like the box in my hand.”
Detective Gabriel J. Frase of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Sarah Boggs’ on February 19, 2019: Due to conflict of interest concerns Sarah’s case was placed in the care of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Again, to give context Sarah brought up the claims she initially made against her former boss. This is significant because the importance of the original claims, those discounted by the Shoalwater Bay Administration, and then reconfigured to manipulate Sarah for political purpose, stayed foremost in her mind all along.
Detective Frase: “Okay, what was the investigation over? I mean, what were the complaints that you brought to the tribe’s attention?”
Sarah Boggs: “Um, well the main thing I brought up was uh the theft, when – in my opinion, the theft and fraud for um misleading time on his time-card.”
Sarah Boggs interview with Detective Frase on February 19, 2019: Sarah Boggs’ elaborate written explanations about what she was holding and why seemed to have fascinated and even possibly bemused Detective Frase, but also undercut her credibility with the investigator.
Frase’s repeated questioning about the contents shows he had trouble coming to grips with exactly why Sarah was spending an inordinate amount of effort to cover up and maneuver around her earlier statements so as not to appear deceptive. In this interest, Sarah staunchly clung to obviously mistaken statements on record with the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, written a few months before.
Sarah Boggs: “It shows me leaving the Police Department uh with my lunch and a box of C&H Sugar that I brought from my house to work to fill up the uh sugar jug.”
Detective Frase interview with Sarah Boggs on March 5, 2019: Detective Frase reminded Sarah of her statement about what she was carrying. By this time, Sarah was faced with overwhelming and clear evidence that her earlier statements had not been truthful concerning what she was holding.
Detective Frase: “When you see that video do you recognize what you have in your hand?”
Sarah Boggs: “Yeah.”
Detective Frase: “OK and what is that?”
Sarah Boggs: “A fire extinguisher in my left and a ba- , partial bag of onions in my right.”
Interestingly Sarah Boggs left a full copy of the WSP investigation in Detective Frase’s hands; documents that in all probability were obtained from the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Administration and seemed to have made their rounds among those Sarah wanted to influence on her behalf. “I have a copy,” Sarah told the investigator, “digital copy of the investigation for you.”
Also of note, during the interviews Sarah mentioned by name three Council members, five tribal members in all, and several tribal employees along with at least two Pacific County police officers; now open to public disclosure.
In the Lewis County transcript, Sarah cited as proof a February 3, 2019, Facebook photo taken at Shoalwater Bay that was brought to her attention, purportedly picturing several tribal members who were in cahoots with those who maintained bad intentions toward her. Once photo evidence was loosely established Sarah asserted another secondhand account of threatening remarks that were made, not at the event, but allegedly sometime after the pictured gathering had taken place at Shoalwater Bay.
With the picture in mind, Sarah went on to extrapolate how she was being mistreated, directly or indirectly, by the Shoalwater Bay Tribe. In the transcript Officer Sarah Boggs publicly named her potential adversaries, citing an event photo to make her case.
The officer went on to categorize those pictured with a broad brush along with others within the tribal community who made her feel unwelcome. Forcing her to live with a foreboding sense of impending physical danger, “Um my days are few,” she told the investigator after bringing up worries about her position, “maybe, worse I don’t know.”