Spokane Special Victims Unit Investigating Incidents near Manito Park

Cpl. Nick Briggs, PIO

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 3:01 p.m.

Updated 4/29/22:

Collaboration between criminal justice entities results in sex crime conviction

On 01-20-22 SPD began investigating two sexually-motivated assaults in the Manito Park area. SPD utilized low visibility surveillance and quickly stopped and identified Devontaye Harden as a suspect.

Harden was an active-duty Air Force member, therefore the local Department of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) quickly joined the investigation. Harden emerged as a suspect in additional incidents, including another assault in the City of Spokane and a previously unsolved abusive sexual assault allegation from December 2021, on Fairchild AFB.

During the joint investigation an additional incident from Poulsbo, WA was uncovered. SPD, the Spokane City Prosecutor’s Office, OSI, the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate’s Office, and Poulsbo Law Enforcement reviewed the findings of the joint investigation and determined criminal charges would be consolidated into one jurisdiction, and that military court was the most appropriate venue.

Recently, Harden pled guilty to five counts of abusive sexual contact (in violation of Article 120(d) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice). Three of the charges stem from incidents which occurred within the City of Spokane, one from an incident on Fairchild Air Force Base, and another in Poulsbo, WA. Harden’s punishment includes a 16-month prison sentence, reduction in rank, dishonorable discharge from the military, and he will be subject to sex offender registration.

This investigation was successful due to the innovation of initial responding officers, and the collaboration between SPD, the City Prosecutor’s Office, and the Air Force Judge Advocate’s Office. Ultimately, the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Legal Office was able to take the investigative information and swiftly secure a disposition which protects the public, holds the individual accountable, and protects military interests of good order and discipline.

Updated 1/27/22:

SPD makes arrest in two assault incidents which occurred near Manito Park

Today, 01-27-22, Spokane Police detectives with the Special Victims Unit arrested 26-year-old Devontaye Harden for two assaults that occurred on 01-20-22 in the area of Manito Park. Harden was taken into custody at Fairchild Air Force Base with the assistance of agents with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

The incidents were similar in nature and timeframe. Two women reported an unknown male rapidly approached, groped an intimate area of their body, and ran away. One victim was an adult, while another a juvenile.  SPD began investigating immediately after receiving reports of the invasive and predatory behavior, deploying undercover assets to the Manito Park area. The following day officers working in the undercover capacity contacted and identified a person of interest, Harden.

Detectives began diligently working to confirm or dispel Harden being the person responsible and gathering the needed evidence to establish probable cause for an arrest. The investigation included multiple interviews and processing of digital evidence as well as collaboration with OSI. After an exhaustive investigation SVU detectives determined there was probable cause to arrest Harden for two counts of assault 4th with a recommendation the “sexual motivation” enhancement be sought.

Spokane’s parks and outdoor spaces are one of the many redeeming qualities to the City. Everyone should feel safe utilizing these attractions, and it is important to note these incidents are extremely rare in our community. If incidents which jeopardize public safety and undermine the community’s sense of security do occur, SPD is committed to utilizing creative and exhaustive investigative techniques to find those responsible and hold them accountable. 

SPD would like to recognize the cooperation and support lent by both OSI and Fairchild AFB personnel during the investigation.

Original release:

Spokane Special Victims Unit detectives currently investigating incidents near Manito Park

On 01-20-22 two women reported similar, but separate, assaults in the area of Manito Park. The incidents occurred in the morning and involved an unknown male running up behind the victims, briefly grabbing a sensitive area of their person, and running off.

SVU detectives are actively investigating the incident and following up on leads. A person of interest has been identified, however at the writing of this release no arrests have been made. A suspect description is not being released at this time as detectives work to verify pertinent information.  

If you have any information regarding these incidents, or similar acts, please call crime check at 509-456-2233, reference case #2022-20010293.


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