Then-Police Chief David Marks (right) speaks at a Langley City Council meeting on May 22. (Patricia Guthrie / South Whidbey Record file)

Then-Police Chief David Marks (right) speaks at a Langley City Council meeting on May 22. (Patricia Guthrie / South Whidbey Record file)

Fired Langley police chief agrees to $80,000 separation pay

David Marks was terminated after accusations of excessive use of force on a mentally ill person.

By Patricia Guthrie / South Whidbey Record

LANGLEY — Former Langley Police Chief Dave Marks, on paid administrative leave since July, will earn $80,565 in separation pay, according to a document released under the Public Records Act.

Marks resigned, effective Sept. 7, according to the document.

The Langley City Council approved the terms of the agreement Monday after meeting in executive session, according to a mayor’s office press release.

“The City thanks Dave Marks for his service to the City over the past twelve years,” the press release stated.

Marks was put on administrative leave with pay by Mayor Tim Callison on July 2.

As a civil service employee, Marks remained on the payroll while appealing the decision. Under the civil servant protection system, employees are given the right to appeal termination as a protection against politically motivated firings.

The Separation Agreement and General Release between Marks and the city states the city will pay regular wages through Sept. 7 plus any accrued but unused vacation leave, and other pay required under employer policy or law.

It awards separation pay of $80,565.80, less authorized payroll deductions. Marks may also seek unemployment benefits, the document says.

Marks is alleged to have engaged in unwarranted and aggressive handling of trespassing suspect Camren Procopio on Nov. 20, 2017. Procopio, who has mental health and cognitive problems, had a history of trespassing in businesses and resisting arrest.

In July, Callison said he based his decision to relieve Marks of his duties on many factors. Many residents came forward at council meetings with stories of their own of Marks’ alleged unprofessional conduct, bullying tactics and tendency to lie when confronted about his behavior.

Some business owners and others stood up for Marks, saying they appreciated his professionalism.

Marks, who led the four-person department for four years, has claimed that the trespassing suspect was resisting arrest and threw himself to the ground.

Deputy Thomas Brewer, of the Island County Sheriff’s Office, and Langley Police Officer Mason Shoudy, who responded to the scene, alleged that Marks used unnecessary and aggressive force when handcuffing the suspect, causing him to fall face first on the ground.

Washington State Patrol detectives conducted a criminal investigation, which the Island County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks concluded that a jury would be unlikely to convict Marks of gross misdemeanor assault but he also questioned the behavior of the police chief.

In a six-page memorandum, Banks wrote that although Marks’ behavior didn’t meet criminal standards, it didn’t meet expected standards of law enforcement officers, either.

Callison then hired an outside expert to determine if Marks violated city police policy.

Use-of-force expert Glen Carpenter stated in a 45-page review that Marks didn’t apply excessive force or violate local law enforcement policy.

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