News OPARB Asks the Mayor For An Apology
posted by July 23 at 23:35 PMon
This letter was hand-delivered to the Mayor’s office today:
Dear Mayor Nickels: The OPA Review Board demands a retraction of your public accusation that we were somehow responsible for the June 18 leak of our draft report to the Seattle Times. You appeared last Wednesday, July 11, on Seattle Channel’s television show “Ask the Mayor”, hosted by C.R.Douglas.
When asked about your criticism of the Board, you stated:Mayor Nickels: …I have been critical simply in terms of these recent reports that have been [sic] come out—the first one that was leaked to the press as a confidential draft document, I thought that was unfortunate. I don’t think that helped… ah…the credibility of the Board…
CR Douglas: Do we know that it was them that leaked it?
Mayor Nickels: Well, they certainly spread it around widely enough that it wasn’t a shock that it was, ah, sent to a…
CR Douglas: So you hold them accountable for the leak?
Mayor Nickels: I, I think so. And their report wasn’t ready; it had, just…it was wrong in many instances. It accused the Chief, for instance, of inappropriate…
CR Douglas: But they admit it was a draft—I mean they weren’t, they weren’t trying to have it as their definitive statement…
Mayor Nickels: And when it was a draft it ought not to be on the front page of the newspaper for three or four mornings. Ah, so, I think that hurt the credibility of the Board, and I’ve expressed that….
It is irresponsible for anyone—let alone Seattle’s mayor—to make such false charges, especially where accountability, transparency and citizen volunteers are involved. While asserting that the Board “spread [the draft report] around widely enough” to cause the leak, you fail to disclose that you and Chief Kerlikowske also received our draft report
prior to the leak—and thus had both opportunity and motive to leak the document yourselves.
Consistent with our normal procedure, we intended to review our final report with the OPA Director and Chief Kerlikowske prior to its public release. When Deputy Mayor Ceis demanded copies of the report on June 18, there was no final report and no scheduled release date. Despite the ensuing leak later that same evening, we were frankly astonished at the ferocity of the press conference held by you and Chief Kerlikowske the very next morning. The Chief later apologized on KUOW’s June 28 “Weekday” show for his ad hominem attacks on Mr. Holmes; until your own contrary statements on last Wednesday’s Seattle Channel show, however, we didn’t believe any Seattle official could be so reckless as to accuse the Board of leaking its own report. We hereby deny any involvement in the leak of OPARB’s draft report to the Seattle Times. We further publicly release the Times and its journalists from any agreement not to disclose the source of the leak. We do so freely and without any coercion or pressure from anyone. Accordingly, if any OPARB member was responsible in any way for the June 18 leak, we urge the Times to report that fact publicly.We will continue to press for transparency in Seattle’s police accountability system, Mr. Mayor. We owe nothing less to the citizens of Seattle as well as the great majority of Seattle police officers who serve with professional dedication, every day. You, in turn, must similarly commit to seeking out the truth instead of reckless scapegoating, no matter how politically convenient the latter course may be.
Peter Holmes, Brad Moericke, Sheley Secrest
According to Peter Holmes, OPARB has not received a response and isn’t expecting one.