News The Office of Professional Accountability Exonerates Itself
posted by July 9 at 12:59 PMon
This morning, the Office of Professional Accountability’s (OPA) new director, Kathryn Olson, presented a report clearing Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske of any inappropriate meddling in an internal investigation of two officers accused of misconduct during George Patterson’s arrest last January. In her report —requested by Mayor Greg Nickels in June— Olson called the original OPA investigation “fair, thorough and expeditious.” This conflicts with a report by the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) which flagged the Chief’s role in the investigation as inappropriate.
Olson looked at OPA’s original report, a draft version of OPARB’s report, a videotape of the arrest and testimony by an expert video analyst in her investigation. “There was nothing unusual or extraordinary” about the Chief’s involvement in the Patterson case, Olson said. “His input is appropriate in that he is the final arbiter on discipline. By and large, I disagree with [OPARB’s] report.”
After Olson finished presenting her report, OPARB member Sheley Secrest was in attendance to provide a response. “We’re not surprised” she said, “the board stands by all its criticisms of the process.”
Olson’s report shouldn’t come as a surprise. While she said she “felt no pressure” from the Mayor’s office, Nickels clearly had an outcome in mind. In fact, last Saturday, Nickels and Kerlikowske went on a walk through Pioneer Square just as bars were letting out, to get a first hand look at Seattle’s nightlife. I wonder if they held hands?
I Just got off the phone with NAACP President James Bible, who’s in Detroit for a national conference. Bible was also unimpressed by Olson’s report: “We’re not surprised that an employee would exonerate her employer. She knows who hired her. A month later, after so much has come out, the Chief has decided he wants a do over and the mayor is complicit in that. “
Bible says he would like to see a blue ribbon panel (I’m betting Licata’s rather than Nickels’) examine the original OPA investigation. “Anything less than that is sham,” he said.