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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DOJ Will Issue Draft Police Reforms to a Fractured City Hall on Friday

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Posted last night and moved up.

According to several sources familiar with the situation, all asking to remain anonymous, attorneys at the US Department of Justice have called a meeting with city officials this Friday to unveil draft terms for reforming the Seattle Police Department.

This would be the first time city officials have seen the federal recommendations for reforming our troubled police force; however, it's unclear if City Hall is prepared to adopt the recommendations in unison. Talks have stalled among the city's elected leaders and the DOJ, reportedly frustrated by the city's internal logjam, is calling this week's meeting sooner rather than later to put forth its proposals, according to numerous sources.

The parties must ultimately settle on a court agreement, meeting standards set by federal prosecutors, that outlines steps the city must take to correct endemic problems with the SPD—described in a detailed report by DOJ in December—including excessive use of force, failures to deescalate situations, and opaque machinations for officer discipline.

However, talks among five elected leaders broke down about three or four weeks ago, sources tell The Stranger. Involved in those discussions were Mayor Mike McGinn, City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Seattle City Council members Tim Burgess, Sally Clark, and Bruce Harrell. Certain members of the group pressed for the city to conceive its own reform proposals—responding to concerns raised in the report. The thinking reportedly went that by proactively suggesting changes to policing, the feds' requirements could be less onerous; for example, the city could perhaps avoid a federal monitoring office to track the reforms, which could add millions to the city budget. The group now disbanded, sources say, the mayor's office has spent the last several weeks consulting with the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (one of the groups that first requested the DOJ investigation in 2010) to help form the city's response.

It's unclear how long federal and local officials will take to hammer out an agreement. Once the terms are reached, federal prosecutors are expected to file a lawsuit against the city along with a consent decree (essentially a settlement) in US District Court in Seattle.


Comments (11) RSS

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Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 1
Suggest SPD hire some "expert advisers" from Sanford Police...they can suggest ways of executing undesirables (anyone who shouldn't be carrying a can of tea after 7pm) and turning the perps into heroes.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on March 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
Time for the City to cave and represent the Citizens, not those who abuse us.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM · Report this
Draft Term #1: Rich O'Neill's head on a platter. With BBQ sauce.
Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on March 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 4
I don't believe it is correct to note that "federal and local officials will... hammer out an agreement."

I believe that the DOJ will tell the City what it wants the City to do, and the City has almost no choice but to comply. Remember, at its heart this is a Title 6 issue, and at stake is every penny of federal money that the City receives.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on March 28, 2012 at 5:00 AM · Report this
Nothing new here; DOJ has already laid out the processes the city must follow. Mayor et al either agree or go to court. The meet is merely to accept the city's compliance.
Posted by JPierce on March 28, 2012 at 6:49 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 6
@4 SPOG will fight it regardless. I look forward to them standing up to the DOJ, and the comedy that Rich O'neill will unleash on Seattle with maximum force. Hopefully it's funny enough that the rank and file wise up and get new union leadership as a result.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM · Report this
@1: Ridiculous off-topic comment. Talk about Seattle, not the South.
@5: Where do you get your information? I have direct contacts to the City Council and the group was fractured because the Fed won't tell them what they want or what their "standards" are because they don't have any "standards". If they did, every city in the country could adopt them prior to or during any investigation. This is why they don't give anyone their "standards"
@4: That is the hammer the Fed uses for everything, which is how the Fed usually gets what it wants in any situation which makes everything the Fed does suspect in my book.
Posted by Annoyed Grunt on March 28, 2012 at 8:17 AM · Report this
@4...(continued)...that is why we have a minimum drinking age in this country! Federal funds under Reagan were denied to any state that refused to adopt 21 as the drinking age. It covers everything.
Posted by Annoyed Grunt on March 28, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
All a good argument to neuter the SPOG in the next contract. Maybe the DOJ can have a rep on the city's bargaining committee, and then we will have real reform. Otherwise, the SPOG will just tie up the city in litigation over whether or not DOJ mandates are legal under labor relations law in Washington.
Posted by Yeah, reform, we'll see on March 28, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 10
@4) The post already says, "The parties must ultimately settle on a court agreement, meeting standards set by federal prosecutors, that outlines steps the city must take to correct endemic problems with the SPD..." So it says what I think you want it to say. But, by all accounts I've heard, there will be some negotiations.

@5) If the DOJ has already made known those specific reforms they will ask of the city on Friday, won't you kindly point them out to us?
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 28, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
First - dump the union. (They are an expensive obstacle to doing what makes sense, as a whole.)
Then, listen to what the Feds say, then do what you want. Testing their authority is really about exposing the hypocrisy.

Funny thing is, the Feds are just bigger representation of what our fair City is. Hypocrisy is the norm. Sad, but true.
Posted by Sad_but_true on March 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this

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