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Monday, June 25, 2012

SPD Discipline Office Begins Investigation into Police Conduct Last Weekend

Posted by on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Kathryn Olson, director of the Seattle Police Department disciplinary office, has decided to begin an investigation into possible misconduct by officers at a Capitol Hill protest in which cops pepper-sprayed numerous people, according to a city source. While anyone can file a complaint with this police division, called the Office of Professional Accountability, this case was triggered by Olsen herself in response to growing complaints about the officers' behavior among the public and in the press.

As we've reported (here, here, and here), many witnesses say that police used excessive force against nonthreatening protesters and participants in a late-night dance party that took the the streets around the Pride festivities.

(Update at 6:05 pm: SPD spokeswoman Renee Witt confirms that an investigation has begun. But, on the other hand, that means that SPD will no longer comment on the case because it's under investigation. Very clever.)


Comments (19) RSS

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Matt the Engineer 1
Posted by Matt the Engineer on June 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM · Report this
Baconcat 2
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 3
@1) It's not my fault. I was using that "g" to spell the word "gay" somewhere else.
Posted by Dominic Holden on June 25, 2012 at 5:01 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 4
Yeah.....I am sure the hammer's gonna come down hard.....NOT
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on June 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM · Report this
@4, I'm no more hopeful about that, but still I hope it will. Just because the event was staged solely to entice the cops into predictably overreacting doesn't mean those overreactions shouldn't be investigated and punished. Good for Ms. Olson.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 25, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
@4: My thoughts exactly. OPA exists to give SPD cover when they attack, beat, threaten, assault, and generally abuse the citizenry. The best we can hope for here is a mealy-mouthed promise to try to pepper spray slightly fewer people at random.
Posted by also on June 25, 2012 at 5:36 PM · Report this
I wasn't a part of the festivities. I was with a friend who was getting some food from a street vendor and happened to see the whole thing. I have never seen cops, unprovoked, use such egregious violence. I seriously hope that douche bag of a cop gets suspended.
Posted by Jkilgo3 on June 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 8
How many times has Olson done anything to any officer? Oh, that's right. The DOJ explicitly called her OPD as useless and ineffectual.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on June 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 9
As long as the SPD keeps hiring cowards like these, nothing will change.
Posted by Free Lunch on June 25, 2012 at 6:05 PM · Report this
Yeah, this is going to go nowhere. And even if it does, it doesn't really matter. It will just happen again, with another cop. And again. And again. Birk killed a man for no reason and just "resigned." They can't really punish a cop for doing exactly what they're paid (off the record) to do. The cops do this shit all the time and it will set a dangerous precedent (for them) if there are serious repercussions for excessive force. Cops' power is in their ability to use violence with impunity. Don't expect that to stop. The best we can hope for is that more people will get angrier and more willing to confront the cops and the system they protect.

Suggest everyone reads Our Enemies in Blue by Portland-based author Kristian Williams for a solid history of police and a good analysis of their current role in maintaining social inequality.

Anyway, the whole 20/20 thing is a complete sham, obviously. So far two leaders have been found to be totally violent shitheads (the guy from Pride and the guy who was arrested for domestic violence recently).

We need to figure out how to solve our own problems ASAP because we can't keep relying on the same people who beat people in the streets for trying to change the world... or just dancing.
Posted by lollypaw on June 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 11
From an internal OPA memo written about this incident:

"The OPA process, governed by stringent procedural processes prescribed by the collective bargaining agreement, is particularly unsuited to conducting fact gathering relating to potential civil claims against officers individually or against the city in general"


"The longstanding practice of OPA is to not [emphasis in original] reinvestigate situations where, as here, the core of the complaint appears to be only an objection to the enforcement action taken by the officers where that action was documented and screened by supervisors."

The author of that memo, by the way, was then-Sergeant Joel Guay. Now a Lieutenant, Guay is one of the leaders of the 20/20 initiative.
Posted by Eric Arrr on June 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM · Report this
This would be the investigation sponsored by the Police Guild which has already written up the memo of finding that the cops should be commended for their tact and restraint, correct?
Posted by TechBear on June 25, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 13
(Begone, annoying italics!)
Posted by Eric Arrr on June 25, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
You'd think maybe a newspaper might have a longer memory.

"Anarchists?" Don't be ridiculous, Mildred, that's just a flimsy excuse The Cops use when they want to do some brutalities to peacefully celebrating gays.
Posted by robotslave on June 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM · Report this
pdonahue 15
Hey, I know. Why not just arrest those sneaky anarchists before they even get to Broadway next year? Save everybody getting peppersprayed and broken windows at American Apparel, why don't those gays peacefully celebrate downtown at the pride parade like they're supposed to anyway?
Posted by pdonahue on June 26, 2012 at 12:33 AM · Report this

Alas, the police seem to be making some sort of weird distinction between believing stuff and doing things. No idea why they'd try to divide the world up that way, but who can fathom the mind of a policeman? All we really know for sure is that they want to brutalize as many innocent people as possible.
Posted by robotslave on June 26, 2012 at 12:58 AM · Report this
pdonahue 18
#16 Can you tell me why on most subjects you seem like a rational, critical thinking, sentient being, but when it comes to cops 'n anarchists you go nuts and throw all everything behind the sworn guardians of the status quo (cops)? From broken windows and random graffiti the SPD seems intent on hanging a "gang" label on disparate groups of black clad youth vaguely defining themselves as "anti-authoritarian" or "autonomous". When a Blac Bloc group appears the most marvelous tales of terrorism are spun and speculated about, the use of "anarchist" is spread freely throughout the SPD police blotter, really the power of Anarchism is magnified threefold in the minds of public safety planners and police, why?
Please give me some insight into the mind of people who think this way. Is there a secret wish to promote the use of syndicate level organizing? Do they find patterns of human interaction that I am somehow missing? Are they somehow intrigued with consensus based, decentralized decision making? Is there a real threat to established systems of control that I have overlooked?
Bear in mind that the last renascence of anarchist thinking took place in this city around the time of the general strike of 1919, and the mayor of that era used it as a spring board to promote higher political aspirations. What historical events are repeating themselves now in our present era? Could it be that control freaks like cops really need a good agent of entropy to believe in? A formidable foe? A Moriarty to their Sherlock? Just spitballing here.
Posted by pdonahue on June 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Serious leftist critique of anarchism has been around for at least 200 years. It's a bit of a historical hiccup that's put us in a place where anarchists haven't been taken seriously for so long that young, and even not-so-young anarchists should be forgiven for remaining unaware of any thoughtful critique of the ideology they've adopted as an identity.
Posted by robotslave on June 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Posted by Phil M on June 27, 2012 at 7:34 AM · Report this

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