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Friday, February 21, 2014

Police Chief Misled Mayor and Council on Misconduct Decision

Posted by on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Chief Harry Bailey was appointed in January by Mayor Ed Murray (left)
  • Chief Harry Bailey was appointed in January by Mayor Ed Murray (left)

Seattle interim police chief Harry Bailey was clear yesterday when he announced that he reopened a case against an officer found guilty of misconduct: He simply lightened the penalty. Instead of a one-day suspension, which was imposed by the last chief, Bailey gave the cop additional training. Bailey insisted to the Seattle Times, mayor, city council, and me that while this penalty was more gentle for Officer John Marion, he had upheld the misconduct verdict itself.

By keeping that misconduct decision in place, Marion's record would include a demerit to be considered for any future misconduct cases.

But interviews today reveal that is not what Chief Bailey did—and people at the Seattle Times, SPD, and City Hall suggest that Bailey knew he was misleading city officials. Bailey informed the SPD's discipline office on Tuesday that he actually eliminated the misconduct verdict, thereby leaving Officer Marion's record unblemished.

Still, Chief Bailey went on to mislead the mayor and Seattle City Council in a letter last night, which has raised questions about the chief's honesty and integrity handling 25 other cases (which he is reopening to potentially scotch additional misconduct decisions against officers).

Bailey made his first misleading public statements on the misconduct matter in an interview yesterday morning with Seattle Times reporter Steve Miletich, who was writing a blog post. "Originally yesterday," Miletich explained by phone this afternoon, the chief "said he was upholding the misconduct." Miletich said he explained to the chief that SPD's disciplinary structure dictates that mandating a training referral reverses a misconduct ruling. "He acknowledged he was wrong," Miletech recalled today. (Miletich's blog post says Bailey had been confused about the matter.)

But even after being corrected, Bailey kept up the misleading statements with me.

I was the complainant in the case—I filed the complaint against Officer Marion last summer for threatening to harass me at work. The Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) found in January that Marion violated police conduct rules, calling his behavior "indefensible." When Bailey called to tell me about his decision, he stuck to his guns that the misconduct ruling would stand, even after I explained that a training referral precludes a sustained misconduct finding.

Nonetheless, Bailey kept spinning the same yarn for city hall.

In a letter sent to Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council last night, Chief Bailey wrote, "The OPA Director recommended a disposition of 'sustained' and a one-day suspension without pay. While I concur with the disposition, I disagree with the recommendation that the officer receive merely a one day suspension without pay." His letter also acknowledged the Seattle Times blog post, which should have set Bailey straight.

In other words, Bailey claimed he concurred with the misconduct ruling—and that's how the city council took his words.

"My understanding is that he is upholding the sustained judgement but changing the discipline," says Council Member Nick Licata, who adds that is not how the SPD discipline system works.

Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess sent a stern e-mail last night, obtained by the Seattle Times, to Chief Bailey that says "by changing the disposition to a training referral you have, in effect, reversed the sustained misconduct from the officer's record."

Council President Burgess then asks Bailey to justify the "basis" for reopening closed cases to change decisions, and questions why Chief Bailey did not first consult with OPA director Pierce Murphy. Given that Bailey is reopening dozens of these cases and may reverse earlier findings, Burgess says, "such a review... will cause great harm to the credibility of the Police Department's ability to properly receive and investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct."

Pierce Murphy, director of the OPA discipline bureau, confirms that Bailey nixed the misconduct ruling days ago. "I have been notified that, in this case, the finding has been changed from sustained to what is called a training referral," he said. When did the chief inform Murphy that the ruling changed? "That was Tuesday," said Murphy.

Murphy says that Chief Bailey has already sent seven settlement agreements to his office this week, each one concerning an officer, who, represented by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, has a grievance with a disciplinary decision. Murphy declined to answer questions about those settlements—do they also eliminate misconduct decisions or lighten discipline?—due to his office's confidentiality rules.

Miletich had this to add: "Reading [Bailey's] letter, he still appears to be trying to take the position that he retained the finding [of misconduct], which, you know, is not true."

The SPD has not yet commented on Bailey's apparently misleading statements or the nature of the settlement agreements, although Bailey did send this letter (pdf) to City Hall defending his decision. Mayor Murray has called a 5pm press conference to respond to questions about the controversy.

UPDATE at 6PM: Well, the 5pm press conference happened, but not much happened. First, Murry reiterated some of the stuff he said yesterday: that he believes more training for Officer Marion will do more to improve police culture than a day's suspension, but under pressure, he acknowledged that nothing prevents the SPD from issuing both a suspension and training. Asked about Chief Bailey making false statements on overturning the misconduct decision, Murray stood up for his chief, saying he "disagrees." But what is he disagreeing with? The statements Bailey made and the new status of the case are facts. When I pointed out that Bailey's letter and statements were unequivocal—that the facts prove he repeatedly said something untrue, which raises questions about the chief's honesty—Murray insisted, "I believe we have a chief who is honest and a chief who is restoring the public's faith."

I also asked Murray if he would release copies of the settlement agreements from the 25 misconduct cases as they reconsidered, without subjecting the public to an onerous public records request process. Murray said he didn't know the rules, legally, for disclosing the records and made no promises to reveal details of misconduct cases that are (or will be) reversed.

PPS — You can watch the mayor and chief's press conference here:


Comments (101) RSS

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Meanwhile, In Austin:…

If this is the way police behave in progressive blue cities, I can't even imagine the shit that goes on in conservative red cities.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on February 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 2
Nicely done!
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on February 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM · Report this
chimsquared 3
@1 guessing you've never been to austin.
Posted by chimsquared on February 21, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
fletc3her 4
This sounds like business as usual at the SPD. They punish misconduct with a slap on the wrist and then they reverse even that later. The clear message to rank and file is that claims of misconduct will be paid political lip service and then effectively ignored.
Posted by fletc3her on February 21, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
rob! 5
Way to go, Dominic. Keep gnawing.
Posted by rob! on February 21, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
So as I watch this press conference (talk about burying news) Ed Murray is incredibly defensive and refuses to acknowledge concerns. But he also seems to be saying that he and his staff, Pete Holmes and his staff, and Harry Bailey and maybe Rich O'Neill (wasn't quite clear about whether he was there) met and relaxed discipline in this and several other cases.

And those are the people who told voters last fall they, not the incumbent mayor, were the real reformers.

Posted by junipero on February 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Also, check out the contempt with which Murray refers to Dominic Holden. Wow. Murray is every bit as vindictive as his reputation suggested.
Posted by junipero on February 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
fletc3her 8
Maybe rewarding Murray for his leadership in passing gay marriage with the mayorship of Seattle wasn't such a good idea after all.
Posted by fletc3her on February 21, 2014 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Seattle doesn't need this. Dump them already before he does even more harm.
Posted by This is an improvement? on February 21, 2014 at 5:19 PM · Report this
@6 so the PC said that "yeah, hes not getting punished."
Great leadership on this issue Mayor.
Posted by JonCracolici on February 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
This kind of "I said this, I meant this, there's a note in his file that means this or maybe that" bullshit is the exact opposite of solving or addressing the problem. What he's really saying is "Go away". But we're not going away; this kind of SPD stonewall is going away, whether they do it themselves or force the Justice Department to come in and do it for them.

Meanwhile, Murray stands motionless next to him like a statue.
Posted by Fnarf on February 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM · Report this
crap bag 12
@3 - my thoughts exactly.
Posted by crap bag on February 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Ditto @8
Posted by UberAlles on February 21, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
The cover-up is always worse than the crime.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on February 21, 2014 at 5:26 PM · Report this
seatackled 15
Expecting Ian Birk to be rehired and made a sergeant under Lt. Shandy Colbane by April. . . .
Posted by seatackled on February 21, 2014 at 5:32 PM · Report this
#5 Huh? He's quoting the Times here. He didn't do anything.
Posted by ian on February 21, 2014 at 5:38 PM · Report this
17 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
DOUG. 18
Recall Ed Murray.
Posted by DOUG. on February 21, 2014 at 6:01 PM · Report this
Stay after these guys Dominic. I can't thank you enough for continuing to write about the corruption of power in our city.
Posted by QRRR on February 21, 2014 at 6:02 PM · Report this
Dominic, I know you're getting a fair number of snot-nosed comments from assholes who think you're making this all about you and you're a whiner and blah blah blah. I completely disagree with those people, and I want to thank you so much for staying on top of this.

While the incident in question was obviously not on the level of some of the SPD's more violent behavior, it was completely inappropriate for an officer to treat a citizen that way. How the department and the city responds to incidents like this is important as an indicator of how police reform is going. So the incident is greater than the sum of its parts as a measure of the health of the police department, which the asshole commenters fail to understand. So thank you, thank you.

And goddammit, I'm still pissed that Pugel was demoted. That guy was actually starting to make me feel better about the SPD, which is saying something considering what a dim view I had of them. Thanks, Murray.
Posted by JenV on February 21, 2014 at 6:44 PM · Report this
sperifera 21
@7 - And ineffective. Just ask Rodney Tom.
Posted by sperifera on February 21, 2014 at 7:11 PM · Report this
@20: dittoing you on several fronts.

First, thanks to Dom for being so dogged about this.

Second, yeah the part about this that most pisses me off is the either incompetent or malicious (take your pick) demotion of Pugel. Pugel was making real progress in changing the orientation within SPD and of promoting very good people. The guy went to Vienna last year to talk about new approaches to drug policy at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. He won an award from the Drug Policy Alliance. He sent one of his Captains to the International Harm Reduction Conference in Lithuania. He wrote op-ed pieces in favor of syringe exchange, good Samaritan laws, harm reduction, and the need to approach drug use as a public health problem.

The leading proponents of drug policy reform nationally and internationally (Drug Policy Alliance and Open Society Foundations), of harm reduction (the Harm Reduction Coalition), and of HIV/AIDS prevention (AmFAR) routinely ask him to talk/testify.

Law enforcement and criminal justice folks from all across the United States have visited Seattle to learn about Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion ([LEAD] a pilot project he championed). Other cities are adopting it. And the Drug Policy Alliance just issued a fact sheet on it.…

Yep this is the guy that Murray canned.

For that alone Murray should ask for a mulligan here. He's already fucked things up so badly, he may spend the rest of his term trying to undo it.
Posted by gnossos on February 21, 2014 at 7:25 PM · Report this
If this is all just fine with the DOJ, there's no reason to think anything will change, any time, in any way. Shit.
Posted by sarah70 on February 21, 2014 at 7:38 PM · Report this
Holy shit, I just watched the press conference and now I'm hopping mad. What is this smug garbage about how "finally, after many years" we have a chief that is restoring public confidence in the police department?!?! Yes, obviously Chief Diaz was a disaster. But we HAD a Chief that was restoring public confidence with Jim Pugel. They've forced him out for petty political reasons, and now they're going to fuck it all up with Chief Bailey. Jesus Tap-dancing Christ, what a disaster.
Posted by JenV on February 21, 2014 at 7:49 PM · Report this
The crime and the coverup are symptomatic of the culture @14.

Reading about all of this I can't help but think of some of the nefarious self-dealing bullshit depicted on The Wire, which of course, sucks. Why? Well, my experience with the SPD couldn't be more different than this; the SPD has been courteous, responsive, and professional. There are clearly two faces here, and that's where the problem lies.

So we go straight past cognitive dissonance right back to two-faced and self-dealing, and The Wire. Not right, and not what we're looking for.
Posted by Derek on February 21, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
@23 Sounds like the local DOJ were working with Holmes to undercut McGinn for the benefit of Murray, who himself has debts to the Guild that the local DOJ is apparently willing to cover for as part of the overall set of deals.

Damn. What a load of sleeze balls...

Guessing the bad apples on the force are feeling a little less constrained right about now, out there on the street. Just got to avoid video...
Posted by cracked on February 21, 2014 at 8:38 PM · Report this
"I was the complainant in the case—I filed the complaint against Officer Marion last summer for threatening to harass me at work...."

Were there an 'Office of Professional Accountability' for 'journalist' it would tell Dom that reporting a story you are a participant in violates journalistic ethical conduct rules, and would call his behavior "indefensible."

what. a. whiny. pussy.
Posted by Off With his Head! on February 21, 2014 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Dom, maybe you should be a bit careful for your safety. Retaliation is a lot of fun for jerks with badges and Bailey has given them cover.
Posted by sarah70 on February 21, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Video of this evening's press conference is now available for streaming or download.
Posted by Phil M http:// on February 21, 2014 at 9:06 PM · Report this
@28 Yes, the anonymous SPOG schills in these comment threads make me nervous enough and I'm not even involved.
Posted by cracked on February 21, 2014 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Mayor Murray posted a link to his press conference over on sure to say "hi"...…
Posted by BeelzeBallard on February 21, 2014 at 9:13 PM · Report this
In my work, if I were to interact with the public in such an unnecessarily rude, outrageous and threatening manner, I would be fired on the spot. No hearing, no retraining, no charm school, simply, an d rightly,out.What an awful message the so called "leadership" is sending.....
Posted by Jail Bush Now on February 21, 2014 at 9:13 PM · Report this
DOUG. 33
Comments like those @28 give shitty cops a boner. The worst thing citizens can do is be afraid of the police.

Dominic is winning here, and SPD is losing. Keep up the good work, Dom!
Posted by DOUG. on February 21, 2014 at 9:15 PM · Report this
GlibReaper 34
@27 there actually is an ethical code for journalists and it has nothing to say about reporting from one's own experience. On the contrary, it says that journalists should
—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
where it's unavoidable they should
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Dominic is certainly being "vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable" and I salute his work

Also, I admire The Stranger for continuing to allow anonymous comments on SLOG, even from fucking nitwits
Posted by GlibReaper on February 21, 2014 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Take it to the FBI. It is crystal clear now that the Seattle Police Department is hopelessly corrupt. Maybe if a federal observer is brought in once again, the poisonous culture will begin to change.
Posted by TechBear on February 21, 2014 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Fuck the pigs. They are the enemy.
Don’t call 911. Obviously, there are exceptions, but the sad lesson is, there are fewer than you’d think.
Call Lyft or a cab or a friend to take you to the hospital. The police are never to be trusted. They view you as an enemy to be eradicated. They want to kill you, not help you.
Take such incidents to trial, where justice isn’t veiled by the POBAR. It’s not a matter of litigious vindictiveness. It’s just the only available way. The SF Office of Citizen Complaints is not a valid alternative. Nor is the SPD equivalent. They are shams.
Consider wearing a video camera at all times. It has been shown that when police wear cameras and are aware of being filmed, it moderates their behavior. As self reports of the need to use force decrease, so do complaints.
Posted by Pol Pot on February 21, 2014 at 9:52 PM · Report this
Mayor Murray is already the most incompetent mayor in the history of Seattle. What a divisive, cowardly piece of shit. Fuck each and everyone of you ignorant fucking asshats who voted for him.
Posted by Pol Pot on February 21, 2014 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Just watched the video. Wow! That was a lot of doublespeak!
Its as though somehow they imagine themselves constrained to either give him a lame punishment that at least carries an official misconduct demerit, OR to give him training so he wont do it again. Even though they obviously can do BOTH, and are repeatedly told so by everyone everywhere.
The "my hands are tied!" line doesn't work when your hands are obviously untied. It just makes you look even more dishonest.
Posted by JonCracolici on February 21, 2014 at 10:16 PM · Report this
@34 I agree wholeheartedly with your support for anonymous posting on Slog!

I rather like the way they have balanced the pluses and minuses by having the anonymous postings require choice on the part of the reader.
Posted by cracked on February 21, 2014 at 10:27 PM · Report this
@33, "losing"? How? The Chief and Murray just bailed them out.
Posted by sarah70 on February 21, 2014 at 10:44 PM · Report this
meanie 41
slow clap for party democrats.

Our last election was between the tunnel hating bike guy, vs the do nothing state guy who once voted for gay marriage, cause he was gay.

Posted by meanie on February 21, 2014 at 11:00 PM · Report this
@40: per Miletich: "The police watchdog, Anne Levinson, a retired judge who oversees Seattle’s police-accountability system, said Friday that Bailey’s handing of the cases raised serious questions."…

We've got a gang that can't shoot straight and DOJ is bound to notice pretty quick here.

Posted by gnossos on February 21, 2014 at 11:03 PM · Report this
That press conference was quite revealing. Murray's attitude is one of giving the buzzwords people want to hear, expecting everyone to take them at face value, and if they don't believe him, there's something wrong with that person and not Ed Murray.

His views on reform are also quite interesting. Basically, reform is not the actual changing of the department for the better, reform is everyone falling in line behind the electeds who have already determined what the reform process will look like. Such electeds and their process cannot be challenged - at least, that's what its practitioners think.

Everybody got the reform story wrong for two years, and we are now all paying the price. This should be a lesson that real reform means civilian power over the department. It does not giving that power to a DOJ official, a mayor, or a city attorney, or a police union.
Posted by junipero on February 21, 2014 at 11:06 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 44
Dom you looked great on King 5 just now after the Olympics! Training is what we should be doing no matter what. Nice.
Posted by Westlake, son! on February 21, 2014 at 11:06 PM · Report this
@42 no, they won't notice, because DOJ are not the white hats in blind pursuit of justice. Jenny Durkan has signed off on everything Ed Murray has done.
Posted by junipero on February 21, 2014 at 11:09 PM · Report this
seatackled 46
Oooh! Mayor Murray says Officer Marion will have the opportunity to go to roll calls to teach other officers what he did wrong, thereby turning the whole experience into a teaching moment!!!!
Posted by seatackled on February 21, 2014 at 11:27 PM · Report this
Bailey turned a one-day suspension into what is essentially a book report that Marion will have to give to all the other bad kids. Wonderful.

Does this reek of blatant payback, or does Bailey have something on the mayor?

Keep this in the forefront, Dom! This is exactly the type of thing that the DoJ needs to be looking at.
Posted by SeattleMike on February 21, 2014 at 11:34 PM · Report this
Is this one of two steps forward and three steps backwards moments. Sure doesn't build any Trust for me regarding the SPD and the City's good old boys and girls club.
Posted by Gray Panther on February 21, 2014 at 11:45 PM · Report this
seatackled 49
Hmm, around 15:00, the Mayor says he disagrees with Dominic's claim that the Chief has lied ("I believe the information is consistent."). Then around 17:50, after Dominic asks for public disclosure of the reversal of the other six cases, the Mayor says, "You don't hear disagreements from me or the Chief on your questions."

This is very confusing.
Posted by seatackled on February 21, 2014 at 11:47 PM · Report this
@45: Agreed. DOJ is not the cavalry/knight in shining armor.

Durkan won the first round of battles and accomplished getting rid of McGinn and probably thought she was on her way to running SPD. But, she's in danger of losing the war here because Murray (and adviser Podlodowski) don't have a clue about who's who in SPD and how to fix the dept. She's saddled with dull tools and if they keep fucking up she's going to have to cut and run.
Posted by gnossos on February 21, 2014 at 11:50 PM · Report this
Its only confusing if you think that politicians are honest
Posted by JonCracolici on February 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM · Report this
Well the Chief of Police is a fucking liar. And a rather poor one at that.

I wasn't exactly thrilled about Murray as Mayor but it don't imagine he would be this shitty this quickly.

Though if the SPD would like to pay me police wages to make some powerpoints and do a little presentation at roll call, I'll happily take the position. I mean punishment.
Posted by giffy on February 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM · Report this
seatackled 53

Well, it could be confusing if you think that politicians are smarter about covering their dirty tracks, too.
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 1:01 AM · Report this
I posted a transcription of the press conference.
Posted by Phil M http:// on February 22, 2014 at 4:10 AM · Report this
Two people were shot in Downtown Seattle last night and how the police chief decides to discipline a cop who yelled at Dominic Holden is the problem?

1. 90% of the people who have ever met or interacted with Dominic want to yell at him.

2. To have any credibility on this story the Stranger must turn it over to another reporter. This is an egomaniacal grudge match in the guise of social justice now.
Posted by M. Wells on February 22, 2014 at 7:05 AM · Report this
The Mayor says that they are unfortunately locked into a process that requires them to drop the "sustained" finding when imposing the training punishment instead of the suspension punishment, but that's simply not true since he could have imposed both punishments, got the training and retained the "sustained" finding.
Posted by Charlie Mas on February 22, 2014 at 7:28 AM · Report this
Keep fighting the good fight Mr.Holden!
Posted by jellofoughtthelawandwon on February 22, 2014 at 7:43 AM · Report this
seatackled 58

Yes, how the police decides to "discipline" Officer Marion is a problem. The Chief's decision not to creates a sense of mistrust of the police, making the public less likely to seek help from the police in situations that might lead to the shooting you just described.

In addition, what do last night's shootings have to do with the post here? This post was put up before 5 pm and then updated an hour later. When did the shootings take place? Are you expecting Slog to predict the future?

Regarding your two items:
1. What is the source of your 90% claim?
2. Bullshit. For you, it would not be credible reporting no matter who the Stranger assigned to the story.
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 7:44 AM · Report this
On Thursday I sas givin a ticket for over a thousand dollars because I questioned an officers decision making. I drive a concrete mixer truck. The officer in question stopped me on a very steep hill so he could make a very unsafe u turn. I tried to let the officer know the jeopardy he had put my job in. He told me to pull over and he would explain it to me. Instead of an explanation he handed me a ticket for failure to vive way to an emergency vehicle $1062.00. I dont even know where to start or go for help. Do you or any readers know what I can do.
Trumped up charges in Seattle.
Posted by mjstills on February 22, 2014 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Full, unedited video at Seattle Channel.…
Posted by veep23 on February 22, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
ScandalMgr 61
Dominic, great sound bite on KING TV 5 last night.
Posted by ScandalMgr on February 22, 2014 at 8:20 AM · Report this
fletc3her 62
@34 This case does not stem from a personal incident, but from a professional one. The officers were interfering with his attempt to find out what was happening.
Posted by fletc3her on February 22, 2014 at 8:31 AM · Report this
63 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
8Way 64
@59. Pay your fine in concrete at the steps of the police station.
Posted by 8Way on February 22, 2014 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 65
I am very satisfied with Murray. He got rid of the twice weekly garbage pickup, and I am sure that he has very sound insider information to justify his every move. Finally, Seattle has a real leader. So good to be rid of McGinn.
Posted by Lew Siffer on February 22, 2014 at 9:14 AM · Report this
DOUG. 66
Seattle had twice weekly garbage pickup?
Posted by DOUG. on February 22, 2014 at 9:20 AM · Report this
@65 Twice weekly garbage pickup? huh?
Posted by cracked on February 22, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
@59 I once got a ticket for parking on the concrete parking strip during one of our snow/ice storms because I couldn't get up my driveway and mitigated the fine. You can probably mitigate the fine at a hearing, but you should perhaps FIRST find some cash to consult an expert about the effects of such a ticket on your commercial licensing or insurance.
Posted by cracked on February 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Watch Bailey literally hide behind the mayor for the first five minutes of the video. Very odd.
Posted by retrogrouch on February 22, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
@55: Michael, if I didn't think you were letting your personal feelings about Dominic color your opinion of the story, I would be rather offended by the fact that you reduce this incident to "yelling at Dominic." John T. Powderkeg Marion #6963 is employed to enforce public policy with force. He carries a gun and has special license to use it on people. He is clearly unfit for this position and should be removed from it. He very intentionally violated the United States Constitution in his interaction with Dominic. Who knows what he has done to people without the fortitude to stand up for themselves and to slog it out through SPD's joke of an internal investigation system.

I am extremely confident that if the circumstances changed even slightly---if Dominic had been a bit less deferential, insisted on staying on the transit plaza, told Marion that he had every right to record police in public, reminded Marion that this is First-Amendment-protected activity, had dark skin, had met that asshole in a dark alley instead of broad daylight with witnesses---he'd have landed himself in jail on trumped-up charges, possibly injured.

He's stuck out the process by which we are told to seek redress in such circumstances, and it is failing miserably. This cop's inexcusable behavior was met with a wrist-slap, then modified by Murray's appointee to a wrist-slap that won't look so bad on his employment record. It's failing because the deck is stacked in favor of police rather than the people they serve, and it's failing because Murray stepped in and tried to show that he could take charge, politician-style, without first learning the lay of the land at SPD. The SPD are playing Murray, and it's harming the public.
Posted by Phil M http:// on February 22, 2014 at 10:04 AM · Report this
raindrop 71
It really does seem that all parties are extrapolating facts in this saga for their publicity seeking ulterior motives. Move on.
Posted by raindrop on February 22, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
seatackled 72

That sucks. The first thing to do is probably contact your union rep and get advice from them on how to proceed.
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Eric Arrr 73

I can help. How can you be contacted?
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 22, 2014 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Phil, I'm not the only player here with industrial size baggage.

The officer engaged in misconduct, the chief has decided on a course of action, a course that I don't see as calamitous as most of the commenters here. Claims that Murray has let corruption seep in seem wildly inaccurate to me, though I'm certainly not opposed to investigation or questioning of the action or process. Given the miserable failure of the last administration to manage this issue, I understand that people are skeptical. I have more faith in the current process - much more- that's just me. So, follow through, ask questions, work the process. But I don't think that Dominic Holden should be writing about it.

Of course, Dominic has every right to follow through with the process of a complainant. I have serious issues with Dominic also reporting on that process. That presents a personal claim as quantitative fact and & effectively shuts down dissenting opinion form the writer's narrative. And I think that's bad journalism. Dominic should be removed from this story and someone else should be covering it. It's like having a doctor operate on a member of their own family. It's not right.

And, yes, the fact that two people were shot last night in Downtown/Belltown is a story to me that has more import & impact. Doesn't event rise to the level of a blurb on Slog, where writer's grievances, annoyances & personality clashes reach headline, multi-part stories.

You're frustrated by the SPD. I'm frustrated by the Stranger. At least you have a public process to make change. I have a comment box.
Posted by M. Wells on February 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
As a gay man I must admit to a strange pride that Murry has proven capable of being just as petty, dishonest and venal as any of his straight predecessors.
Posted by Mugwumpt on February 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
seatackled 76

You can't be that concerned about yesterday's shootings; after all, it appears you didn't even look at the scant reporting of them to be able to say accurately where they occurred.

(Hint: not Belltown.)
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
So, sorry, seatackled. But great job on ignoring the actual issues at play.
Posted by M. Wells on February 22, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
seatackled 78
Actually, M. Wells, nice attempts at bringing in a serious matter that you obviously don't care about in order to divert attention from another serious matter. Ultimately, people see through your ploy, because they understand it's not a matter of either/or, so no congratulations for you for any sort of success.
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Dominic: it sounds like Murray was dishonest about something else in that video, too. He said the day off without pay could be converted to a day off *with* pay? Is that true, or is it serious spin/lie? My understanding was that in lieu of actually taking the day off without pay, they could instead just lose one 'banked' paid-vacation day, and since vacation days are convertible to cash, that either way it was equal to a docking of one day's pay. How does Murray get from there, to a straight conversion to "day off with pay", which obviously is no penalty if true. Can you get to the bottom of how that works, and if Pugel really originally gave Marion what was essentially an extra paid vacation day as "punishment", or is Murray full of shit here like he is with everything else?
Posted by Mhann on February 22, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
@79: It sounds like they are forced to take the day off, but they can use a paid day off that they have to cover, so that they still get paid, but then they're burning a day of pay that they can't use elsewhere. Kind of lame, but it's still a punishment, and it goes on his record...
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
@80: Not sure I follow your scenario as worded. "A paid day off they have to cover"? "Burning a day of pay they can't use elsewhere"? In any case, it sounds like we both don't believe Murray's claim that it can simply be made into a paid day off. There was a cost involved, albeit fairly minor, which he tried to pretend didn't exist at all, to make it look like the training was more of a "punishment". Slimy.
Posted by Mhann on February 22, 2014 at 7:31 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 82
A paid day off or having to go through training with PowerPoint presentations, role playing, flip charts, and speaking in front of other officers about what you did. Which is the punishment?

Meanwhile crimes go unsolved and real people need help while The Stranger sheds bitter tears over Murray and Dom.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 22, 2014 at 7:48 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 83
@49: The statement "You don't hear disagreements from me or the Chief on your questions" was a general "PR" statement by the mayor on the belief that such redress is important. I highly doubt that the mayor even remembered the "information is consistent" remark when he made that statement. What you see as inconsistency and evasion is the normal human thought process not being as accurate as a computer. Heavens!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 22, 2014 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 84
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 22, 2014 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 85
Oops, please disregard @84. Thank you.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 22, 2014 at 8:10 PM · Report this
seatackled 86

Thank you for your insights. The kind of help you offer is of such import that modern linguists have even coined a word for it: "Duh."
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 8:58 PM · Report this
seatackled 87

It would be befitting for all of us to apply your behest to all of your comments.
Posted by seatackled on February 22, 2014 at 9:00 PM · Report this
Nic, when you are done with this scandal, would you let us know about the bartender who watered your drink?
Posted by Bucky named 'Nic on February 22, 2014 at 10:39 PM · Report this
It doesn't matter in the least whether the officer will get a day off with or without ay. What matters is whether this goes on his record as misconduct. It seems (to me, at least) as though Bailey has removed or will remove the note on the officer's record. Since Bailey's reviewing a whole bunch of other cases, he could do the same with those. That alone marks him as a real detriment to what should be occurring in Seattle. And it marks Murray as the instigator of this, since he elevated Bailey to the status that he could do that shit.
Posted by sarah70 on February 22, 2014 at 10:40 PM · Report this
wow, so no one wants to address the lie @71 that "gay raindrop for romney, and the reagans" puts forth.

fact is dominic was threatened. fact is he complained. fact is discipline (weak ass discipline) was assigned along with a censure. fact is discipline and censure were overturned. fact is new chief of SPD lied about it. fact is murray doesn't care.

what can you extrapolate from these facts? and why should the parties move on?
Posted by unsalt on February 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM · Report this
@89: True enough, the erasing of the misconduct is the more material matter, but if you saw the press conference, whether it was with/without pay matters in that it appears Murray lied about that to make it seem completely trivial. If that wasn't bad enough, his whole demeanor throughout was disagreeable thinly veiled contempt, and then at the end he tries to spin it as "we don't disagree with you". Stunning lack of self-awareness and respect for facts. Of course, they set it for 5PM on a Friday knowing that would help diminish public awareness some.
Posted by Mhann on February 23, 2014 at 12:05 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 92
@86: They why were you confused in @49?
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM · Report this
seattlejenny 93
This being all over the news is a serious win all by itself. People will be more willing to step forward about these "minor" violations in the future. Public humiliation is an awesome punishment for Officer Marion. I had forgot his name already but I won't now. He'll probably have to move!
Posted by seattlejenny on February 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 94
@91: What you see as contempt was clearly just the fact that it was an unpleasant news conference to being with. Goodness, I've never seen a newly elected mayor thrown under the bus so quickly - especially considering he is the Seattle's first mayor of a sexual minority.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
@94: You've missed the entire point. We don't care who he sleeps with, we just want the police to stop violating people's constitutional rights. I don't think his opponents brought up his orientation ever, but he did, because it is the source of his main achievements at the state level. He's not getting thrown under the bus for who he sleeps with, he's getting thrown under the bus for who he is putting in charge of the SPD, and what Bailey has done there.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 96
I think we need more comments here

And less police cover ups by insiders
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
I think this "under the bus" thing is an example of how progressive Seattle is, in a good way. Yes, hes gay. No we dont care about it. At all. Most people in Seattle view being gay as such a normal thing, that the whole saint or sinner syndrome has been left behind. He can be gay, and be dishonest.
Posted by JonCracolici on February 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Everyone said Murray was going to be such a great mayor. Seems like business as usual to me. Just another POS politician.
Posted by JimmyCap on February 23, 2014 at 2:36 PM · Report this
I believe in the midst of explaining why he changed Marion's punishment, Murray mentions that he reviewed Marion's file and noted that he has no previous complaints against him. A good question to ask would be "Will future command officers also find that Marion has had no complaints against him after this process?"
Posted by Mr John on February 23, 2014 at 9:30 PM · Report this
DOUG. 100
@99: You heard that correctly, and the answer to your question is, "Yes". It's Heller-esque logic.

I'm trying to figure out if Murray is corrupt or incompetent. Perhaps a bit of both?
Posted by DOUG. on February 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM · Report this
Now there will be a sustained complaint against him. Per the Fishwrapper Times, Marion has agreed to have the misconduct finding against him reinstated. Note that this is just the finding in his record, and that he will still only be 'sentenced' to do his 'be a good boy' book report and will not serve the one-day suspension. There is supposed to be a news briefing this morning.

From the initial report: "Sources also said that it is Marion’s idea because he was tired of the media attention. The source said Marion knows he could have handled the incident in a better way and wants to put it behind him."

I believe that Mr. Holden is still owed a formal apology from this guy, though, and I'd still love to be a 'fly on the wall' at the roll calls where he presents his book report. I can imagine the cop-chatter and smirking that will be going on.
Posted by SeattleMike on February 24, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this

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