• City of Seattle to present plan for reforming SPD's oversight system

    By: Linzi Sheldon


    SEATTLE - The city of Seattle said Monday that by Labor Day, it will present its plan for reforming SPD’s oversight system to a federal judge.

    It is just the latest step in Seattle's sweeping police reforms after the U.S. Department of Justice determined that SPD had a pattern of excessive use of force.

    “We're certainly going to have to work -- pretty much around the clock,” city attorney Pete Holmes said.

    Holmes said time is of the essence when it comes to proposing legislation for a new police accountability system.

    The Community Police Commission, instructed to provide input under the federal consent decree, proposed its own legislation last week.

    Federal Judge James Robart sternly stated that some of their provisions crossed the line.

    “The court doesn't want to choose between a CPC draft and an executive draft [from the mayor]... the court wants to have a single proposal from the city,” Holmes said.

    “We do have a job to do, and that job is making those recommendations and being the voice of the community and we're going to keep doing it,” CPC attorney and commissioner Isaac Ruiz said, confident the CPC will be involved in the drafting of the city’s legislation.

    Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said she believes some kind of community body WILL play a big role in the resulting new accountability system.

    “Whether it's the CPC in its existing form or whether it's another body that includes community representatives, certainly that's important,” she said.

    Since the consent decree was issued, the city has made sweeping reforms, changing training significantly. That includes how to de-escalate situations and when to use certain weapons.

    CPC co-chair, the Rev. Harriett Walden seem to feel encouraged, especially by three words uttered by Judge Robart.

    “He said, from the bench, today -- in his courtroom -- that black lives matter,” she said. “I think it was more than just a cliché.”

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