In 2010, woodcarver John T. Williams was killed by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk. Controversy over the shooting led to much anger and distrust for the police department. In 2012, a 34-foot memorial totem pole was raised in John T. Williams' honor. Steve Scher talked with John T. Williams’ brother Rick Williams at the site of the totem pole.
Back in 2012, the Seattle Police asked the public for help. Deputy Chief Nick Metz urged people to talk to the police to help stop what he called a “huge increase” in shootings. That's counter to a strong "don't talk to the cops" mantra espoused by many. Steve Scher talked with columnist Larry Mizell and singer Choklate Moore about why many individuals think talking to the police is unsafe and unwise.
Within 48 hours of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the FBI began arresting the Japanese-Americans they considered subversive. In its second wave of action, the rest of the Japanese-American community along the West Coast was forced to leave their homes and move to incarceration camps. These actions are a strong, vivid and very recent part of our city's history and the legacy of the Japanese-Americans living here. Steve Scher talked with Fumiko Hayashida and Sam Mitsui about their own experiences at that time.
A legislator in Washington state says she will revive a bill that would make it easier for police to collect DNA samples. That’s in the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling Monday. The five-to-four ruling upheld a Maryland law that allows police to collect DNA samples at the time of arrest from people who are charged with certain violent crimes or sex offenses.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a law that will allow the state’s fictitious driver license program to continue – but only for undercover law enforcement activities. At the bill signing Inslee backed away from a previous statement that he would apply a broad definition of the term “law enforcement.”
Washington Supreme Court Justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that spotlights the Seattle Police Department’s policy regarding public access to dash-camera video footage. The lawsuit, brought by KOMO News against SPD, comes at a time when the police force faces heightened scrutiny about transparency and public accountability.
A new public service announcement by the state’s Emergency Management Division urges you to always “know your location” just in case you have to call 911. Emergency dispatchers say they often get calls from people who can’t describe where they are or even how to get there. With 70 percent of 911 calls coming from cell phones, it’s much harder for operators to pinpoint a specific location.
State toxicologist Fiona Couper recently stated that violations for driving under the influence of marijuana have not gone up since the passage of Initiative-502. But marijuana legalization is still in its early stages and to be charged with a DUI the driver has to get caught with 5 nanograms per milliliter of active THC in their bloodstream. David Hyde talks with Dr. Marilyn Huestis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and tries to make sense of the science of marijuana intoxication.
Hundreds of people came out on a chilly Saturday morning to exchange their guns for $100 and $200 Amazon.com gift cards in the first guy buyback event held in Seattle in 20 years. People stood in line holding rifles in camouflage cases and shot guns wrapped in blankets among other things. Traffic clogged up city streets near the parking lot where the event took place.
Three years ago this Thanksgiving weekend, an Arkansas parolee named Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop. Chris Sorrells was one of the first officers at the scene. In the years since, his life has changed dramatically.
Chris Sorrells is probably alive today because of a twist of fate. He says he would have been at coffee that morning with his fellow officers. But his wife had gotten up early with him and made coffee at home – something she didn’t normally do.
We talk with Merrick Bobb, Seattle's new federally appointed independent police monitor. He began working in the field of police accountability 20 years ago, following the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. In Seattle, he'll help implement an overhaul of the SPD’s use-of-force procedures and establish guidelines for citizen contacts and stops.
Whoever wins the election to lead the King County Sheriff's Department will have his work cut out for him. Two performance audits in recent months have criticized how the department handles internal investigations and use-of-force complaints. Steve Strachan has been interim sheriff since Sue Rahr departed earlier this year. Strachan faces a veteran of the department in the race, former KCSD spokesman John Urquhart. They join us in studio.
A new study by Marijuana Arrest Research Project says more than 240,000 people in Washington have been arrested for marijuana possession over the past 25 years, and that those arrested are disproportionally Black, Latino and Native American.