Seattle’s ongoing effort to reform the police department seems to be shifting to a new phase, from policy to implementation. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says 2014 will be “the year of training” for Seattle cops.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, a strong brew of native tea warms up the crowd at the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle. The tribe has hosted this casual tea party every spring since the longhouse opened three years ago, along the Duwamish River bank.
“Are you all happy to be here?” asks Cecile Hansen, chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe.
Hansen thanks the 50 or so people for coming, then she enlists their help in the tribe’s fight for recognition. “I would send a really tough letter to our President just saying, ‘Okay, sign the status back to the Duwamish people’,” Hansen says.
It’s a story you may have heard before: A drunk guy gets in a cab. His driver has dark skin, a beard and a turban. The passenger calls the driver racial names and beats him so viciously, the driver lands in the hospital and the passenger goes to jail.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif (left) and Walli Mujahidh aim machine guns purchased from a police informant in 2011. Mujahidh is scheduled for sentencing on April 8.
Credit U.S. Attorney's Office
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif's wife, Binta Moussa-Davis, and his attorney, Jennifer Wellman, on the federal courthouse steps after he was sentenced to 18 years for plotting to attack a military processing center.
As part of the agreement with the Department of Justice to implement reforms in the Seattle Police Department, Mayor Mike McGinn proposed the creation of a Community Police Commission. The 13-member commission, selected by the mayor and City Council, is supposed to ensure that the police are acting lawfully and safely.
The commission still has to be confirmed by the City Council, but Ross Reynolds sits down with commission co-chair and deputy director of the Defender Association, Lisa Daugaard, to discuss what the commission can and hopes to accomplish.
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.
Kathryn Olson, outgoing head of the Seattle Police Office of Professional Accountability, talks with Ross Reynolds about the Department of Justice finding that police engage in use of excessive force, what the city and DOJ are doing to remedy the problems, and her role as the director of the OPA.
A federal judge has appointed Merrick Bobb as the independent monitor to oversee reforms to the Seattle Police Department. Bobb’s appointment follows disagreement between the Seattle city council, the police department, and the mayor over whether he was the best choice.
Bobb was one of four finalists. As monitor he will assess the City’s compliance with a settlement agreement between the police and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The city of Seattle is seeking citizens for its new Community Police Commission. The commission is being established as part of an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to reform the Seattle Police Department. Federal and local officials have expressed hopes that the commission will play a strong role in police oversight. But it faces some limitations that could hamper its abilities, as the members of another police review board have already found.