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Editor's note: Language featured in this piece may be considered offensive to some.

With the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, "Ferguson" became shorthand for racial strife and police shootings of unarmed black men.

But years before the protests and chants of "Hands up, don't shoot," there was something amiss in the Ferguson, Mo., police department.

Before Michael Brown, there was Fred Watson.

King County sheriff's deputies
Flickr Photo/N i c o l a (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8JhWF9

King County officials are calling on the sheriff's office to improve its de-escalation protocols. This week, the King County Council passed a measure requesting that the sheriff's office make updates to both policies and training when it comes to use of force.

The Department of Justice will not bring civil rights charges against six Baltimore police involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, the young black man whose death caused widespread violent protest in that city in 2015.

A photo of Charleena Lyles stands in memorial.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed Friday against the two Seattle police officers who shot Charleena Lyles.

Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff John Urquhart.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The family of a 20-year-old Burien man shot dead by police in June is suing King County, the county Sheriff's Office and Sheriff John Urquhart alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

They're seeking $20 million in damages.


Candles surround a photograph of Charleena Lyles after a vigil was held at Solid Ground Brettler Family Place on Tuesday, June 19, 2017, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seven bullets riddled Charleena Lyles’ body earlier this summer when she was shot by Seattle police.

Those bullets struck her chest and arm and dug into into her hip, back and side.

And her uterus, blowing through a four-month old fetus.

It would have been a boy.

Screenshot of interaction between motorcyclist, Alex Randall, and King County Sheriff Detective Richard Rowe, August 16, 2017.
Screenshot from YouTube video by Alex Randall

Update 8/31/2017: The King County Sheriff's deputy placed on administrative leave after drawing his gun on a motorcyclist earlier this month has been identified as 53-year-old Richard Rowe. He's been with the sheriff's office for nearly 19 years.

The sheriff's office is investigating the incident.


Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed Che Taylor, an African-American man, last year are suing City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation.

Former King County Executive Ron Sims speaks at a news conference where he announced that President Barack Obama would nominate him to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

I have been stopped eight times by the Seattle Police Department. I wasn't speeding nor did I have an issue with my car.

Four stops occurred in my neighborhood: two on Beacon Hill and one near the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Martin Luther King Way. I was never ticketed but always asked, “Do you live in this neighborhood” or “Where are you going?”

laptop keyboard
Flickr Photo/Ian D (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/coVLZb

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson about her article that looks into how law enforcement took down a prostitution ring in Bellevue. 

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

State and local governments in Washington receive millions in federal police grants. This week, the Justice Department said some of these future grants are contingent on immigration enforcement. It’s the administration’s latest swing at so-called sanctuary cities.

In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Seattle's police union leaders have filed a complaint against Mayor Ed Murray's body camera mandate. Murray issued an executive order this month to require all officers to wear body cameras while on duty.

Tommy Le's family sit front and center at Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS) in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

A community forum was held Wednesday night in Seattle, to give people a chance to talk about the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Tommy Le. Parents of the young man spoke about his death.

Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan, center, talks with a man in Ballard about his erratic and threatening behavior. Chan is partnered with a social worker to help deescalate volatile situations.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

When it comes to policing, there’s a lot of history in the race for Seattle mayor.

Two of the candidates, Jenny Durkan and Mike McGinn, have faced off before. They negotiated the city’s consent decree between the Justice Department and the city of Seattle.

Seattle Police Department patch.
Facebook Photo/Seattle Police Officers Guild

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess and president of the Seattle Police Union Kevin Stuckey about how contract negotiations are affecting the progress of police reform. The union claims that they are being steamrolled while the city contends the union is being selfish.  

In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has signed an executive order to require officers and sergeants to wear body cameras while on duty. The software has already been piloted in several Seattle neighborhoods.

But Seattle's police officer's union says the full rollout is too soon, because labor negotiations are still underway.


A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle is a step closer to getting a law that prohibits biased policing.

The proposed legislation would take the Seattle Police Department's bias-free policing policies and incorporate them into city law.

Mourners at the internment of Charleena Lyles at Hillcrest Cemetery in Kent, Washington, on Monday, July 10, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Charleena Lyles was buried Monday.

Lyles’ friends and family filled the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District for her funeral, many wearing purple, her favorite color.


KUOW Photo/ Megan Farmer

In February of 2016 Andre Taylor was in L.A. when he got a phone call from his stepmom in Seattle.

She told him his little brother Che Taylor had been shot by the police. Che Taylor was standing next to the open door of a car. The two officers said he was reaching for a gun when they fired.

Andre Taylor, brother of Che Taylor, who was killed by Seattle Police on Feb. 21, 2016 addresses a crowd of protesters on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

An organization advocating to reduce police violence launched a campaign for a measure that would change law enforcement training. De-Escalate Washington introduced the measure Thursday.

Officer John Hill and Ryan Miles, a designated mental health professional with the Tacoma Police Department.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Could Charleena Lyles still be alive today if police had not gone to her apartment alone? 

In Tacoma, an officer can call for help dealing with someone who might be mentally ill. They can call a mental health co-responder. And now, this co-responder program might go statewide.

KUOW’s Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma Patrol Officer John Hill and a mental health co-responder who works with officers – Ryan Miles.

Dianne and Michael Murphy, parents of Miles Murphy who was shot by Seattle Police in 2009, were dismayed by the King County inquest process.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

For Michael and Dianne Murphy of Maple Valley, the inquest examining their son’s death left them completely disillusioned. “It was a joke,” Michael said.


It's rare for a law enforcement officer to be convicted of homicide for shooting someone while on duty. According to a new NPR data analysis, 2,400 people have been killed this way in the last two and a half years; the vast majority of those cases were found to be justified, but NPR found 20 officers who faced charges. Of those, six have been convicted or pleaded guilty.

File Photo: Kathleen O'Toole speaks after being introduced by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray as his nominee to be Seattle's new Chief of Police, May 19, 2014.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Show up.

That was the gist of an email from Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant to the police chief. A public forum was set for Tuesday on the shooting of Charleena Lyles.

Charleena Lyles' father, Charles, speaks to the crowd at the UW's Kane Hall as City Council members watch on Tuesday, June 27. 'She died on Father's Day. Every Father's Day I'll think of that,' he said.
KUOW photo/Amy Radil

"We elected you. And you're going to do something this time."

That was one message to City Council members Tuesday night at a public forum on the shooting of Charleena Lyles.


A grand jury indicted three Chicago police officers on felony charges on Tuesday, accusing them of conspiring to cover up the facts of a fatal police shooting in October 2014 of a black teenager in order to shield their fellow officer.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, according to prosecutors.

Twin sisters Makalah, 12, left, and Akalah, right, sit on the steps at the Solid Ground Brettler Family Place, on Monday.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

In the minutes after Charleena Lyles was shot by police, a 12-year-old girl slipped by police officers and ran up four flights of stairs.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks to Ijeoma Oluo, editor at large of The Establishment, and Eula Scott Bynoe, co-host of HellaBlackHellaSeattle, about the conversations they've been having in the wake of the shooting of Charleena Lyles. 

What can prevent tragedies like Charleena Lyles?

Jun 21, 2017

Bill Radke talks with former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and state Representative Morgan Irwin, also a Seattle police officer, about the shooting of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent it.

Irwin says the officers followed proper protocol during a tragic, isolated incident. Stamper says it points to larger problems of implicit bias and how police perceive danger on the job. 

A state senator from Seattle is renewing his call to rewrite Washington’s police deadly force law. Democrat David Frockt represents the legislative district where Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four on Sunday.

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