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police

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has plans for a new North Seattle police precinct. At $149 million, the building would be one of the most expensive police precincts in the country. The plan has sparked protests and pushback from a community that believes it’s an overpriced military-like bunker. Given that Seattle Police Department is under federal investigation for excessive use of force and bias, is this bad city planning?

Chicago's police superintendent is recommending seven officers be fired after finding that they gave false statements in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old African-American Laquan McDonald by a white officer.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the recommendations in a statement Thursday.

An artist's rendering of the proposed new North Precinct station for the Seattle Police Department.
City of Seattle

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Weekly reporter Casey Jaywork about the new police station planned in North Seattle and how it became a symbol of race and police violence. 

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Videos of police arrests and shootings around the country this year have put a spotlight on police behavior. A new Seattle City Council proposal would reinforce the right to record police. A council committee discussed the idea Wednesday.


Bill Radke talks with KUOW reporter Paige Browning about a recent hearing to determine whether the Seattle Police Department is making progress in its federally-mandated reform efforts and the timeline for next steps. 

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

A federal judge who oversees Seattle police reform has invited the city to draft its own reform policies.

The Seattle Police Department is currently under federal oversight on use of force and biased policing. On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Robart gave an update on the progress and laid out next steps.

An artist's rendering of the proposed new North Precinct station for the Seattle Police Department.
City of Seattle

The Seattle City Council will take a new look at the cost of a controversial police building.

But the project is moving ahead.

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Tony Gentile/Reuters

Last week’s Justice Department investigation into the Baltimore Police Department shocked the nation — and not just for its accusations of racism and aggressive police tactics.

At the back of the report was a detailed accounting of rampant sexism in the department — exposing how officers routinely ignored reports of rape and sexual assault against women, calling them “whores” and testing rape kits less than 15 percent of the time.

Milwaukee saw a second night of unrest on Sunday following a fatal police shooting this weekend. Sunday's protests were smaller and less destructive than the previous night's, although some violence continued and one person was shot and wounded under unknown circumstances.

The weekend's demonstrations and rioting were prompted by the police killing of a 23-year-old black man, identified by police as Sylville Smith, on Saturday. Smith ran from police during a traffic stop. Police say he was carrying a gun.

It was two years ago this week that a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in a case that became an inflection point in the way Americans talk about race and policing.

Seattle City Council

Most people in Seattle's Chinatown-International District say they do not report violent crime when they witness it.

That's according to a survey of more than 300 neighborhood residents.


Kate Riley's son has autism and has trouble with responding quickly to directions, a concern when dealing with police.
Courtesy of Kate Riley

Bill Radke speaks with Kate Riley, Seattle Times editorial page editor, about her recent article that explains why she worries about interactions between her autistic son and law enforcement. 

The Baltimore Police Department has disproportionately targeted African-Americans for stops and arrests, a Justice Department investigation has found. After the department took a "zero tolerance" approach to policing in the early 2000s, the report finds, the police department began engaging in a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing.

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Catherine Osborn

To get Brazilians excited about the Olympics, the city government in Rio de Janeiro commissioned a countdown song in the funk carioca style, which is very popular in the city.

Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old black woman, after an hours-long standoff on Monday — during which Facebook and Instagram, at police request, temporarily shut down Gaines' accounts.

Black youth in Seattle have a message for the police

Jul 27, 2016
The hosts of this podcast, Zubeyda Ahmed and Awal Ibraahim.
KUOW Photo

Seattleites give their perspectives on the recent police brutality issues in the media and weigh in on the Black Lives Matter movement. Then, black youth of Seattle use their platform to speak their mind on these issues that directly concern them.

Prosecutors in Baltimore have dropped all remaining charges against police officers related to the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, reports NPR's Jennifer Ludden.

A total of six officers had been charged in connection to the death. Four trials had ended without convictions — one, a jury trial, ended with a hung jury, and three bench trials returned verdicts of not guilty. Three more trials were scheduled.

Though it's his job to enforce the law, Thomas Wydra — police chief of Hamden, Conn. — is not so sure about the laws on defective equipment.

"You may have something hanging from your rearview mirror. That's technically a violation," Wydra says. "You have an attachment on your license plate. That's technically a violation."

"It's a legal reason to stop the vehicle," he continues, "even though, in the officer's mind, that's not the most important reason why they're stopping the car."

Habtamu Abdi, the Seattle Police Department's East African Community Liaison
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Seattle is home to one of the nation's largest East African communities.

An estimated 25,000 East Africans live in King County, according to the 2014 American Community Survey.

It's a community that consists of mostly recent  immigrants and refugees from countries like Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.

Sean Conner (left) speaks about his fear of a police encounter while driving.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Anger, fatigue, frustration, resolve.

Those were some emotions that surfaced at a community gathering Thursday with Seattle police. It was a meeting of SPD’s African American Advisory Council, on the heels of a string of tragedies and tension across the country. 


The circumstances of the video seem stark: In bright daylight, an unarmed black man lies next to a patient with autism whom he was trying to help, holding his hands up and telling police he is a therapist at a group home in an effort to assure officers that they aren't a threat.

But the police later shot and wounded that man, in a case that has renewed discussions of officers' use of force.

Dr. Daudi Abe, professor and historian, at the 'Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop' exhibit at MOHAI, Sept. 2015.
KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Washington state has one of the toughest laws for convicting police officers who kill civilians, but that wasn't always the case.

Seattle-based historian Dr. Daudi Abe shared the story of Berry Lawson, a 27-year-old African-American waiter who lived at the Mount Fuji Hotel, downtown, in 1938.


In an open letter to the nation's law enforcement officers, President Obama mourns the recent killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., thanks officers for their service in the face of danger and calls for national unity.

The letter, dated Monday, is addressed to "the brave members of our Nation's law enforcement community." In it, Obama says he met with the families of the officers killed in Dallas, and called and spoke with the families of those killed in Baton Rouge.

"Each fallen officer is one too many," the president writes.

The recent targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement on edge. Some departments are telling officers to patrol in pairs when possible, and to be extra vigilant about possible ambush.

Complicating matters is the question of how to interpret and react to the presence of a gun. With more Americans now exercising their legal right to carry firearms, police find themselves having to make rapid judgments about whether an armed citizen is a threat.

A Baltimore judge has found Lt. Brian Rice, the fourth of six Baltimore police officers to go on trial in the death of Freddie Gray last year, not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. That's the most serious charge Rice had faced; he was also cleared of lesser charges.

Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others were injured in Baton Rouge, La., when a suspect fired on officers outside a convenience store.

This comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire on police at a protest in Dallas, killing five officers.

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Ryan Kailath

As a journalist, I’ve covered my share of protests and rallies, both peaceful and violent. To stay safe, I follow two rules: First, obey the law. Second, identify myself clearly as a journalist. That’s always been sufficient for getting close to the story without becoming a part of the story myself.

Until last Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Jonathan Martin, Gyasi Ross, Bill Radke and Lorena Gonzalez made up our Week In Review panel today.
KUOW/Bond Huberman

This week, Ron Smith, the leader of Seattle’s Police Officers’ Guild, resigned. His resignation came after the fallout from a comment he posted to Facebook that read, “The hatred of law enforcement by a minority movement is disgusting … #Weshallovercome.”

However, according to Smith, his resignation has more to do with his approach to police reforms. So what does the city need to do next to keep police reform moving forward under new leadership?

The police force in Washington’s state capital is changing. Fourteen months ago a white police officer in Olympia shot two African-American brothers. The shooting triggered local protests, but not a national outcry -- the brothers survived, although one was paralyzed.

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