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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.

S
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.

Rev. Starsky Wilson at Seattle Public Library
Courtesy of Naomi Ishisaka Photography

Reverend Starsky Wilson was co-chair of a commission created to study the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Wilson's charge was “to address the underlying root causes that led to the unrest in the wake of Michael Brown’s death and to publish an unflinching report with transformative policy recommendations for making the region stronger and a better place for everyone to live.”

Police in Fresno, Calif., have released video footage of the shooting of an unarmed man last month.

Dylan Noble, a white 19-year-old, was shot and killed by officers at a traffic stop in Fresno on June 25. Police said that they had pulled him over as they were investigating reports of a man walking around with a rifle. They said that Noble had told them he hated his life and reached for his waistband, at which point police shot him.

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

Bill Radke speaks with The Stranger reporter Ansel Herz about the resignation of the Seattle Police Officers Guild president Ron Smith after a controversial Facebook post about the killing of five police officers in Dallas. 


Kim Malcolm talks with Lisa Daugaard about civilian oversight of the Seattle Police Department. Daugaard is co-chair of Seattle's Community Police Commission, and director of the Public Defender Association.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/canadaone/">msppmoore</a> on Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>

After the death of Alton Sterling — and Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and all the other people of color recently killed by police — many questions will likely go unanswered.

Flickr Photo/scottlum (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rgPsj9
Flickr Photo/scottlum (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rgPsj9

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott. 

"These are all shootings that could've been prevented," said Norm Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police Department.
 

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson looks at nine police-involved deaths.

Eric Garner

July 17, 2014

Staten Island, New York

Eric Garner was approached by police on the sidewalk for illegally selling loose cigarettes. NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold on Garner. A bystander video shows Garner saying “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he died.

A grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo.

Michael Brown

August 9, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri

President Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke at an interfaith memorial service this afternoon for the five police officers murdered in Dallas last week.

Bush, a resident of Dallas, noted that he interacts with law enforcement every day.

"We're proud of the men we mourn," he said.

It’s been one week since Baton Rouge police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling, a black man selling CDs outside a convenience store. Just a day later, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police outside St. Paul, Minn.

Then last Thursday, a lone gunman killed five Dallas police officers as protestors were winding down what was, by many accounts, a peaceful rally. The following day, the Austin Police Department ushered 37 new police officers onto the force.


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, as the investigation continues, our colleague Sam Sanders spent the weekend walking the streets of Dallas.

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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

In the wake of the tragic shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the tragic shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers at a Thursday night protest against police brutality, it is easy to feel disheartened. It is easy to feel that the problem is too large to ever be solved.

Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole address the social consequences of systematic racism at a press conference.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s mayor and police chief held a news conference this afternoon to appeal for calm and for dialogue following the shootings of police officers in Dallas and the shootings of African-American men by police. KUOW’s Carolyn Adolph sends this report.

Hundreds gather in St. Paul, Minn., July 7, 2016, for a vigil following the shooting death by police of Philando Castile Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, Minn.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

This has been a week of violence in America. Shootings by police; shootings with police as their targets. What can we do as a community? What will you do as an individual?

Join the discussion in a special call-in edition of Week In Review. We’re opening the phone lines so we can hear from you. Call 206.543.5869 to share your thoughts on air. We’ll be live, beginning at noon PT.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke with KUT's Kate McGee this morning, saying that the department will assist the Dallas Police Department in any necessary capacity and that APD will remain on high-staffing levels for the remainder of the summer. At a press availability this afternoon, he reiterated that staffing plan, but also denounced comments from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for Thursday night’s shootings.


This is a developing story. Last updated 7:23 p.m. ET

Officials say a gunman shot and killed five police officers Thursday at a Dallas protest against police shootings of black men, in a bout of violence that didn't end until the suspected gunman was killed by police using explosives delivered by a robot. Seven other officers and two civilians were also injured.

This is a developing story. Last updated 6:18 a.m. ET.

Snipers shot and killed five Dallas law enforcement officers and injured another six at the end of a rally in downtown Dallas, where hundreds were protesting police shootings that happened in other parts of the country earlier this week.

Four of the officers worked for Dallas Police; the fifth was identified as 43-year-old transit officer Brent Thompson, of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray smiles as he addresses a news conference on a proposal to increase the minimum wage in the city Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he’s committed to creating more power and independence for the civilian oversight of the police department. He hopes to advance legislation in the next several weeks, pending approval from a federal judge.


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