FILE: Seattle Police officers on bicycles wait in a group while monitoring a protest against shootings of unarmed civilians by police, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in Seattle.
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FILE: Seattle Police officers on bicycles wait in a group while monitoring a protest against shootings of unarmed civilians by police, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in Seattle.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Civilian panel rejects Seattle's new police reform plan

A Seattle civilian panel wants a federal judge to reject Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan to address police accountability.

In May, federal District Judge James Robart found the Seattle Police Department out of compliance with a police reform decree.

At issue is accountability when misconduct occurs.

Robart ordered the city to come up with a new plan. Last week, the city proposed addressing Robart’s concerns in the next police union contract, in 2021. The city said that in the meantime it would conduct a nationwide study of best practices for police accountability.

But the Community Police Commission said in court documents filed Monday that that approach is unnecessary and counterproductive.

The commission said the plan doesn’t address disciplinary issues that the judge has cited.

They want the judge to order the city to propose a revised plan that incorporates CPC suggestions.

The Seattle Police Department has been under federal oversight since 2012 over officers' use of force and other actions.

Robart has ruled that Seattle is largely following the plan, but in May he said that accountability problems had pushed the city out of overall compliance.

He cited the case of a former police officer who was fired after punching a handcuffed suspect, but then was reinstated by an arbitrator. Robart said disciplinary rules in a police union contract reached in 2018 were part of the problem.

A King County judge overruled the arbitrator last week and said the officer can't get his job back.