A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
by Vee Hua 華婷婷
Federal Judge Lifts Aspects of SPD Consent Decree
In 2011, a federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation ruled that the Seattle Police Department had regularly engaged in a “pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” and thus placed it under federal oversight via a consent decree between the City of Seattle and the DOJ. Specifically, according to CNN, the investigation found that “the police department used weapons either excessively or unnecessarily more than half the time during arrests, and that officers engaged in a pattern of discriminatory policing during pedestrian encounters.”
The consent decree was overseen by Federal Judge James L. Robart, who lifted certain aspects of it last week, following a review by the court. A court order found that “the City has sustained full and effective compliance, for at least two years, with the commitments set forth in the Consent Decree regarding crisis intervention, stops and detentions, bias-free policing, supervision, and the Office of Police Accountability;” this order thus terminated certain obligations of the consent decree.
However, portions of the consent decree were not lifted. Mayor Bruce Harrell described portions still under federal oversight, saying, “To achieve final resolution of the case, the Court identified three additional areas SPD must address — use of force in crowd management, the effectiveness and sustainability of the accountability system currently in place, and the results of collective bargaining with the Seattle Police Officers Guild.”
Attorney General Bob Ferguson Officially Announces Candidacy for Governor
In May, current Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would not be running for a fourth term. His announcement was shortly followed by current Attorney General Bob Ferguson declaring the formation of a statewide exploratory committee to determine his potential run for the role.
On Sept. 9, Ferguson officially announced his candidacy through a launch tour that began in Spokane, continued to Pasco, and concluded in Seattle at Washington Hall. He received an endorsement from Inslee and is now seen as the Democratic frontrunner for the role.
Other top Democratic candidates include current Commissioner for Public Lands Hilary Franz and Sen. Mark Mullet of the 5th Legislative District in Issaquah; among the Republican candidates are former King County Sheriff and U.S. Representative Dave Reichert.
The general election for the next Washington State Governor will take place in November 2024. Over 20 candidates are currently in the running, and a full list of individuals who have registered for the candidacy can be found on the website for the Public Disclosure Commission.
Disaster Preparedness Training Offered by the Office of Emergency Management
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is offering a series of virtual trainings from now until December to help Seattle residents prepare for and respond to disasters. In the summer months, they often provide guidance regarding wildfire preparedness; the online course covers basics with a focus on “how to develop a disaster plan, build a disaster supply kit, and organize with your neighbors to become better prepared.”
They’ll also include information about their programs such as Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP), which is a group of neighbors who actively prepare together following a disaster and bring different components together, as well as resources like Community Emergency Hubs and the City’s new notification system, AlertSeattle.
Groups, schools, and businesses can also request OEM Preparedness Training sessions, and Disaster Skills Workshops are available in a number of languages, inluding English, Arabic, Amharic, Cambodian-Khmer, Chinese, English, Kiswahili, Laotian, Moldavian, Oromo, Romanian, Spanish, Somali, Tigrinya, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Additional online skills training videos can be found on OEM’s website.
Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at linktr.ee/hellomynameisvee.
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