At the age of 20, Cameron Whitten ran for Mayor of Portland. In 2012, they went on an almost two-month-long hunger strike to protest homelessness in the city. This summer, they started a fundraiser which has raised close to $2 million for members of Portland’s Black community in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
In findings for six demonstration-related cases released today, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has determined that some allegations were sustained in just two of those cases against Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers. One of the cases in which allegations were not sustained was the case against an officer who allegedly pepper sprayed a young boy, because, according to the OPA’s findings, “the boy was not individually targeted.” It sustained two out of three allegations against an officer for placing his knee on a demonstrator’s neck and making unprofessional statements.
The summaries include findings for the officer who allegedly pepper sprayed a child; the officer who put his knee on a protestor’s neck and made unprofessional statements, and a fellow officer who allegedly made unprofessional statements; the allegation that an officer pushed over an elderly man in a show of excessive force; for the officer who was allegedly quoting the movie “Top Gun” when he was overheard saying that he has “a hard on for this shit, and, if they cross the line, I will hit them”; for officers who allegedly used excessive force against protestors and allegedly violated policy by not turning on their body worn cameras; and for an officer who allegedly made unprofessional comments over police radio.
Over the last two months, a vibrant mural has spread steadily over the corner of the building on South Hanford Street and Beacon Avenue, now known as Feed The People Plaza. Chef Tarik Abdullah and artist Malcolm “Wolf Delux” Procter have curated “an outdoor art incubator space” by and for the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Over 80 artists and community members of all ages have contributed to the evolving mural on the north, east, and west sides of the building, which houses Victrola Coffee Roasters and the Mexican restaurant El Quetzal. In addition to being an organic community collaboration, it’s also an homage to the former site of Kusina Filipina, which closed in 2017. The Paraiso family’s beloved Filipino comfort food restaurant was a cornerstone of the neighborhood for almost a decade. Feed The People Plaza has hosted two socially-distanced events so far, featuring local musicians, poets, pop-up chefs, and vendors.
Outside, an eerie somberness permeates the atmosphere. Burnt air and still, gray haze evoke our proximity to fire, smoke, evacuations, and devastating climate change. Inside, Kiné Camara uplifts the mood. On screen she glides. Camara reiterates a four-beat movement stepping rightwards, center, leftwards, and then center again. With each step, her head is angled, hands flexed, and shoulders structured to punctuate pulsing music. She is teaching us the Azonto, a Ghanaian dance move that compels our bodies to loop into the entrancing beat across this four-step.
Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County (BLMSKC) has submitted a formal request to Seattle’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to “immediately, transparently, and aggressively” investigate the Seattle Police Department (SPD) over questions that the department “at worst” possibly engaged in “unlawful practices” and “at best” failed “to uphold governing officer conduct policies” over the past three months. The letter links the questions it raises to concerns regarding possible alleged coordination with the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and the Mayor’s Office.
“How dark is the color of its skin, As that will define its struggles within Is it a boy or is it a girl is asked, as if to define its life’s task Will it stay or will it go, the answer its parents needs to know From the day that it was born, its very essence society scorned From birth society coded its future to do It hacked the code and redirected its future to zoom Silent it could never be, because it ladies and gentlemen, is me.”
—Justice Grace Helen Whitener, “Claiming Your Identity by Understanding Your Self-Worth.” TEDxPortofSpain.
In mid-April, with a global pandemic raging, the state of Washington quietly made history. Without much fanfare, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Grace Helen Whitener to the state supreme court — and by doing so, made Washington’s highest court likely the most diverse the United States has ever seen.
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
On Wednesday afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine previewed a number of new programs he will propose as part of his 2021-2022 county budget plan next week, including alternatives to jail, community-based public safety alternatives, and divestments from the current criminal legal system. “We took up a simple refrain to guide our budget: divest, invest, and reimagine,” Constantine said. “As we support community members in co-creating our shared future, we make an important down payment on building a strong, equitable, and racially just county.”
(This article was originally published by Capitol Hill Seattle and has been reprinted with permission)
A King County Superior Court Judge has ruled that a petition to recall Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant can move forward.
On Wednesday, Judge Jim Rogers ruled that a recall campaign launched by critics seeking to oust the three-term councilmember that calls for an election after alleged violations of her oath of office could proceed.
The family of Breonna Taylor will receive $12 million in a settlement with the City of Louisville, and it is important to remind ourselves that this monetary win in court does not mean any significant level of justice has been served. The police who killed Taylor are still free, and even with the family being awarded $12 million, the police officers responsible for her death have not been held accountable. The police department itself has also managed to evade any significant level of accountability.
But you know who will pay the price for Taylor’s murder? The people of Louisville. The ordinary citizens like you and me. The people who go to work, pay their taxes, and somehow manage to do their jobs without murdering anyone in the process. There are a lot of words that can be used to describe situations like this, but justice is not one of them.
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
Since the 1940s, Native people have been protesting professional and non-professional sports teams with racist names and mascots. From the Cleveland Indians to the Washington NFL team, Native-appropriated mascots have been portrayed as some sort of “honor” to the Native community. However, naming a team after a racial slur or allowing opposing fans to chant “Kill the Indians” and “Scalp em bro” is not honorable to me or my ancestors.