by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was originally published at PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart convened a hearing Thursday to address how Seattle’s path to compliance with the federal consent decree has changed in the wake of last summer’s racial justice protests. The consent decree — the agreement between the City and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that empowers the federal court to oversee reforms to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) — dates back to 2012, when the DOJ investigation found that SPD officers frequently used excessive force without consequences.
In Thursday’s hearing, Robart made clear that Seattle’s path toward an end to federal oversight is still murky and that SPD’s response to protests last year added another obstacle. To end federal oversight, the City first needs to achieve compliance with the terms of the consent decree and remain in compliance for two years; Robart uses input from the City, accountability experts, and a court-appointed monitoring team to decide what “compliance” entails.Continue reading Federal Judge Concerned about Future of Seattle’s Consent Decree