by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Wednesday, May 12, interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced his decision to overturn the Office of Police Accountability’s (OPA) findings in one of the most prominent misconduct cases of last summer’s protests. The case centered on the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD’s) use of blast balls, tear gas, and pepper spray against protesters at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Pine Street on the evening of June 1, 2020, after an officer attempted to yank a pink umbrella out of a protester’s hands.
The chief’s decision to overturn the OPA’s finding of excessive force against Lieutenant John Brooks, who gave the order to use the weapons against protesters, sparked an outcry from police accountability advocates and activist groups. The Community Police Commission (CPC), one of Seattle’s trio of police oversight bodies, called Diaz’s decision “detrimental to community trust in SPD and Seattle’s entire police accountability system,” particularly because he offered no detail about how he would hold decision-makers at a “higher level of command authority” responsible in lieu of Brooks.
Continue reading Police Chief Diaz Explains Why He Hasn’t Fired Officers for Excessive Use of Force
We asked two community members to weigh in on Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announcing her retirement from SPD. Their two viewpoints follow.
by George Griffin III
Carmen Best is a friend. Good people. Classy, strong. She deserved better.
After everyone gets through scapegoating the Seattle City Council and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests for her resignation, maybe we should take a good hard look at Seattle’s years of inactivity when People of Color and other people said the department needed some serious reform and restructuring. This lack of attention to the concerns of People of Color and allies contributed to the Seattle Police Department ultimately being placed under the current consent decree after an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012. Do we need to be reminded how, when Best was interim chief in 2018, she was disrespected and passed over by the current mayor in the initial interview process and how she only got the job after communities of color and allies spoke up? Many prominent people were quiet at that time because they didn’t want to criticize their friend, the new mayor.
Continue reading OPINION: The Importance of Nuance in Confronting Racism
by Carolyn Bick
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of Seattle is accusing Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers of violating a federal court order by using indiscriminate force against protestors and breaking the law by targeting NLG legal observers during the Capitol Hill protest on Saturday, July 25, according to a statement released by the NLG.
Continue reading National Lawyers Guild Accuses SPD of Targeting Legal Observers, Using Indiscriminate Force Against Protestors
by Erica C. Barnett
Seattle’s protests against police brutality, which began after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, continued into a sixth night on Wednesday as crowds moved throughout the day from City Hall in downtown Seattle to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on Capitol Hill. And while it might seem as though little had changed since the night before, when police officers released tear gas and unloaded pepper spray, rubber bullets, and flash grenades on a crowd of hundreds of peaceful protesters, several things were materially different.
Continue reading On Sixth Day of Citizen Unrest, Mayor Briefly Addresses Protesters Outside City Hall