Tag Archives: OPA

Seattle’s Newest Department Aims to Change the City’s Response to Crisis Calls

by Paul Kiefer


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

The last time the City of Seattle launched a new department — Seattle Information Technology, which brought IT staff from across the city under one roof — the consolidation took years. “In contrast, we had about eight months,” said Chris Lombard, who leads the City’s newest department: the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC), which began work at the beginning of June.

In some ways, creating the CSCC involved fewer moving parts than the infamously messy set-up of the massive citywide IT department. When plans to move the parking enforcement unit to the CSCC fell through this spring, Lombard was left overseeing a single, crucial service: Seattle’s 911 call center. The center, historically a civilian unit inside the Seattle Police Department, will play a key role in the City’s efforts to shift away from a police-centric approach to public safety, and the City’s decision to house the 911 call center in the new department was one of the first concrete steps in that effort.

Continue reading Seattle’s Newest Department Aims to Change the City’s Response to Crisis Calls

OIG Auditor Resigns, Claims OIG Puts OPA ‘Allegiances’ Over Police Accountability

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.


Author’s Note: The Emerald has redacted the name of the former auditor at the heart of this story, as well as all email addresses, a suspect’s face, and an email included in the ethics complaint (due to concerns about job security in the latter case).

A senior-level Office of Inspector General (OIG) auditor has resigned from their position as investigations supervisor over their concerns that Inspector General Lisa Judge and Deputy Inspector General Amy Tsai have quashed any pushback against the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) — among other duties, the office the OIG is supposed to audit and oversee as part of Seattle’s police accountability system — rendering the OIG’s staff little more than rubber stampers for OPA investigations. The former auditor alleges in a formal ethics complaint to the City that this systematic pushback is based in part on a personal relationship between Deputy IG Amy Tsai and the OPA director and is focused on “appeasing the OPA.”

Continue reading OIG Auditor Resigns, Claims OIG Puts OPA ‘Allegiances’ Over Police Accountability

OIG Partial Certification Memos Raise More Concerns Over OPA Investigations

by Carolyn Bick


In April of this year, the Emerald published a story about the Office of Police Accountability’s recent decision not to sustain the most serious allegations against the Seattle Police Department officer who, in August of last year, drove onto a crowded sidewalk.

In its April story, the Emerald noted a curious addition to the Case Closed Summary (CCS) of the incident, which it had not seen in previous summaries. In this particular CCS, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) stated that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) had declined to certify the OPA’s investigation as objective or thorough. This meant that the OIG — which is part of Seattle’s police accountability structure, conducting Seattle Police Department (SPD) and OPA audits, overseeing the OPA, and working alongside SPD and others to create and update SPD’s policies and practices — had only partially certified the investigation. In its brief paragraph about this in the CCS, the OPA did not go into detail. It merely stated that the OIG’s points of objection were “didactic and immaterial” and declined to address them further.

The Emerald recently obtained the OIG’s certification memo for that case, as well as for eight other OPA investigations for incidents that occurred between April 2020 and May 2021, via a public disclosure request. The Emerald also obtained the OIG’s memo for OPA case 2020OPA-0583, which concerned the overall decision by SPD officers to confront protesters in front of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) headquarters in SoDo on Sept. 7, 2020. The Emerald published a story regarding that memo, which deemed the OPA’s investigative shortfalls so severe that they “cannot be remedied” with a new investigation.

Continue reading OIG Partial Certification Memos Raise More Concerns Over OPA Investigations

Investigation Implicates 2 Officers in Jan. 6 Riots, Tests Limits of Subpoena Power

by Paul Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


In findings released on Thursday afternoon, Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability ruled that two of the six officers who attended former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 violated department policy and federal law by trespassing on the grounds of the U.S. capitol while insurgents stormed the legislative chambers inside. The officers will now face Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, who will decide how to discipline the pair for their breach of policy; their supervisors have recommended that Diaz fire both officers.

Continue reading Investigation Implicates 2 Officers in Jan. 6 Riots, Tests Limits of Subpoena Power

OIG Memo Reveals Serious ‘Deficiencies’ in OPA Protest Investigation That ‘Cannot Be Remedied’

by Carolyn Bick


Author’s Note: For the purposes of clarity, the Emerald will use “(sic)” in parentheses in quoted sections of the OIG memo discussed in this article to indicate that it has been reprinted here exactly as it appears in the source material (the OIG memo). Where readers see “[sic]” styled as shown here, with square brackets, this text was used by the OIG in their memo to indicate that the text quoted in their memo appears exactly as it appears in the source material (the OPA Report of Investigation/ROI).   

On the evening of Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, hundreds of protesters marched to the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild headquarters in SoDo. The march fell just after the 100th day of protests against police brutality held in the city since late May 2020, following the murder of George Floyd.

Once the protesters arrived at the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) headquarters, it didn’t take long for police on bicycles to confront the crowd. It’s unclear exactly what prompted the police to come outside, but the situation soon erupted, with officers deploying blast balls and pepper spray and arresting several protesters. Videos about the event online, including those in this Twitter thread from Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover and this Twitter thread by Stranger Associate Editor Rich Smith, show what appears to be a peaceful scene, before Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers on bicycles come around the corner to confront protesters. Based on these videos, it does not appear that any of the protesters instigated the confrontation, though a heavily edited official SPOG video, complete with background music, claims otherwise and says that police sprang into action after allegedly seeing a protestor carrying Molotov cocktails.

Continue reading OIG Memo Reveals Serious ‘Deficiencies’ in OPA Protest Investigation That ‘Cannot Be Remedied’

OPA Finds That SPD Officers Violated Policy by Using Precincts as Voting Addresses

by Carolyn Bick


The Office of Police Accountability has determined in a two-part investigative summary that at least eight Seattle police officers violated Seattle Police Department policy when they registered to vote using the addresses of different Seattle Police Department precincts. One of those officers was current Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan.

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SPD Chief Diaz Overturns OPA Decision, Declines to Specify Discipline

by Carolyn Bick


On June 1, 2020, people took to the streets of Seattle to protest the murder of George Floyd and to renew calls for racial justice. These mass protests, which would continue throughout 2020 and into early 2021 in varying forms, had begun just a few days before, on May 29, following Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020.

These protests were met with a heavily armed police response that included Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers using blast balls, tear gas, pepper spray, full-body takedowns, arrests, and more against protestors in numerous instances that have been documented in hundreds of videos, photographs, and audio recordings shared across several different social media platforms and reported on by different media outlets.

In response to the thousands of complaints filed against SPD officers, the City of Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) created a special dashboard to keep track of the status of demonstration-related complaints. It has been releasing its decisions in batches since late 2020. Many of these complaints allege SPD officers used excessive force against protestors and violated multiple policies in the SPD manual. Thus far, few of the OPA’s decisions in these cases have resulted in serious sustained allegations against officers.

Continue reading SPD Chief Diaz Overturns OPA Decision, Declines to Specify Discipline

State Proposal Creating Community Oversight Boards Could Have Unintended Consequences

by Paul Kiefer

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


A bill that would create a framework for civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies across Washington State is making its way toward a vote on the floor of the State House, but police accountability experts say that the bill needs refinement to avoid unintended consequences.

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The Morning Update Show — 1/12/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and whereweconverge.com.

We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Tuesday, Jan. 12

LIVE — Seattle Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston | Jayapal Gets COVID as Others Refuse to Wear Masks | More Fallout From Capitol Riots | Amazon Fresh to Open Up in the Central District | Police Accountability Hits the State Legislature | City Rolls Out $2.17M COVID Relief for Hospitality Workers

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BREAKING: FBI Agents May Have Intentionally Lied to Stoke Unrest in Summer Protests, BLMSKC Alleges

by Carolyn Bick


Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County has alleged in a press release that agents from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation are responsible for providing “disinformation to local officials during summer protests to obscure a federal role in stoking unrest.” The organization said this information comes directly from a Washington State lawmaker.

Continue reading BREAKING: FBI Agents May Have Intentionally Lied to Stoke Unrest in Summer Protests, BLMSKC Alleges