Tag Archives: Seattle Community Police Commission

OIG Auditor Certified Cases Without Reviewing Evidence, Investigation Reveals

by Carolyn Bick

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


Based on a preliminary internal quality control investigation conducted in July 2021, it appears that Office of Inspector General (OIG) auditor Anthony Finnell failed to thoroughly review more than 30 protest case findings issued by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), before issuing either full certifications or approving cases as “Expedited” — cases in which the OPA determines that findings can be issued mainly on intake investigations. These are far from the only cases he has certified that fellow staffers have raised concerns over and represent just a sampling of the cases he has certified. Finnell also serves as vice president on the Board of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE).

The preliminary investigation found that Finnell appears to have only sporadically reviewed the Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers’ body-worn video (BWV) associated with the cases for which it was available. In some cases, Finnell appears to have opened files containing tens of pages of evidence, opened a couple of documents, and certified the cases just minutes later — but in other cases, he appears to have fully certified them without opening any of the case files at all, despite the fact that fully certifying a case means confirming that it is timely, thorough, and objective. 

In some of these cases, Finnell never even opened the Report of Investigation (ROI) — the very document upon which the OPA bases its investigatory findings, as its purpose is to represent the totality of available evidence the OPA investigator has examined and from which they have drawn conclusions.

Continue reading OIG Auditor Certified Cases Without Reviewing Evidence, Investigation Reveals

Despite Roles, CPC, Federal Monitor Not Kept Abreast of OIG Ethics Complaint Developments

by Carolyn Bick

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


Despite the serious allegations contained within — including clear allegations of conflicts of interest — Seattle’s Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) has decided not to investigate the ethics complaint against the Office of Inspector General (OIG) filed in August of this year. And based on responses to community members at the Oct. 12 Community Police Commission (CPC) meeting, as well as an email the Emerald received the following day, neither the CPC nor the fairly new federal monitor, Dr. Antonio Oftelie, had been informed of this decision as of the Oct. 12 meeting — despite both the CPC’s and federal monitor’s oversight roles in the almost decade-old Consent Decree.

In addition to confirming that he had not heard about the SEEC’s decision until Oct. 13, Oftelie told the Emerald in an Oct. 13 email response that, even though he had not “researched” the complaint’s associated evidence (and it is unclear whether he has read the complaint itself), he felt the complaint was without merit. He said he based this opinion on “accounts relayed to me.” This would appear to undermine the messages of assurance he gave community members at the Oct. 12 CPC meeting. 

Continue reading Despite Roles, CPC, Federal Monitor Not Kept Abreast of OIG Ethics Complaint Developments

The Morning Update Show — 9/23/21

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, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We 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 — Thursday, Sept. 23

Update on Haitians at the Border | Maxine Waters Sounds Off | CPC Blasts SPOG Contract | Anita Hill Coming to the Moore Theater | Police Reform Bill Dies in Washington D.C. | #SupportBlackBusiness | The Jerk Shack

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 9/23/21

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

Can the Seattle Police Department Consent Decree Be Fixed?

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article was previously published on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council rejected a proposal to cut $2.83 million from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget, bringing an end to a months-long debate and raising questions about whether federal oversight is the right path toward reforming the department.

For almost a decade, SPD has been under federal oversight through an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice called a consent decree. The consent decree, which Seattle entered in 2012, was supposed to ensure that SPD corrected a pattern of using unjustified force and racially biased policing, among other reforms.

Continue reading Can the Seattle Police Department Consent Decree Be Fixed?

Police Chief Diaz Explains Why He Hasn’t Fired Officers for Excessive Use of Force

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

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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Community Police Commission Appoints Permanent Director

by Paul Kiefer


(This article originally appeared in Publicola and has been reprinted under an agreement).

Seattle’s Community Police Commission (CPC) promoted its interim executive director, Brandy Grant, to a permanent position during a commission meeting on Wednesday morning.

Community Police Commission Executive Director Brandy Grant.
(Photo courtesy of the Community Police Commission).

Grant, who took over as interim executive director in August 2020, was one of three candidates seeking the position. The others were Eddie Aubrey, the manager of the Office of Professional Accountability in the Richmond, California police department; and Ed Harness, the executive director of Albuquerque’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency.

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Seattle Community Police Commission Provides Analyses of Proposed SPD Policies for Crowd Control and Use of Force

by Jack Russillo


With less than a week to go before the deadline for which it was asked to provide feedback to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), the Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) hosted a virtual town hall event on January 26 to address some of the policy changes that SPD has been considering. 

The CPC is a commission created by the City of Seattle to amplify its community voices during police accountability processes. The SPD is currently proposing more than 100 pages of policy changes — concerning issues like officers’ use of force and how they can police protests. SPD originally set a deadline for comment at January 8, but the CPC pushed SPD to extend that deadline until January 31 — in order to give the CPC more time to host the online forum and engage the community and encourage people to submit recommendations about the policy changes. Members of the community have until January 31 to submit their feedback directly online.

In an online summary of the proposed changes SPD describes changes to its use of force core principles, which only state that officers “will” engage in an action, instead of “should” or “shall” (e.g. “officers will use de-escalation tactics”). In its analysis of the changes, the CPC said that “although SPD committed to re-envisioning public safety together with community, leaving this section effectively unchanged signals that it does not intend to meaningfully alter the way and frequency it uses force on community members.”

Continue reading Seattle Community Police Commission Provides Analyses of Proposed SPD Policies for Crowd Control and Use of Force

The Morning Update Show — 1/27/21

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 — Wednesday, Jan. 27

CPC Townhall Recap | Alyssa Shaw on ERPO (Extreme Risk Protection Orders) | Suicide Prevention Resources | Police Legislation in Olympia | What We Love About Seattle!

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 1/27/21