Tag Archives: Seattle Community Police Commission

OPINION: A Simple Change Could Save Lives. Our Police Reform System Ignores It.

by Dr. Howard Gale


The Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) began meeting more than nine years ago in March of 2013. This commission was created following the tragic murder of John T. Williams by the SPD in 2010. As we will see below, the number of SPD killings has actually increased by 38% during the nine years after the CPC started meeting when compared to the nine years prior. The situation is even direr when it comes to the SPD killing of people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. This increase suggests that the CPC’s work has done nothing to curtail the worst consequence of police violence and abuse.

Continue reading OPINION: A Simple Change Could Save Lives. Our Police Reform System Ignores It.

OPINION: Mental Health Crisis Should Not Be a Death Sentence

by Douglas Wagoner and Nia Franco


The Seattle Police Department has a history of violent responses to people in mental health crises that result in minimal to no discipline for the offending officer. Often, following these shooting deaths, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) will recommend changes to policies and training. While these changes are necessary, they are meaningless if officers are not held accountable for violating policies and their training.

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BREAKING: SCAO Tells Human Rights Commission Not to Seek Amicus Status

by Carolyn Bick

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


The Emerald has today received confirmation that the Seattle City Attorney’s Office (SCAO) told the Seattle Human Rights Commission (SHRC) not to seek amicus curiae status shortly after the commission’s vote to do so at its public meeting on April 7, 2022. It is immediately unclear exactly who in the SCAO told the commission this and why.

Continue reading BREAKING: SCAO Tells Human Rights Commission Not to Seek Amicus Status

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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