Tag Archives: Seattle Police Department

In Reversal, Council Keeps Durkan’s Expanded Police Budget Mostly Intact

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


The Seattle City Council voted Thursday, Nov. 19, to leave Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposal for the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2022 budget largely untouched, and, in the process, put an internal messaging battle — whether to attempt to make peace with SPD or repurpose dollars from the department’s budget in the future — in the spotlight.

The council’s decision to leave Durkan’s budget largely untouched was overshadowed by a dramatic last-minute press release from interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, who inaccurately claimed that Council President Lorena González had proposed eliminating more than 100 officers’ jobs. In reality, González’s amendment would have eliminated 101 positions that SPD doesn’t expect to fill in 2022. While Durkan’s budget has already redistributed the unspent salaries for other purposes in 2022, the amendment would have allowed the council to repurpose more than $17 million in future years.

Continue reading In Reversal, Council Keeps Durkan’s Expanded Police Budget Mostly Intact

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

SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


The Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) staffing goals for 2022 are extremely ambitious and could leave the department with millions in unspent salaries, according to a staff presentation to the City Council’s Budget Committee on Friday, Oct. 15.

More than 300 sworn officers have left the department since January 2020. In 2022, SPD hopes to begin replenishing its ranks, starting with the restoration of 31 paid positions that the council eliminated last year. That proposal would leave SPD with a total of 1,357 funded officer positions, but the department can’t realistically fill all of those positions in a year; instead, SPD estimates that it would end 2022 with 134 vacancies.

Continue reading SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

Officer Allegedly Behind Abusive Tweets Has History of Discipline for Problematic Behavior

by Carolyn Bick

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

Content Warning: This story and the tweets linked within contain strong language and fairly graphic descriptions of violence towards protesters. Some of the tweets themselves also contain the apparent celebration of murder.


“Do you have the go fund me for #FreeDawitkelete?” a tweet from @1SteelerFanatic asks. The person behind the account posted the tweet last July in response to a GoFundMe page for Black Lives Matter protester Summer Taylor, who was alive when the GoFundMe page was created. By the time the tweet asking about a fundraiser for Dawit Kelete — the man who severely injured Taylor and another protester, Diaz Love, by hitting them both with a car last summer — had been posted, Taylor was dead. The same person behind the account would go on to use the #FreeDawitkelete hashtag in several other posts.

“Haha he even admits he was trying to be an annoying fuck by verbally harassing the cops and staff.  He deserves every bit of those missing teeth. Hope he learned to STFU,” a more recent tweet from @1SteelerFanatic reads. It was in response to this story about a video the Emerald obtained that appeared to show King County correctional officers who, according to jail video, appeared to have slammed a young man’s face into a pre-booking counter at the King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) last summer.

“Naw, rest in piss bitch,” still another tweet from @1SteelerFanatic reads. This one was in response to a Portland, Oregon, mother asking black bloc members to show up for a rally in memory of her dead son. Posted on Oct. 7, 2021, it was one of the last tweets @1SteelerFanatic — using the display name “Bruce Wayne” — would make before an Oct. 8 thread surfaced alleging that the person behind the account is Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer Andrei Constantin, taking on a life of its own and eventually garnering thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets.

Less than an hour after the thread had been posted, the @1SteelerFanatic account was deactivated — but not before the account and its tweets had been archived in various ways, including in Archive Today, the Wayback Machine, and in screenshots shared on Twitter. The account is littered with tweets that mock the dead, promote extreme violence against protesters, suggest that people should arm themselves to shoot protesters, and suggest that the murder of George Floyd was “justice” (and later mock the way Floyd was murdered, as well). One tweet even claims that “fake vets” (veterans) showed up to decry police brutality and violence, while another celebrates the police shooting death of a robbery suspect.

Continue reading Officer Allegedly Behind Abusive Tweets Has History of Discipline for Problematic Behavior

Open Letter to PHX Alleges OPA Dir. ‘Dangerous,’ Urges City to Reject Him

by Carolyn Bick


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

At least two private citizens who cite professional experience working with current Office of Police Accountability (OPA) Dir. Andrew Myerberg have signed an open letter addressed to the people of Phoenix, Arizona, urging them to “carefully consider his candidacy and whether to allow him access to your community.” Myerberg is one of the City of Phoenix’s candidates for its recently established Office of Police Accountability and Transparency.

“We believe he is dangerous, and predict that, if hired, he will harm your people,” the letter alleges.

Continue reading Open Letter to PHX Alleges OPA Dir. ‘Dangerous,’ Urges City to Reject Him

Glaring Discrepancies in OPA Report on Labor Day 2020 Protest

by Carolyn Bick

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

This article is part three of a multi-part series concerning the protests that took place in Seattle in late 2020. It describes the apparent inaccuracies in the Office of Police Accountability’s (OPA) official report of the events as documented in the police oversight entity’s Director’s Certification Memo, which appears to have been signed off on as final by the OPA director. It also connects the dots between the certification memo and the recent ethics complaint filed by a former Office of Inspector General auditor, as reported here. Find the first article in this series here


In late June, the Emerald published a story about an Office of Inspector General auditor’s memo detailing concerns with the way the OPA investigators handled a case about last year’s Labor Day protest at the Seattle Police Officers Guild headquarters. That protest has been a topic of contention throughout Seattle for a number of reasons, including the amount of force the Seattle Police Department used against protesters and whether officers were actually responding to a credible threat in the crowd, as they claim.

OPA Director Andrew Myerberg told the Emerald in a June 28 email that he was planning on finalizing the Director’s Certification Memo and releasing the Case Closed Summary related to complaints filed in the wake of the incident the following week. 

As of this writing, not only has the OPA still not released the Case Closed Summary — more than a year after the protest — but the Emerald has learned through an email it obtained, as well as the Director’s Certification Memo (DCM) itself, that the DCM appears to have been finalized in early April. Myerberg told the Emerald in a Sept. 20 email that the DCM will be amended — an issue the Emerald addresses at the end of this story — but did not deny that it had been finalized in April, despite saying in June that “I was planning on finalizing the DCM that week [the week of July 5].”

Continue reading Glaring Discrepancies in OPA Report on Labor Day 2020 Protest

Court Approves City Attorney’s Motion To Clear Outstanding Prostitution Warrants

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 18, a Seattle Municipal Court judge approved a motion by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to quash all outstanding warrants for misdemeanor prostitution, including some issued well over a decade ago.

Continue reading Court Approves City Attorney’s Motion To Clear Outstanding Prostitution Warrants

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

Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refused to sign the City Council’s recent ordinance restricting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of crowd-control weapons, allowing the bill to become law while the City awaits a federal district court’s go-ahead to implement changes to SPD’s tactics and arsenal.

In a letter to the council during their August recess, Durkan heaped criticism on the bill and the yearlong process that produced it, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” to last year’s protests that overstepped the council’s authority, undercut SPD policy change procedures enshrined in the City’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and made promises that the City can’t keep.

Durkan has routinely allowed legislation to take effect without her signature, though not always because of a difference of opinion: Certain land use ordinances, for instance, don’t necessarily go to the mayor for a signature before becoming law. The mayor can also return legislation to the council unsigned when she has concerns about a bill’s impact or legality but believes that the council would vote to override a veto.

Continue reading Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge