Tag Archives: Seattle Police Department

OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

by Luna Reyna


One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety

KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more. 

In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black. 

“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.” 

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

Fractures Emerge as Council Continues Police Budget Cut Debate

by Paul Kiefer

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


The Seattle City Council’s debate about a proposed cut to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) budget will drag on for at least another two weeks, but a discussion during Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting shed light on the growing disagreement within the council about how the City should hold SPD accountable for overspending.

Continue reading Fractures Emerge as Council Continues Police Budget Cut Debate

Family of Man Killed By SPD in 2018 Sue City for Wrongful Death

by Paul Kiefer

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


The family of Iosia Faletogo, a 36-year-old man killed by Seattle police officers in North Seattle on New Year’s Eve 2018, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the City of Seattle on Thursday, March 4. The suit alleges that Faletogo’s fatal encounter with Seattle police officers began with an unjustified and discriminatory traffic stop and that the police officers who initiated the stop failed to de-escalate, ultimately leading to the struggle that ended when a police officer shot a prone Faletogo in the head.

“There wasn’t a clear necessity to detain Iosia or any risk of imminent harm that justified what happened to Iosia,” said Becky Fish, an attorney with the Public Defender Association representing Mr. Faletogo’s mother in administering his estate. Nathan Bingham, the attorney who filed the civil suit for the Faletogo family, specified that the suit will focus largely on the decisions by police officers that led up to the shooting, rather than on the moment of the shooting itself.

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With Washington’s Drug Possession Law Gone, Lawmakers at Odds Over Next Steps

by Ben Adlin


On Wednesday of last week, it was a felony in Washington to possess illegal drugs — even if you didn’t know you had them. A day later, it wasn’t. After a sweeping Washington Supreme Court ruling declared the state’s felony drug possession law unconstitutional, there’s currently no penalty on the books in Washington State for drug possession.

Continue reading With Washington’s Drug Possession Law Gone, Lawmakers at Odds Over Next Steps

Seattle City Council Considers Cutting SPD by $5.4M in Response to 2020 Overspending

by Paul Kiefer

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


The Seattle City Council’s Public Safety Committee is considering a $5.4 million cut to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2021 budget to account for an equivalent amount of overspending by the department last year. During the committee’s regular meeting on Tuesday morning, councilmembers received a briefing from the council’s central staff on the potential impacts of those cuts on a department still reeling from a spike in attrition in 2020.

Continue reading Seattle City Council Considers Cutting SPD by $5.4M in Response to 2020 Overspending

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.

Continue reading State Proposal Creating Community Oversight Boards Could Have Unintended Consequences

OPINION: In the Aftermath of the Shootings at Urban League Village, How Do We Navigate the Complex Layers of Accountability?

by M. Anthony Davis


On Tuesday, February 9, Anais N. Valencia was murdered. She was 23 years old. Valencia, along with her best friend, sat in her car in the parking lot of the Urban League Village waiting for another friend who lived there when Gregory Taylor fired multiple gunshots into her vehicle. Valencia’s best friend, who can be heard in a chilling 911 call begging police to come to the scene where both young women had been shot multiple times, was left in critical condition. The friend they were waiting for came out of his apartment to find his friends in the car had been shot. Gregory Taylor, who worked for Coast Property Management, the private property management company hired by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to manage the apartments in the Urban League Village, was then shot and killed by officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD). 

There is no way to view this other than tragedy, a senseless act of violence that will forever impact three young people and their families and the whole community caught in its wake. 

Originally, I thought I was going to write about community healing. After an event like this, how does the community move forward? How do we take care of the youth that were impacted? How do we address the tactics of Seattle police, who shot dozens of bullets into a park that sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood? There are so many layers to this story. It was hard for me to piece together where to begin. But early posts on Twitter answered that question for me. 

Continue reading OPINION: In the Aftermath of the Shootings at Urban League Village, How Do We Navigate the Complex Layers of Accountability?

Community Bicycling Groups Hope to Get ‘Arbitrary’ and ‘Troubling’ Helmet Laws on County Public Health Board’s Agenda in February

by Jack Russillo


Though it’s mostly focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the King County Board of Public Health has many other issues to deal with. Systemic racism is high on the list of concerns.

After the county’s public health board announced in June 2020 that racism is a public health crisis, there has been outcry from various community groups that want to shift some of the policies previously supported by the board, such as bicycling helmet laws, that have been shown to disproportionately affect BIPOC and homeless populations. 

Analysis of around 3,000 bike-related infractions from 2003-2020 by Central Seattle Greenways has shown that Black cyclists receive citations from Seattle police at three to four times the rate of white cyclists. This disparity is most pronounced for the 56% of citations that are issued for violating the King County Board of Health bicycle helmet law, 17.3% of which have gone to Black cyclists despite Black riders representing an estimated 4.7% of all Seattle bicycle trips.

Continue reading Community Bicycling Groups Hope to Get ‘Arbitrary’ and ‘Troubling’ Helmet Laws on County Public Health Board’s Agenda in February

Top SPD Officials Asked King County Jail Officials to Override COVID Restrictions and Book Nonviolent Protestors. They Complied.

by Carolyn Bick


Since March 2020, the King County Jail in downtown Seattle has instituted certain COVID-19 protocols in order to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of these protocols stipulates that the jail will not book people arrested on nonviolent misdemeanor charges.

Except it has. 

Continue reading Top SPD Officials Asked King County Jail Officials to Override COVID Restrictions and Book Nonviolent Protestors. They Complied.

Federal Judge Concerned about Future of Seattle’s Consent Decree

by Paul Faruq Kiefer


(This article was originally published at PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart convened a hearing Thursday to address how Seattle’s path to compliance with the federal consent decree has changed in the wake of last summer’s racial justice protests. The consent decree — the agreement between the City and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that empowers the federal court to oversee reforms to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) — dates back to 2012, when the DOJ investigation found that SPD officers frequently used excessive force without consequences.

In Thursday’s hearing, Robart made clear that Seattle’s path toward an end to federal oversight is still murky and that SPD’s response to protests last year added another obstacle. To end federal oversight, the City first needs to achieve compliance with the terms of the consent decree and remain in compliance for two years; Robart uses input from the City, accountability experts, and a court-appointed monitoring team to decide what “compliance” entails.

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