Tag Archives: Seattle Police Department

OPA, OIG Heads Seem to Acknowledge SPD, City Out of Compliance With Consent Decree in Letter to Fed Oversight Officials

by Carolyn Bick


Though they do not say it outright, both Inspector General Lisa Judge and Office of Police Accountability Director Andrew Myerberg have written a letter to federal oversight officials and Seattle’s Chief of Police that appears to acknowledge that the police department and the City may be out of compliance with the Consent Decree.

The Oct. 15 letter to United States Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, Federal Monitor Anthony Oftelie, and Seattle Police Department (SPD) Chief Adrian Diaz contains two recommendations for policy revision and follows about a month after the Emerald published a story in mid-September that outlined how the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the City might currently be out of compliance with the Consent Decree.

Continue reading OPA, OIG Heads Seem to Acknowledge SPD, City Out of Compliance With Consent Decree in Letter to Fed Oversight Officials

Hospitalized Demonstrator Now Awake, But Says SPD Withholding Insulin Delivery System

by Carolyn Bick


Kel Murphy-Duford — the 30-year-old man who had been unconscious and on a ventilator at Harborview Medical Center, following his arrest on the evening of Nov. 4 — now appears to be awake and is recuperating. He has since been discharged from the hospital, according to Harborview’s media department.

Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers originally arrested Murphy-Duford on the evening of Nov. 4, claiming he was engaging in property damage. During his arrest, Murphy-Duford apparently suffered a medical emergency that rendered him unconscious, but it is unclear what triggered the emergency. Emergency personnel allegedly said that the man had a seizure. He was subsequently taken to Harborview, where he remained unconscious on a ventilator for several days.

Continue reading Hospitalized Demonstrator Now Awake, But Says SPD Withholding Insulin Delivery System

Person With No Reported History of Seizures Said to Be on Ventilator, Following Alleged Seizure Upon Arrest

by Carolyn Bick


A young man is on a ventilator at Harborview Medical Center, following his arrest for alleged property damage outside the East Precinct, during a protest in support of voting rights and against systemic racism in Capitol Hill on Nov. 4, 2020. The Emerald briefly touched on the incident in a story published yesterday, but misidentified the person as woman, based on the immediately available information.

The young man has since been identified as 30-year-old Kel Murphy-Duford, according to a Converge Media interview shared in full with the Emerald. In this same interview, Murphy-Duford’s lawyers said that multiple protestors who don’t know each other told them they saw officers “tackle and throw” Murphy-Duford to the ground, and that at least five officers “jumped” on top of Murphy-Duford, as he was lying unconscious on the ground. Bodyworn video released by the Seattle Police Department appears to show Murphy-Duford unresponsive, after the officers arrest him.

Emergency personnel told Murphy-Duford’s husband that he had a seizure and was suffering from “low oxygen” — but Murphy-Duford does not have a history of seizures, said a source who knows the man. It is also unclear whether or not Murphy-Duford was responsive the entire time officers were arresting him.

SPD later revised their SPD Blotter entry about the arrest to claim that Murphy-Duford’s alleged seizure was “potentially related to a substance the subject had ingested prior to police contact,” but his lawyers told the Emerald in an email that “[n]o one has released ANY medical information to [the Force Investigation Team (FIT)] or SPD. Doctors have not indicated at any point that there is any ‘substance’ responsible for our client’s condition.”

Continue reading Person With No Reported History of Seizures Said to Be on Ventilator, Following Alleged Seizure Upon Arrest

Despite Months of Arrests and Impoundments, the Car Brigade Is Still Protecting Seattle Protesters

by Paul Kiefer

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


Late at night on September 11, during the worst of the past summer’s wildfire smoke, a driver pulled over in a Bothell parking lot. Less than an hour earlier, the driver — who asked to remain anonymous because of pending felony charges — had been a part of the Car Brigade, a group of drivers who use their cars to protect protesters from attacks.

That night, the group had formed a protective perimeter around a relatively small and subdued protest march in Seattle. Driving at a walking speed, the motley crew of luxury cars, nondescript sedans, and massive SUVs maneuvered to keep other drivers from entering alleyways, parking lot exits, and intersections.

After months of practice, angry honking from inconvenienced drivers doesn’t phase the Car Brigade. The protest ended with no police in sight, so the drivers went their separate ways, expecting to make it home without issue. But when he reached Bothell, the driver saw police lights in his rear-view mirror. “There was never a siren,” he said. “It seemed like they had just silently followed me all the way to Bothell.”

Continue reading Despite Months of Arrests and Impoundments, the Car Brigade Is Still Protecting Seattle Protesters

If the Officer Had Punched Twice, He Would Likely Have Been Within Policy: OPA Releases New Complaint Findings

by Carolyn Bick


Had the Seattle Police Department officer only punched the demonstrator twice, and for a slightly shorter period of time, the Office of Police Accountability said it may not have found that the officer violated policy when he and another officer — both of whom appear to have been wearing helmets — punched a demonstrator in the course of arresting him on the night of May 29.

This finding was included in one of the case closed summaries into five demonstration-related complaints against Seattle officers released on Oct. 23. In these findings, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) did not sustain allegations in three complaints and only partially sustained allegations in two complaints against Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers. 

Continue reading If the Officer Had Punched Twice, He Would Likely Have Been Within Policy: OPA Releases New Complaint Findings

Seattle Police Department Announces Record-Breaking Attrition

by Paul Kiefer


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

On Friday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a new report from the City’s Budget Office and the Seattle Police Department showing a record-breaking number of officer separations from SPD in September. In that month alone, 39 officers and officers in training left the department — double the number of officers leaving in the next-highest month on record. Without an end to the ongoing hiring freeze (a part of the City’s COVID-related austerity), SPD and the Budget Office project the department to continue hemorrhaging sworn staff well into 2021, potentially exceeding the staffing cuts proposed by the City Council during the summer.

The pending staff shortage places the department at risk of falling further out of compliance with the conditions of the Federal consent decree, increasing the likelihood that SPD will remain under the supervision of the Department of Justice for years to come. (Federal District Court Judge James Robart, responsible for overseeing Seattle’s consent decree for the Department of Justice, already ruled the City partially out of compliance in 2019).

Continue reading Seattle Police Department Announces Record-Breaking Attrition

OPINION: Segregated Seattle — How Our Racist and Exclusionary Past Has Shaped Our Present

by Alycia Ramirez


Looking back through the last five months of current events and daily protests in Seattle, one might think that the wheels have finally come off. However, the truth is that Seattle has a long and deep history of racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and protesting that goes back to the city’s founding. 

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SPD Outlines New Community Response Group Initiative, But Questions Remain

by Carolyn Bick


Joined by two other officers, Seattle Police Department (SPD) Interim Chief Adrian Diaz held a brief press conference on Oct. 7 about the new Community Response Group (CRG), which was announced in early September. However, several questions remain.

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Durkan Releases Executive Order Outlining Methods To Begin Transitioning Areas of SPD to Civilian, Community Response

by Carolyn Bick


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has released an Executive Order meant to “create an accountable and transparent timeline to evaluate Seattle Police Department (SPD) functions and identify areas of SPD response that can be transitioned to civilian and community-based responses,” according to a press release from her office on Oct. 1. According to the order, the first public deliverable — a work plan and community engagement timeline — will be available in October, while the last one — a final analysis report that examines several factors, including current SPD practices and functions, as well as community input on community policing — will be available in March 2021.

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OPA Releases Findings for Six Demonstration-Related Cases: Does Not Sustain Allegations for Four and Sustains Some Allegations for Two

by Carolyn Bick


In findings for six demonstration-related cases released today, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has determined that some allegations were sustained in just two of those cases against Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers. One of the cases in which allegations were not sustained was the case against an officer who allegedly pepper sprayed a young boy, because, according to the OPA’s findings, “the boy was not individually targeted.” It sustained two out of three allegations against an officer for placing his knee on a demonstrator’s neck and making unprofessional statements.

The summaries include findings for the officer who allegedly pepper sprayed a child; the officer who put his knee on a protestor’s neck and made unprofessional statements, and a fellow officer who allegedly made unprofessional statements; the allegation that an officer pushed over an elderly man in a show of excessive force; for the officer who was allegedly quoting the movie “Top Gun” when he was overheard saying that he has “a hard on for this shit, and, if they cross the line, I will hit them”; for officers who allegedly used excessive force against protestors and allegedly violated policy by not turning on their body worn cameras; and for an officer who allegedly made unprofessional comments over police radio.

Continue reading OPA Releases Findings for Six Demonstration-Related Cases: Does Not Sustain Allegations for Four and Sustains Some Allegations for Two