by Carolyn Bick
In early 2016, Micah Smith found himself interested in a particular American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance service employee. So, he texted her a few times to see if she was interested in going on a date.
Problem was, Smith — a Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer — had gotten her phone number by “inappropriately using his law enforcement access to obtain her cell phone number from a police report in which she was listed as a witness and in which the Named Employee [Smith] had no involvement,” according to the official summary of the case by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), which was called the Office of Professional Accountability when the report was filed in 2016. Two of four other allegations against Smith were also sustained.
For all of this, then- Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole handed down an eight-day suspension. OPA’s Director of Public Affairs Anne Bettesworth said in an email to the Emerald on the morning of Aug. 21 that all suspensions are without pay, but that “[w]hether or not the employee gave up vacation time during that suspension is not something OPA could answer.” This means Smith could have used vacation time to cover what would have been unpaid days.
Continue reading OPA Documents Show Current SPD Officer Misused Internal Police Data to Try to Get a Date, “Caused Anxiety and Concern”
by Carolyn Bick
The video begins with what appears to be a GMC lurching from a dead stop onto a sidewalk full of people at the intersection of 11th Street and East Pine Street in Capitol Hill on the evening of Aug. 12. As the big blue pickup barrels towards them, people scramble out of the way screaming. One person dives through the bushes to get away from the car.
Later in the video — which appears to show a separate video shot a short time later, and appears to be cut part way through — the person driving the car appears to claim to be a Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer, listing off his badge number as 6645. However, because the video — which was posted to Twitter soon after the incident took place — is not visually clear, the Emerald could not confirm if this person was indeed an officer employed with SPD.
Continue reading Person Claiming to Be SPD Officer Drives Onto Crowded Sidewalk, Calls Protestors “Cockroaches”
by Carolyn Bick
Seven days after Aisling Cooney filed a public records request with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to get her own arrest records and associated materials from her arrest at the Capitol Hill protest on July 25, the records department succinctly informed her in an email that these records wouldn’t be available to her until late February 2021.
Cooney isn’t alone. At the advice of lawyers with Smith Law, at least four others who have also filed for their arrest records — as well as associated documents, recordings, and more — as part of several civil lawsuits they hope to bring against SPD have received similar messages: the SPD’s Legal Unit is “operating under an extreme backlog of requests, staffing shortages, the redeployment of supporting units to SPD’s frontline COVID-19 response, and, pursuant to CDC recommendations and City direction, reassignment to remote access.”
Continue reading Some Detained Protestors Must Wait at Least Six Months for Own Arrest Records, Hampering Legal Efforts
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article originally appeared on The C Is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Vanessa Caver learned of her brother’s killing several days after Seattle police officers shot Terry J. Caver near an intersection in Lower Queen Anne on May 19. Her daughter called her unexpectedly to pass along the news. A few more days passed before she heard from a Seattle Police Department sergeant who called her to ask if she wanted to talk about her brother’s death. “I didn’t know what to talk about,” she explained when we spoke this week. “And the sergeant couldn’t tell me anything.” Continue reading Terry J. Caver, The Black Man Killed By SPD Officers In May, As Remembered By His Family
by Erica C. Barnett
The city council’s budget committee approved a package of cuts Wednesday to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget that would reduce the department’s size by about $3 million, representing around 100 positions, this year; remove police from the Navigation Team, which removes unauthorized homeless encampments; and start the city on a path to funding new approaches to public safety that don’t involve armed officers. Most of the proposals aren’t direct budget cuts—which the mayor could simply ignore—but budget provisos, which bar the executive branch from spending money in a way other than how the council prescribes. Continue reading City Council Approves Blueprint for Defunding SPD. But Durkan Isn’t On Board
By Chetanya Robinson
Seattle City Council members outlined specific plans for slashing the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget in 2020 and reimagining how the city provides public safety, weeks after a veto-proof majority first committed to defunding the police by 50%.
The new proposals do not cut the department’s budget by 50% in 2020, falling short of demands from prominent community organizations after the the murder of George Floyd and city-wide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality.
Continue reading City Council Members Discuss Defunding Police in 2020 Budget — but Not by 50 Percent
by Carolyn Bick
Face-down in the gravel, hands cuffed behind her back, Ash could hear herself screaming. She had just been arrested by a group of Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers, who had come speeding across the grass towards a group of protestors at Cal Anderson Park during a Black Lives Matter protest on July 25.
Continue reading “I Was Just Laying on the Ground Screaming”: Protestors Recount Alleged Abuse While In Custody
The Emerald and Real Change gathered stories of local journalists covering this summer’s antiracist protests.
by Marcus Harrison Green, Lee Nacozy, Mark White, Kamna Shastri and Ashley Archibald
Editor’s Note: Local, trusted journalism is crucial to keep us informed and connected.
We believe in the power of journalism to shift perspectives, speak truth to power, and shine a light in the darkest corners.
And the South Seattle Emerald is proud to be part of a community of journalists, working to elevate the voices of our communities and reveal truth. This week, we’re launching an exciting new partnership with longtime friends of the newsroom, Real Change. Continue reading You Have the Right to Remain Silenced
by Carolyn Bick
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of Seattle is accusing Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers of violating a federal court order by using indiscriminate force against protestors and breaking the law by targeting NLG legal observers during the Capitol Hill protest on Saturday, July 25, according to a statement released by the NLG.
Continue reading National Lawyers Guild Accuses SPD of Targeting Legal Observers, Using Indiscriminate Force Against Protestors
by Carolyn Bick
Scanners have captured and recorded a conversation on a police radio frequency by people who appear to be Seattle Police Department officers in which the officers joke with one another about letting a bus slam into a cyclist at high speed.
“Well, if a bus happens to be going full speed and he gets in front of it, don’t try to stop the bus,” says an officer, after a second officer asks if they should arrest the cyclist.
Continue reading BREAKING: Scanner Allegedly Captures Disturbing Conversation Among SPD Officers