Tag Archives: Seattle Police Department

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. 

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

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.

Continue reading SPD Outlines New Community Response Group Initiative, But Questions Remain

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.

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

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

BREAKING: BLMSKC Calls on OIG To Investigate SPD Over Questions of Possible Unlawful Behavior, Coordination with OPA and Mayor’s Office

by Carolyn Bick


Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County (BLMSKC) has submitted a formal request to Seattle’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to “immediately, transparently, and aggressively” investigate the Seattle Police Department (SPD) over questions that the department “at worst” possibly engaged in “unlawful practices” and “at best” failed “to uphold governing officer conduct policies” over the past three months. The letter links the questions it raises to concerns regarding possible alleged coordination with the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and the Mayor’s Office.

Continue reading BREAKING: BLMSKC Calls on OIG To Investigate SPD Over Questions of Possible Unlawful Behavior, Coordination with OPA and Mayor’s Office

Local Journalist Faces Complex Accountability Process That Appears to Show SPD Out of Compliance With Consent Decree

by Carolyn Bick, with additional reporting by Jessie McKenna


Seattle Gay News journalist Renee Raketty was sitting on a narrow set of metal steps and trying to catch her breath when the blast ball an officer allegedly threw beneath her exploded. Hours later, still surprised and disoriented, Raketty played the video over and over again, because she still couldn’t believe what had happened. But the permanent loss of hearing in her right ear is all too real.

In the course of reporting Raketty’s story, the Emerald has discovered that SPD appears to be out of compliance with the Consent Decree. An officer’s alleged actions caused Raketty to permanently lose her hearing, which is “a significant permanent loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ.” It would appear that an injury of this severity would be classified as a Type III use of force, according to the SPD manual, and the Consent Decree mandates that all Type III uses of force be reviewed by SPD’s Force Review Board (FRB). But according to officials with the OPA and SPD, this case will not be reviewed by the FRB, as there does not appear to be any mechanism in practice within existing policy with which to do so. 

Continue reading Local Journalist Faces Complex Accountability Process That Appears to Show SPD Out of Compliance With Consent Decree

Cuts to SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit Could Undermine DV Investigations, Experts Say

by Paul Kiefer

(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


As part of the staffing transfers that Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced last Tuesday, the Seattle Police Department is in the process of moving 88 officers to patrol duties, with more transfers to follow. Those reductions include 29 Community Policing Team members, five members of the department’s Intelligence Unit (used to identify crime hot spots and to determine where patrol officers will be deployed), and five members of the department’s Domestic Violence Unit — nearly a quarter of that unit’s staff.

Continue reading Cuts to SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit Could Undermine DV Investigations, Experts Say