The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.
More than two months ago, lawyer Sarah Lippek approached federal monitor Dr. Antonio Oftelie on LinkedIn about alleged sexual abuse of vulnerable people — including homeless youth, sex workers, unhoused individuals, and drug users — by Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers.
But instead of giving the information Lippek would eventually send him to the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the federal court, as she asked, Oftelie gave Lippek’s contact information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced the latest version of legislation intended to restrict the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of so-called “less-lethal weapons” against demonstrators during a Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 22, more than a year after the council first began its efforts to limit SPD’s crowd control arsenal. The proposal would restrict the use of tear gas, pepper-ball launchers, and pepper spray by SPD officers responding to protests and outright ban five other less-lethal weapons, including blast balls.
(This article was previously published on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council rejected a proposal to cut $2.83 million from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget, bringing an end to a months-long debate and raising questions about whether federal oversight is the right path toward reforming the department.
For almost a decade, SPD has been under federal oversight through an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice called a consent decree. The consent decree, which Seattle entered in 2012, was supposed to ensure that SPD corrected a pattern of using unjustified force and racially biased policing, among other reforms.