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
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
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
by Ansel Herz
City Council Member Tammy Morales is proposing Seattle create a new, smaller homelessness outreach team called “HOPE.” She says it would be more effective at sheltering people and addressing safety concerns and would cost less money than the city’s Navigation Team, which is being cut after reductions this year to the Seattle Police Department’s budget.
Continue reading Tammy Morales: New Homeless Outreach Team Will Be More Effective, Less Expensive
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Monday night, the cold streets surrounding Westlake Park transformed into an echo chamber of drum beats, footsteps, and chants of “No good cops in a racist system! No bad protesters in a revolution!” as roughly 500 protesters marched to where the protests began in Seattle roughly 150 days before.
After an anticipatory drumroll, several protesters stood up on the park’s stage and unfurled a banner that read, “You Can’t Stop This Revolution” on one side and “Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days, Seattle BLM Protests: 150 Days” on the other.
Continue reading Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting
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
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
by M. Anthony Davis
A shootout last Friday in South Seattle near Emerson Elementary School sent five people to the hospital. According to reports, more than 70 shots were fired on a residential street. Then, later that evening, more gunshots were fired on Seward Park Avenue South. That shooting left one person dead at the Atlantic City boat ramp. According to police, witnesses saw a car fleeing the scene before hitting and killing a pedestrian at the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Gun violence is on the rise throughout King County. In Seattle in 2019, there were 18 gun homicides. In 2020, there were 17 by the end of July. If this trend continues, we will have a record year for gun homicides in Seattle. Local officials such as King County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ryan Abbott, quoted in the KUOW article linked above, blame “warm weather” and juveniles “not being in school” during summer months as reasons for the increased violence.
Critics say local politicians and police have failed to curb gun violence in our communities. By and large, police are only involved in the back end of gun violence — they are called after the shooting has already occurred. In the demands of those calling to defund police, part of the reallocated funds are needed to support community efforts to stop gun violence on the front end — by strengthening social services and engaging youth before any violent crimes are committed.
Continue reading Community Leaders Will Meet to Discuss Solutions to Increasing Gun Violence in King County
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
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