Details of the agreement reached between the City of Seattle and federal officials over a reform plan for the Seattle Police Department were being released Friday afternoon.
Federal and city officials, including U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, Mayor Mike McGinn and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez, stood together at a press conference at City Hall and began outlining what the agreement includes: Details of agreement (DOJ)
* A court-appointed monitor, to be selected jointly by the City and the Justice Department, will oversee the implementation of the settlement agreement and provide expert assistance to the Community Police Commission in a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Details of summary and MOU (City of Seattle)
* The settlement agreement will require SPD to revise its use of force policies and enhance its training, reporting, investigations and supervision of uses of force.
* The agreement includes required revision to policies, training, and supervision relating to both bias-free policing, and stops and detentions; improves supervision and accountability mechanisms to ensure implementation of the reforms on the ground; and creates the Community Police Commission, a civilian oversight board with responsibilities regarding particular areas of reform detailed in the settlement agreement and MOU.
* Partnerships with the community to ensure that reforms are successful and lasting.
* The timeline moving forward, beginning upon the adoption of the agreements by the court, is as follows:
- 60 days: Monitor chosen jointly by City and DOJ
- 60 days: SPD develops a schedule to prioritize development and implementation of policies
- 90 days: Mayor issues Executive Order to create Community Policing Commission
- Three years: Expected term of the Memorandum of Understanding,
- Five years: Expected term of Settlement Agreement, although the City may petition the court to end agreement earlier if there have been two years of compliance.
“This agreement provides a blueprint for reform with innovative methods for ensuring community engagement and sustainability,” said Perez. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the City, Mayor McGinn, the Seattle Police Department and the community to ensure that effective and constitutional policing takes place in Seattle.”
In December, a Department of Justice probe found a "pattern and practice" of excessive force among Seattle Police officers, and recommended a list of reforms.
In that report, federal investigators concluded that inadequate supervision and training led SPD officers to too quickly resort to the use of weapons like batons and flashlights, and to escalate confrontations even when arresting people for minor offenses.
Seattle Police responded with a reform plan of their own, the SPD 20/20 plan, to be completed within 20 months of implementation. At the time, Mayor Mike McGinn contended the federal recommendations would cost the City of Seattle $41 million.
Federal officials and Seattle have been in negotiations since then. If no agreement is reached by August 1, the Department of Justice has threatened legal action.
Background on DOJ investigation into Seattle Police Dept.:
The Justice Department investigation was launched following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver in 2010 and other reported uses of force against minority suspects, some caught on camera.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and other groups called for the inquiry after a Seattle officer shot and killed woodcarver John T. Williams after he crossed a street downtown. The officer, Ian Birk, was not charged. He resigned after the police department determined the shooting was not justified.
Other incidents captured on surveillance video include officers stomping on a man and threatening to beat the "Mexican piss" out of him; an officer kicking a black youth with his hands up in a convenience store following a drug buy-bust operation; and officers tackling and kicking a black man who showed up in a police evidence room to pick up belongings after he was mistakenly released from jail.
Justice Dept. launches investigation into Seattle Police Dept. (March 31, 2011)
What the DOJ report on Seattle says (Dec. 16, 2011)
VIDEO TIMELINE: Cases that lead to DOJ investigation of SPD (Dec. 16, 2011)
Seattle mayor, police unveil 20-part reform plan (March 29, 2012)
Feds to seek court order for Seattle police reforms (March 30, 2012)
SPD reforms could cost the city $41 million, mayor says (May 14, 2012)
DOJ reform: What Seattle can learn from Cincinnati (May 18, 2012)
McGinn defends handling of negotiations with Justice Dept. (July 17, 2012)