Recently there has been a cluster of gun-related incidents in Seattle, which have captured the attention of the media, the community, and the City Council. This morning, the Seattle Police Department briefed the Council on what they know, what they are still investigating, and how they are responding.
After months of work, the police accountability legislation shepherded by Council member Lorena Gonzalez was passed unanimously by the City Council this afternoon.
This morning the Council made its final amendments to the police accountability legislation and sent it on its way to final approval at next Monday’s full council meeting.
On Friday, City Attorney Pete Holmes sent a letter to the City Council expressing his views on the proposed police accountability and the changes that the Council has been making to it as they deliberate.
Last August, Council member Herbold introduced a “Police Observer Bill of Rights” ordinance to clarify the rights of individuals to watch and record the interactions of police officers with Seattle residents. Based on some concerns that were raised, Herbold decided to “press pause” and work them out. This morning, a new version of the bill was deliberated in the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee.
Last Friday the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee met again to continue its deliberations on the proposed police accountability legislation. They considered amendments related to work plans, reporting, evaluations and budget. Threading through all of that was a recurring theme of “independence” and freedom from political pressure. But that wasn’t really what they were talking about.
The City Council had a two-part conversation this morning on the proposed police accountability legislation, passing an “omnibus” amendment that incorporated consensus views from their last discussion, and beginning discussion of the complex budget issues.
This morning, the Council took up their quarterly update to the city government budget. In the package of proposed changes was a gem of a proposal aimed squarely at giving more protection to domestic violence survivors.
The City of Seattle has a law on the books requiring The City Council to approve any department’s acquisition of surveillance equipment. The law is old and badly in need of updating, as last year’s Geofeedia incident made clear. Yesterday the Council started its formal consideration of a refreshed version more in keeping with today’s technology.
This morning, eight of the nine Council members met in committee to continue debating the finer points of the proposed police accountability legislation working its was through the system.