As directed by Judge James Robart, who oversees the city’s 2012 consent decree over biased policing, the Community Police Commission and the City of Seattle have both filed their final briefs on the new contract with SPOG, the police officers’ union, and on the recent arbitrator’s reversal of the termination of Adley Shepherd for excessive use of force. And neither side is backing down.
This afternoon, the City Council passed into law an ordinance that would authorize the Seattle Police Department to offer hiring bonuses to new recruits as well as “lateral hires” from other jurisdictions.
In January 2018, Judge James Robart declared the City of Seattle to be in “full and effective compliance” with the Consent Decree the city and the DOJ signed with regard to biased policing. That declaration kicked off a two-year “sustainment period” in which the city is required to remain in compliance, and show it is doing so through a scheduled series of audits and other reports.
This morning, the City Council voted out of committee a bill authorizing the Seattle Police Department to pay hiring bonuses, as a new method to help it meet its hiring goals.
This afternoon, the Department of Justice submitted its brief to U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in response to his order to show cause why the terms of the city’s contract with SPOG and the recent reinstatement of Officer Adley Shepherd don’t mean that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree.
In its brief, the DOJ argued that the overturning by an arbitrator of Shepherd’s termination isn’t a sign of a systemic pattern or practice of excessive use of force. It also found that the SPOG collective bargaining agreement neither conflicts with the Consent Decree nor threatens to undermine compliance with it.
Yesterday Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that her office has transmitted to the City Council a proposed ordinance authorizing hiring bonuses of up to $15,000 for “lateral” hires into the Seattle Police Department — that is, police officers from other jurisdictions who move to SPD.
Now that the federal shutdown is over, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart is restarting his review of the new collective bargaining agreement with SPOG, as well as the arbitrator’s ruling reinstating Officer Adley Shepherd.
The Seattle Times reports that a King County Superior Court judge today agreed to hear an appeal of the Disciplinary Review Board’s decision on disciplining Officer Adley Shepherd, who punched a handcuffed suspect in the face when she kicked him in the forehead as he attempted to place her in the back seat of his police car.
Last night the city filed a response to Judge Robart as to why he shouldn’t find that SPD is no longer in full compliance with the consent decree. Attached to that filing, at the judge’s request, was the written finding of the Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) in Officer Adley Shepherd’s appeal of his termination for violating the department’s use-of-force policy in 2014 when he punched a handcuffed suspect.
The DRB’s finding, written by the neutral arbitrator on the 3-person panel, fills out more details on the case, ultimately concluding that the case was very close.
As promised, the city has appealed an arbitrator’s reversal of the firing of Officer Adley Shepherd for punching in the face a handcuffed suspect in the back of his patrol car.