First look at Council’s proposed cuts to SPD

Tomorrow the City Council will discuss proposals to change SPD’s 2021 budget. There are 22 items on the list, including requests for reports and “statements of legislative intent” that don’t actually change the budget. Plus there are some revisions to cuts or transfers that are already in the Mayor’s proposed budget. It took a bit of work to sort it all out, but here’s a first look at the numbers.  

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Contempt charge against SPD for violating crowd-control weapon injunction inches toward evidentiary hearing

This morning U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones held a status conference with attorneys for the ACLU, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and the City of Seattle. They met to hammer out some of the details of an evidentiary hearing on whether the city should be found in contempt of Jones’s preliminary injunction restricting SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons. But those details, as it turns out, are messy.

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State-mandated court fines are sending Black people into debt — and to jail. SPD is making the problem worse.

(updated with some minor corrections in the details related to fines, fees and penalties) As one might expect for a Seattle-based institution, the Seattle Municipal Court has earned a reputation for pursuing progressive policies with regard to criminal justice reform. In recent years the Court has worked to reshape its procedures and policies for both probation and bail to address racial disparities. Most recently it has turned its attention to “legal financial obligations” or LFOs: the patchwork of fines, penalties and fees that are imposed upon those found guilty of breaking the law. The Court, in cooperation with the city’s …

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City, DOJ formally sweep SPD’s crowd-control controversy into consent decree process

This summer there have been two legal threads related to SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons:  two similar lawsuits asking for restrictions; and the Department of Justice asking for and receiving a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking implementation of the City Council’s ordinance prohibiting the police department’s use of crowd control weapons. Earlier this week there was activity in the first thread; today there was an important update in the second.

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Mayor Durkan responds to Council’s veto override: starts SPD layoffs process, shuts down Navigation Team, funds community programs

This afternoon, Mayor Jenny Durkan took first steps to respond to the City Council’s override of the vetoed 2020 rebalanced budget, by largely complying with the Council’s directives — while giving a “be careful what you ask for” warning. Her actions today include immediately moving forward with distributing $4 million in funding (out of $14 million allocated by the Council) for community-based programs, starting the process of “out of order” layoffs for 70 SPD officers, and shutting down the Navigation Team.

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OPA releases first set of findings from investigations into SPD officers’ misconduct at protests

This morning, the Office of Police Accountability released its first set of “closed case” summaries for five cases lodged against SPD officers related to misconduct during this past summer’s protests — including two incidents from May 30 that went viral on social media. Also: here is my in-depth Q&A with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg, where we touch on the issues raised by these cases, the status of OPA investigations into police misconduct at the protests, and many other topics related to police accountabilty.

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Q&A with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg

In anticipation of today’s release by the OPA of its first batch of findings from complaints arising from this summer’s protests, OPA Director Andrew Myerberg graciously sat down with me yesterday for an interview. Here is the full interview, lightly edited for clarity.   Kevin Schofield: How do you feel that the investigations are going so far? Andrew Myerberg: I think they’re going well. As you can imagine the cases, they kind of range in complexity. Using the pepper spray case for an example, it was an easier case in some respects to start to isolate the video, because there …

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