Interview with OPA Director Myerberg in aftermath of Tuesday’s police shooting

Tuesday evening SPD officers shot and killed a man wielding a knife along the Seattle waterfront.  Last night SPD released officer bodycam footage of the shooting, which raises substantial questions about the officers’ actions and generally how SPD officers are trained to respond to an individual with a knife and to crisis situations.  Today I spoke at length with Andrew Myerberg, Director of the Office of Police Accountability, to explore those questions and related issues.

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Council sends revised crowd-control weapons ordinance to DOJ and police monitor for review

Today the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee polished off a draft of a revised ordinance placing restrictions on SPD’s use of so-called “less lethal” weapons for crowd control, and sent it off to the Department of Justice and the court-appointed police monitor for comments. In so doing, the Council is signaling that it still feels the need to legislate in this domain while it also recognizes that the terms of the 2012 Consent Decree constrain its ability to do so.

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Black Brilliance Research Project effort fractures

Back in December SCC Insight reported on the dubious contractual structure underlying the Black Brilliance Research Project: how the Seattle City Council bent over backwards to avoid bidding out a $3 million contract and instead awarded it to King County Equity Now, using the nonprofit Freedom Project as a “fiscal agent”; the lack of detail in the contract as to how the money should be spent or what the deliverables would be; the challenges King County Equity Now would face in maintaining a rigorous standard for the research as it enrolled and trained hundreds of contributing researchers; and questions as …

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Black Brilliance Research Project releases its preliminary report

(updates below re: rescheduling the second half of the presentation — it will now be on February 26 instead of next Monday) Over the weekend the City Council published the preliminary report of the Black Brilliance Research Project, a $3 million effort commissioned by the City Council and led by King County Equity Now. The contract calls for KCEN to do research in advance of a community-led “participatory budgeting” program to invest $30 million of public funds in creating community safety. The 1045-page report, originally submitted to the city on December 21, has spent a month being hammered into shape …

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Catching up with the Mayor’s task force and the Black Brilliance research project

As you may recall, over the past few months two parallel efforts were created to guide multi-million dollar investments in community safety: the Mayor’s Equitable Communities Initiative (ECI) task force to guide $30 million of investments; and King County Equity Now’s “Black Brilliance” research project, commissioned by the City Council, to identify priorities for community investments and make recommendations for a participatory budgeting process to allocate another $30 million of investments. There have been some recent developments, so it’s time to check in on both efforts. (I also encourage you to read PubliCola’s recent coverage of the Black Brilliance research …

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Mosqueda unveils 2021 budget balancing package

This afternoon, Council budget chair Teresa Mosqueda rolled out her “balancing package,” a collection of changes to the Mayor’s 2021 proposed budget that address Council members’ consensus priorities, while keeping the overall budget balanced as required by law. The package follows through with the cuts to SPD they proposed two weeks ago, and it cuts Mayor’s Durkan’s $100 million Equitable Communities Initiative down to $30 million. Shortly after it was released, Durkan issued a press release… largely praising it. Wait, what was that again?  

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City responds to BLM contempt allegations

Earlier this week, the City of Seattle filed its response to allegations from Black Lives Matter and the ACLU that it should be held in contempt for violating a preliminary injunction placing restrictions on SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons. The city’s response is a strong defense to the contempt charge, but it raises many additional questions about the way that SPD handles protests.  

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“Black Brilliance” research project delivers preliminary budget recommendations to City Council

Last week the Black Brilliance Research Project, the coalition group led by Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now and asked by the City Council to spearhead a participatory budgeting process for city investments to increase community safety in BIPOC communities, delivered a preliminary report to the Council with a set of recommendations on priorities for the 2021 city budget.

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