It’s time to face reality: the consent decree didn’t work.

As our country tries in this moment to face its chronic issues with structural racism and over-policing (what Stephen Colbert called “our nation’s pre-existing condition”), Seattle has a unique perspective on the problem. The city was busted in 2012 for biased policing practices after an investigation led by U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan; it admitted the problem, signed a consent decree, and began many years’ hard work of reforming its practices under court supervision. If everything had gone according to plan, the city would have completed the two-year sustainment period by now (having been found to be in initial compliance in …

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City, DOJ jointly file motion to terminate most of SPD consent decree

This afternoon, the City of Seattle and the U.S. Department of Justice jointly filed a motion asking Judge James Robart to terminate nearly all of the 2012 consent decree over the Seattle Police Department’s biased policing practices.  What would remain, assuming Robart approves the order, are the issues related to accountability and SPD’s discipline system that have dominated the discussion over the past three years.

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City submits assessment of police accountability system

Friday afternoon, the City of Seattle submitted to the court its consultant assessment of the police department’s accountability system. The consultant found “not the need for wholesale change but for additional fine-tuning and refinement.” The issues it raises echo those voiced by the city’s Community Police Commission, with disagreement on only a few of the major points.

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