If there’s one thing that the Seattle Police Department has become quite good at, it’s churning out reports on its reform efforts. In the run-up to a pivotal hearing on May 15th with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, the city has filed several reports on it recent work to continue and sustain its police reforms under its consent decree with the Department of Justice.
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.
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 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.
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.
This morning Judge James Robart, who presides over the city’s consent decree with the DOJ over biased policing, issued an order granting the DOJ more time to file its brief. But he also ordered the city to hand over several additional documents that dive into the details of the SPD disciplinary/appeals process and the recently-signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the police officers’ union.
In the aftermath of Judge James Robart’s bombshell order earlier this week asking the City of Seattle and the DOJ to explain why he shouldn’t find that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree, today
both parties jointly asked Robart to amend his order and allow more time for briefings to be filed. the DOJ asked Robart, with the city’s assent, to allow more time for it to file its briefing.
Last Friday, the City of Seattle filed an official notice with the U.S. District Court that it had negotiated and ratified a new labor agreement with Seattle’s police officers. Judge James Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree, had previously signaled that he would not weigh in on the merits of the new contract until it was properly before his court. But now that it is, he wasted no time in making his thoughts known: this morning he issued an “Order to Show Cause” why he should not find that the city has failed to maintain full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree.