Council starts a rewrite of its ban on crowd-control weapons

You may recall that last June the City Council rushed through a near-total ban on SPD’s use of several so-called “less lethal” weapons, including pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and blast balls after several nights of confrontations between protesters and police officers. Several weeks later, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who oversees the 2012 Consent Decree imposed upon SPD, tossed the Council’s ordinance, for two reasons: because it did not follow the process prescribed in the Consent Decree for modifications to SPD’s use-of-force and crowd-control policies; and because in his view it reduced public safety by removing SPD …

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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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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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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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Recommendations on ‘less lethal” weapons highlight difficult policy tradeoffs for SPD in use of force and crowd control

On Friday, the three accountability bodies that watchdog the Seattle Police Department — the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), the Office of the Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG), and the Community Police Commission (CPC) — released their written recommendations on SPD’s use of so-called “less lethal” weapons such as tear gas and blast balls. Taken together, the reports make it clear why it’s so difficult to make policy around the use of these weapons for crowd control and other purposes.

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