Last week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide permanent injunction that prohibits the Department of Justice from withholding federal grants to police departments in jurisdictions with so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
Back in January, the Department of Justice sent letters to several cities and counties, including King County, expressing concern over sanctuary city policies, demanding further documentation of existing policies, and threatening consequences if its demands are not met. Yesterday the DOJ sent the same letter to the City of Seattle, with the same demands and threats.
Back in January, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart ruled that the City of Seattle was in “full and effective compliance” with the consent decree that it signed with the Department of Justice over police misconduct. That declaration kicked off a two-year “sustainment period” in which the city must show that it can fully implement the remainder of its plan and remain in compliance with the consent decree. Last Friday, the City submitted its plan for what will happen over the next two years.
Yesterday the US Department of Justice sent another round of threatening letters to select cities and counties, pushing back on so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
This morning U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo rescinding Obama-era guidance on federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as it relates to marijuana. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes had sharp words in response.
On November 20th, Judge James Robart, who oversees the implementation of SPD’s consent decree directing police reform, issued an order asking the parties in the case to submit briefs on how two issues should influence his ruling on whether the city is in initial compliance with the consent decree: the shooting last June of Charleena Lyles, and the recent signing of new collective bargaining agreement with SPMA. The deadline to file those briefs was last Friday.
This morning, Mayor Durkan, City Attorney Holmes, King County Council President Joe McDermott, and City Council member Lorena Gonzalez held a joint press conference to double-down on their support for the city’s “welcoming city” policies, to release a letter sent to the DOJ on the topic, and to announce funding for programs to support Seattle’s immigrant community and DACA recipients.
The DOJ is once again stirring up the “sanctuary city” pot by sending letters to several cities questioning their policies. This time, Seattle made the list.
Last Thursday, the City of Seattle won a legal round in its case against the Trump Administration over its “sanctuary city” policy when the judge overseeing the case denied the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case.
Today the Department of Justice and the Community Police Commission both submitted briefs to Judge Robart urging him to find the Seattle Police Department in “full and effective compliance” with the consent decree.