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.
Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under cover of Trump’s public criticism of his job performance, quietly moved forward with updating the requirements for one type of grant to state and local law enforcement agencies in order to crack down on so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
“We had hoped that today would be the final thumbs up from Judge Robart to allow us to continue to move forward with the implementation of the accountability legislation,” said Council member Lorena Gonzalez this afternoon in a hastily-arranged press conference. “And obviously we did not get that final approval.”
A hearing that began this morning with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart kindly joking with Gonzalez, Council member Tim Burgess, and SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best quickly turned into an opportunity for all parties — and especially the judge himself — to vent their frustrations.