This morning Judge Robart ruled “from the bench” that he has found the City of Seattle to be partially out of compliance with the 2012 Consent Decree between the Department of Justice and the city regarding biased policing.
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.
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.
This afternoon Judge James Robart held a status conference with the parties in the consent decree between the city and the Department of Justice over police misconduct. The issue at hand: now that the city has negotiated a new police contract, how and when to put that in front of Robart for his blessing.
Today Judge James Robart, the judge overseeing implementation of the consent decree over biased policing by SPD, scheduled a status conference for next Thursday, November 1, to discuss the tentative contract with Seattle police officers.
“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.